It was in the late '90's I was backpacking around the world, and for the first time in all of my travels had never been away from the United States on a uniquely American holiday.

That all changed when I found myself, on Thanksgiving day, in Hokitika, New Zealand. The photo below can't due the environment I was surrounded in justice - an entire mountain side covered in wildflowers, with a fog sitting on the ridge line, just after daybreak.

(Photo Provided by Chris Griffin)

It's Thanksgiving day. What would any American abroad do? I scuttled back to town to find me a TURKEY! I spoke with the grocer, butcher and any other shop with foodstuffs for sale in search of the essence of the meal I was hoping for. Only to learn from the tavern owner, THERE ARE NO TURKEYS in New Zealand. None, nada, nothing - Kiwi's know not the taste of turkey.

A meal of spiced lamb had to do, prepared and shared with all at my campsite. If I have to say, it was an unforgettable experience. I still remember it like yesterday almost 20 years on. I think once you explain a holiday that is woven so deeply into your psyche as Thanksgiving to people who have only tangentially heard of it, it leaves an impression on you, the teller.

(Photo Provided by Chris Griffin)

I made a number of great friends that Thanksgiving day, a few I'm still in touch with. And always serve lamb at Thanksgiving.