What is Happiness?
It was 9:07 am in the morning in Milan, I was seating on an airbus A380, I was so excited to be travelling on the biggest airplane in the world. I still remember sending my last whatsapp to one of my special friends, more like my older brother, Carlos. I was about to start my first backpacker trip ever and I was heading to Thailand. Before turning off my cell phone, I could read a last message “remember who you are right now, because the person who will be back will not be the same” I still get goosebumps when I talk about it. He could not be more right. Traveling does change you, completes you, makes you grow.
Carlos is my Godmother’s son, and it is important for you to know who he is, because although he is not part of the team, he played a key role in all of this. He was a traveller before I started discovering the world, and definitely he set an example for me as I pushed to follow his steps. And here we are now, 60 countries after that and we still hopping into planes finding our next adventure. Many of which we live together. Carlos used to be an architect, but one day he found out it was not his path and became an expert in emotional intelligence, coaching and motivational speech. Now he looks for happiness around the world, and let me tell you, he motivated me to do the same thing.
On our last trip together, we were in Brunei, eating the weirdest food I have ever tasted (kind of a very sticky sour gum that you swallow without chewing!). We were having lunch with our new friend Mel, he took us to discover how Brunei people live and discover their customs. An amazing dude. Carlos asked him “what is for you happiness?” “happiness for me is making other people happy” Mel said. And I really liked the answer, because I realised I was in front of a good man, but also because that is my definition of happiness. I love making other people happy. And that is one of the reasons I started Smile Travel Learn. Because traveling makes me happy, but I want to help others to experience this way of travelling too. Because the best of travelling is not the places you visit or the things you see, the best thing about travelling is the people you come across, people like Mel, and also what they teach you.
Weeks later we were in Indonesia in the middle of a remote island that took two planes, two boats, a canoe and a total of 19 hours to reach. We were in the middle of the paradise. However, the owner of that humble cabin on the beach, meters away from turtles, sharks and the most amazing sea life I have ever seen in my life, told us “people believe this is paradise, but life here is tough. You can eat what you get, if you get sick, doctor is far far away, and if there is storm you are stuck in the island, nowhere to go. Happiness is not what tourists think it is." Sometimes my friend, changing the paradigm changes our whole world.
A couple of months later, while visiting Finland, I asked a street food vendor the same question, what is happiness for you?."He said: " Well, that’s a difficult question but you know, for me happiness is a second, just a small instant. That moment when you see an amazing sunset, that short time your son gives you a hug, or that moment when someone in the street gives you a smile, that’s happiness” and to be honest, for me there is little to argue on that. Can you keep the excitement of a first kiss for a long period of time? Or that feeling when you see an amazing sunset on a Caribbean beach? Can you hold that breath taken moments before the aurora borealis makes your eyes tearing up? From that point of view, happiness indeed is a second.
But for you, what is happiness for you?
Smile Travel Learn.