Photo courtesy of Mark Byrd, taken in Yellowstone last July at that wolf class I attended

Photo courtesy of Mark Byrd, taken in Yellowstone last July at that institute class I attended

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and enjoying time with family and friends (and good food). As Thursdays are a part of my “weekend” at Amazon this season, I find myself with Thanksgiving off for the first time in many years.

Looking back over past posts, it occurs to me that I haven’t written about Thanksgiving since my very first month of blogging four years ago. In truth, I don’t celebrate this holiday the way many do and the reasons are twofold.

For starters, my family is many miles away and unavailable for Thanksgiving dinner. That doesn’t bother me though, we celebrate when we get together at other times of the year, no matter what calendar day it is. Also, my fellow Amazon workers who’re staying in the same campground often get together for an informal meal of some sort, and this year will be no exception. One of my neighbors already has the turkey going in his giant outside smoker and the rest of us are bringing a dish to pass around – I have four pounds of mashed potatoes in the fridge ready and waiting.

Secondly, I practice being thankful on a regular basis so today isn’t much different than any other day. Like with giving and contribution which are traditionally lauded around the holidays, thankfulness is the most rewarding when you make it part of your daily life.

It isn’t hard to do and doesn’t take much time to get started. Get out a piece of paper or get on your computer and start typing up a list of things you’re grateful for. Some things will come to mind right away like the people you care about, your health, and your home. But there are a lot of other things to be thankful for too, and coming from a first world country we often take them for granted such as having enough food to eat, flush toilets, and a working internet connection. Take it a step beyond that, and it’s not hard to see how everything we have no matter how small is a gift to be cherished, like the taste of your favorite food, a phone call from someone you haven’t heard from in a while, or the feeling of the sun on your face in the morning.

You don’t need to spend hours at the list, but come back to it on a regular basis and update it as more things occur to you. Before long it’ll serve as an impressive reminder of everything you have, and more importantly it can be used as a tool to put things in perspective when you’re having a rough day.

I often get the comment at work, even here at Amazon which is not exactly a thrilling or fulfilling job that I smile a lot and sometimes the person will ask me why I always seem so happy. In truth I get irritated with people, frustrated with work, and mad at the universe when things aren’t going my way just like anybody else. But instead of dwelling on it, I do my best to shrug off annoyances and soldier through disappointments, and a lot of the energy for that comes from reminding myself of everything that I have and being happy for it.

At the core of it, I think it’s a miracle we’re even here and I’m thankful to be alive. With that, everything else is possible.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

How To Handle Overwhelm

February 5, 2014 |

Some days there is nothing pressing on my to-do list or on my mind, and it feels like I’ve escaped the rat race once and for all. These days I’m free to do as much or as little as I feel like, as the whim takes me. They are good days, and yes, they do…

Read More

Rethinking Home

July 8, 2014 |

When I visited my family last month it got me thinking about the concept of “home”, and how the meaning of that word has changed for me over the years as I’ve traveled more. I mentioned in that post that it felt strange going back to my parent’s house in the town I’d grown up…

Read More

Words of Encouragement

February 13, 2015 |

Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people. One of those people who smiles when they see inspirational messages in poster form in the home decor section of stores. One of those people who Likes motivational pictures posted up on Facebook. Heck, I’ve even had one such quote at the bottom of this blog…

Read More


At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Tuan on June 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Hi Becky,
    Nice post about thankfulness. You understand what’s important in life. Reminds me of this saying:

    “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

    • Becky on June 8, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Tuan, I do think that being thankful goes a long way towards a happier existence.

  2. LenSatic on December 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    “I often get the comment at work, even here at Amazon which is not exactly a thrilling or fulfilling job that I smile a lot and sometimes the person will ask me why I always seem so happy.”

    Just a little late to reply here, but this made me remember something from my youth.

    Many moons ago I dated a psychology PhD candidate and we would often talk about her research. She told me a behavioral modification story about a woman who visited a therapist because she was having thoughts of murdering her husband, for no apparent reason. The therapist had her wear a rubber band on her wrist and every time she thought of killing her husband she was to snap it. The husband ran into the therapist one day and the doctor asked how his wife was. The husband said that she was fine except that she picked up the weird habit of constantly snapping a rubber band on her wrist.

    My wife is always walking around humming, no particular tune, just humming. I wonder…? 😉

    LenSatic recently posted..Sequoia National Fiasco!My Profile

    • Becky on December 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Haha, funny story LenSatic I like it. That’s not the reason I smile all the time…. or is it? 😉

  3. edward on December 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    catching up on IO, I handle the smiling question (and frowners in general) with this —
    “Smile, fresh air is good for your teeth.”



    • Becky on December 4, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Hehe, that’s a cute saying Edward. Glad you found the time to stop in and comment!

  4. Norm on November 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for this post. You are so right, “thanks-giving” should be a daily practice. I appreciate the reminder.

    • Becky on December 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      You’re welcome Norm! Glad you found this post helpful, there is so much to be thankful for.

  5. Diane Ely on November 30, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Did Amazon provide a Thanksgiving meal? Last year I seem to remember reading on one of the blogs (not sure if it was yours or someone else’s) that Amazon did that for the Camperforce workers.

    • Becky on December 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Yep there was a holiday meal Diane, although it was a few weeks ago before peak hit. Turkey, beef, mashed potatoes, corn, roll, and pie. It was tasty. 🙂 I can hardly imagine the cost to cater that meal for 5,500 workers…

  6. Christi on November 30, 2015 at 11:51 am

    What a lovely reminder about the true meaning of being thankful. Your blog has helped me more than you will ever know in reaching my goals of living deliberately.

    For years Thanksgiving HAD to be full of rigid traditions – including a traditional meal served on beautiful china that was used only on Thanksgiving. I noticed that I was rarely thankful during those days. The meal was expensive, the labor was non ending and by the time we gave thanks at the table – I was exhausted.

    This year my daughters and I had PB&J sandwiches and clementines. On a beach. Just the three of us. Best Thanksgiving ever.

    Thank you for reminding us how to be thankful!!

    • Becky on December 1, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Sounds like a fantastic Thanksgiving Christi, sign me up! 😉

      When I was young my parents use to throw Thanksgiving and Christmas parties for relatives, and they were always exhausted by the end of it too. Then one year they decided not to throw the big party and just like you said we still had a great time with just us. Maybe that’s what made me start thinking about it.

  7. Sherry in MT on November 29, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Here here and a very good reminder! Hope you had a great day with everyone around you!

    • Becky on November 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      I did have a good day Sherry, hope you had a good holiday weekend as well. 🙂

  8. Sandy on November 28, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Your insights are invaluable, Becky.

    • Becky on November 29, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      You’re welcome Sandy, thanks for reading!

  9. Ed Brownfield on November 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I am a new reader of your “blog”! As many others have stated you are wiser than your years. I stumbled across your blog on the Escapees website. I have read through most of your blog and I find myself thinking this can not be a twenty something year old writing. How can she have this kind of insight and knowledge about life without having lived longer? You are wise; and you seem to be living your life honestly and genuinely. You have the gift of writing beautifully and the “guts” to live your life fearlessly following your heart. I’m not sure that I have ever met anyone who lives as honestly or confidently as you seem to. I admire your clear thinking and self-confidence in making decisions, that are meaningful to you! What a wonderful gift. I wish that my life was as complete, honest, and as happy as yours seems to be. Thank you for writing you blog, and for living your life truthfully and passing along your wisdom to the rest of us. Your post are a thought provoking gift.

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Welcome to IO Ed, glad to have you here!

      Thank you very much, although let me say that I am 31 now (I was 27 when I started this blog). Let me also say that generally speaking what a person shows to the world online is the best 10% of themselves. I’m not always confident, honest with myself, or clear of thought, but I do try my best. I know I’m not perfect, but I strive for constant improvement and I feel like that has made a huge difference in my life.

      Speaking of which, if you’re life is seeming less complete, honest, and happy than you would like, the best time to get started is right now. A person is never too old to change and it took me years of work to get where I am now – imagine where you could be in four years if you tried a little every day?

      Best of luck to you, safe travels and happy trails.

      • Ed Brownfield on November 28, 2015 at 4:06 pm

        Becky, there you go again, passing along words of wisdom. I agree, a person is never too old to change and it’s progress not perfection that counts. Thanks for pointing that out. You are also right, about progressing a little bit each day gets you a long way over time. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for doing your blog.

        • Becky on November 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm

          You’re welcome Ed. I did have a good Thanksgiving. 🙂

  10. Mike on November 27, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Becky I don’t know if thankful is the right word but I really enjoy opening up my email seeing and reading your posts. They are informative but more than that they are always positive, interesting, with great pics and always make me feel good and a little jealous of your freedom and your lifestyle. Happy Thanksgiving Becky and keep on doing what you are doing.

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying IO Mike and that my posts have that effect on you. Happy holidays to you as well!

  11. Ernesto Quintero on November 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Hope you had a great get together on Thanksgiving day and your having some great left overs today. Be safe.

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Ernesto, I did. There will be mashed potatoes for many days to come, and it is a good thing!

  12. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on November 27, 2015 at 7:30 am

    As I’ve said before …she’s wise beyond her years. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Today, and everyday.
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..ThanksgivingMy Profile

    • Dawn from Camano Island on November 27, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Ed, you are so right about Becky! I love your positive attitude, Becky, and your ability to find the good in every situation. I’m a smiler too–when I worked in community mental health, people were always asking me why I smiled so often. What? You want me to frown? You don’t want to see my neutral face either! We are so very fortunate in this first world country of ours & I personally have so very much to be thankful for. Your idea of a list is super–thank you! Your Thanksgiving dinner must’ve been delicious!

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Hope you had a good Thanksgiving as well Ed, thanks. 🙂

  13. Terri on November 27, 2015 at 6:23 am

    You always have a great attitude, Becky, and I love that about you. It’s part of why I read your blog like I do. You’re right, when you stop and start to look at what everyone thinks might be even the mundane details of life, it does make you thankful. I’m thankful I’m healthy and can do what I do, just like you. And this year I am farther away from family than I have ever been but I met up with some other orphans and we had dinner together and you know what? Food tasted just as good, and it was great company.

    So, happy belated Thanksgiving. And isn’t it great to not buy into the allure of all the Black Friday stuff?? 🙂
    Terri recently posted..Zion National Park’s Pa’Rus TrailMy Profile

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Yes Terri, less stressful not having to worry about getting there in time for the best deals, and better for the pocketbook as well!

      Glad you had a group of people to have dinner with in your campground too, isn’t the RVing community great? Take care!

  14. Ron on November 26, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    You are a wise person. Have a great Thanksgiving today and everyday.

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Same to you Ron.

  15. Debbie in VA on November 26, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    So very true Becky! You are a wise young lady. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Debbie in VA recently posted..Happy Turkey Day!!My Profile

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Hope you had a good Thanksgiving too Debbie!

  16. Todd on November 26, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving, Becky.
    Keep on smiling.

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I will Todd, and thanks.

  17. Bill on November 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks for the post about being thankful! You are absolutely correct. We who are lucky enough to be living in a 1st world country should be thankful for the many blessings we have. It is too easy to want more rather than being happy with what we have. I really like your idea of making a list and referring to it when feeling down. Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all your readers.

    • Becky on November 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      You’re welcome Bill and I hope you had a good Thanksgiving too. 🙂