Author: Andrea Ramírez
I’m currently reading “A new earth”, a book by Eckhart Tolle. On the first chapter I read a paragraph which what I couldn’t agree more with:
“The people in the advertising industry know very well that in order to sell things that people don´t really need, they must convince them that those things will add something to how they see themselves or are seen by others, in other words, add something to their sense of self.”
Nowadays pretty much everything in this world is an industry: food, entertainment, clothing, transportation, and traveling. The logic goes this way:
1. Every industry needs to sale a product/service
2. The Industry uses marketing/advertising in order to sell
3. Advertising uses a physiological speech to make the product/service attractive
4. Advertising makes you think that you actually need that in order to be -in this case- happy.
Other adjectives, besides happy apply using marketing logic. Depending on what we want to sell we can use: skinny, pretty, strong, famous, intelligent, successful, etc. The adjective that the travel industry chose is: happiness. Their speech makes us think that we need to travel to be happy. Such a deep and dangerous message, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong. I love to travel and I understand how it feeds our soul and how we grow and get to know the world through traveling. I believe that the today’s world needs more travelers, more open minds. I value meeting people from all over the world, I admire different cultures, I like to be out of home and get into the adventure. I do encourage people to travel, but don't agree that “you travel, therefore you are happy”.
I’m sure you have seen a lot of propaganda promoting traveling. And I call it propaganda because traveling isn’t actually promoted as an entertainment activity but as the solution for all your problems and the answer to our constant existential crisis. The industry leads us to believe that we travel to make something extraordinary, to forget, to escape the routine because routine kills you and that you’re only happy when you travel.
Doesn’t this sound almost like a religious idea? Traveling is your God, the only truth and the only path. Everything else is wrong, nothing else could fulfill you as traveling does. Travel as much as you can because the more you travel, the happier you will be.
The truth about traveling
You don’t have to travel to be happy. Whatever your question is, traveling is not the only answer. You won’t solve all your problems just by traveling. To travel is just a small side of a larger diagram. It may help but isn’t the absolute truth and our only destiny as human beings.
Traveling brings joy, but traveling isn’t happiness.
So, what’s happiness?
Well, this is pretty subjective. For me, happiness is something similar to being at peace with yourself. In my opinion, being happy doesn’t really mean that you need to be content all the time. You could be sad and still be happy, because happiness is more a state of the soul, it is a deep feeling that goes beyond other fluent feelings like sadness, joy, and anger.
If you’re happy you will enjoy all things in life. Staying at home watching a movie could fulfill you as much as taking a flight to another country. If you’re happy, you are happy wherever you are, anytime in life. If you are a happy person, you understand that happiness doesn’t come from something on the outside but from the deepest part of your heart.
Traveling isn’t happiness, because we can’t encapsulate it. For me, the appropriate message shouldn’t be “do/buy this, therefore be happy” but “be happy, therefore do whatever keeps you in that state”.
Author: Andrea Ramírez
Andrea believes that there’s too much beauty in the world, and she likes to travel because she loves to see -and feel- it! She has friends in all continents, loves chocolate and wine, reads a lot and collects quotes. She stopped buying clothes when she figured out that everything she needs, she can fit in her backpack. She is currently working for the travel startup AllTheRooms