Having traveled to over 100 countries, with a location independent coaching business, I’ve had the privilege to study happiness. Here’s Part 2 of what I discovered about being happy.
8. Things don't buy happiness
I traveled countries no. 0-20 with a 10kg backpack. For countries no. 21-43, I upgraded to a 10kg wheeled suitcase, I'm a big girl now, with a job and salary!. From countries no. 44-47, I sold my home base and took to the road with everything I owned, fit neatly into a 22kg wheeled suitcase. For countries no. 48-86, I reduced my worldly belongings down to a 14kg suitcase. For the final 87-104, I lived exquisitely free out of a 10kg carry-on suitcase. Things don’t make me happy. Freedom makes me happy.
9. Belonging is tricky
From age 5, I knew I didn't belong: too quiet for the rowdy crowd, but not shy enough for the dorky crowd; too smart for make-up obsessed girls, but not prodigy enough for a gifted program; too tom-boy for the girls, but not girly enough for the boys; too white for the Asians, but not white enough for the WASPs. It took 70+ countries to realize that trying to fit in is an instant happiness killer.
10. Home is everywhere
Even though I belonged nowhere from age 0-31, I realized that my richest memories were forged away from my home country, abroad with my global Antigravity Yoga family, Girl Gone International family, Coaches Training Institute family, and Vipassana meditation family.
“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
– Dr. Seuss
11. Guilt serves no one
My family back home sent me pictures of freak snowstorms and I sent them pictures of me floating in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, sipping a blueberry smoothie. My friends in Europe sent me pictures of freak snowstorms. I sent them pictures of me on Pilipino white sand beaches sipping a mango lassie. Never be sorry for living up to your fullest capacity for joy. #sorrynotsorry
Wadi Rum, Jordan 2016 © Ellany Lea
12. When given nine lives, use them well
I completed a volunteer project in Vietnam and was headed to southern Thailand for Christmas holidays. I transited at the Singapore airport on Christmas Day 2004. I had some extra time to kill so perused around the airport and found a no-fee standby seat back to Canada. I thought, "Let's surprise the family for the holidays!" Little did I know that 3 hours after homeward bound flight took off, South East Asia was hit by a 9.6 tsunami!
13. Words carry power
In Jordan, I was followed for 5 long blocks by a man with both hands in his jacket pockets. I had taken self-defense classes, but I knew physical force was far from the answer. I walked toward a crowded restaurant. Then I whipped around and screeched like a banshee erupting from a volcano. I may have used the words, "You will regret the day you were born." I must have channelled every wounded girl or abused woman in the human history because he looked down and scurried off like a little mouse. Words are powerful, use them wisely.
14. There are no random coincidences
My bus from Dar Es Salam, Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya broke down. I waited 5 hours by the road, not having a clue what was going to happen next. Eh, it didn't matter. They squeezed us all onto the next bus, which arrived too late to cross the border. So we all somehow slept 3 to a seat on the bus. I didn't feel upset or bothered, which was odd. When I reached Nairobi, I found out that the bus ahead of us swerved off a cliff. Well that would explain why I was so eerily chill about the whole affair. My angels were with me!
In the end
When people are in fear, they label adventure as reckless, courage as crazy and uniqueness as wrong. May you not let their fears use up your nine lives. May the shooting stars in the Sahara desert, the spotted rays in the Belizean cayes, and the aurora borealis in the Norwegian tundra enchant you more than the criticism-laced fear of “those people.”