We originally wrote this for our mates at Geckos Adventures.
Sometimes, as travellers, we can get caught up on the negative stuff. Like how expensive flights to Brazil are this time of year, or that time you missed your connecting bus and had to wait in a Oaxaca station for seven hours, or when you fell asleep on a beach in Ghana and had your bag nicked.
But in reality, you’re travelling the world and there is so much to be thankful for. So friends, we recommend taking a moment just to just stop and smell the roses (because they’re from Estonia and they’re super sweet). Here’s what you should be thankful for:
1. Flights that depart on time
That exorbitant taxi fare, early morning wake-up call and empty belly are gonna be so worth it when your plane actually leaves the tarmac at its predetermined time. Happy flying and happy arriving, friends.
2. Shampoo leftovers
While we don’t understand why people travel with uber luxe toiletries in the first place, we are admittedly pretty thankful when super expensive shampoo and/or conditioner is left in the communal shower. Because our hair deserves to feel luscious too, y’know.
3. Going solo in a dorm room
If you’ve got a dorm room to yourself, don’t tell anyone. Well, don’t tell anyone except for that babe you saw at the hostel bar (giddy up, playa). Just spread your stuff out and hope for the best. You’re living the dream, man! And all for under $20 bucks…
4. Friendly taxi drivers
These guys are the best. Whether you’re in a tuk tuk in Thailand or a jeepney in the Philippines, a felucca on the Nile or a cab in New York, one of the best ways to get to know a culture is by chatting with your driver. After 20 minutes you’ll probably be sipping tea with their mum and promising your hand in marriage to their son. No biggie, you’ll just make dual citizenship babies.
5. Duty free
Need we say more? Duty Free is like that cool older sibling – they don’t want you to get too messy but they understand the importance of bringing a little alcohol to the party. Duty Free aids you in all your vices, and makes said vices cheaper.
6. Dual passports
IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE MAGIC BOOKS YOU SHOULD BE SO THANKFUL. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR THE REST OF US?!?!
7. Happy hours
An oldie but a goodie. May the reign of happy hours and ladies nights live a long and healthy life. Because we sure as hell aren’t buying booze that’s not two-for-one. Who do you think we are? Middle class travellers with expendable incomes that allow for enjoyable travel experiences?
8. The Internet (when it works)
The Internet is a freaking privilege. And just one-week sans the web should be enough to make you thankful for the instantaneous, super efficient society we live in. #blessed, God I love Instagram.
9. Decent exchange rates
When the exchange rate is in your favour, watch out, because the first round is on you. When the exchange rate isn’t in your favour, you better not be expecting more than bread and cheese for dinner. Appreciate it while the money’s hot.
10. Spare seats
Receiving a spare seat beside you on any form of transport is the Holy Grail of travel. You know when you’re sitting on a plane and holding your breath with tentative hope that no stranger is going to place his or her ass in the adjoining cushion? And then it pays off and you’re all like “Ima lay down now”? Yeah, it’s the best.
11. Hot water and good pressure
Holy mother of God/Dog. There’s steam, your hair is lathered in shampoo and it feels good to be naked again. After weeks of either bucket showers or arctic water temperatures, a searing shower is the next best thing to finding religion.
12. Not losing your passport
Goes without saying.
13. Not contracting rabies
All travellers should actually be super thankful for surviving an overseas holiday without going rabid. What with all the irresponsible petting of street dogs and flea-infested cats that goes down, you should count yourself lucky for only coming home with a mild case of athlete’s foot.
14. When you’re lost and you find an English-speaker
Finally! Directions! You can now stop crying, put down your Lonely Planet, remove yourself from the curb you’ve been hugging and follow the well-appointed yellow brick road home. Hopefully you’ll end up in Kansas.
15. When breakfast is included
OJ and bacon and eggs, oh my! Or perhaps it’s more like ‘green tea and beef pho and chilli, oh my!’ Whatever’s going for breakfast, if it’s included, it’s heaven. Chow down and don’t buy lunch. Travel hacks 101.
16. The guy who always brings booze with him
This guy is everyone’s best mate and he knows it. When he rocks up to a beach party/BBQ/rave/funeral, you know it’s going to be a)cheap and b)mad fun. But the thing is, no one can remember his name…
17. Hostels that provide towels
What I look for in accommodation 1. breakfast (see above) 2. towels. Bed bugs? No worries, I’ve got spray. No natural light? I’ll be asleep anyway. All I want is to forgo my camping towel for one night and wrap myself in a decent piece of fabric big enough to dry my adult sized body.
18. People who are leaving and give you their left over money
I’ve only met you twice, and I thought you were a bit of a jerk, but I will now name my first born after you because you gave me the equivalent of $15 bucks in local coin. That was really nice, fond memories dude.
19. Stumbling on a local festival
Priceless. All of a sudden you’re making besties with old fellas, eating too much street food and shaking what your mama gave you.
20. Brushing your teeth after a long haul flight
What feels better than minty fresh breath after a 12-hour flight? Seriously? That’s not a rhetorical question. If you’ve got anything – tell us. Because as it stands, we reckon brushing your chompers is pretty much the pinnacle of enjoyment.
21. When someone else remembers sunscreen
Someone in the group has to be responsible. My mum, my future wrinkles and my alabaster skin thank you. Lobster is a major travel faux pa, after all.
22. Early morning hostels
Why do we always find ourselves wandering foreign city streets at 4am, knocking on hostel doors only to be turned away and told to come back at a reasonable hour? It’s like an away in a manger situation, but minus a miraculous conception (hopefully). But when you finally find a place to rest your head, boy is it halle-bloody-lujah!
23. Toilet paper
You know it, she knows it, he knows it; TP is muy importante. When you’ve just done the old porcelain dash and forgotten your paper in haste, there is nothing so relieving as seeing a fresh roll of the white stuff already in the lavatory. Thank god.
24. Drunken conversations with strangers
“I loooooveeee youuu” – they are always life affirming.
25. Getting away with wearing the same clothes
There’s something so liberating about not giving a f@#$ what you look like abroad. You wanna wear birkenstocks and a bikini everyday? You do it girl. Feel more at home in your favourite white tee (which is now turning yellow)? No one cares, just keep rocking it. The same principle, however, does not apply to smell. You should always care about how you smell.
26. Fresh laundry
Crisp underpants, yo. They’ve been ironed AND folded. And all traces of last nights vindaloo are now gone.
27. Second hand book shops
There’s something so lovely about swapping, buying and reading pre-loved books. You just know they have been read on the road and there is something so sentimental about it. Plus, they’re generally really cheap and you can always find a cheesy romance
28. Not getting food poisoning
You’ve eaten suspicious looking grilled meats, chowed down on room temperature curries, sampled seafood (while living in the desert) and gulped down blue cheese that was more blue than cheese. But hey, you lived, you’re belly is intact and the last thing you’re waiting in line for is the loo. You’ve got a gut of steel, be thankful.
29. You TRAVEL!
Let us repeat, you travel. You are one of the privileged few who get to travel as a hobby, and that’s a pretty bloody amazing position to be in. After all, not everyone can afford to fly. So count your lucky stars and give a little thanks because travel is awesome. And it’s making you a more awesome person.