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Is Happiness Truly Not a Destination?

How Self-Induced Isolation Led Me to a Better Life

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.”- Roy L. Goodman

I used to hear this daily in my search for a better life. Again and again advice-givers would jam this quote down my throat.

Yet no matter how many times I heard it, I never thought it was practical. As a result, I tried something a little different.

Instead of altering my way of traveling, I stopped traveling altogether. 

Two years ago I quit my job, severed contact with my friends, deleted my social media profiles, unplugged my television and lived a life mostly in isolation.

My daily life consisted of:

10 hours of sleep, 5 hours of walking alone, 2 hours of eating and 7 hours of reading the best self-help, happiness and religious books that I could find.

In the first 6 months, I walked over 3,500 miles and read over 100 books about improving happiness and well-being.

As a result of this massive and borderline psychotic action, I learned 4 important life lessons:

Happiness is a way of traveling, sure. So choose your method of transportation wisely. 

Life is hard. So make it easier on yourself.

It is going to be difficult to find happiness and fulfillment if we continue to entrench ourselves in social media, mobile apps and television. It will be difficult to appreciate our experience if we work 8 hours a day at something in which we find no purpose or meaning. It will be tiresome to travel fulfilled if we continue to surround ourselves with negative people who bring us down.

Our habits, internally and externally, shape who we are. While it is possible to “look at the bright side” of things and attack the less favorable aspects of our lives with a smiling face and positive attitude, it is difficult to sustain this over time without real change.

The easiest way to travel happy and fulfilled is to TAKE MASSIVE ACTION. If you find that you are not happy with certain aspects of your life, change them. If you are stuck in a relationship that is hurting you, end it. If you are in a job that you hate, quit.

The great thing about life is that you get to pick your mode of transportation. We all find it easier to travel smiling with a working engine and air conditioning. Yet many of us insist that we don’t need A/C while we fake a smile and soak in sweat on the side of the road.

You have control over your way of living. Why not pick the life that best serves you?

Travel through your fears.

Traveling happy is traveling without fear. Moreover, the only way to lose your fear is to face it.

Happiness is traveling with a smile straight into the heart of your demons. In many instances, the only pathway to fulfillment is through a tunnel of fear. While it is uncomfortable to drive straight into the dark, we must be willing to travel into it to see the light.

It’s okay to travel alone.

Recently, many science-based articles have been telling us how bad sustained loneliness is for our health. They note how important social interactions are for a long life.

Both are proven to be true statements. 

However, what science can’t tell us is that without solitude, we will never truly know ourselves. Without solitude, we will continue to see ourselves through the lens of others.

If we don’t spend any time hanging out with ourselves, how will we know who we are? How can we hear the whispers of our inner being in a room full of people? How will we know what choices are best for us personally if we base our decisions off of others’ advice?

You must listen to yourself to live your best life, and the best way to listen is in solitude.

There are no accidents in happy traveling

The phrase, “…Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination” is a catch 22. In order to find the best way of traveling, we must make happiness our preferred destination.

Happiness isn’t something that we just switch on and we all of the sudden start thinking positively.

Traveling happy is a way of life that is carefully planned, sought after and consciously achieved. The skills of a happy and peaceful person are learned over time and take practice and consistent effort to cultivate and keep.

Even though happiness is a way of traveling, happiness must be the reason that we travel. With happiness as the purpose, we are better able to make and sustain positive internal and external changes in our lives. By implementing these changes with careful attention and consistent effort, happiness becomes our natural and habitual way of traveling. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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