10 Things We’re Thankful for This Thanksgiving

How volunteer vacations make you thankful

Traveling to a developing country can be many things: exhilarating, eye-opening, scary, joyful, and challenging, to name a few. But there’s one emotion that is almost certain to surface after a trip abroad, and it’s gratitude.

This gratitude-inducing quality is one of the things that makes experiential travel so powerful; it makes you appreciate what you have.

Since our Discover Corps team firmly believes in practicing gratitude, we’re excited to share 10 things we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving.

1. Friends and family

Of course, this has to top the list. The relationships we have with our friends and family — both near and far — are what make life worth living. A special shout-out to those closest to us, who are a constant support on this journey of life, and to our friends in other countries, who remind us that friendship has no borders.

2. Clean water

Approximately one in nine people don’t have access to clean water. An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a person in a developing country slum would use in an entire day. So the next time you turn on the faucet, try to remember how lucky you are.

3. Travel

Though we may hail from different backgrounds, all of us at Discover Corps share one passion: travel. We’ve experienced firsthand how life-changing it can be, which is why we want to share the experience with others. We’re eternally grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to explore this big and beautiful world — and for the lessons and stories our trips have given us.

4. Skype

Technology has made the world a smaller place, which, for the most part, is a good thing. We’re thankful we can talk to our loved ones — and see their smiling faces — no matter where we are in the world.

5. The Peace Corps

Though this organization has only been around for 53 years, it has changed countless lives. In fact, Discover Corps wouldn’t exist without it; our founder Andrew developed his passion for international service during his time in the Peace Corps. Today, we are proud to operate special volunteer vacations in partnership with the National Peace Corps Association.

6. Ethnic food

Seriously, we wish teleporting were a thing just so we could go grab some pad thai off the streets of Bangkok. And despite the fact that’s not possible, we’re simply thankful for the variety of different foods that exist. Spices are the flavor of life… and we want to eat them all.

7. Our local staff

Our in-country staff are the heart of our organization. They’re our connection to the places we visit and the people we meet. Their hard work and enthusiasm are what make our trips so special, leaving our travelers with memories that last a lifetime.

8. Books

We believe everyone can (and should) travel. But when we’re not traveling, we appreciate the power of books to bring us new places. Books are the medium through which most of us started traveling, and even now, they remain one of our favorite forms of escape.

9. The ocean

Is there anything more magnificent and mysterious than the ocean? Though it covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, more than 95% of it remains unexplored. Since we are lucky enough to have our headquarters in San Diego, our team tries to take advantage of the ocean’s beauty as much as possible. (Our founder Andrew just stood up on a surfboard for the first time last month!)

10. Our travelers

And last, but certainly not least, we’re thankful for YOU. After all, you’re the whole reason we’re here. Thank you for supporting our vision of sustainable travel and shared humanity. Even if you haven’t been on a trip with us (yet!), we’re so grateful you’re a part of our community.

So, gracias/ขอขอบคุณ/kuwashukuru for coming along on this journey with us. And stick around; it’s only just begun.

What are YOU most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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