What I’m Thankful for in 2014

I think that gratitude is an essential part of a good life. If you don’t appreciate the people, places, and things that make up your life, you don’t have much motivation do anything. I feel the weight of gratitude every day. Many times a day I think of how fortunate I am to be where I am, and how so much of that is due to other people. I can’t write that post every day, but I think I can get away with it on Thanksgiving.

I’m most thankful for my family and friends. The two categories of people are intertwined because I feel like I’m best friends with many of my family members, and that many of my friends are so close they may as well be family. Genetics make clear lines, but in real life they’re one big group of people I love.

I traveled with a lot of friends this year, and I’m particularly grateful for that. Sharing my favorite places around the world and discovering new ones with friends are among my favorite things in the world. I’m very fortunate to be able to do a lot of that.

I made only a few new friends this year, but I feel like I became closer with a lot of friends, often as a result of traveling together.

Nearly every day I think about how fortunate I am to have been raised by my parents and to have had the support of my extended family. As my siblings grow up and find their places in the world, I become increasingly aware that the things I’m most proud of are a direct result of my childhood. We have too many positive common attributes for any of us to claim it was our own doing.

I don’t know most of you very well, but I’m extraordinarily grateful for my readers. I feel like I have a whole team behind me in anything I do, and coming up with good posts for you pushes me to push myself in many ways. And it’s not just having a number of people reading– when I meet you guys, I’m always a little bit intimidated, like, “These people are really impressive– I’d better stay sharp so that I can keep writing things that keep their interest.”

In that same vein, I’m very grateful for those of you who bought my latest book. It’s doing extremely well (hasn’t left top 5 in its category), and the money I earn from it will make a significant difference in my life.

Every time I fly, I look out the window and think about how grateful I am for this earth. There are so many amazing places all over the place, different enough to be interesting, similar enough to be navigable. It’s good enough that exists, but the fact that we have the technology and means to hop all over it is almost unbelievably good.

One particular place I’m grateful for this year is our island. We still have a lot of work to do on it, but in the past year I’ve been five times and it’s become one of my favorite places to be.

And last, a lightning round of less important things that I’m grateful for at the moment: MMA fighting, Pimsleur language tapes, good tea, ballet, art, lightweight travel gear, linux, Las Vegas, San Francisco, healthy food, Lil Wayne, Dvorak keyboard layouts, huge Android phones, winning the Amtrak residency, and stand-up sushi in Tokyo.

Hopefully you’ll have a great Thanksgiving and have a lot to be grateful for. Thanks for being part of my list.

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Photo is a bird in Brazil that looks sort of like a demonic turkey.

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