Why You Need Less Than You Think to Be Happy
I’ve just got back from the most eventful and incredible trip exploring the vibrant and colourful, sometimes dangerous, streets of Argentina. I spent most of March in Barcelona and there so this month’s discoveries happen to be travel related. And whilst being away from home, and belongings, I’ve learnt so much.
Discoveries for my March check-in:
You don’t need material things to be happy.
I remember packing far too much when I travelled to Bali alone in 2017, something I realised the minute I rocked up to a homestay room full of shared bunk beds. I was lugging the heaviest and largest suitcase with me whilst girls that had been there for 7 months had one small backpack. Argentina wasn’t quite the same, but still I packed far too much. I hardly used any of it when we arrived; rotating a simple pair of shorts and t-shirts instead of all the fancy dresses with tags on I pre-purchased. I realised, especially when we flew to Cataratas for three days to visit the waterfalls and jungle and left everything back in Buenos Aires, that I didn’t need all the material possessions I packed in order to be fulfilled and happy. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘simple life’ and the sense of freedom that removing the ‘visual noise’ allowed me to have. It’s made me want to donate most of my belongings that I don’t absolutely need as soon as I return to the UK, in order to continue being more free to just enjoy life.
Just when you feel like giving up, keep going.
The cultural difference and language barrier between Leo and I definitely comes into conversation pretty regularly. I spent Christmas in a rented house in Tarragona with 17 of his friends, unable to speak a word of Spanish. I stayed silent for most of the three days, exhausted by the end for being present in conversations without understanding a single word. I started Spanish lessons soon after but it didn’t make me feel the slightest bit better. Instead, it just reminded me of how little I know and how impossible it felt to ever become more proficient.
Fast forward two months, unaware of my own progress, I still couldn’t fully understand the rapid speaking natives in Argentina but this time, I could at least understand topics. I could pick out one of two key words and understand vaguely what the conversation was about. Leo was quick to tell me how surprised he was at the improvements to my Spanish. And I was too! It was still exhausting and challenging a lot of the time but I know longer feel it’s an impossible feat to learn a new language. I’ve been reminded again that small progress each day adds up overtime and to embrace the moments in between.
You develop confidence and empathy when you explore different cultures.
There’s so much variety when you travel to new countries and I became exposed to such different cultures, foods, architecture, history and so much more. My perspectives on life, and my confidence levels, all changed as a result and not just from Argentina - but being in Barcelona for one month afterwards. I was pushed well outside of my comfort zone whenever I wanted to do something by and for myself without the help or assistance of Leo and it once agin reminded me of that resourcefulness that’s within us all.
There’s so much beauty in the world.
The first thing that stood out to me when I visited the Igazu Falls was how many truly beautiful sights there are in the world and how very few of them I’ve seen. It temporarily made everything else seem irrelevant and I was instantly struck with this humbleness to remember everything greater than me and my problems. There are just so many experiences to be had and places to visit that my trip to Argentina reignited that desire within me to explore other parts of the world.
There are so many little things to be grateful for.
Like friendships and family. Being in London means that I don’t see my home girls or family that much anyway, but something about being in different countries makes me all the more grateful for them and excited to spend some time with them again. Spending so long away from home, in different timezones, without my things and just a simple suitcase to live out of, has reminded me of all the little things I took for granted before, and the tiny day-to-day problems I overreacted to. I need far less than I previously realised in order to be happy.