It’s an easy mistake.

We’ve all done it.

Heck, some of us are doing it right now.

You plan your travels, you look at maps, apps and blog posts. You scrimp and save  and go without.

No dining out, no Starbucks, no pay T.V and a night out on the town?

Forget about it.

Fun is pretty much band.

You’re sacrificing your happiness for travel.

Sure, life sucks at the moment but it’ll be worth it in the end, and you’ll do a little happy dance when you hop on that plane.

Woman in white cape

Most of us are brought up to think this way, we’re encouraged, applauded even, to set goals and make sacrifices to achieve them.

Goals are fantastic, they give us something to look forward to and work towards. They’re what dreams become when we take action, and help us live a life of our own creation.

The thing is, we risk being so caught up in our goals and thoughts of our exciting future, that we forget to enjoy our life right now.

And we lose sight of our happiness as we become more and more attached to those goals

Take this young work colleague of mine. She’s been saving hard for a three month trip around Europe, by doing extra shifts and working weekends.

She hadn’t had a night out in ages, but she was happy to make sacrifices for her big trip – she was making her dreams come true.

But she was miserable.

Working all the time, going without – not having fun – had sucked those shining dreams right out of her. She was tired, lethargic and just plain fed up.

She was sacrificing her happiness for travel.

We’ve sacrificed our happiness for travel too. And I guess it seems like it was worth it, we’ve had some amazing experiences that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

But joy comes from the soul, it needs to be cared for and nurtured; it’s not a destination, or the result of some grand achievement .

Andrew and elephants

One morning she greeted me with a dazzling smile, joy beaming out like a ray of sunshine. She’d taken the weekend off to go out with her friends and couldn’t believe how fantastic she felt.

She’d reignited the fire in her belly that was her travel dreams, and her joy was bubbling over.

It was wonderful to see and made me smile.

 

Whatever happens, whatever you experience, feel, think, do – it’s always now. It’s all there is. – Eckart Tolle

 

All a person has is right now, but we forget to enjoy what now is giving us.  Our “monkey minds” as Buddhists call them, focuses on a future that promises more excitement, more thrills, more fulfilment.

More happiness.

When that future is never guaranteed.

This was made very real to me, when another work colleague, died suddenly and tragically the day before he was to take a trip on the Ghan Railway. He’d been looking forward to it for a while, and it saddens me that he never got to take that train journey.

But it’s also comforting to know he was enjoying the gifts of nature and died doing something he loved.

He didn’t sacrifice his happiness waiting for a better tomorrow.

Colourful girls in water - Varkala

It’s not that I’m saying we shouldn’t strive for something better. Or not to have dreams and goals. Or even that we shouldn’t look forward to a better tomorrow; when looking forward has the power to thrill and tantalize us right now.

But I am saying, not to focus so hard on your travel dreams you sacrifice your happiness and lose your zest for life.

You owe it to yourself to enjoy every moment of your life not just the ones that happen while you’re travelling. It’s a cliché, but truly, we should be living each day as if it’s our last.

Don’t let those precious moments slip away thinking they’re worthless, of no value, because something better is on its way.

What if you’re so busy thinking of your trip you miss something beautiful and amazing that’s happening right now.

Slow down.

Breathe.

Open your eyes and look around.

Take a break from whatever you’re doing and have some fun.

Relish the moment and find gratitude for what’s here instead of worrying about what isn’t.

Another word for now is present, and it truly is a gift.  

 

 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

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