The Geography of Bliss

Have finished my holiday reading material...which is bad as its not the end of the trip yet...but good as it proves its a great book.  Recommended by the guru on all things that is Tynan, The Geography of Bliss is a superb travel book by journalist Eric Weiner.  The basic premise of the book is that he visits countries that are supposedly extremely happy and those which are unhappy in order to try and establish the common factors necessary for happiness.  I wont spoil the book so I wont tell you what he finds, but it is a witty and incredibly readable different take on an old theme.  Definitely worth a read.  Got a few strange looks and attracted a stalker for laughing out loud at the book in Ankara train station...but thats another story!

Anyway he went through all the standard ideas about happiness being related to family, community, trust, money as well as some more interesting ones like and expecting to fail.  However one of my key ideas about happiness wasnt mentioned in the book - which actually really surprised me.  To me, the basic prerequisite for happiness is acceptance.  All the other contributing factors are meaningless without it.  Which is why not all rich people are happy...although money is a contributing factor to happiness.  They may be rich but they still do not accept their lives. 

And by acceptance I dont mean you should expect the worse and let people walk all over you.  Its more an attitude of living in the present and accepting life as a gift without any other desires or requirements from it.  Happiness is not having the perfect is seeing your life as perfect just because it is yours. 

Hmm...actually I guess my view is kind of similar to Eric's Thailand chapter...Happiness is Not Thinking.  Maybe I should make Thailand my next stop - I guess I might fit in well there.

Today Im kicking back in Athens waiting for my Mum to arrive tomorrow.  Didnt get a Greece stamp in my passport...gutted!

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