The first phrase I learn when travelling is “thank you.”
Gracias, grazie, danke schoen, thanks, cheers, merci.
I am a guest and they are helping. It matters to me that I can show my appreciation.
I experimented with a gratitude journal while travelling and it reminded me of the subtle habit I have cultivated of saying thank you. To anyone who helps me, in a big way or small. Automatic, but every time genuine. Habitual but not habit.
I was a big fan of the TV show The West Wing and was fascinated by the protocol of always saying thank you to the president when leaving his office, even if you had been called in to be dressed down. The idea being you are thanking him for his time and attention, not the substance of the meeting. I picked up this habit for my working life and have done it for years. I don’t call attention to it, but it is my small way of acknowledging my gratitude for their time and focus.
It’s a fast world and it is even more important to take the time and intention to appreciate those around us.
In doing the journal, it focused me on the small and big appreciations. The medical professionals who cared for Wifey when she took ill on the flight. The comic shop owner in Athens who recommended local creators. And the hotel bartender who made the most amazing Greek salad.
Gratitude is contagious. It connects us. It builds community.
Thank you for your time.