Thanksgiving Blessings in Spain

November 26, 2009


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie

There is something sacred and special about celebrating a holiday in a country where no one else is celebrating it or even aware that it is a holiday. This is our fourth Thanksgiving on our world tour that we have celebrated outside of our country. We find it even more precious as the rituals and food connect us to the best in family, home and country. 


It is one of my favorites because it is about gratitude,  family, comfort foods and friends. Since I only have a left hand or a paralyzed dominant right hand and arm due to an accident in August, I can't cook or do much of anything for many months while my cut radial nerve heals. Thus our meal was extra simple and took a real team effort. 

Some might have given up on a world tour with such a bad injury that may take a year and a half to heal, but I am proud and grateful for how we are choosing to make lemonade out of the lemons! I'm grateful for all the support and little miracles I have received like finding a wonderful Danish Physical Therapist here yesterday, who not only is fluent in English and Spanish, but also very fluent in German, so she could easily read all my medical reports from Austria! Despite my challenges, I feel very blessed!


Even in my very handicapped state, I can make my Grandmother's recipe for stuffing (well direct it any way) and remember fondly how much love she poured into it and how many times my mother has made it with all the trimmings that come with this meal and the pleasure it's given over so many years.

Today, Mozart tore up the bread as I did as a child and my mother before me. How many generations after me will enjoy the love that is shared through these simple foods? Mozart has not had a Thanksgiving in America (or 4th of July or Easter or Christmas etc) since she was five, but she knows what they are and loves celebrating them American style no matter where we are. Perhaps they mean even more to her now.


She is a very lucky kid who gets to celebrate her own holidays as well as the ones that happen in the countries that we visit! She also gets to see and talk to grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles "live" via webcams like she did today. The miracle of technology lets us be with family on both sides even though we are a continent away! Seeing a loved ones face filling a window on a laptop means everything on a trip like ours as I'm not sure we could do it without that.


Last year we were home in California in November. It wasn't Thanksgiving (we did that here in Spain) but that didn't stop us from celebrating it with both sides of our family...a little bit early. We had three big Turkey Day meals on three days! Those sweet memories still warm us with the love, generosity and goodness that is our family. All of our classic T-day photos ( except the lead picture) are from those sweet days.


Here's hoping you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too, even if you don't celebrate it, I'm sure you understand the gratitude!  I'm so grateful to all our wonderful readers of this website and all of you that watch our soultravelers3 videos. We never expected so many people to be interested in our journey and yet all of your love has added so much to it. 

"When you realize how PERFECT everything is... you will tilt your head back & laugh at the sky." Buddha


We are just an ordinary family so we are thrilled that we have managed to inspire others ( as others have inspired us). I think we really are meant to inspire and lift each other up and God knows this planet and each of us could always use more positiveness, gratitude and forgiveness.

Today I was very touched by an email from the amazing Andrew Warner who I did an interview with at his Mixergy site about 9 months ago. He told me he moved to Beunos Aires largely because of our interview and that we inspired him to travel and he was loving it. That made my day!


  DaVinci suggested that I do a post about all the people who have told us such things and perhaps someday I will as we are so grateful that our simple story can help others..That still amazes me and makes me happy. Life is such a delicious mystery and gratitude just makes you feel all yummy inside, doesn't it? I am so grateful for the beautiful, ordinary, extraordinary people in my life!

Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude." ~Krutch

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Andrew Warner

So sorry to hear about the injury. Glad you're making lemonade and continuing on.

You really did inspire me.

After our interview, I remember saying to Olivia, "You know, this could really be possible for us." Then we started talking about how we might be able to do it.

Our first choice was Spain, because that's where you were and because we love Europe, but we picked S. America because neither of us had really explored it.

Now we work during the day (thanks to Skype) and go exploring afterwards.

Thanks for being such an inspiration.


@Andrew-That is so cool! I'm behind on everything, so I didn't realize that you were in BA! That's a cool place to be for expats & we can't wait to check it out too!

I should connect you with writer/educator Maya Frost who has been living there since 2006 and doing interesting things. Or Paul Terhorst & wife who were one of our big inspirations & wrote the classic "Cashing in on the American Dream". They retired at 35 about 20 years ago & base in BA when not traveling.

Thanks for your kind words. It's a slow recovery process, but good for my brain as I learn to be ambidextrous! ;)


We are still in the US, just a different location every holiday. I treasure my Great Aunt's cookbook that holds all of my family's favorite holiday recipes. I feel like I am eating with them on holidays as we all share the same food, just not together. It does help and Shayne and I continue our traditions no matter where we find ourselves.


I Just found your site after my husband heard your story on NPR. I am so excited as your family adventures are similar to what we want to do. Our girls are 1 and 3 and we are waiting a few years for them to get older. You are an inspiration and we appreciate your site as a great tool. Interested in reading more. Blessings, The Harveys


@Stacie I love that! How nice to have a Great Aunt's cookbook!

@HarveyNC Thank you so much for your kind words! Where on NPR did your husband hear about us? I didn't know we were mentioned and would love to know the source!


bummer, i just deleted it and after searching npr website i had no further luck. I will ask my husband to see if he remembers and get back with you.

I am starting to read your blog-you are incredible with detail and a heavensent for me. We just committed last week to making an open ended travel happen and although i wasn't sure HOW, i knew we could. Four days later i read you blog. I have enought starting places to check out that my mind is spinning with how easy this was. Thank you for sharing and taking the time. You are a blessing to me right now and a strong push to sending our family on to the next journey!! tehe


My was NYT website.


@HarveyNC Thanks! NY Times makes sense! We were also in NPR but not on the radio that I know.

So glad we were "heavensent" for you! Funny, how once you commit to something, the resources show up, huh?

Enjoy your research,planning & dreaming!!

Transfer Smart

Your blog inspires lot of people. This is very encouraging story of celebration. Thanksgiving is just a manifestation of gratitude in all of the blessing you have.


your pictures are being used by scammers ! please write across your photos, your name or something simular.

jeanne @soultravelers3

Sadly, Susan, that is part of internet life and there is not much I can do about that.

Do you realize how many photos I have on this blog and how much work it would take to label all of them and then they could just crop around it?

If you have run into scammers using these photos, please report them!

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