The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
I am the farthest from a grump that any person could possibly. I pretty much LOVE everything and every new song, new movie, new book, is my FAVORITE EVER. My excitement levels are constantly out of control. My voice is so loud because I’m always “TOO” enthusiastic and the littlest things can make me grin until my cheeks hurt. I love being happy.
About a year ago I realized I was losing some of that spark. I was more cynical and I wasn’t “loving” things the way I usually did. I was stuck in a rut, I wasn’t focusing on myself, and I wasn’t in a place that let me love life the way I wanted to. I needed a change and I needed it to be something big to really shake me up. That is how I came up with the idea for my life tagline – “When you can’t travel, read. But when you an, leave”. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make a major change in a weeks time (tough for a girl with no patience), but I still needed to feel like I was experiencing the adventure I was craving. So I turned to my books.
I have been picking many of my recent choices based on places I want to go or countries I am unfamiliar with. These kinds of books take me out of my current seat and I can imagine being somewhere completely new. I spend about 3 hours total per day commuting, and in that time I can be in Hungary, Africa, Iceland, or Thailand, and it reminds me there is a world out there bigger than myself.
Eric Weiner defines himself as “not a happy person” right off the bat, so his perspective was going to be one entirely different than mine, and that is a great thing. You can’t experience something new if you’re always thinking inside the same box. Eric talks about the world’s happiest countries and the most miserable, and what it is that makes them that way. He doesn’t claim that this experience made him a happy person, but that it helped him understand the meaning of happiness and how it is sought throughout the world. Through Eric’s travels I was able to experience Bhutan, Iceland, Moldova, and more, all the while focusing on just being happy – how could you not have some positive thoughts bumping around in your head after that?
Something Eric says really stood out to me:
Either way, an important ingredient in the good life, the happy life, is connecting to something larger than ourselves, recognizing that we are not mere blips on the cosmic radar screen but part of something much bigger.” (p. 110)
I was feeling like a blip. I wasn’t a part of the universe, I was feeling like an inconsequential nothing in the corporate cog not contributing to the world around me. And I was not okay with that. He also talks about transformative geography, something that I think is important for everyone to consider. You become stagnant in one place after a long time and for me, that thought gives me the travel bug hard, but for you it might be different; maybe all the travel you need is through the wardrobe to a new land for a few hours to shake up your energy. That being said I am living out my life motto: for now I am reading but soon I will be leaving and experiencing the something bigger I’ve been looking for.