This week is Thanksgiving in the United States. 2020 has been very different and difficult and as we are in the midst of a second surge of covid-19, just like everything else, Thanksgiving will not be the same as normal this year. Most of us will be staying home and only celebrating with those in our own household. But there are still so many things to be thankful for this year, like the health and safety of our family and friends.
Not being able to travel this year has definitely reminded me exactly how much it means to my life and to my general happiness. It makes me so thankful that I’ve been able to travel and even though it doesn’t feel like it will happen again, I am so thankful that I will be able travel again in the future. I’ve spent a lot of time this year looking back on past trips and thought I would write about the top 5 places that I am so thankful to have visited in the past.
1. Hawaii – For as long as I remember I have wanted to visit Hawaii. Not sure if it was just my love for warm weather and the beach or if watching that episode of the Brady Bunch (one of my favorite shows as a kid) where they went to Hawaii that made me dream of going there. It seemed so far away and I never in a million years thought I’d be able to get there. Back in 2011, I spent a week visiting Maui and Oahu and fell in love, it definitely lived up to expectations, in fact it surpassed my expectations. To this day it is still the most beautiful place I have ever been. I am so thankful to have seen the beautiful beaches, to visit Pearl Harbor, to see the sunrise on top of Haleakala, to attend a luau and snorkel with so many colorful fish. I have a few more years, so hopefully covid-19 will be a distant memory so I can return to Hawaii for my 50th birthday and spend some time visiting the other islands.
2. Italy – I’m half Italian, could live off of Italian food and was extremely close to my grandparents on the Italian side of my family. I’ve always dreamed of going to Italy and am so thankful to have taken a trip there in 2015. I visited Rome where I saw such amazing places as the Colosseum and the Vatican, I visited the ancient city of Pompeii, fell in love with the city of Florence and the beautiful Duomo, dipped my toes in the Mediterranean while visiting the beautiful Cinque Terre and took Gondola lessons in the dreamlike city of Venice. I spent my week living off of bruschetta, pasta and gelato and just felt so at home as the Italian I am.
3. Paris – For some reason, I feel like most little girls dream of visiting Paris, not sure if it’s the romantic feel of the city or the dreams of seeing the beautiful Eiffel Tower in person. Since I was probably 12 years old I have always wanted to visit there, for me it was mostly to see the Eiffel Tower, it just looked so grand and amazing to me, I had to see it in person. Back in 2012, I made that dream a reality when I took my very first trip to Europe to visit Paris. It was a quick 5 day trip but it was so perfect. The weather was absolutely amazing and I loved seeing the Eiffel Tower up close, visiting Versailles, walking along the Seine and seeing Notre Dame. As a huge Disney person, I was so happy to be able to visit Disneyland Paris while I was there as well. I traveled to Paris again in 2017 and hope to maybe return in 2022, seems fitting to try and go every 5 years.
4. Mexico – Milestone birthdays should involve a big celebration and what better way to celebrate than to travel somewhere fun. Back in 2014, I traveled to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico with a couple of friends to celebrate my 40th. It was actually the trip that almost didn’t happen. A couple of weeks before my trip, I realized I couldn’t find my passport, I completely panicked and tore my entire apartment apart looking for it. I’m one of those people who never loses anything, I still have the key to my parents house that they gave me when I was 11 years old and over the 35 years I’ve had this key, I’ve never lost it! As it turns out I didn’t lose my passport, I’m pretty sure that a couple of months earlier while doing a New Years day major cleaning of my apartment I ended up accidentally throwing it out! When you realize two weeks before a trip you don’t have a passport, it ends up being an expensive and stressful experience. Just getting an appointment with the passport office is an ordeal, I called everyday for a week before I finally got an appointment a week before my trip. I actually picked up the passport two days before the trip on my birthday, what a birthday gift! Not only am I thankful that after my dumb, stressful and expensive mistake that I made it on this trip but I am also so thankful to finally visit Mexico. So many amazing things about this country, the relaxing beach, delicious mango margaritas, visiting the beautiful Tulum ruins, snorkeling with turtles and being able to hold this adorable monkey just made this an incredible birthday!
5. Disney! – Last but definitely not least, Disney World! I have been going on trips to Disney World since I was 5 years old. For 11 years I lived only an hour away and would visit at least once a month. I tend to go multiple times a year now and it truly is the Happiest Place on Earth! It takes someone who has also been going there their whole life to truly understand how magical this place is. Those that have never gone or have only gone once or twice may not see why someone would enjoy somewhere so expensive with crowds of people and long lines. The thing about Disney is it brings back memories of childhood trips, trips with parents, siblings and grandparents. It gives you an escape from reality. It makes you feel like a kid again. It’s the one place that truly brings me happiness even if it’s located in a state that I’m just not a big fan of. Of all the things I’ve missed this year, Disney is the thing I miss the most. I’m longing for the day I get back there. I have a trip planned in March for my birthday since a trip this past March was one of the three trips I’ve cancelled. I have all my fingers and toes crossed I feel safe enough to take the trip, my mental state and soul just need it more than anything! Regardless on when I make it back there, I am so eternally thankful for all the times I’ve been able to visit and for my parents who introduced this magical place to me and for taking me and my siblings there so often and creating so many family memories.
What are you thankful for? Do you have any specific trips that you were thankful to take and why? Happy Thanksgiving!