I am about to turn 37 in five days and Thanksgiving has just past. I want to take some time and remind myself (and tell you) about some of the things I am thankful for. When we live a world of haters and angry trolls online, it is easy to forget just how blessed we really are. We have life. We have breath. We have dreams. Any man with a dream is blessed!
I can’t start out any other way but to say that I am a thankful for salvation and that the Savior of the World thought of me. It is Christmas time and as a believer, I am very thankful for the bloody day at Golgotha. As a Pentecostal, I am thankful for outpouring of the Spirit too.
Now, I know this is not a religious blog so let’s get to some things I thankful for.
Growing up a military brat
There is little question that if growing up around the military had an impact on me. I learned a lot about life, people and even travel at a very young age because of my father’s career. Some of my greatest memories growing up at attached to stuff done on Rosecarns Air Base. Yes, I got yelled at by the Security Forces (Military Police back then) more than once.
It was on the Air Force bases across America and around the world that I learned to love soft serve ice cream and hate MREs. While I am not sure having such great food that was like a Thanksgiving dinner every day was healthy, I did enjoy a lot of amazing barbecue on bases for nothing. That love for great barbecue remains to this day.
When disaster stroke my family many years ago, it was the families on the base that my dad was stationed at that hold us up and cared for us. The phone calls to say hello from fellow military personel and the knocks on the door with food are remembered. Rosecarns was like a family to us for over two decades.
While I was an average to above average football player, it was boxing and wrestling that took me places. They afforded me trips to many other parts of America and to the world. Having wrestled and boxed since I was in elementary school, many memories are connected to those sports.
Friendships were made, connections were started and championship were won by the long nights of practice. It is unbelievable that we were able to do the impossible: turn around a program into a major contender for the State Championship. It was a special time for us and after a very rough year in football, it felt very good to be winning again!
Much of the skills that I need for Travel the Fire was learned on the wrestling mat. Things like quick decision making, standing up your choices, and commitment to work on it day in and day out. All of those are things that would enshired into me doing monkey rolls and up downs.
However, the real story came sometime after that. It was when disaster struck and it was the old team members who grabbed me and help me rebuild my life. It really was like a brotherhood.
Thank you, Pacific Islanders
As I traveled across the Pacific to some pretty remote places like Tuvalu and Kirabati, I met some very interesting people and heard from very unique stories. I hear them laugh and I saw them cry. The Pacific people are very expressive. Their stories remind me of the price that many paid for freedom during the second world war.
I have shared kava with the Fijians, had ava with Samoans and debated politics with American Samoans. I have shared meals with Tongans and discussing life over Coke with Solomon Islanders. All of them have a unique understanding of life and touched in a little different way than before. I am thankful for them all.
Overall, I had a positive experience backpacking across the Pacific, experiencing the different cultures, encounters different walks of life and realizing that all of us have the same goal: to make it life. Those discussions have marked me in many ways.
Readers of Travel the Fire!
I could not end this article about things I am thankful without talking about the people who have read my stuff regularly. It is you that has made this blog a success. It is you that have used the information to go have your own Pacific holiday. That is the whole point of Travel the Fire. I am just thankful to be part of your story.
People just like you visit Travel the Fire every month over 23,000 times. That is something that I am thankful for. That is more than four times the traffic that it was seeing in June. I am impressed that I have been able to really build it up over the the last few months and that thousands of people are learning how to have holiday in the Pacific nations as a result.
In the world of blogging, there is this mysterious number that says how good your website is. It is called Domain Authority. It goes from 1 to 100. In June, this website was sitting at 6 and today, it is at 18. In the next update, it should be sitting at mid twenties but it has been a lot of hard work and all the people who believe in the blog that has got it this far.
While most attention will be turning to Last Kodiak (make sure you check that out), this website will continue to grow as time goes on. Again, I could not do that without you, the readers. I am very thankful to you.
Looking forward in 2018
As I said, this website will not be as updated as much as it was before. I will be focusing mainly on Last Kodiak and I am reviving my photography blog as SLR Foundry. I will continue to work on the backend of Travel the Fire, though. I am not giving up on it completely.