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Remembering to be Thankful

It’s easy to say thank you to the waitress for bringing you your meal, or thank you to the shop assistant to hand over your latest purchase; but sometimes the hardest thing to do is to say ‘thank you’ to those who you appreciate the most in life.

I’m not American, nor Canadian; but today, a few days out from American Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a few of the things that I am thankful for right now and perhaps you can share some of the things that you are thankful for in the comments below!

Thankful for my family when visiting Hong Kong(I really need to make sure we have more family photos that include my Dad!)

I am so thankful for having a family that loves me

I don’t mention my family much on Bitten by the Travel Bug – my Dad would probably ask for me to Photoshop him into a James Bond-esque figure! – but I do love them dearly for their patience and their support for me living this crazy travel lifestyle all while still studying.

It’s meant that I’ve missed birthdays or other events, haven’t been able to be home when they want me to, and even being annoying and running away to do other things whilst on family holidays; But I’m most thankful that they introduced me to travelling.

If it wasn’t the trips to Melbourne to see family or for my Dad to set-up his business or the trips to Hong Kong and Singapore when I was younger, then it was definitely when he used to let me sit on his lap and hold the wheel steady of his Piper Cherokee when I was younger which led to the travel bug firmly biting me!

(If you do want to see some of my family check out this post about my helicopter ride over New York City!)

Friends by the beach on the Great Ocean Road

I am thankful that I can meet with friends from across the globe

In 2010, I travelled to America to work at a summer camp in upstate New York. When signing up for camp, I didn’t know that my world would be bombarded by awesome people who I still keep in contact with two-years down the track.

Right now, one of the other bunk counsellors I was with in second session is watching Gossip Girl and eating pizza with me as I write this from my lounge room in Melbourne. Another girl, who taught stained glass at camp, has just completed a six-month exchange in Melbourne and on her way back to Turkey after a few crazy adventures on the Great Ocean Road; and a third now studies Journalism with me at the same University – crazy!

If I hadn’t taken this step I wouldn’t have met these three fantastic ladies, nor would I have begun to blog and developed some of the best friendships a girl could ask for… but more about that later.

Thankful for my Housemate with iPad

I am thankful for my crazy housemate

My crazy housemate came to me with news yesterday – his work contract has been cut short by two-months and he gets to move back to Adelaide early.
As excited as I am for him, a twang of sadness crossed when I realised that I may only be living with him in this apartment – both our first ever shared living experience – for another two-weeks because of holidays and other events.

We’ve had plenty of adventures in this house. He discovered spicy food won’t kill him, I discovered that you can kill a native Australian plant; and we’ve had far too many Big Bang Theory movie marathons, and I’ve seen The Avengers more times than I would care to mention.

So thanks for being an awesome housemate crazy one – I’m going to miss you and having to call through the door to ensure you aren’t naked sunbathing in our lounge room.

View of Melbourne skyline

I am so thankful that I live in this crazy/beautiful country called Australia

It really does take leaving your country to appreciate how beautiful it is. When I’m in Australia I often take it for granted – how fresh the food is, how little pollution there is, how friendly the people are or how many opportunities there are for Australians and Internationals – and look at the negatives like how far we are from Europe or America.

But each time I leave I pine for my birth country. I love to travel but I love returning and driving across the Bolte Bridge, the sun slipping behind the Melbourne skyline; and I can’t wait to get back to Adelaide to my beach-side lifestyle.

2012 has been a year of exploration. I’ve completed the Great Ocean Road, seen the Red Centre, finally made it to Australia’s Capital, and seen Sydney in a different light – I’m excited to see what else I can find in this crazy/beautiful country I call home.

Thankful for being able to fly - like flying out of Canberra Airport on Qantas

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to travel

I take for granted the opportunity that I have to travel, and I often forget it until someone utters the words: “I wish I could travel too.”
This past year especially I have become somewhat blase about packing a suitcase and getting on a plane – by the end of the year I am hoping to have been on 52 flights over the 52 weeks of 2012.

Travelling is part of my lifestyle, and I feel as much at home dressed in business attire and reading a newspaper in the Qantas Club, as much as I do lazing around the house in pyjamas and ugg boots. Travel has open new doors in my life that I would not have dreamed possible, as well as meeting beautiful people and trying fascinating things.

Thankful for being young

I am thankful that I am young and have time to learn from my mistakes

The latest, and probably best, reaction to my age was from Linda at Eco Traveller Guide – “No! Shut UP!” [Imagine someone saying that in a Northern Irish accent, priceless!] I get this a lot because I’m twenty-two, something not many people know and in the words of Linda “still a baby.” (I swear that I’m not as young as I was in that photo, that was twenty-years ago!)

I have spent years seeing my age as being a barrier. People don’t take you serious until you’re 25 in the Journalism industry, and even then by then if you aren’t in you have problems getting in. I’ve taken this same mentality into blogging when really it’s about proving that you’re a resource and being a good person

So thank you to both Linda and Caz & Craig for making me see that my age isn’t a barrier, just that I have more time to make mistakes and learn from them.

Nicole Jeannie Oneika and Nicole - Girls Running with Bulls in Pamplona Spain

I am thankful for the fortune that blogging has and continues to brings

When I say fortune I don’t mean monetary fortune – you don’t get into blogging if you want to be a millionaire – but fortune of having the opportunity to travel, to meet new people, and see places I may not have otherwise.

If it wasn’t for Chris and Dylan tweeting me whilst I was working at a summer camp in the United States I wouldn’t have discovered some wonderful friendships with people across the world, wouldn’t have run with the bulls, nor visited Copenhagen or Canberra. I wouldn’t have eaten at the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong and I wouldn’t have driven in American (and in turn had the worst road trip experience ever!)

As you will see from time to time a sponsor will crop up in my sidebar, or a post will be sponsored by a company I choose to work with and which I think will benefit you – the reader. I’m thankful that these people will support Bitten by the Travel Bug and help me continue my travels, and help create more stories to share with you.

Thankful for the simple things like great views and beautiful plants on the Great Ocean Road

I am thankful for the simple things

I think we often overlook the simple things in life as things that should come stock standard – pollution free air, water that doesn’t have to be boiled before drinking, hot showers, or supermarkets open 24/7 to cater to our any craving. The right to act upon our religion, or not should that be the case. The freedom to not have to wear a burqa, play sport, and hear cars not gun-fire.

On my latest trip to the Great Ocean Road I was thankful for the great weather and views we experienced, particularly at Airley’s Inlet (above). Such simple things we often overlook, but make all the difference to a trip.

Most of all I’m thankful for the Internet, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to share this with you!

dragon kissing Nicole's Cathay Pacific dragon

I am thankful for being able to be me

Growing up my world was full of trying to fit into the place that my surrounding society had for me. I went to a private all-girls High School and we were expected to graduate, attend University – generally to have a power career, get married, and have more perfect kids. There was no place for people like me who were a little bit different, who wanted to travel, or break out of the social norm.

So I moved to Melbourne to study.

And now I live in London for 6-months of the year.

My world is nothing like what my teachers would have wanted me to have, but in all honesty my life is much better than what I could have imagined when I struggled to fit into the social norm.

Sure I still want some of the things I did back then – a nice life and a good career – but I also want one thing that my old lifestyle didn’t seem to account for. I want to be happy being me. Adventurer, panda lover, dragon kisser, seafood hater, chronic jean wearer and all. And you know what, I am.

What are you thankful for this year?

 

PostImage: Spilled Milkshake

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Ramin the Thailand Travel Experience Designer
    November 21, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing you thankfulness 🙂 Every day I express my gratitude for a couple of “things”: people I met, moments I cherished, things I’ve learned (or eaten) that day. It’s my little daily gratitude meditation, and I find that feeling grateful actually brings more of the things I’m grateful for into my life.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      November 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks for sharing about your daily gratitude meditation, Ramin!
      It’s amazing how being grateful can help channel more positive energy and even more things to be grateful for! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate - Canuckiwikate
    November 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    This is a brilliant post, I really love this sort of thing! Well done acknowledging all the great things and people you’ve got in your life! Just like you said, it’s so easy to give a fleeting thank you to those we encounter everyday, but it’s so easy to over look and neglect the ones that we owe a real big thank you to. Good on ya, girl!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      November 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks Kate!
      Have a great holiday season. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sofie
    November 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Great post!
    I always try to thank those who really deserve it, but of course not on a daily basis. I’d have to send my parents e-mails every five minutes for all they’ve done for me! But I do find it very important to let them and other people who’ve been there for me know that I appreciate it. And just like you say, support doesn’t always consist of actively being given something by someone or having someone doing something for you, it can also just be the mere act of acceptance. The fact that a person understands who you are, how you tick and is fine with that – especially at times when you know you’re not the easiest person around.

    In Belgium we don’t celebrate thanksgiving and although I’m convinced that you should say thanks and be thankful the whole year through, I also think a holiday might be a nice way to encourage people to express that gratitude.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      November 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      You are so right, Sofie! One of my goals for 2013 is to show appreciation a little bit more.

      Hope you have a happy holiday season! 🙂

      • Reply
        Sofie
        November 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm

        Thanks, you too!:)

  • Reply
    Scarlett
    November 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Ahhh sweety this is such a lovely, beautiful post!! xxx

    • Reply
      Nicole
      November 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks Scarlett!

      Hope you have a wonderful holidays =)

  • Reply
    Linda McCormick
    January 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Ha, ha, don’t know how, but I’m only seeing this now. Hope I wasn’t too rude! It’s not that I think you look dead old, it’s just you’ve done so much and are so successful already.
    ps. I think only you may get the ‘dead old’ saying… It’s a Norn Irn thing 🙂

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