I’m spending this Thursday in Barcelona, and it just occurred to me that this particular Thursday happens to be Thanksgiving. (Maybe I should change my tapas plans? Nah.) Thanksgiving is another American holiday with a questionable history but a strong message. What I love most about this holiday is the emphasis on gratitude, pinpointing specific things that you’re grateful for, and saying them out loud. Or maybe it is for some people, and I should be more like them…
But it’s rare that I wake up in the morning and say “I’m thankful for the opportunity to make a life in this place!” And by rare, I mean it’s never happened.
So I took this afternoon on the subway back to my Airbnb in Barcelona, to think about what I’m thankful for. I’d like to share it in this mini-post with all of you, and then I challenge you to do the same in the comments section. Say it out loud! Pinpoint the little things that are keeping you jazzed about life, making your heart swell, or are helping you keep food on the table. Let’s keep this positive piece of the internet going strong!
1. I’m thankful for the opportunity to see the world
Two years ago I said yes to a job with more unknowns than answers, and I’ve never looked back. Working for a cruise ship is a strange, quirky and diverse job, but it’s allowed me to see many incredible places that a 20-something in my financial position (not alotta moolah) would only dream of. Sailing through the fjords, surrounded by tree-lined cliffs and waterfalls is the thing my dreams are made of, and it’s chilly, utter bliss to stand on an open deck and take it all in.
It also helps that I’ve chosen a partner, and friends, who share this passion for seeing new things, and put adventure at the top of every To-Do list. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn
In the past two years, I’ve doubled the amount of languages I *kind of* (barely) know, and I swear to you it’s done wonders for my brain. Showing up to my Portuguese class each week brings me so much joy, for a person who knows so little. I think everyone should consciously put themselves in a position of absolute cluelessness at least once a week. Ok maybe that’s an aggressive schedule, BUT I think it’s only in these moments when a mind can completely open itself to new ideas. I came in to class knowing zero Portuguese words, and while I may have a ways to go, I can now order fish at the grocery store, and that feels like a mega-million lottery win. Little victories.
3. I’m thankful for music
Ew this is cheesy, I know I know. I almost didn’t finish typing it before I deleted it, and then proceeded to type it all over again. Because it’s true. Music has brought the best people into my life, has brought the best jobs into my life, and has led to some of my favorite experiences across the globe.
(If you had no idea I was a singer, that’s ok! Click the button below.)
Just last night, Kris and I went to a jam session at a local jazz club in Barcelona, because I wanted to check out the music scene in our neighborhood for the week. It was unreal. Random people got up, introduced themselves to each other, called out for a singer if they needed one, and proceeded to make incredible art, sans lyrics or sheet music. It was music from the soul, and man, did it feel just right.
My job as a singer also landed me on the right stage in the middle of the ocean, at the right time, with the right guy, and the rest of my story with Kris is now history.
I could go on forever but…
Aside from the things I’ve mentioned above, I’m grateful every day for my family. The five Hughes folks are the most loving, supportive people in the world, and I feel pretty dang lucky I was born into that house on Rangewood Drive in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thankful for this.
I’m also thankful for the blank slate of moving to a new country, and having the chance to make the life I want, as long as I’m willing to put in the work. And most of all, I’m thankful for all of the people who’ve supported this blog, this life, and this passion of mine, all over the world. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, especially those of you who’ve never celebrated the holiday. Grab a seat at the digital dinner table, and join the feast.