A Year of Heartfelt Gratitude

While 2016 has been a downer of a year, there is still much to be grateful for. A year in review list of gratitude.

2016 may go down as the year that kicked the $%^& out of just about everything. The world seems like a more uncertain, angry and challenging place than it did one year ago. While I’m not one to ignore reality (my daily newspaper subscription won’t allow that), I do want to reflect on this year in a meaningful way, with heartfelt gratitude.

Courtesy of my wellness retreat at Mountain Trek, I do a gratitude exercise every evening before sleep. Not only does it help calm the mind, focusing on gratitude brings a positive mindfulness. I know this sentiment will be important for me moving forward into the new year.

So, in lieu of an end-of-year tally of mileage and destinations checked, here’s my Gratitude List of Things Big and Small for 2016.

Grateful for Family

That goes without saying, though I feel good saying it. I’m happy my family is together this holiday season, that we eat dinner together, get along, sometimes disagree, make up, and have fun. We still love travelling together, so much so that my now-college teen stated, in public, that ‘Family Trips Are the Best’ this year. It’s pretty tough to top the awesomeness of that.

Who's afraid of a baby with a suitcase? Not you, with these super helpful tips from family travel experts on how to travel with kids and babies. | family travel

Family trips are the best. Truth from the mouths of teens. Credit: S Laroye

Grateful for Good Health

It’s hard to do anything in life when you’re ill. Travel is certainly a nightmare. This year has reminded me that health can falter at any moment, that our lives are fragile. Every day that I (and those I love) can walk, talk and smile is a blessing worth celebrating.

Grateful for Daily Walks with my Dog

So, I was not a dog person until five years ago. Dogs used to attack me on my childhood paper route. They sensed my fear and enjoyed chasing me down the street. My dog interactions changed when our wee pup came into our lives. Her unconditional love and happiness is a daily joy. She gets me moving and meeting new people in our hood every day.

Life with a dog is a very good thing.

Grateful for High School Graduation

No, it’s not about kicking the kids out when they turn eighteen. When you become a parent, you worry about everything. You want the best for your children at every age. When the time comes for them to move onto their next life stage – without you – it’s a bittersweet moment. But that’s life as it should be. We’ve done our best and now it’s up to them to go through the stages of life. Our eldest graduated from high school this year. He’s off at college, working and playing hard. This is life as it should be.

Grateful to realize that life is all about change and personal growth.

Grateful for New and Old Friends

Our family trips in 2016 have celebrated long friendships with great people. It’s a reminder to me of the value of relationships that span long periods of time. This year has graced my life with some wonderful new friends from very different walks of life. It’s a gift to meet new people and discover you have things in common that you may not have realized.

Grateful for Good Television

Seriously! I enjoy complicated story lines (Sense8) and costume dramas (The Crown) like anything. While I may not have a ton of time to watch television, there are so many great shows available on demand, it kind of feels like a golden age. Remember, I grew up watching Different Strokes, Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Grateful for Technology

As much as I’m a social media addict (bad), I’m grateful that I can keep in close and pretty-much-free contact with friends and loved ones (good). There’s no doubt that tech has complicated our lives, but I know that I can turn off my phone anytime (but where is that switch anyway?!). After all, I’m not willing to go back to buggies and horseshoes.

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Grateful for the Outdoors

Nature has a calming and healing influence on our mind and bodies. Walking or skiing in the woods or mountains lifts my spirit. It reconnects me with the world, and takes me away from screens big and large. Living in Vancouver, we’re spoiled for choice with our access to nature, and I’m so glad.

Nature heals and inspires the spirit.

Grateful for My Home

I have my parents to thank for choosing to immigrate to Canada many years ago. Growing up in a country that celebrates multiculturalism and ‘peace, order and good government’ has spoiled me for living elsewhere where things are less progressive. Plus, it’s our 150th birthday in 2017! As much as I love visiting new and old places (and you know I do!), my favorite trip is always coming home. It’s the sweetest journey.

It's no secret. British Columbia has some of the best provincial campgrounds in Canada. Here's a list of our favorite campgrounds and camping BC. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Grateful for You

Thank you for being here! Thanks for stopping by, reading articles, and supporting my blog and travel adventures with your presence. I love sharing family travel information, tips and destination advice. I hope you will continue to find a home here in 2017. And your feedback is always welcome! Feel free to email or ping me on Facebook or Instagram. I would love to hear from you and help you find sanity in your own family travels.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, and a very Happy New Year 2017!

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