Dear World, I’d like to thank you.

I am among the many who find great certainty in the countless traveler truths that have morphed reluctantly into clichés. Things like “the world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page,” “we travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us,” and “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” It could be because my father, rather than the customary “have a good day,” used to send me off into each day with orders to “carpe diem.” It might be because the greatest moments of my life can be traced back to parts previously unknown. It’s possible the union of myself and my Roman husband, a man afflicted not with FOMO but with the more extreme TOMO (terror of missing out), has exacerbated my wanderlust. In any case, there’s a great deal I have to thank the world for—adventure, love, friendship, pain, pleasure, adrenaline, growth, wining, dining, wandering, laughter, memories, knowledge, invigoration, rejuvenation, exhilaration. So, it occurred to me; why not actually thank the world from time to time? Why not write to the ends of the earth I journey to with the romantic idea of keeping in touch? At the very least, I can tell those ends and corners and cities and countries how grateful I am for welcoming me, and for leaving me with an even greater love for the world and for so many of the beings within.

Whether or not my recipients take note, I believe these thank you notes are worth writing—because a picture might be worth 1,000 words, but in a digital age where every trip begets upwards of 10,000 pictures, words stand to capture a different magic and texture. And, by sharing with each destination the things I’m most appreciative of, I’ll finally have somewhere to send those seeking to venture to the places I’ve been, offering a roadmap, an itinerary, a guide.

So, without further ado…

Dear World, I’d like to thank you.