It got me thinking about all the stuff in our house we had packed up and waiting for us on our return. The boxes of stuff in the attic, possessions in the garage, tools, kitchen utensils, pictures, furniture. Did we really need it all, and why did we buy it in the first place?
Being and feeling happy is important to me. I guess for a lot of other people too. But what does happiness mean, how do we get it and how do we know if we have got there . . . ? I went through a lengthy stage in my life searching for happiness and doing that by, among other things, trying new experiences and buying stuff. Books, “finding myself” trips, listening to podcasts, exercise, a new bike (or two). I worked really hard on myself, but somehow it just didn’t seem to be enough.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you never, ever have enough”. Oprah Winfrey.
My 12 months away of course taught me something, even if it took me a while to realise. With all my possessions stored on a pack on my back I had abundance. I of course had a hotel roof over my head each night and enough money to feed and live day-to-day – but I didn’t need a houseful of stuff to feel happy. Aside from revelling in my new minimalist lifestyle, I learnt:
- To say yes more often: During my year of saying yes I found myself doing and enjoying things that previously would have scared me.
- It feels great to feel calm: I set out to give yoga more of a go on our trip, and I now definitely feel a calmer person. I feel, notice things and listen better than I used to and my sleeps have improved.
- To take my time: I enjoyed things more when we set down roots in a place, observed the local life and generally blended into to the neighbourhood. Tourism, for me, shouldn't be about “ticking” off sights and experiences . . .