Oh, how this list of things about travel that make me so happy could fill a book!

But I decided to list just a few since so many friends and family are sharing their gratitude lists with me each year in November. I write a gratitude list daily, but for this post, I thought it would be nice to focus on things that make me happy when it comes to travel. I have been smiling all day as the memories filled me with joy.

I know I will probably be updating this list often because I have hundreds, thousands of beautiful memories and experiences with friends around the world that I will never forget!

A few years ago, I wrote an article called, “The Most Amazing, Happiest Experiences I’ve Had While Traveling,” but I just could not fit everything into one post, so here are a few more reasons I have fallen madly in love with travel, and some of my beautiful experiences.

The excitement of flying on a plane, especially going someplace you’ve never been before

Finding the secret Jankara “Juju” Market in Nigeria, where voodoo priestesses sell spells and incantations, and hundreds of severed monkey heads

Going to Kelaat M’Guna, Morocco, where there is an annual Rose Festival for locals, where you can buy exquisite, rose-scented soaps, shampoos, and facial creams

Trying new dishes you’ve never even heard of

Dancing barefoot and sinking into the desert sand under a thousand stars

Kissing a stranger

Soaking in Firewater, the healing sulfur baths in Jamaica

Making a new friend when you both speak a completely different language

Staying at a luxurious hotel

Swimming under a secret waterfall, not the one in guidebooks, but the one that locals camp next to, and wake up to bathe nude and swim in, far from the tourist trail

Attending a wedding in a foreign country

Praying with people who have a different religion

Making love to a new partner you meet abroad while he stares into your eyes and caresses your face

Waking at sunrise without an alarm

Rose flavored water

Sleeping late, your lover’s arms and legs entwined with yours

Having an enormous breakfast with 5 different types of pancakes, bread, jams, and sweet syrup

Having a huge platter of freshly sliced tropical fruits

Having all your meals garnished with fresh flowers

Living out of a small carry-on bag and not having to decide what to wear

Sleeping a few feet from the ocean, falling asleep to the rolling waves

Using perfumed shower gel, shampoos, and conditioners in exquisite, exotic bottles

Tasting rose-flavored ice cream for the very first time

Being complimented by a stranger on “how big and beautiful” you are, and knowing he is serious

Not shaving your legs, and having a female friend who is proud of her beard because her Rastafarian boyfriend loves her being “natural” and hairy

Eating fried crickets and other bugs in Thailand even though they are boring and bland but you are proud of your courage and willingness to try new things

Eating Maharajah Macs at McDonald’s in Mumbai (where cows are sacred) even though you have no idea what you are actually eating

Having a new man giddily informs you he is going to take you to a “Very special, very romantic place for the best chicken dinner you have ever had!” only to arrive at KFC

Finding new kittens the size of your palm purring softly, sunbathing on an antique velvet chair at a shop in the medina

Playing with an antique deck of cards from France as you listen to Berber musicians playing drums in the desert in Morocco

Being terrified to go parasailing, only to exhale and fall madly in love instantly with the sensation of flying over the ocean in The Bahamas

Living in a cave on a mountain

Hearing Budda Bar music for the first time, sitting around a campfire at the edge of the Red Sea in Dahab, Egypt

Pushing myself to walk more, eat healthier, and get “lost”, keeping myself open to new experiences, expanding my perspective

Riding on the back of a motorcycle on a first date that was wildly romantic and sweet, pressing my chest close against his back, having no choice but to wrap my arms around him, my inner thighs firmly against him, leaning close to smell his cologne, absolutely freezing but never ever wanting the night to end

Sitting close together, slowly sipping coffee at a rooftop cafe overlooking the bustling medina, frustrated at the inability to spend the night together in a country where fornication is illegal, but simultaneously savoring the innocence and beauty of love growing without soiling it with too soon pre-marital sex

Lying alone at a desert camp under 20 blankets, looking up at the expanse of stars in the vast universe

Going scuba diving for the first time, gasping at the intense, overwhelming emotions as fish and sea creatures of bold, vibrant colors and shapes silently pass

Sipping tropical, fruity mocktails with gaudy umbrellas in Koh Samui under a bamboo hut restaurant overlooking the ocean as the rain pours down on my birthday

The strange sensation of listening to a concert with local musicians in a foreign country halfway around the world, and unexpectedly hearing your name being yelled from a friend back home you had no idea would be there

Riding through narrow alleys and side streets on the back of motorcycles as both you and your traveling companion are wearing elegant, magnificent, fancy caftans, on your way to a new local friend’s wedding

Attending “Kal Ho Na Ho, starring Shah Rukh Khan, your first Bollywood film in a Mumbai theater where seats are assigned, and everyone in the audience gets up to sing and dance together every time a song comes on

Buying the perfect travel bag in Taiwan at the night market for $2 that you then bring to over 30 countries

Driving through fairytale villages in Vienna with cobblestone streets and stone cottages

Drinking at a Lord of the Rings themed pub where employees dress in Gandolf and Smeagle costumes in Killarney, Ireland

Being washed, scrubbed, and massaged at a Moroccan hammam

Sitting on the roof on a mountain, overlooking the ocean below where the sun is setting in front of you giving a spectacular sunset, the full moon is glowing on the left of you, the rain is falling behind you, and a double rainbow framing it all make you believe you must be dreaming

Sitting in the famous Leopold’s Cafe in Mumbai with the group of 6 women from around the world who you are all sharing one double bed within a budget hotel, after getting kicked out of your hostel, laughing and joking and praying you will never forget this exact moment

Eating slowly smoked, jerk chicken from a huge black oil drum, cooked by a rasta on the side of the beach road in Negril at 3 am

For more reasons to fall in love with travel, click here.

What about you; what are some of the most beautiful things you love about travel that make you happy?

Please share below in the comment section, and if you enjoyed this list, please share it on social media!

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