Thanksgiving, hands down, is my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a little kid, it’s always centered on three of my favorite things: food, football, and family. But this year Yan and I put a little twist on things which made it a unique Thanksgiving. And though it deviated from the “traditional” Thanksgiving I love so much, it was simply my best Thanksgiving ever.
Earlier this year Yan said to me, “I found $400 roundtrip, direct flights to Madrid from LAX; the only catch is, we have to travel during Thanksgiving.” But that also meant Cade and Ella already had a week off from school and quite frankly, when Yan cooks up an adventure, I know it’s going to be awesome – it’s one of the many reasons I married her. Add to that, what sounded like the deal of the century to visit a country none of had ever experienced before and it was a no-brainer.
So, the four of us flew to Madrid the week before Thanksgiving. We spent three-and-a-half days walking and eating our way through that amazing city before catching a train to Seville to do the same thing there for another three days. Then back to Madrid (with a day-trip to Toledo) for our final three days in Spain. We easily walked 8-10 miles each day, stopped into an equal number of tapas bars each day, and spent every minute of each day being with, connecting with, and enjoying each other.
I learned that my daughter is a traveler in her soul. Ella’s spirit of adventure and desire to chase experiences fit perfectly with Yan and me and made her a true joy to travel with.
I reconfirmed that my son is quite possibly the most culinarily adventurous kid in America. There was no Spanish dish he wasn’t up for at least trying, if not devouring, critiquing, and comparing with the other similar dishes we’d tried earlier. He has an amazing palate and an amazing openness to new gastronomic experiences.
And I rediscovered why my wife is my best friend. She is daring, adventurous, loving, supportive, resilient, and up-for-anything. I can’t imagine a better travel companion, in Europe or life.
So we did not eat Turkey on Thanksgiving, didn’t watch football (no soccer doesn’t count even though the Spaniards call it “football”), and we weren’t with extended family – all things that make me look forward to and relish the Thanksgiving holiday. It was just us, eating various unfamiliar tapas dishes, talking and laughing and loving being in a new and fantastic country with one another. I couldn’t have asked for anything more and I’m not sure I’ll ever top it. But I do have a remarkable wife and kids who live for new adventures … so who knows?
I know why I like Thanksgiving so much – it’s an excuse to focus on what life is really all about anyway.
I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love and laughter and connectedness to the people most important in your life, too.