Why Traveling Won’t Make you Happy: A Letter from a Lost Soul

“It is easier to assume that the things you want in life are going to make you happy than it is to question why you currently aren’t.”

A Search for Happiness.

After arriving in Spain, I realized that I fell into the same trap that I always do.

I assumed that if I changed my outside world, then my inside world would follow. This is because I tend to point to circumstances in my life for why I am unhappy.

I blame the outside world for my unhappiness, more specifically, my surroundings.

I point to my living situation, city, or even my country as the reason why I am so deeply discontent.

I think that happiness is on the other side of where I currently am and if I only travel or move to the right place I will find it. I make the all too common mistake of changing everything around me in an attempt to change how I feel.

But recently I’ve begun to realize that I put too much focus and energy on trying to change my perception of the things outside of me that I think are making me unhappy rather than asking myself why I am unhappy to begin with.

Where Do We Go Wrong?

I think we point to people, circumstances, or any physical aspect as a reason for our unhappiness because it creates certainty.

We look for reasons why we are unhappy that our outside of us in an attempt to have a concrete definition.

It gives our mind something definable and tangible to help make sense of the way we interact with this world. Once we identify the very thing that is the perceived source of our unhappiness, that means we have identified where we can place the blame.

By having something to blame, we create a way to “fix” our unhappy state while continuing to stay there because it can’t truly address the real issue. We become convinced that until whatever the problem in our life changes, we can't. 

The Depression Still Lingers.

Placing the blame outside of ourselves is dangerous.

By doing so, we are convincing ourselves that we understand the reason for our sorrow. We are perpetuating the belief that we can obtain happiness only if we can properly manipulate the outside world to our liking.

Until we structure everything around us the way we envision, happiness seems as though it is both within sight yet currently unobtainable. We tell ourselves that we know what will make us happy until we found out it doesn’t.  

I choose to believe that happiness is dependent on something external because it allows me to disconnect from my deeper truth. If I put the blame on something outside of me, then I don’t have to take responsibility for how I feel and why. If I keep telling myself that I am unhappy because of the city that I live in, then I understand the root of the problem and thus no internal reflection or actually inner work is needed.

Projecting happiness to a distant time or place is an attempt to avoid looking at my present internal state. Doing so allows me to avoid going deep within myself and digging through all the past hurts that I am still holding onto. Ultimately it is easier to distract myself then it is to confront myself.   

I am trying so desperately to convince myself that the next place I travel or move to is going to make me happy. I want to believe it that once I make it to the ideal location, I will finally find the peace that I am looking for. Once I get to where I want to go, then I will be happy. I simply just assume that the things I want in life are going to make me happy because it is easier that way. But I have been down this same road so many times before that I am starting to see through the bullshit. Even though I know the direction I need to go internally, I find that I am still resisting.

Why We Runaway From Ourselves.

There is something about truly dissecting my inner world and self that still scared me. I’m refusing to fully take an emotional inventory because I fear what I am going to find.

In some ways, I fear the very things that are inside of me because I know that once I expose them to myself, then I must exposed the same truth to the world.

Once I find out the truth about myself, then I am forced to face it. The thought of shedding light on my most inner fear, flaws, and insecurities scares me more than anything else but, despite that fear, I know that the only way for me to heal myself is to honest with what is causing me pain to begin with.

But just like everything else in life, happiness is a balance. It is a balance between letting go and moving forward. It is balance between releasing the things that are causing you pain while at the same time moving towards the very things that bring you life. 

Shifting Blame to Inner Wisdom.

We all want to be happy, but are we able to truly identity what happiness is, or more importantly, what it feel like for us individually?

My journey of understanding happiness is leading me to begin to release blame and with it my overall focus is starting to shift. Instead of focusing on the things that I think cause of my unhappiness I am beginning to start living and thinking on the other side of the equation. 

I am beginning to identifying the things that are in alignment and fully correlate with my personal version of happiness.

They are not things of this world, but instead they are feelings.

If happiness is a feeling, or a state of being, then to identity how you want to feel would be the first step in the direction towards happiness instead of trying to manipulate the things around you that you think are to blame.

Happiness is not found in what you are giving up or changing, instead it is what you are gaining emotionally. In order to move into those feelings you want, things will need to change. But the things that will be lost are a byproduct of moving forward, not happiness itself.

I've now finally begun to realize that I've been confusing the two for too long. 

If you want to hear more on this topic, listen to Episode 17 of the Podcast.