Hawaiian sunset as seen in Kona

May is National Smile month, and it made me think about the things that make me happy, that warm the cockles of my heart, that make me smile.  It was no surprise to discover that most of them are related in some way to travel.

Here are 50 things that make me smile:

  1. A fully packed (and organized) bag
  2. Watching an airplane take off  and and wondering where it’s going
  3. The Coliseum in Rome (the first time I saw it I had to wipe away the tears)
  4. A well-used passport
  5. Maps, the paper kind that you can pour over and plot out where you want to go
  6. UNESCO World Heritage Sites (although a few make me cry)
  7. Guidebooks, I have some favorites, but I like reading them all
  8. Fresh lemons picked off the tree in Sicily and used to make lemonade
  9. First class, although it rarely happens
  10. Business class and lie flat seats
  11. GPS
  12. Free wi-fi access
  13. Crisp and refreshing Prosecco
  14. Champagne, the real stuff
  15. The Golden Gate Bridge
  16. Travel apps
  17. A spa treatment
  18. Opening a bottle of Brunello sent home from a visit to Montepulciano
  19. Airline fare wars
  20. The New York skyline
  21. A boarding pass
  22. The Washington Monument
  23. Travel bloggers, especially the Travel Blog Mob
  24. Warm ocean breezes, sunsets and sunrises in Hawaii
  25. Museums
  26. Having espresso with Silvano and Marguerite in the small town of Contignano (population under 200)
  27. Gelato, the real stuff
  28. Burratta mozzarella, a recently discovered tasty delight
  29. Taking off from Seattle and flying close by Mt. Rainier
  30. Flying over the Grand Canyon
  31. The Arc d’ Triomphe, and the crazy drivers on the round-about
  32. Finding a stash of left over foreign currency
  33. Mastering the metro system, no matter the city
  34. A picnic with fresh goodies from a local market
  35. Owning an electricity converter
  36. Wine tasting
  37. Traveling to a new destination (this year it will be Portugal)
  38. Ruins
  39. Discovering small, family owned restaurant and cafes
  40. Clearing the standby list
  41. Lemoncello
  42. Seeing friends and making new ones
  43. Mountains
  44. Beaches
  45. Uploading travel photos to flickr
  46. Good coffee
  47. Travel blogging
  48. Connecting with old friends
  49. Making new friends
  50. Coming home, because it means that it’s time to start planning the next great adventure

Do you relate to any of these?  What makes you smile?  Put a smile on my face, or keep it there, by sharing it in the comments.


This blog post is part of the Travel Blog Mob’s tribute to National Smile month.  The Travel Blog Mob is a group of independent travel bloggers who share a love of travel and a respect for the craft of travel blogging.  Here’s what the other “mobsters” are smiling about:

  • Jen at The Vacation Gals
  • Jessie at Wandering Educators
  • Wil at Spot Cool Stuff
  • Beth at Wanderlust & Lipstick
  • Amie at Ciao Bambino
  • Katie at BootsnAll


Photo credit:  personal collection of Mary Jo Manzanares