Holiday Reflection: Lighting the Way from Boston to New York

Every year, Alan and I choose a quote or saying to include in our holiday card—which some of you may have received in the mail recently. This year, we chose this, from Michael Strassfeld:

"Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished."

It is so easy to get swept away in the commerciality of this season, especially when we’re bombarded with holiday-themed advertising before the Thanksgiving meal is on the table. (Is it me, or does it start earlier and earlier every year?) That’s why it’s all the more important to remember our greatest gifts, which—like light—can be given freely, and seek nothing in return. Gifts like love, generosity, and hope.

In November, I was so incredibly moved to see this in action when a group of Grand Circle associates came together to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Some had friends and families in affected areas—and all it took was a single spark from one compassionate woman to light the way from Boston to New York, with truckloads of supplies in tow. When you read their story, I hope you’ll be as moved as I was.

Of course, in happier times, I think travel is a wonderful way to spread the light of peace and understanding throughout the world. I see it every day in the stories and photos you send me. To celebrate another year of memories, I’ve collected some of my favorite traveler stories from 2012. I’d love to see your story featured next year—so please share it with me, either in an email or in the comments.

To kick off the New Year in Harriet’s Corner, we’ll be heading down south to warmer climes in Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina—and also to Antarctica, which is enjoying its Austral Summer. Here’s to another year of light, love, and discovery.