Always looking forward: is it the key to happiness?

Travel, Uncategorized

Everybody says that the best part about doing anything is the looking forward to it. I, myself, have known this to be true in the past. From the hype at Christmas time to the build up to New Year’s Eve – the lead up to just one solitary day is often when the fun really happens.

And for the past year I have had nothing to look forward to. I mean, I have experienced the most I have ever experienced in my life. My partner and I have backpacked through South America, driven an RV through the southern States of the USA, played gigs in Colombia, and caught trains and buses through California, all in one year.

But every month of 2015 was so jam-packed, that at the end of such an eventful year I’ve realised what I’ve missed. The hype.

It’s not that I haven’t looked forward to things. Like this week we are moving to Australia – that’s pretty exciting and I am excited. It’s just that when I try to get excited I remember that I am in Santiago in Chile and I should really be excited about that, not about what’s happening next week.

When you look forward to something you are essentially creating the event in your mind. And during this process you inevitably make it seem greater and longer than it will eventually turn out to be. It’s not your fault, you can’t help it. And during this imagining you enjoy yourself, it makes you happy.

The only thing is that as you build up an event, when the event actually takes place it can sometimes be a disappointment. The best example would be New Year’s Eve. It’s not even a build up to a night, it’s a build up to one moment, and so much can go wrong in one moment.

By looking forward to something too much you give the event an additional pressure, a pressure that wouldn’t exist if it was taking place tomorrow and you’d only just found out about it. You could argue it becomes a little unnatural.

But does it mean you enjoy events less because you look forward to it? I’m not sure. If you don’t look forward to something, don’t build up to something, if you just had everything tomorrow, would you not take it for granted?

Most people save, prepare and hope to enjoy one big holiday a year. This process gives the holiday a greater value, above and beyond the money it’s worth. If you could afford to take ten holidays a year would you not get a little “used” to being on holiday and start to see it as normal?

As we travel from place to place, we see new and exciting things. But after a year of travelling seeing new things start to become normal. We see new things every day.

I’ve realised that a lot of the value of an event is in the looking forward to it. It’s an idea that I took for granted before travelling for a year. The idea of saving and preparing for an event is exciting, it’s also valuable, precious even.

We leave for our new life in Australia next week – maybe there we can remind ourselves what it’s like to look forward to trips again. And find out if this will add to our enjoyment. At least we can say we are always moving forward, if not looking forward to trips to come, and living in the moment at the same time. A balancing act we are learning to grasp as long term travellers looking for happiness in this world.

Keep looking forward my travelling friends!

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3 thoughts on “Always looking forward: is it the key to happiness?

  1. I’m a traveler from Australia and I can so relate to your post. The planning and anticipation of any trip makes it doubly exciting. Hope you have an awesome trip down under.

    Like

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