“All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within.” ~Horace Friess
This year I felt a calling to explore the beauty of nature in a different way. I enrolled in a program where I would be hiking in the Himalayas.
I would be living in camps and guest houses, away from any communication or technology, and even away from almost all people. I would not have a shower or “standard” toilets, and I would experience a different lifestyle for some time where very limited resources are available.
My heart is full of gratitude for what I experienced during those two weeks over there. Not only did I meet wonderful people in my travel group, but also interacting with the locals was an eye opener for me.
I reconnected with the meaning of true happiness.
The simplicity of their way of living made me question my own needs.
The kindness of their hearts made me realize that we are really connected and capable of sharing, even when we don’t have much for ourselves.
Their strength while facing challenging weather conditions made me realize that I too had the power to become stronger, and that I could overcome any obstacle in life.
Today I want to share with you five valuable lessons I learned while I was there so you too can live a happier life.
1. Simplicity amplifies.
The less you have, the less you worry and the more you appreciate what you do have.
When I was living in the guest houses I didn’t consider the local people poor.
The truth is, they had limited resources and they would spend most of their year in the cold weather, eating what they harvested, and the rest of the time harvesting their fields, taking care of their cattle and living a very simple life with what they had.
But they’re happy. You can sense an inner peace that is not present in the busy streets of London, where we are supposed to “have it all.” I believe that when there is less to choose from, there is more to value.
2. Love is all around.
When we open our hearts to truly feel and see love, it’s very easy to recognize random acts of kindness. In the Himalayas, people who don’t know you help you cross a river. People get help when you’re stuck in the middle of the mountain.
It might be easier to notice when you are away from the buzz of the city, but random acts of kindness are everywhere if you start paying attention to them. You might notice a person offering a seat to someone on the bus, or holding the door open for you when you have your hands full.
You might also want to start thinking about how you can be kinder to others or perhaps acknowledge kindness shown toward you more often. Kindness leads to happiness. The more you accept help from others, and the more you offer help to people in need, the more kindness and happiness you will experience in your life.
3. You don’t need wings to fly.
Fly where? Fly to achieve your dreams, feeling connected to the possibility of achieving something you truly want.
When there is an obstacle, but there is enough will and persistence and you believe in yourself unconditionally, you can truly fly and reach for the stars. It all starts with self-belief.
When I started believing that I was strong and I could actually climb mountains and go farther than I initially thought, things became possible. Of course, belief didn’t make me an expert climber overnight, but it enabled me to take a chance and push myself to learn and grow.
So, my question is: What do you want to achieve? Start believing in yourself first and everything else will follow.
4. Don’t keep expectations.
Several things didn’t go to plan on my trip. For example, we ended up hiking for fewer days than originally planned because the weather changed unexpectedly, and that caused several delays, which affected our route. Now I feel that it was a blessing rather than a curse.
It allowed me to practice living in the present moment and avoiding disappointment.
There will always be situations where things don’t go to plan or are out of your control. Clinging to your expectations only brings worry, suffering, and unnecessary drama. When you live in the present, you allow yourself to flow with the unexpected and learn from the situation.
By being fully present and not hanging on to expectations, I was able to enjoy and immerse myself in the experience rather than holding on to negative feelings. I had extra time to reflect on things that were important to me while I was waiting for the rain to stop. Rather than feeling disappointed, I asked myself: What can I learn from this?
On this trip, I also discovered that I love hiking—and, rather than seeing the inclement weather as completely negative, in the end it became a motivation to start hiking more once I returned to the UK.
5. Life is short. Live it now.
When we leave our regular environment, especially when we go on vacation, far from our routine, many questions arise. What am I doing with my life? What do I truly want?
For me, being in nature is like being in a meditative state. I get time to reflect and evaluate the direction of my life.
And I know that life is short. We don’t know how long we are going to be on this planet, so each time I remind myself about the things I truly want to do before I die, and I re-plan to make them happen. Don’t wait for tomorrow; it might not come.
Happiness is not something you can measure, but you can feel it by sharing your heart with others. We can improve our lives through simple things such as walking in nature, meeting kindred hearts, or living in the moment and learning from what might have gone wrong.
I know that I will be trekking more paths in this life. Life is a journey of discovery. In each step we take we learn new things and we grow. That growth is what brings true meaning and happiness to our lives.
Man in Himalayas image via Shutterstock