I had just wrapped a four-week stay in Europe; I worked in Barcelona and 4 cities in Italy. I was doing what I love most: leading exercise, educating instructors, and promoting the growth of my business.

I was fascinated with each place I visited; surrounded by ancient design and nurtured with old-world hospitality. I ate homemade traditional meals, and while I often stumbled through the basics of foreign languages – I was still met with patient and friendly faces.  Although I worked every day, I also slept late and I ate cookies.  My general pace of life had slowed… and instead of feeling guilty, I felt revitalized – it’s the European way… and I like it.

IMG_0700My last night was in Trestevere – essentially the Greenwich Village of Rome. It feels familiar to me, a home I’ve never actually lived in. I’ve been there about a dozen times, always returning to my favorite shops, restaurants and people. I was sitting with my dog, Foxy Brown, and enjoying my last glass of wine at a cafe, when I received a text that my flights home (scheduled for the following morning) had been cancelled. Lufthansa was on strike.

I’ll spare you the details – but all in all – two extra hotel nights, and days of shuffling between airport terminals. It took me three days to return home.

Terrible? No, not terrible. I mean, really – with the state of the world the way it is? This was as annoying as the fly that keeps buzzing, or a video rebuffering.

However, it was a stark reminder that I wasn’t on US soil, and the rules that I was raised with didn’t apply here. For the first time in four weeks, I felt vulnerable and far away from home.


IMG_6813And, already – it’s time to be vulnerable again. This morning, I boarded one of six flights which I’ll take over the next 2 days. SIX?  Yep – I managed this trip in an affordable way – no – not at all glamorous. I’m going to a wedding, though – for a dear a dear friend in India, then to visit another friend and learn life in Ahmedabad. I’ll teach at a conference, and then spend seven 8-hour days lecturing… in Istanbul.

Istanbul – this finally brings me to the point of my article. I was there only once before – and I fell in love. The people, the food, the citywide daily call for prayer – all unexpectedly captured me… and to be honest – I can’t wait to return. It will be the highlight of all my travel this year.

To save a bit of money – in order to get to India for the wedding on Thursday, I flew today (Tuesday) through Istanbul (total 18 hours) – and then ill take more flights to Jaipur (17 hours). So, I’ll be in Turkey in just a day from now.

Well, this morning, I woke to a text from a friend. She told me of the news I hadn’t heard yet; the Turkish military had shot down a Russian aircraft, which (once again) had violated Turkish airspace.


So – where does this leave me? Now I feel like I’m traveling further away than I ever have before. Foreign soil, and a close up view of wartime. Well, at least as close as I ever hope to be.

I messaged two dear friends in Istanbul – wishing them safety, and then I boarded my first flight – the beginning of the journey which will take me into Istanbul by tomorrow.

I’m in-flight as I ask myself: am I doing the right thing? Should I be “smart” and reschedule my life?

Being who I am, I couldn’t help but make the ironic connection: it’s our USA “Turkey Day” – Our Thanksgiving Day which signifies gratitude for all that “God” has provided us. Recognizing the feast, the cornucopia – an overflowing of goodness. This day born though a group of pilgrims who stormed the coast of a landmass, and took the territory that belonged to the Native Americans.

And here I go, off to Turkey – a country busy defending its territory.  No one knows how this military altercation will progress, although was I watch CNN in-flight, I learn that Vladimir Putin vows “serious consequences”.

Good God, the irony.

I want to share this story, because it’s too significant for me not to put into writing.

There’s no moral. It’s just my story.

And, in my story, I’m giving thanks: I’m thankful for the life I’ve been given. I’m thankful for the freedom and comfort I have in the US, and the push I’ve been given to exercise my rights, and create the life I dream of. My cup has truly overflowed with goodness.  I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to share my gifts with the world, and create a life of adventure for myself. And, although I’m thankful for this journey, I look forward to returning home to my family and friends and Miss Foxy Brown.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends and family! Enjoy your Turkey, and I will too! And, whomever you are, reader, and wherever you live, take a moment to think about your life; your dreams, your loved ones, and protecting the territory, your territory that you’ve learned to love.

Stacey Lei Krauss

Stacey Lei Krauss

Stacey Lei Krauss is the creator and developer of the globally recognized barefoot cardio fusion program, The willPower Method®. Specializing in foot-fitness since 2000, she helps people understand why and how to develop healthy, fit bodies, from the ground up. Reiki practitioner and student of transformational arts, she's a mover, writer, traveler, and general truth-seeker. Recipient of the 2014 ECA Best Female Presenter Award, she's the Mindful Music Advisor for Power Music® and has programmed educational courses and workouts for Nike , Vibram FiveFingers®, BOSU®, Schwinn® Cycling, and Peak Pilates® .