Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Then and Now – Thanksgiving

This blog follows the theme from last week, but with much less color! πŸ™‚

Thanksgiving didn’t mean anything to me as a Belgian, until I started visiting the US over a decade ago. Being married to an American made me appreciate this day of thanks, and I am always happy with an extra day off, of course. Thanksgiving is Mark’s favorite holiday, since it is not commercialized and involves no gifts. Instead, the focus is on good food (lots of it) and being with friends or family.

There is a lot to be thankful for. I’ll make sure to mention our good health and that of our families and friends, something I took for granted for many years, but that is not a given. I am thankful for the freedom we have to live our life the way we want and for the choices we have made in the past. I am happy with my amazing husband and with our ability to experience, see and do more with less. We have few needs and they are all fulfilled.

While we were on Irie those eight years, it was hard to celebrate Thanksgiving, especially when there were no fellow Americans – or turkeys – around. In 2007, during our first year of cruising, we were “adopted” by a sweet retired couple sailing in the exact same boat as us. They invited us over on their Fountaine Pajot Tobago for a Thanksgiving feast along the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway). It was so nice of them! I wish I took some photos back then.

The years after that, not much effort was being done on our part. We were mostly carried away with the daily life and chores on board. During the second part of our cruising life, Mark would roast a chicken in our oven or we would buy some thick slices of turkey if we could find them.

Thanksgiving Day in 2012, Linton, Panama:

In 2013, Thanksgiving fell on my birthday. Initially, I was not impressed, preferring two separate special days. But, we moved to a prettier area of the Marquesan island Nuku Hiva, followed by a few friends. My birthday breakfast with a group of great people was a blast and we joined our friends from Iona on their family boat for an incredible Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving in 2014 was celebrated on a small scale again, just the two of us on Irie, in Maupiti, French Polynesia.

Last year, we had the full experience of a real Thanksgiving, organized by Mark’s brother and sister-in-law: amazing food and the presence of the whole family. It was so nice!

This year, we were by ourselves again, on the other side of the country. It was the first time Mark ever roasted a whole turkey for us. We found a small 10-pound one and cooked up some beautiful trimmings as well. I feel stuffed from last night! And, I still have my birthday to look forward to… πŸ™‚

I hope all of my American friends and family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. My sister’s birthday is right around Thanksgiving too. Isn’t it wonderful to have a whole day devoted to being thankful- and eating? Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday!

    • Thank you, Lucy! I hope the three of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. Did you find and eat turkey? How about Hastings? We did sneak Herk some of the delicious meat… πŸ™‚

  2. I loved seeing all the ways that you’ve celebrated over the years. My husband’s and my Thanksgiving plans fell through at the last minute due to an illness at the host’s house so it ended up just the two of us. And, it was really nice. Thankfulness comes in all shapes and sizes.

    Have a wonderful birthday!

    • Thank you! That’s unfortunate about the change of plans, Janis. But, it sounds like you had a nice time after all. You are so right. I find myself often being thankful for the smallest things, things that are taken for granted by many. I truly enjoyed my hot, pressurized shower this morning and feel fortunate being able to take one every single day. We are so spoiled with running water. πŸ™‚

  3. After reading your blog post, I’m sitting here feeling like I made a mistake by not doing something special to mark Thanksgiving day — it really is a great holiday. Maybe next year . . . .

    Happy Birthday,
    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • Thank you for the wishes! You did write a great blog about Thanksgiving, Stephanie. I think that counts. While it is a wonderful holiday, I wonder how many people actually take a moment to think about or list the things they are thankful for? So much is being taken for granted these days. I do hope you had some good food as well, though. πŸ™‚

  4. Nothing for it but to wish you the happiest of birthdays! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. I love your past and present posts, Liesbet. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday!
    PS- Will you post on birthdays past and present? I would love to read about that!

    • Haha. You know, Donna. I was actually thinking about that, but decided on Thanksgiving instead. It would be easier to do the birthdays, since I remember them better. So… maybe. I feel like that post might be too similar to the Thanksgiving one, since it is around the same period. I am happy taking requests, though. πŸ™‚ And, something else… I have been contemplating using my birthdays over the last decade as a thread for my memoir. Then I think that is too self-centered and boring. Maybe I’ll play around with the idea on my blog or in an article instead.

  6. First of all, let’s get the important stuff out of the way – Happy, happy birthday!

    I’m with Mark on liking Thanksgiving because it isn’t commercialized and there’s no gifts or special things you feel compelled to buy, other than the turkey. Your spread this year looks fabulous. I’m guessing you had leftovers for a few days, even with a relatively smaller turkey.

    • Thank you for the wishes, Ellen. I had a pretty nice time! You know what? We are still eating turkey and will be for a couple more days. Blame it on eating out this weekend and another special meal for my B-day! πŸ™‚ Since I don’t like eating too much meat, I only eat the turkey for dinner in the evenings. Mark has been on it for lunch as well…

  7. Happy birthday!

    We had a grand Thanksgiving, having both Sheryl and my families over on consecutive days. I fired up the smoker and prepared some delicious turkey while the rest of the family members provided other delicious dishes. Needless to say, I will be spending a few weeks trying to cycle these recently acquired pounds away.

    • I am still working on that as well, Ryan… the eating of the turkey, the digesting of it and trying to loose the extra pounds and stuffed feeling! Something tells me that you are a fabulous cook! I”m glad you enjoyed this special time with both families and wonderful food.

  8. What a variety of Thanksgivings you have had! I must say last year’s looks like quite a feast! That is a lot of pie. Yummy! Wishing you a Happy Birthday and hope you have a special way to celebrate your day.

    • Thank you, Sue. We had a nice time. So much easier to come up with gifts and activities when safely settled on shore. πŸ™‚ Thanksgiving last year was the most common way for many American families, I suspect. Loads of great food, all cooked up by my amazing sister-in-law!

  9. My favorite of your settings…Maupiti! Gorgeous!


    • Maupiti was special – a tricky and very remote atoll. I am waiting for an article I wrote about it to be published in a notable sailing magazine… πŸ™‚

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