Giving thanks


Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, we Americans celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving. It's a strange tradition built upon a glossy, guiltless retelling of a genocide, in which we show our appreciation for what we have by killing a quarter-billion turkeys, eating to the point of discomfort, queueing up outside shopping malls to buy electronics at reduced rates, and otherwise yearning for that which we do not have.

But anyway.

Stripped of all its cultural and historical baggage, it's nice to have a day predicated on giving thanks. We're fortunate people, that we standing in for both the broad us and the narrow us, and we all have plenty to be thankful for. Lauren and I especially.

Our present life, a life of waking up and riding bicycles and seeing new places, is not without its challenges. But it is a life of our choosing, and for that we are tremendously grateful. We're thankful to be in a position, physically and financially and politically and practically, to be able to travel the world in this fashion. We're privileged to enjoy a freedom of movement some do not have. We're privileged to enjoy it together. These past five months cycling across Africa have been a mostly lovely, mostly joyous adventure, and we're thankful to be here living it. To be here at all.

We have our bicycles and our tent and our stove, and we're grateful for them and the independence they provide. But this trip has not been one of rugged self-sufficiency. We're tremendously appreciative, then, for the hundreds, perhaps thousands of kind souls who have helped us along the way: with directions, with advice, with cold drinks and shelter. Our fondest memories haven't been on the bicycle; they've been with the wonderful, generous strangers whom we've met along the way. We're grateful to, and thankful for, those many individuals, some now dear friends, who have invited us into their warm homes: in Muizenberg, in Cape Town, in Velddrif and Gochas and Gobabis, in Maun and in Nata and in Lusaka, in Sindha, in Lilongwe and Nkopola and Mbeya. And, too, for the dozens more who let us camp in their yards, kept us safe, just about every hundred kilometers between here and the Cape. Thank you.

And finally, we're so very thankful for the scores of friends, family, followers, and loved ones who have given us encouragement, support, and kind words these past five months, and well before then, too. To those who have read our stories, left us comments, sent us donations, and in doing so, made us feel loved and thought after from many thousands of miles away. Thanks, on this day and all days, from both of us, for everything.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.