What Travel Taught Me About Happiness

What Travel Taught Me About Happiness

Leif Harum

Sometimes happiness feels so elusive. You could be on the most glorious beach witnessing the most awe-inspiring sunset and still feel like garbage.

After 15 years of traveling through over 80 countries, here’s a few realizations that the road has taught me about happiness. Realizations that I all too often forget. 

Realization 1

We aren’t meant to be happy all the time. If we were, we wouldn’t even know the concept of happiness. If we constantly live under the impression that we need to be happy all the time, we’re constantly going to be disappointed when we’re not. 

Realization 2

There’s no drug either natural or man made on earth that will make you happy. I totally know what some of you are thinking, “Weed makes me pretty darn happy.” I know, weed makes me happy too. But the problem is, when the weed wares off, you forget where you put your car keys, or in my case where I put my room key, and you forget where you put the happiness as well. You end up continuously relying on the drug to experience happiness. Is it true happiness?

Realization 3

If you’re not happy in one place, you’re not going to be happy in the next. This is not to say that the suite at the Hyatt won’t make you happy because it chances are it will. But that happiness is fleeting. After 4 days you’ll feel exactly the same as if you were staying at that dump next to the parking lot. Happiness comes from within and nothing in the external world can truly change it.

Realization 4

It’s a lot easier to be happy than it is to be sad. A lot of us struggle under the misconception that contentment is hard to attain. In truth, the hardest part about it, is thinking that it’s hard. It takes much more energy to think negative and keep yourself down than it does to think positive and enjoy happiness. 


None of these ideas are revolutionary. They’re understandings that most all of us know. Unfortunately, they’re easy to forget. With the latest tech from Apple dangled on sticks in front of our screen glazed eyes, we equate happiness with the material. We get stuck in routines and form negative habits that become so ingrained that it’s difficult to see the light. That's why it is important to reflect often, and continue to strive towards greater understanding of ourselves and the true nature of our reality.