[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /hap-ee-nis/]
- Definition: Feeling carefree, blissful, at ease, and content in general about life, yourself, your surroundings, your social situation, your financial situation, basically any situation, and you cannot go a day without having a big smile plastered on your face :)
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness” – Charles Spurgeon
Behold one of the most beautiful pictures I took when in Banff, Canada. With my cell phone, mind you. I cannot take a normal picture with my camera without it looking odd and skewed and all, but one quick shot with my mobile and this is what I get.
I never cease to amaze myself, I tell you.
Anyway, as most of you know I went on a trip around the western parts of Canada, a country I’d never visited before and which has been at the top of my list for ages.
My reason to go there was more than just to get another stamp in my passport (which I did, by the way, so yay!), because I needed peace. And quiet. And lots and lots of mountains, preferably.
2015 has gone down in the books as my personal Dark Year Of Never Ending Doom And Despair, and I needed some kick-ass cheering up. So what better way to clear your mind than to join a travelling group of singletons (just to get it clear: booking a trip for singles doesn’t necessarily involve people with no partner that want to hook up. Actually, it involves people who travel alone in a group. Sounds contradictory, but let’s just say we were with a large group, but no one knew each other beforehand as we were all travelling by our selves).
People, I still have it: travel magic! My group was thirty strangers big, the guide included, but apart from four youngsters who clung together and refused to make friends with the others, everyone was awesome! Even our guide was amazed by the fact that it didn’t matter who you sat next to, talked to, ate your dinner with, you were bound to have a good time.
Which is a pure blessing for someone like me, who finds making friends a very difficult thing to do.
Next, the weather. I never imagined it was possible to get a tan in Canada, but it is! I don’t think anyone believes I spent two weeks in Canada, as (especially) my face looks so bronze they probably all think we took a detour and stayed over in Hawaii!
In fact, on my last day a lady running a coffee stand in Stanley Park asked me and four others where we were from, because we were all so tanned. When we told her it was really her own country’s sun that had worked its magic on us, she didn’t believe us! D:
Maybe they should change Canada to Tanada. If only I had known this years ago, I’d have visited sooner! (Like, when I was in high school and people used to call me ghost. Well, that’s definitely over now!).
Third fun fact about the sun: even our Canadian bus driver got out of the bus eventually to take pictures of all the scenery he must have visited tons of times before, because, and I quote: “The weather makes everything look magical. You guys are so lucky!”
Final fun weather fact (well, at least fun for our travel group): the weather in the Netherlands was truly dreadful the past two weeks. Storms, lots of rain, lightning accidents, extreme cold, you name it. I’ve seen photos online of weather related incidents here when I was away, and it’s so hard to imagine, because all we got was sun sun sun! (Well, except when we visited Lake Louise, but the mist made it all look very mysterious so you don’t hear me complain).
Finally, we saw bears! :D Always when sitting in either a bus or a gondola, never when I was scanning the woods (why do bears never appear in woods but always on the open road or a field? I don’t get it!), but it was a-ma-zing! I do have a picture, but it’s nothing more than a black dot on a lot of grass :( Either way, I saw a real life bear and I live to tell the tale :)
The past two weeks were amazing, and I got all I wanted from my trip. Maybe even more than I asked for, but in a good way. If only the flight wasn’t so long and the time difference was less (9-8 hours earlier – it makes phoning home quite a challenge!), I’d go back tomorrow!
Being surrounded by kind, fun and caring people helped me learn to enjoy myself again, and having a hotel room all to myself made putting things into place easy. I left some bad stuff behind, feeling renewed and recharged, and finally remembered what it feels like to be happy. Extremely, genuinely, uncontrollably happy.
And I realised happiness is a choice. You don’t actually need to travel to the other side of the world to find inner peace, the only thing you have to do is look into yourself and filter out the bad stuff. Enjoy each day you are given and leave negativity behind.
Adding some awesome people and good music to the mix only makes that process a lot easier.
Canada was just what I needed. A change of scenery opens up new ideas, thoughts, feelings and experiences. Did I have to go there to find myself? Maybe not. But if I hadn’t, I might never have known that.
Besides, travelling broadens your horizon. And you really need a broad horizon if you want to spot a bear ;)