Thanksgiving Thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving weekend Hidden Gem Travel community! This week, I’m sharing my perspective on travel and some thoughts about what it means to me.  I hope it inspires you to reflect on what travel brings to your life… 

Last night, I had an odd dream that I was a tour guide in an unnamed foreign country pointing out varieties of newborn wildlife that were hidden from plain sight. I was as excited to show the tourists these rare sightings as they were to see them. As I ponder this dream in the light of morning, I acknowledge that travel is not only my profession but what brings me joy in life whether I’m the traveler or my clients are. Owning a travel business and being a travel advisor is hard work, but the rewards are plentiful including the way it continues to change my life in a myriad of ways.

As a world traveler who has been to many countries (I should count at some point), I deeply appreciate what these experiences bring to my life and how they transform my perspective as a global citizen. While we may simply look at travel as a vacation, it’s so much more than a break from the daily routine. It affects our lives in many more ways than we realize.

Being immersed in a foreign country allows me to experience life through a different lens, and its impact is felt in all five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Here are a few examples from my 2023 trips:

Sight –  seeing the majestic Parliament building in Budapest, Hungry from the Danube River.

Sound – hearing the chime of a tram in Lisbon, Portugal as it climbs up the hill.

Smell – sitting at the counter of a tapas restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, and smelling the delicious foods being prepared in front of me.

Taste – sipping Austrian wines in Bermuda recalling my recent trip to the Wachau Valley outside of Vienna, Austria. The restaurant in Bermuda was a hidden gem and owned by an Austrian!

Touch – the silky slipperiness of Hermes scarves in the Paris flagship store.

Travel also teaches life lessons like patience (wading through the crowds in the narrow walkways of Cinque Terre, Italy), fortitude (e-biking in the hills of the Algarve in Portugal during an unexpected heavy downpour), flexibility (rerouting my plan for the day to avoid protests in Paris), and kindness (making a conscious effort to purchase souvenirs from local artisans in Bratislava, Slovakia). If we can take these things in stride while traveling, perhaps they can be easier to master in daily life?

We learned during the pandemic and with recent wars, we can’t assume that the ability to travel is guaranteed. Today, this sentiment has created a boom in the travel industry – when we’re told we can’t have something, we want it that much more. Being thankful for the ability to travel is top of mind for me, not just during the Thanksgiving season but all year long.

Wishing you unforgettable travel adventures,


NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Luggage Delayed? Here are a few tips to make this common inconvenience less inconvenient.

Before you depart:

  • Take a photo of your checked bag and note all identifying characteristics (color, brand, estimated size, luggage tag/ribbon, etc.).
  • Pack for your first night and day in your carry-on so you don’t have to take the time to go shopping on your arrival day (unless you want to!). Reminder that ALL essentials should be packed in your carry-on too.
  • Invest in an air tag or similar luggage tracking device and place it inside your checked bag.
  • Make sure that you keep the luggage receipt that you’re given when you check your bag – be careful not to lose it. I keep it in my passport wallet.

When you arrive:

  • As soon as you realize that your luggage didn’t arrive with you at your destination, immediately head to the lost luggage office (which can be a service that’s used by multiple airlines) near the baggage claim area.
  • Don’t leave the luggage office without documentation and an estimate of when your luggage will arrive at the airport and then delivered to your hotel; often the arrival vs delivery times can be hours apart.
  • Alert your hotel concierge that your luggage will be delivered and show them the paperwork; if you’re staying at a quality hotel they will follow up for you!


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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