Why I’m giving thanks

It's time to be thankful (Thankful)

Throughout the year I’m fortunate enough to travel all over this great country, and sometimes around the world. It’s a heady experience when you break it down to the fundamentals. Drive to airport, get in giant shiny metal thing that soars in the air, and poof, you are in some strange and wild place. Or somewhere other than Las Vegas.

What is truly amazing is the old cliché of “It’s a small world.” What took the passengers of the Mayflower 66 days to sail across the ocean takes about 6.6 hours now in an aircraft (I always like that word, seems fancy). Truly spectacular. So, I am thankful for air travel allowing our world to connect in wonderful and meaningful ways not possible until relatively recently.

More than 3 billion people board airplanes and fly every year, an astounding number of trips. Sure, I know a couple of Delta Diamond members making up 1 billion of those flights, but still. It’s fascinating.

So, I am thankful for amazing flying machines that allow us to come together, as well as form the backbone of our incredible industry by getting people everywhere. I am thankful for this amazing technology that works near flawlessly, because instead of fearing a disaster while hurtling through open space at 500 mph I am firmly focused on the jerk in front of me that keeps putting his seat back up and down with no regard to my laptop he may be crushing. Thank you jerk in 12C. How amazing is that?

I am also thankful to Uber. Unlike traditional taxi services, the folks driving me around are incredibly different. Each one friendly, chatty and ready to share their experiences with me. With cab drivers, all I get are cranky people talking loudly on their cell phones in a language I’ll never understand. But Uber drivers are professional conversationalists.

One time in Nashville I road with a gentleman with a fascinating story, which happened to be profiled in the documentary “Lost Boys of Sudan.” These were more than 20,000 displaced or orphaned kids that happened to be part of unfavorable ethnic groups (Nuer and Dinka) and victims of the Second Sudanese Civil War. They came to the United States as refugees and were all sent to different regions in the country. I rode with him in Nashville earlier this year and was told an unbelievable story of pain, suffering, discord, redemption and freedom. 

So, I am thankful for being reminded of the individual struggles we all face. And how lucky I was to get a winning ticket in the birth lottery.

I also love and appreciate all the front desk folks I encounter. Warm, welcoming smiles that make me feel at home, get me beyond the anger I have for that dude in 12C, and laughing at my jokes when even I know they’re not funny. And thanks for those upgrades, listening to me rant endlessly about horrible resort fees and slow internet service you’re charging me for. You’re all pros.

Thanks especially to housekeeping departments everywhere. Because of you, I can pretend the room I’m in is just for me, a convenient little fantasy where my space hasn’t been slept in by hundreds or thousands of others. Because of you, I am not up all night with nightmares regarding what those people did here, last year or last night. One time a hotel company gave me one of those CSI lights that reveal all the nastiness and ick we don’t want to see. I am thankful to me for never using it.

I’m also thankful to my family for dealing with my life on the road, and for not getting too angry at me over being a part time family man. Thanks to them for allowing me to live my dream of complaining about stuff in every state of the country. I’m looking at you Montana. I have plenty to say about your magical endless skies and great scenery! I’ll get to you, don’t worry.

But finally, I am thankful to all of you reading my articles. Thanks so much for reading what I must say, listening to my podcast, hearing me speak on stage, and coming back for more, week after week. It’s an amazing thing in life to get to do what makes you happy and earn a living doing it. A special thanks to the good folks here at Questex for giving me this platform. I am truly blessed.

And with an uncertain future on people’s minds, we must thankful about the amazing world of travel in which we live. We must all go out an explore, have a meal with people of a different culture, religion or belief system. Because when we get to know each other with all our amazing differences, barriers fall. Senseless hate for the “other people” dissipates, and magically we all come together.

Have an amazing Thanksgiving if you are here in the U.S. If not, go out and meet a stranger, you’ll realize we all have a lot to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for? Let me know with an email at [email protected], or on Twitter and Instagram @TravelingGlenn and share your opinions with me.

Glenn Haussman is editor-at-large for HOTEL MANAGEMENT. His views expressed are not necessarily those of HOTEL MANAGEMENT, its parent company Questex Media Group, and/or its subsidiaries.