Last updated: 11:07 AM ET, Thu November 26 2015

Staff Picks: The Travel Memories We're Most Thankful For

Features & Advice | Staff Picks | November 26, 2015

Staff Picks: The Travel Memories We're Most Thankful For

We are always preaching the gospel of travel here at TravelPulse, and trust us, we know how lucky we are to have the opportunity to travel the world and share our stories with you.

So as we all settle in and get ready to feast on Turkey today, our staff gives thanks for the many blessings in their travel life and shares some of their most cherished travel memories.

DONALD WOOD, Senior Writer, Breaking News

The first thank you goes to the good people at TravelPulse, who helped me rediscover my love of outdoor adventure. I am also thankful for my wife and family who I have shared some amazing moments with over the last year. From kayaking rivers to climbing mountains, travel is always better with loved ones around.

BARRY KAUFMAN, TravelPulse Managing Editor

One of my favorite memories also happens to be the coldest I’ve ever been. I was on a trip to England as a kid to see my extended family who lives in Newcastle and we all went out to Holy Island, where temperatures had reached a brisk “Instant Death” degrees Celsius.

Any exposed skin instantly turned red, and to make matters worse the only egress, the causeway to the island, was being swallowed by the tide as we toured the island. It was bitterly uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure one of my eyes froze over, but going through all that actually brought my family and my British family closer together.

JANEEN CHRISTOFF, Senior Writer, Western Hemisphere Destinations

I am most thankful for being able to travel with my family and create memories far beyond my wildest dreams with the people closest to me in my life. I am thankful to have children who love to travel and see and explore the world with me and a husband who never begrudges me a trip with them when he has to stay home and work. I am also incredibly grateful to have a job that affords me these privileges because I wouldn’t be able to write this without it. 

JOSH LEW, Senior Writer, Eastern Hemisphere Destinations

I’m most thankful for rediscovering the road trip. This past summer was the first time in a while that gas prices weren’t outrageously high, so we had a few chances to just take off and explore with only a vague plan about where we were going. 

I had the opportunity to take my son on his first trip to Japan last year, but honestly, I have more good memories from driving with him around the Great Lakes this past summer and showing him the old hiking and camping spots from my childhood. 

MONICA POLING, TravelPulse Canada Editor

I’m thankful for the often under-appreciated workers at airports and airlines around the world. The frontline staff, the flight crew, the gate agents, the ground crew and all their colleagues, many of whom must constantly face and appease wrathful, wronged passengers.

These people are overworked and underpaid and they are blamed for everything from bad weather to technology glitches to lost luggage to bad upper management decisions. And still they return to work every day so that we can get to where we are going—all while managing to keep flights on schedule nearly 90 percent of the time.

PATRICK CLARKE, Senior Writer, Hotels and Resorts

This time of year I'm most thankful that my family is within reasonable driving distance for Thanksgiving. With nearly 47 million Americans heading out for the holiday, I'm thankful I can wait until the last minute to travel. With minimal obstacles standing in the way of my Thanksgiving travel, it's no wonder why most of my favorite holiday memories have taken place in the car while on the road to grandma's house. 

MICHAEL ISENBEK, TravelPulse Associate Editor

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that I live in South Florida. On my days off, I can go on a spur-of-the-moment tropical vacation just by walking out my door. The region’s overflowing bounty of amenities and activities are right at hand. Having moved from a nondescript suburban location with a four-season temperate climate, this is simply amazing to me.

One of my favorite SoFlo moments takes place on the beach when the sun is directly overhead — the water takes on this amazing turquoise hue, and the environment just thrums with brightness and beauty.

GABE ZALDIVAR, Senior Writer, Business Travel, Tech and Gadgets

I was in pretty high spirits walking into the pub adjoining the Slaughters Country Inn in Lower Slaughter earlier this year despite the mud caked onto the boots and the hunger rumbling in my stomach.

Had I known they were about closed for food service I may not have walked from Stow-on-the-Wold with the wife in our endeavor to cross off a bucket list item.

But they cooked up fish and chips for us just the same and it happened to be the best darn iteration of the classic meal we had while touring the country.

BRIAN MAJOR, Senior Writer, Caribbean and Latin America

I’m thankful for having purchased travel insurance prior to a trip to Panama earlier this year. I suffered a collapsed lung after landing at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport in August and eventually required medical evacuation back to the United States.

It took a real medical emergency for me to realize how foolish I’d been to have traveled for so long without travel insurance. My Allianz Travel Insurance policy paid for medical evacuation back to the U.S. and was an invaluable air when I needed it most. The policy truly saved the day for me, providing emergency medical benefits when I needed them most.

THERESA NORTON MASEK, Editor-in-Chief, Vacation Agent and Agent@Home Magazines

As I look back over 2015, I’m astoundingly grateful for the travel experiences I had this year. Truly, some of the best memories. From the idyllic week in February aboard SeaDream II in the Caribbean (caviar on the beach!), to the inaugural cruise on the AmaDara on the Mekong River (birthday drinks at the Raffles Hotel’s Elephant Bar in Phnom Penh!) to the amazing wildlife teeming in the Galapagos Islands, as seen from Zodiac, kayaks and on foot from Silversea’s luxury expedition ship Silver Galapagos. We may say it over and over, but it bears repeating: These are the memories of a lifetime that travel agents help create for their clients.

TIM WOOD, TravelPulse Editor-in-Chief

I am thankful for my first trip to Paris — even though it was a day that has me longing for more — especially to be able to share it with my family next time.

My most favorite memories always involve my wife and kids on the road or on the water. We were blessed to get back on to the Carnival Breeze in August, where my six-year-old son Jake became the star of the ship with his “life-size Jenga” skills. And we made an unusual memory, seeing our first movie outside the U.S., as we marveled at “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” while in port in Curacao.

More recently, we celebrated Halloween at sea aboard the Disney Dream, the most unique way to trick or treat my kids will ever experience.

And we at TravelPulse are all thankful for you, the readers, that have helped us experience exponential growth in 2015.

And I speak for our entire staff in saying our biggest piece of collective thanks is that our treasured colleague, James Ruggia, is making a steady recovery from a catastrophic medical setback. We hope you’ll continue to enjoy his best columns and travel memories every Friday until Jim is back in the saddle.


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