My first vacation in 15 months is coming up this week, and as I’ve been reading a book on different philosophies, it has me thinking about how we find our happiness in life. For me, it’s quite obvious that much of my pleasure in this world is taken from traveling throughout it, though it’s not always an attainable activity. And this got the ball rolling on what I thought of last night as I tried to sleep over my upstairs neighbor’s blasting music.
For nearly the first quarter of our lives we spend the time working in shifts. We look forward to beginnings and endings, with the basic being reaching Friday, the end of a semester, the summer, graduation, etc. These short term jaunts give you the ability to look ahead and see the light at the end of the tunnel in harder times, and give you an incentive to push on. If you have a lousy job during a summer break, you don’t stress about it too much because it’s just a temporary thing to make some cash, unlike the stress you would find in working a boring job you hate with no end in sight.
Yet after graduation, either high school or college, most people no longer have these short term cycles to freshen them up. Once you have a full time job and career, there are no summers off (unless your profession is something like education), and you can’t start from scratch in the fall even if you messed up in the spring. This can get you bogged down. A trick to avoid this is looking forward to something to do, whether it’s playing or watching sports, taking a course in cooking or a language, or in my case, traveling.
I look towards travel as a way out of the day to day grind and the mundane, and though I have gone many places most of my peers haven’t, I always think of the next place I want to visit. It’s this drive for wanting more that keeps me going and the prospect of taking off for a few days is my incentive. Nietzsche as a young man might have said that you shouldn’t strive for the pursuit of happiness but instead, the avoidance of pain and suffering. If you hope for only the best and have such high expectations, you can easily be disappointed. Yet if you just try avoid being let down, you will stay in a middle ground keeping you pleasantly surprised when things go well.
I don’t know if I totally agree with this, especially as it seems like a coward’s way to never take a chance, but you can apply it to travel in that you don’t need to strive to be a star actor in Hollywood to be happy. Instead, you can focus on things like a trip to the beach or a week vacation in a new place to find some happiness in your life. Think of it as travel philosophy.