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One week ago, I turned twenty-five. A quarter century! I wanted to write something big to commemorate it. Something epic and meaningful. Something like .

But honestly? I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump lately — with my writing, my work, and my travels. I used to laugh at warnings of the mythical quarter life crisis, but recently, reluctantly, I’ve accepted that I myself might be clumsily stumbling around in one. The good news, though, is that I’ve spent the past few months thinking about what path I’m taking next, and I’m excited about the future.

25th Birthday Post

One thing I’ve been focusing on lately? Living with gratitude. For the past month or so, I have made an effort to once a day say to myself very consciously, “I am grateful for this moment.” Sometimes that was gazing back at Koh Tao from my perch on a paddleboard, sometimes it was in the midst of a warm hug with a close friend, sometimes it was driving my motorkbike down the road when the sun shone through the palm trees at just the right moment.

And so, to start the next quarter century in style, a list of twenty five things that I’m grateful for today.

1. I am grateful for the privilege to see with my own eyes twenty seven countries and seventeen states — and counting. For the memories I’ve made, lessons I’ve learned, and people I’ve met in each of them. I’m thankful for recognizing my passion for travel so early in life.

2. I am grateful for a family that always calls me home. For a mother who has imbued me with creativity and kindness, a father who has taught me to be both successful and generous, and for sisters who inspire me, who make me laugh and who hold out a hand when needed. For aunts, uncles, grandmas and cousins who make up the rich fabric of family. I am ever so grateful that despite the fact that my parents are separated, we all remain a family. Sometimes I am overly critical of or impatient with my family, and I want to work on that. There is no one or no thing I care about more.

Family Portraits by My Lens 360 Philadelphia

3. I am grateful for a cold Diet Coke on a warm summer day, and a warm apple cider on a chilly fall one.

4. I am grateful for a passport from a country that gives me the green light to travel almost anywhere the world. I often take this for granted until I see the red tape my friends from countries with more “difficult passports” have to work through.

5. I am grateful for a body that is capable of bringing me up mountains, under the sea, and all over a yoga mat. I am grateful to find a natural enjoyment in physical activity, which makes at least one half of the staying in shape equation easier. (Though, you know, if I would magically develop an immunity to carb bloat, I wouldn’t be opposed to that too.)

6. I am grateful for what I’m convinced is the most amazing group of friends in the world, spread out all over the planet. I am grateful for the ability to accept them for who they are and what they are willing to give to our friendship, and for their patience and understanding of my endless wandering. I feel a deep connection with them even when I am physically very far away. It makes feel like I’ve done something right in my life to deserve these friends I have.

25th Birthday Post

7. I am grateful for what my sister Olivia and I call The Church Giggles — those times you laugh so hard you totally lose control and tears spring from your eyes and you feel you’ve had a slight workout after. I feel lucky to have a life that is full of them.

8. I am grateful for those rare books, movies and songs that leave me lost in thought.

9. I am grateful for the fact that, glaring exceptions aside, life has put a string of funny, interesting, big-hearted guys in my path. I’m kind of seeing one right now.

10. I am grateful for the ocean, and all the beautiful time I’ve spent living so close to it.

25th Birthday Post

11. I am grateful for having access to comprehensive health care, a family of experts helping me navigate the system, and the privilege of not having to base my health care decisions on my bank account. (Gotta get this one in while I still can — I roll off my parents’ health insurance in a year and I suspect I’ll be singing a different tune then.)

12. I am grateful for teachers who inspired me, nurtured my creativity and challenged me. From my Montessori educators to my public high school teachers to my Pratt professors, I owe a lot to the people who molded my little brain. (And I’m so proud that’s what my baby sis has been doing for the past two years!) I’m so grateful there were people out there fighting for my education before I was wise enough to realize how important it was for myself.

13. I am grateful for my sense of taste, which lets me savor ripe mangos, delicious avocados, and endless flavors of ice cream.

25th Birthday Post

14. I am grateful for access to a family car that gets me wherever I need to be when I’m stateside.

15. I am grateful for a childhood bedroom that still feels like home in a town I’m proud to be from. For couches, spare rooms and floors I’ve been offered by family, friends, and acquaintances all over the world.

16. I am grateful for sunsets, which always remind me that nature is my favorite artist. And mush my brain enough to give me a free pass on all kinds of cliche statements.

25th Birthday Post

17. I am grateful for the kindness from complete strangers that so often makes my day on the road.

18. I am grateful for two amazing dogs who have brought immeasurable joy to my life, and taught me the meaning of unconditional love.

19. I am grateful for the confidence to travel alone and the predisposition to wildly enjoy it. I am so thankful to enjoy my own company as much as I do.

20. I am grateful for strong holiday traditions that I grow more appreciative every year to have grown up with. I look forward to carrying on and continuing to create these traditions for the rest of my life.

21. I am grateful for rediscovering my love of singing. It was a goal of mine to get up and sing at an open mic night while I was in Thailand and once I got over my stage fright, it felt good. It has reminded me how much I miss creating — outside this blog, of course — and I’m even hoping to pick up a paintbrush again soon.

Creativity

22. I am grateful for being debt free, and the frugality and financial values my parents instilled in me. For the financial freedom my career gives me to treat myself occasionally to cheap Thai massages, fancy cocktails, movie tickets and all the other little splurges I enjoy so much.

23. I am grateful for days when I am productive and end the day proud of my work. For blogging, which has connected me to fantastic like-minded people the world over. For the fact that my lifestyle and career mean that days when I wake up to an alarm are few and far between (I’m a naturally early riser anyway).

24. I am grateful for the pain I’ve felt and the times life has truly tested me — they have shown me who I am and how strong I can be, taught me to appreciate periods of peace and joy, and prepared me for whatever comes next.

25. I am grateful for how easily 1,300 words of thankfulness came. I recognize that there are many people in this world for whom a similar list would be much shorter, and that reminds me to never take these things for granted.

25th Birthday Post

I’ll wrap this sap-fest up with one of my favorite quotes, from American Beauty. Most of all, I’m grateful that when I read through the list I just wrote, tapped out on my iPhone over the course of a few thoughtful days, I feel exactly like this.

It’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.

Thanks for being a part of my stupid little life, y’all. What are you thankful for today?

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122 Comments...
  • Athena
    November 15 2014

    Absolutely beautiful! Belated happy birthday! Been following you for a while and this is my first comment…

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Thanks for saying hi, Athena! And thank you so much.

  • Jasmine
    November 15 2014

    Happy belated birthday!! I just recently turned 25 on October 23rd! It’s an awesome age to be. I’m thankful that I’m not in the same position that I was in a year ago. I’m happy to be done with school, and working toward my career goals, and doing what I love. This is an awesome post!! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Happy birthday to you too, Jasmine! I think it’s going to be a good year 🙂

  • Kristin Addis
    November 15 2014

    What a lovely, reflective birthday toast. I’m also grateful that I have a family I can laugh with, that I cry more from laughter than from sadness, and that I also have access to a car when I go home. Gratitude really changes everything. I agree so much. It can turn a sad situation into a really amazing one by looking for the good things. Might as well, considering life carries on regardless. Congrats on another year of awesome life.
    Kristin Addis recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Thank you Kristin! I always love your outlook on life. Life does indeed carry on regardless.

  • Paula Nelms
    November 15 2014

    Happy belated birthday Meihoukai!

    Ah the good old quarter-life crisis. I think I’m in the midst of one myself, but for me it’s all about the pressure society is putting on me and how I feel I need to break free to truly feel like myself again!

    I write about it here if you’re interested:
    Paula Nelms recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      I shall never mock the quarter life crisis again! Good luck working through yours, Paula.

  • Marni
    November 15 2014

    Happy belated birthday! This post is absolutely one of my favorites of yours, and I love all the insights it gave you about yourself. I turned 25 in May of this year, and – aside from the obvious ones like family, pets, friends, and a love of travel – one thing I am most grateful for is the ability to get older. Whenever I feel upset that I’m getting older, I think about how it wasn’t too many hundreds of years ago that our life spans were half of what they are now. It really is a privilege to get old, and I’m grateful for it because it gives me more time to chase my dreams. Best wishes to you for another year of family, friends, and travel!

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      This comment reminds me of a quote, Marni. “Do not complain about growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.” – Mark Twain. Beautiful!

  • Sky
    November 15 2014

    Love this! I think gratitude is such an important thing and I’ve also been working on practice gratitude and allowing myself to notice in the moment how special moments are. Right now I’m grateful for a job with people I enjoy, this Starbucks smoothie in my hand, the ability to choose what I want to do with my money and be able to save for my trip, and my best friends that I would be lost without.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Those are all amazing things. I am apprehensive about returning to the cold next week, but the idea of a Starbucks apple cider in my hand is making the transition easier 🙂

  • Jean |Holy Smithereens
    November 15 2014

    Happy Belated birthday Meihoukai! Its wonderful that you are living a life of gratitude. There really are so much more things to be thankful in life than there are worth griping about. Enjoy the 20’s, I think that decade is the most transitional in a person’s life. As for me, I’m grateful for good health every day as it allows me to enjoy life.
    Jean |Holy Smithereens recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      I am loving my twenties indeed 🙂 So much happens! And thank you for the well wishes x

  • Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide
    November 15 2014

    Beautiful post, Meihoukai. It is so refreshing to see people reflect on what is good, rather than the things they want to change. Keep appreciating those little moments, and your travels will always be rewarding. Cheers!
    Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      I guess I do enough complaining in my day to day posts, ha! Tried to keep this one gripe-free 🙂

  • Beautifully written! Happy birthday! You’ve done more in your 25 years than most people have done in a lifetime. And I totally support mooching off your parents health insurance plan until you’re 26! I did and it was the best thing ever… until I turned 26.

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Yeah, I’m not looking forward to that one bit. Thankfully I have a family full of health care industry experts, and my older sister has already started to help me figure out what plan will work for me. I also plan to have a lot of my routine care done in Thailand where it will be vastly more affordable. But sigh, how I will miss my current situation!

  • kim
    November 15 2014

    Of all the many, many things I have to be grateful for in my life, a list I’m lucky to say would be at least as long as yours because I have many years on you, I am grateful you share your experiences in such a free and honest way with all of us. As I approach my half century life crisis (hahaha I’m only 46 but getting close!) I get to live vicariously through your posts and add places to see from your travels to our list as we inch closer to full time travel. We may not make Tomorrowland or stay in some of the more “lively” hostels you have but your writing and photos brings to life places I may have passed up but now am anxious to see. Happy Birthday to you and always hang on to the funny, big-hearted guys they are hard to find!

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Kim this comment means so much to me! Thank you for sharing — this is the kind of stuff that has kept me going through my recent slump of burnout. And believe me, I know how lucky I am for #9!

  • Cityoftheweek
    November 15 2014

    Oh man, when I thought that the article couldn’t get any better, you ended things with one of my favorite quotes ever. I just re-watched American Beauty last week and fell in love with it again and again. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now (love it and often come here for inspiration), but this is the first time I’m commenting. Happy Birthday by the way, and keep inspiring!
    Cityoftheweek recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Thanks for saying hi 🙂 I hope you’ll do it again soon!

  • Janice Stringer
    November 15 2014

    Hi Meihoukai,

    I’m grateful for your photographs… They inspire me.

    I hope your slump in work, travels and writing passes quickly but if it doesn’t reach out. There is an ear at the end of this writing! 🙂
    Take care Meihoukai, it’s lovely to hear the things you appreciate.
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 15 2014

      Thank you so much, Janice! That is so lovely, and all of it warms my heart to hear. And it does indeed inspire me to keep writing on!

  • Steve
    November 15 2014

    Great post Meihoukai. As I will turn 50 next year I am grateful that I am healthy enough to finish my TEFL and hopefully be off to China.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      That is a pretty special thing to be thankful for! Best of luck with your course, Steve!

  • Miquel
    November 15 2014

    Thank you for sharing this Meihoukai. If there is anything I believe in it’s that gratitude amplifies happiness. Nothing creates better perspective. Thanks for reminding me I have so much to be thankful for.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      It is one of the purest forms of happiness, I think. Gratitude is powerful!

  • Gemma Two Scots Abroad
    November 15 2014

    Meihoukai, you will be approaching 30 before you know it (Jan for me)! I am thankful (and buzzing) about Google analytics showing two views on my website from Google search engine, feels like the hard work is beginning to pay off *slave to the keys*

    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      It’s a slow burn but it does pay off eventually, in my experience. Congrats on the milestone 🙂

  • Ashley Hufford
    November 15 2014

    It’s so hard to remember to be grateful sometimes. Beautiful post!! Inspiration will come! Happy Birthday Meihoukai!!!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      Thanks Ashley! There is inspiration all around, I just need to get myself back on track to accept it again 🙂

  • Leah
    November 15 2014

    Beautifully written, Meihoukai. A good reminder to all of us to take the time to be grateful. Hope your 25th birthday was fabulous, you’ll get over the quarter century hump just fine 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      Thank you Miss Leah! It was the most beautiful birthday a girl could ask for.

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    November 15 2014

    Wonderfully written Meihoukai! I hope you enjoyed your birthday, and this post is a lovely way to commemorate it. I’m grateful for you and your awesome blog – I know I’m not the only one who you’ve inspired to cast a wider net in life. Your blog was the first thing that came up when I Googled a million things about going to Roatan 3 years ago… who would have thought I’d be writing this comment from here? I’m toasting a celebratory Salva Vida to you, girl!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      That is just so fantastic, Rika! Discovering the world of travel blogs just opens up a whole world, doesn’t it? It did for me when I first stumbled upon one in high school!

  • Stephanie
    November 15 2014

    Happy happy birthday, fellow Scorpio! Like you, I too just celebrated a birthday a few days ago and I was echoing similar sentiments regarding life crises, wanting to write something amazing, but feeling kind of slumpy. Gratitude is a wonderful and magical thing, and it always puts things in perspective 🙂 Thank you for writing such a wonderful blog and for inspiring me and so many others as we push forward on our journeys to experience something larger than ourselves. Wishing you a wonderful year full of even more love and experiences to be grateful for!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      We’ve got tons of Scorpios in this comment section, it seems! Thank you so much for this beautiful comment. It so inspires me to know that some of the words I’ve written have inspired someone else x

  • Ashley
    November 15 2014

    I loved this post, Meihoukai! Practising daily gratitude is so powerful and has made such a difference in my life. I recently read a quote that really stuck with me- “It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop”- so I’ve started to work on my reactions along with daily gratitude and can see big improvements in my life.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      That’s a gorgeous quote, Ashley. Love hearing how little acts of gratitude have changed your attitude!

  • Scott
    November 15 2014

    Happy belated birthday!

    So any video out there of you singing?

    And I am grateful for your site, with all of its amazing photos and well written stories!

    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      Ha, no video from this performance, but maybe I’ll be brave enough to record one soon 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words!

  • zulqarnain malik
    November 15 2014

    Meihoukai! It really great

  • Kyle
    November 15 2014

    The more gratitude you feel, the wealthier you are … hope the next year is filled with plenty of these moments!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      I need to tell myself sometimes to stop stressing about money and measure my wealth in this way. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Caity
    November 15 2014

    So, not to sound like too much of a fan girl, but I am so grateful to your blog Meihoukai. It still amazes me that I can be so excited and inspired by the words of someone I have never met! It is a testament to your writing that you can exude so much personality and thought in each post that makes your readers (well, me at least!) really connect with you! Happy belated birthday, I’m glad you had a blast!

    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      This made my morning Caity! You are the sweetest, and I will certainly be coming back to this comment (and others here) next time I’m in a slump.

  • A beautifully written post, Meihoukai! I find myself grateful for many of the same things as you, I too am feeling quite reflective myself at the moment as I’ll also be turning 25 this month. I’m sure I had a quarter life crisis for the first part of this year when my life seemed to be at a standstill, but somehow everything always has its little way of working out. All I ever dreamed of doing was travelling the world and I’m so thankful to be doing exactly that right now. Thank you for reminding me to appreciate the little things just as much as the big things 🙂
    Christie of The Butterfly Editions recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      Congrats on the big upcoming birthday! And for making that big ‘ol dream come true. Cheers to all of it, Christie!

  • Kathryn
    November 15 2014

    I’m grateful for the the magic moment when I first held your tiny little self. Grateful for 25 years of sharing the planet with you. Grateful that I wrote down so many of the hilarious things you said as a child…and your first written story, “The Babey Lion.” Would be happy to write a guest post on your early wit and writing….

    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      Ha! We need to go over this Babey Lion when I get home. My favorite is my detailed journal from that first trip to Spain when I was a munchkin. A travel blogger in analog!

  • Justine
    November 15 2014

    Love this post, Meihoukai! Don’t worry about the quarter life crisis thing. It will pass! I think it’s something we all go through. You definitely have a lot to be grateful for. You’ve achieved a hell of a lot at 25 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      November 16 2014

      Thanks Justine! And you’re right, it’s just growing pains 🙂

  • Jeremy
    November 16 2014

    Happy belated birthday! Best wishes for another wonderful year of travels and adventures.

    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Thank you so much Jeremy. I really appreciate the well wishes!

  • Lavi
    November 16 2014

    You’re so inspiring, Meihoukai! Thanks for reminding me to be grateful every day for the life of travel that I’ve just started this year. Happy belated birthday, and here’s to many more years of adventures ahead! xo
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Lavi, thank you so very much! Congrats on a happy life on the road. I am very much looking to the adventures 25 undoubtedly has in store.

  • Victoria
    November 16 2014

    Such a thoughtful post, Meihoukai. Life can be crazy and stressful, but this is a great reminder to be grateful every day along the way.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Indeed, I am quite easily overwhelmed and bogged down in negativity, so I wanted to write this post to come back to when I need a reality slap of how lucky I am. There is so much to appreciate!

  • Chris
    November 16 2014

    Love it!

    Especially reading the honest assessment of your love for and what you can work on with your family 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Yeah, I mean I guess I’m in it for the long run with those guys 🙂 Lucky I landed a good lot!

  • Danni @Leftnleavin
    November 16 2014

    This is just lovely.

    If I were to write a list mine would echo yours in a bunch of places. This is great reminder to keep perspective when I get frustrated or sad. I’d like to think a little of my own effort has helped me but holy fat cats I’d be nowhere with out my family, friends, and those teachers who convinced me to jump with two feet when it comes to making things happen.

    It’s nice to be sappy sometimes. If we weren’t sentimental romantics then travelling the world be half as fun.

    Hope you had a fab birthday!
    Danni @Leftnleavin recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      I like that you give yourself the permission to be a sappy romantic! I need to work on that sometimes 🙂

      • Danni @Leftnleavin
        November 17 2014

        Hell yes! It’s a great when you feel a little travel jaded. You just indulge yourself in a little sappy romanticism. Sometimes I really go for it and end up yelling things like, “Think how many people loved and died and pooped here!” with mucho gusto which of course makes my travel partner get all jazzed up too or laugh at me haha 🙂
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  • Grace @ Green Global Travel
    November 16 2014

    This is an absolutely wonderful attitude to have. It’s so important to be grateful. Happy birthday, Meihoukai!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Thanks Grace! Much appreciated. Looking forward to 25!

  • Happy belated Birthday!It was just my birthday too (on 13th November) and I also feel so much gratitude for my life and everyone in it. I could never have imagined my life could be this wonderful when I was younger and I remember to feel greateful everyday – it is definitely important to never take it for granted 🙂
    Katie @ The World on my Necklace recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      That’s beautiful, Katie. I don’t know if I even knew life could look like mine does now, when I was younger. It’s pretty damn beautiful, though.

  • Katie Featherstone
    November 16 2014

    Happy Birthday! This is a really thought provoking list- thank-you for sharing! Your blog is doing so well, you shouldn’t ever doubt your work. I love that quote (and film) too!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Aw, thank you Katie. I guess it’s a curse of human nature, or maybe just my nature — no matter how successful you are you compare yourself to the people above, not below you. I need to work on being proud of all I’ve achieved.

  • Anna @ shenANNAgans
    November 16 2014

    Beautiful post Meihoukai! I love it. I am thinking of doing a post like this at the end of the year. Gratitude’s are such a fabulous way of acknowledging how fantastic your life is, and girl…. yours sounds amazing. Hope the birthday was AWESOME, and the quarter crisis will pass…. Bring on the woes the 30’s bring. LOL!
    Have a happy week, grateful I stumbled upon your blog a few months back. You Rock!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Ha, I’m going to try to live firmly in the moment here and not start thinking about 30s just yet! I’m sure I’ll be ready for them by the time they get here 🙂

  • Katherine
    November 16 2014

    Happy Belated Birthday Meihoukai! And thanks for this beautiful post!

    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Thank you so much for reading, Kat!

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    November 16 2014

    Happy Birthday, you sure do have a lot to be grateful for and I bet your family will be so tickled to read this list & know how great you’ve turned out 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Maybe I’ll quiz them when I get home and see who has read it 🙂

  • Laura
    November 17 2014

    Absolutely loved this Meihoukai! I was nodding along the whole time. Sometimes I forget to be grateful for what I have because I’m so busy focusing on what I want for my life. This is an excellent reminder. I am going to try to take a moment and be grateful everyday.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      It’s been a great practice for me, Laura. Let me know how it goes for you! And I agree, it’s easy to want more; it’s hard to appreciate what you already have.

  • Shaun's Cracked Compass
    November 17 2014

    Happy quarter century!

    #16 – so poetic!

    Your more personal posts always resonate so well with everyone on here. I know I always get too focused on what’s next vs. being grateful for what has happened. Nice reminder to reflect.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Thanks Shaun! Yes, I sometimes find it ironic that my posts that have the least to do with travel garner the most attention 🙂

  • Bren
    November 17 2014

    Hey Meihoukai, happy 25. I know all too well the feeling of the quarter life crisis and searching for a bit of direction (maybe I’m still in one myself). I had just left the cubicle at 25, so I’d say you’re closer to finding the path than I was. That’s if we’re ever supposed to find it at all. But the fact you’ve found so much to be grateful for, especially in a world where people just love to complain, shows how level headed you are and what a great place you’re in. Keep writing and doing what you do.
    -Bren
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Thank you so much Bren. That’s yet another thing I’m grateful for — that I discovered my passion for travel so young in life.

  • Kendra (the Escapologist)
    November 17 2014

    Beautiful post, Meihoukai. Welcome to 25!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Thanks Kendra. It’s a pretty great year so far 🙂

  • Meihoukai
    November 17 2014

    Keep that optimism alive as long as possible.
    If you have optimism you’ll never need anything else in life.

    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      I struggle with it at times, but I am trying to consciously live with positivity and gratitude. All the best, fellow Meihoukai!

  • becky hutner
    November 17 2014

    Aww!! What a lucky ducky.

    I went to Montessori too! And heart that American Beauty quote so much. Have watched that movie so many times since it came out & get something different from it every time.

    Currently I’m thankful for surviving the most horrific move of my life. On Sat night, I was on the verge of a meltdown. Now I’m on a couch in my new pad with my laptop & a purring cat. Praise the lord!
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    • Meihoukai
      November 17 2014

      Ah, isn’t Montessori the best? I feel like I won’t have kids unless I know I can send them somewhere equally badass for their first few years of schooling. I transitioned into public school in fourth grade, which was perfect for me. Congrats on surviving the move!

  • Amy
    November 18 2014

    Happy Birthday Meihoukai 🙂 This is a really heart-warming post, thanks for reminding me that I too am grateful for many of the things on your list.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2014

      You are so welcome, Amy. It’s amazing, since I wrote this post I’ve thought of new things to add to it every day. A great exercise.

  • Martina Donkers
    November 18 2014

    Hey Meihoukai 🙂

    What a beautiful birthday post!

    It’s so important to remember to be grateful about the world and the wonderful privilege we have to explore it.

    I sometimes look around and try to savour particular moments, try to fix them in my memory so I can come back to them. I sometimes wonder if life will always be this good. Maybe I’ve seen too many disaster movies, but sometimes I wonder if everything could be snatched away in the blink of an eye, through natural disaster, or war, or something. So I try to savour everything while I can.

    I also try to find something nice in any negative. Today is uncomfortably hot, but the view from my window of a lush tropical garden is beautiful. The kids who live next door are so loud and annoying, but I’m glad they are happy enough to play loud, outside games (and shriek while doing it!). Being hurt by a friend or a lover is the worst feeling in the world, but I’m grateful I have a heart to break, and that I’m brave enough to open myself up to these experiences that could also lead to a wonderful place.

    🙂

    Hope you’re loving today – and that you had a lovely birthday!

    Martina
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    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2014

      That is such a beautiful perspective and shared so poetically, Martina! I’m going to come back and read this next time I’m having a frustrating day. Beautiful.

      • Martina Donkers
        November 18 2014

        Aww thank you Meihoukai. 🙂 So glad I’ve made you smile!
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  • Erika
    November 20 2014

    Happy belated 25th birthday, Meihoukai! I loved this post — I loved the gratitude, the honesty, and I have to say I am grateful to YOU and your blog and all the adventures you take us armchair travelers on! Always love reading about your travels and also about your life and observations! This blog has been one of my favorites since finding it and I just love how it continues to evolve! 🙂
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    • Meihoukai
      November 21 2014

      Thank you so much Erika, that means the world to me. I am truly touched by the comments on this post — you guys rock my socks x

  • James Oke
    November 22 2014

    Lovely post. Honest and thoughtful. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.
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  • Camels & Chocolate
    November 24 2014

    I love this so much! Happy belated birthday! May your 26th year be the one you get to come to Nashville to see moi 😉

    And you’re not the only one who experiences life crises. I’ve recently been going through a third-life crisis myself (it ebbs and flows…currently on the other side of it, so yay!).

    • Meihoukai
      November 24 2014

      I can’t wait to discuss this over some of Nashville’s finest cocktails… this summer 🙂

  • Chalsie
    November 25 2014

    What an absolutely beautiful post!
    Happy birthday Meihoukai! Thank you for sharing your gratitude, I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word.
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    • Meihoukai
      November 25 2014

      You are so welcome Chalsie. I loved reading what everyone else was grateful for too. What a lovely reminder.

  • Cat
    November 27 2014

    I’m grateful for bloggers like you that write so honestly and how appropriate that I’m reading this on Thanksgiving! Just reading your list made me more grateful for all that I have, thanks for sharing!

    • Cat
      November 27 2014

      Oh oh and HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! 😀

    • Meihoukai
      November 28 2014

      Thank you Cat! I figure it’s not worth doing if it’s not from the heart. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Marie @ Marie Away
    December 4 2014

    I just found your blog and am excited to do some reading! I also turned 25 this year, and faced the “quarter-life crisis” (honestly, I think mine began at 24 anyway). But, I can totally relate to this post and I think your showing of gratitude is a great thing. It’s important to remember that even when we get older, our past experiences are still part of who we are. Cheers!
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    • Meihoukai
      December 4 2014

      Welcome to Wanderland, Marie! Ah, the good old quarter life crisis. Never again will I deny its existence!

  • Tom Farrington
    December 5 2014

    This is a great post. Truly inspiring words. I’m almost at the end of my 25th year (my birthday is on Dec. 8th!!) and having been feeling in a pessimistic slump, despite the fact that I have been living in Indonesia for that last 2 months. This was a great cheer to read and has me thinking about all the things that I am grateful for. Thanks, keep up the great work!
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    • Meihoukai
      December 10 2014

      That’s great news Tom 🙂 So glad to hear it! Happy birthday!

  • The Guy
    December 5 2014

    Many, many happy returns.

    This is wonderfully written article and shows how you deserve the wonderful life that you’ve been blessed with.

    As a long time reader I am grateful for discovering your blog and following your amazing journey. You are an inspiration and a light for so many.

    Keep spreading the wonderful news of how travel can make us all better, more grateful people x
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    • Meihoukai
      December 10 2014

      What an absolutely lovely comment. Thank you so much for the smile, and all the support!

  • I didn’t feel much at 25 but then I recently turned 30 and I panicked in a way. I had wanted to start writing a blog for a while and I finally made it happen. Travel blogging is becoming big business and hugely popular and it is where I want to focus my attention, but it can be hard to feel inadequate and in a rush to catch up to more developed travel websites.
    I recently came across a quote that has stayed with me:
    “The only cure for envy is gratitude.”
    I have tried to feel gratitude for what I have and hope the second half of your twenties is full of success and gratitude for that success. We are all just learning as we go. The journey is the reward.

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Believe me, Kerry, I understand that stress and the self imposed pressure of comparing yourself to those on top! It’s a lot to handle. I try to remind myself not focus on my successes, which are plenty, and not just the areas I’m failing or could be improving on. I struggle with it, though!

  • Caitlin
    January 4 2015

    What a wonderful post! I love seeing how grateful you are! How are you able to afford all these wonderful travel experiences. I am 23 and have hopes and dreams to travel one day but my job doesn’t really allow for it…nor can I afford it.

    Thanks!

    • Meihoukai
      January 5 2015

      Hey Caitlin, thank you! Have you checked out my FAQ page? I think it will answer a lot of your questions, but let me know if you’re still curious about anything after you read up!

  • Zoe
    February 3 2015

    ….a little late to the game, but this is great!!!!! Makes me happy (and I forgive you for not finding a friend photo that I was in, mostly because liz and steffi look so good in that one)

    • Meihoukai
      February 4 2015

      Ha, and that photo reminds me of an insanely fabulous night that YOU planned all for me. Love you.

  • Athena
    February 4 2015

    This post is a great introduction to your blog!!I’ve been throwing a pity party these past few weeks, but reading this was definitely a wake up call. Sometimes I take for granted all the events and people that have came into my life.

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2015

      Thank you Athena! I know how you feel, I throw myself some epic pity parties some days 🙂 Rereading this post helps on bad days!

  • Kateryna
    May 30 2015

    wooow your photos look amazing!
    p.s. which camera do u use? and which model?

    • Meihoukai
      May 31 2015

      Hey Kateryna, check out my Obsessions page (look at the top navigation bar) for info on all my cameras and travel gear!

  • Courtney
    October 6 2015

    I just finished reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert & in it she talks about the concept of ideas bouncing around multiple people’s heads until the right spark hits the right person… In my head I’ve written these exact words and could never put them pen to paper as clearly as you did in this! The fact that there’s another human being with a sense that we truly do live in a remarkable world thick with mysteries dazzles my heart. The fact that you’ve found your passion for travel by 25 leaves me wondering what took me those extra years? I guess the only way to describe it is it’s kind of amazing- what we get to do with this life, what we get to attempt and what we sometimes get to commune with. “Gratitude, Always. Always,Gratitude.”

    • Meihoukai
      October 8 2015

      Interesting concept! I would love to read a little more of her work. It’s hard to believe I wrote this post almost a year ago! Still traveling, still grateful 🙂