top of page
Search

Embracing Gratitude: And the Transformative Power of Travel

Updated: Feb 23




This week I celebrated my 70th birthday. I've never been one to get very sentimental about milestones like this. Sure, I enjoy the celebrations and festivities, but I seldom feel an overwhelming awareness of my own aging. Yet, on this particular birthday, I found myself in a contemplative and reflective mood. Reflecting on the years gone by and the path I’ve traveled, one feeling overwhelmed me - Gratitude.



Without question, I am profoundly grateful for the extraordinary life Carla, and I lead, which is something we acknowledge and appreciate every day. For those unfamiliar with our journey, here’s a brief recap: Three years ago, Carla and I sold most of our possessions, including our house and all its contents, and now embrace a life of perpetual travel. Our worldly possessions consist of our cars, a few suitcases of seasonal clothing in storage, and the two carry-on bags that we take on our travels. The incredible opportunities we have experienced through our travels consistently open our hearts and minds and fill us with deep gratitude.



My spiritual values align closely with those that Ziggy Marley shares in his song, “Love is My Religion”. Empathy, compassion, kindness, and love – these are the principles that lie at the heart of my beliefs. I mention this because my feelings of gratitude are not necessarily directed towards an invisible deity or supernatural force. Instead, they are directed towards life itself - as a simple acknowledgment of its gifts and a heartfelt “thank you”.  For me, gratitude transcends mere emotion; it embodies a perspective and is a cultivated art form. It embodies an acceptance of “this is it” - this moment, this experience, this journey, and this life – they are enough. It is the realization that I, in my entirety, am enough. And I am overcome with gratitude for that. It fills me with purpose.


While I am grateful for my life, I've also found that our lifestyle of traveling the globe and immersing ourselves in diverse cultures has deepened my understanding of gratitude and my ability to experience it at a more profound level.



Travel has a remarkable way of opening my eyes to the immense beauty and diversity that exists in our world. It is in the beautiful landscapes, the bustling markets, the tranquil temples and churches, the people, and the vibrant city streets that we truly begin to see and experience the wonder of our planet. Each new city, culture, and cuisine we encounter adds yet another layer of richness to our lives.


The more we travel, the more we understand that the world is a living mosaic of cultures - each with its own unique beauty and charm. This realization breeds gratitude - gratitude for the opportunity to immerse ourselves in such diverse experiences, gratitude for the people who so graciously welcome us into their homes and hearts, and gratitude for the sheer magnificent beauty and wonder of it all.



Yet, traveling also reveals the truths of life that extend beyond the glamour and spectacle. It uncovers the lives of those who exist with significantly fewer material possessions than us, but still find delight in the simplest pleasures. It serves as a poignant reminder that genuine happiness isn't derived from material wealth, but rather from nurturing relationships, fulfilling experiences, and a profound sense of purpose.



In the tapestry of life - love and gratitude work beautifully and harmoniously together. Love embodies our affection for the world and its people, our appreciation for the experiences that shape us, and our self-compassion as we navigate the twists and turns of our individual journeys. Gratitude, on the other hand, acts as a companion to love magnifying its power and depth.


For a long time, I believed that love was the pinnacle of human emotion - the ultimate expression of connection. However, as I travel through diverse cultures and immerse myself in new experiences, I’ve come to appreciate the profound importance of gratitude. It is an equally transformative force, a silent melody that hums in the background of every meaningful interaction and in the quiet contemplation of a sunset on an unfamiliar horizon.



The realization that gratitude is intricately linked with love is an important one for me. Love serves as the bridge that reaches out, connecting us to others and creating bonds. Gratitude, on the other hand, is the absorption, the acknowledgment, and the profound understanding of the immensity of what or whom we have connected with. Viewed through the lens of gratitude, love takes on a deeper, richer, and more profound form. Love may spark our desire to set off on journeys, but it’s gratitude that encourages us to find contentment at every step along the way.



Through my travels, I’ve come to understand that contentment does not imply complacency; rather, it signifies an active state of appreciation. It is the realization that while I may have dreams and aspirations for different experiences or possessions, there is a profound beauty in proclaiming, "This is it, and it is enough." In a world that constantly suggests the necessity for more to achieve happiness, travel boldly asserts that what I have and who I am is sufficient - it is more than enough, it is everything.



As I continue my journey, the interconnected forces of love and gratitude will not only shape my travels but also my relationships and my entire life. They operate as dual forces that drive me forward while simultaneously rooting me firmly in the present moment. They serve as my guides, reminding me that while there is always more to see, learn, and love, there is also always more to be grateful for. And in that gratitude, I find a sense of peace and fulfillment that no other treasure attained through travel could offer.


Turning 70 has proven to be a much more significant milestone than I had initially imagined. It has allowed me to recognize that, for me, our travels are far more than just a physical journey - they are a spiritual and emotional odyssey of sorts, a pilgrimage towards gratitude and self-acceptance. By recognizing the beauty of the world and our place within it, we open ourselves to the full range of human experiences. We learn to welcome life with open arms and an open heart, realizing that the most significant journey is the one that guides us back to ourselves - transformed, enriched, and deeply grateful.

199 views11 comments

11 Comments


My life is my practice. My practice is my life. Same, same yes? Lovely sharing Simcha. You are living my dream.

Like
Simcha
Simcha
Feb 29
Replying to

"My life is my practice. My practice is my life." . . . very true, Donna. And thank you!

Like

Guest
Feb 23

Speaking of gratitude, I am grateful that you are sharing your amazing experiences and turning them so eloquently into these posts. Thank you.

Like
Simcha
Simcha
Feb 23
Replying to

Thank you. A significant part of what I love about our travels is the ability to share our journey through this blog. I truly appreciate that you follow along.

Like

Guest
Feb 23

Well said Simcha. ❤️

Like
Simcha
Simcha
Feb 23
Replying to

Thank you!

Like

I love your positivity and genuineness. Your gratitude is infectious. Cheers to your wonderful travel journeys and the amazing experiences .

Appreciate your sharing with us.

Love;

Jan

Like
Simcha
Simcha
Feb 23
Replying to

Thank you, Jan! ❤️

Like

Happy Birthday, Simcha, and thank you for sharing such uplifting thoughts--you have a beautiful heart and soul. I love this last chapter in life...the joy just keeps increasing. So funny, I just wrote in my gratitude journal this morning "I never expected so much happiness at this stage of my life...thank you". Wishing you a wonderful birthday and many more adventures with your wonderful wife!

Like
Simcha
Simcha
Feb 23
Replying to

Hi there Nancy . . . and thank you for your kind and generous words. I love hearing that you maintain a Gratitude Journal - that's fantastic, and inspiring. And I love what you wrote. It's wonderful not only to love the life you're living, but also to feel a sense of gratitude for your experiences. I hope you and John are doing well.

Like
bottom of page