Happy International Happiness Day !
In honour of a day devoted to happiness, and throwing in a dash of inspiration taken from the #travelsparksjoy tag that’s doing the rounds, I thought it would be nice to talk about the travel experiences that create happiness. Obviously, what aspect of travel sparks joy is going to vary from traveller to traveller but for me…
Travel on a Budget.
Some people love luxury, and I’m certainly not averse to it, but meeting the challenge of family travel on a budget actually does make me happy. Making the money stretch pushes me to immerse myself in the destination. Thorough pre-departure research, using public transport, shopping in local supermarkets, lots of walking. It starts with a tight budget but it builds into a rich experience. Not that we don’t have our moments, but that’s another post altogether…
Finding The Stories
We travel to places, but places are keepers of stories. Some true, some not and some that have grown in the telling. Seeking out stories is something that really does ‘spark joy’ for me. From the Disappearing Rabbits of Berlin to discovering the Wild West in Edinburgh, there are stories everywhere.
Losing My Heart to A City
I think everyone has visited somewhere they’ve fallen in love with. No surprises here, for me it’s Berlin. Germany’s capital is seething with contradictions and forever evolving and I love it. If you ever need evidence that it is possible to survive many things and bounce back larger than life, look no further than Berlin. Every time I go, my heart is full of joy. And every time I leave, I know it’s not goodbye. Only, until next time.
Going Off the Beaten Track
This doesn’t always mean going to the wildest, furthest corners of the earth. Travel to a place that doesn’t jump out as a destination. Go somewhere not many Brits get to. Go there and back to see how far it is. Sense of humour essential for the awkward moments and times it doesn’t quite go as you hoped.
Doing Something You Shouldn’t.
Right. Lets be clear, I’m not talking smuggling or theivery or anything too naughty here. But a bit of urbex, like exploring an abandoned building or poking around where you know you shouldn’t really. Well, that can be exciting. Nothing like some shenanigans to perk up a trip. I’m not saying anyone should do this kind of thing, but if you do its usually good fun. Just don’t go it alone and keep your wits about you.
Bit of a self-indulgent one, but a few days in a hotel really does make me happy. Liberated from dealing with laundry and cleaning and thinking about the demands of the day-to-day, a hotel stay is like pressing a re-set button. There are few things nicer than coming back to your room at the end of a busy days sight-seeing to find the bed neatly made and the hospitality tray restocked. A good hotel room is a happy little haven.
Bringing Travels Home
Alas, all good things must come to an end. A well-chosen souvenir preserves the joy of a trip. Ideally go for something you use, consume or display. Because kitsch buys are fun but if they end up shoved in a drawer or to the back of a shelf, they’ll soon be forgotten. Put a map or a piece of art on display. Buy a mug or a bottle opener. Eat and drink things you bought locally. Bring a bit of travel happy home.
Of course, life isn’t all about travel. It’s about balance. Sometimes going away makes you happy to come home. What makes me happy when I’m at home? Simple pleasures, really. A house full of fresh flowers. Folding a pile of laundry that’s been dried outside. Long walks with the dog through the woods. Reading. Getting caught up in a good TV show (Current pleasure, Deutschland 86. Oh look, Berlin connection. Again) And, of course, planning the next adventure.
Whatever makes you happy, I hope you can make time to do it today. And I’d love to know what or where it is that sparks travel joy for you. Lets chat in the comments.