I travel because it makes me happy.
But why does travel make me happy?
Travel makes me happy by its power to inform & transform. Travel puts me outside my comfort zone and forces me to get off auto-pilot.
And when does travel make me happy? Travel happiness hits me in three distinct stages, over time.
These Travel=Happiness stages are:
1) Pre-Travel- the anticipation of travel makes me happy. I think I’m the happiest when planning and anticipating a trip. The tingly excitement can last for many months! This stage lasts the longest and is the most creative.
2) Travel- the time spent traveling makes me happy. By being in a new place my awareness of surroundings is heightened, my senses are on high, and I reflect simultaneously on where I’ve been and where I’m going (literally and figuratively.) This stage is finite. I tend to travel in increments of weeks, perhaps everyone does? The travel stage lasts one, two, three weeks if I’m lucky.
3) Post-Travel- yes, coming home makes me happy. There’s nothing like the welcome familiarity of coming home to my own home, my family, my work/club/social friends, my full wardrobe again, my belongings all where I left them, my desk and my computer, my favorite cafés; in other words, my routine. This is the stage where I feel gratitude. I’m alive; I’m healthy; I have been fortunate enough to travel. This is also the stage that wears off the fastest, and thus the cycle begins anew as I begin to plan a trip in the future.
This reflection on my travel=happiness equationis the result of spending the better part of a week working in the Azamara Club Cruisesoffices in Miami. In a meeting of the marketing and creative teams we had a long discussion around the question “What are the emotions you feel when you think of the word TRAVEL?”And then, hitting me like a one-two punch, I’m in the Miami Airport yesterday waiting for my return flight to California and by chance someone sends me a link to the YouTube video #HAPPYDAY Supercut .
I have time to kill while I sip my coffee and wait to board so I click into it. I am hooked. I watch the full 12:32 minutes of this phenomenally happy video! It makes me want to travel. Heck, it makes me feel like I am traveling! It’s a compilation of thousands of user-submitted videos from around the world choreographed to the song “Happy”from the 2013 movie Despicable Me 2,written, produced and performed by the Grammy-winning artist, Pharrell Williams.
(If you haven’t watched the video yet, click into it now and then come back and finish reading this blog…please come back!)
This is one of those coincidences that I can’t ignore. Here’s what I see in the #HAPPYDAY Supercut. I see pure unabashed joy on the faces of everyone dancing from babies, to priests, to firemen, to ballerinas, and yes, to people obviously traveling. I see proof we are all part of one small world. I am reminded of my belief that there are far more similarities between the people of the world, than there are differences between us. Happiness is universal. This video represents visually and emotionally why I love to travel.
Now a bit of background:for weeks I’ve seen various versions of this video. There’s a fun Cruise Shipping Miami version with many familiar faces; literally all the top executives of the cruise industry dancing. (Keep your eyes peeled for our own Larry Pimentel around the 1:30 mark!)
That was the first one that came over the social media to my inbox. Then someone sent me one posted from Venice, and so on and so on. It wasn’t until this #HAPPYDAY Supercuthit my inbox that I wondered What’s up? Why are so many #HappyDay videos coming over the blogosphere lately?
It turns out that March 20, 2014 was the second annual United Nation Foundation’s “ International Day of Happiness ”.To support the day and the cause, Pharrell Williams launched a campaign specifically in support of the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).Pharrell asked fans to post videos choreographed to his song “Happy” to bring awareness to the need of people living in devastated and/or war-torn areas all over the world. In 24 hours they received more than 1,300 videos from 70 countries!
If you haven’t seen this video, I urge to you to watch it. You’ll better understand my equation travel = happiness, which also leads to the equation travel = compassion & understanding. I’m listening to this song as I write. I invite you to listen to and see if you don’t feel happy! I’d love to hear why travel makes you happy. Respond to me via the blog and I’ll get back to you.
As Roy Rogersused to sing as he’d sign off his TV show….
Happy trails to you…
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