It’s summer time. Hopefully you are on or about to be on a vacation. If not, have you figured out your next trip? If you haven’t, you may be missing out on increasing your happiness RIGHT NOW. So put in your leave request and start dreaming to increase your happiness.
According to a 2010 study out of the Netherlands by Jeroen Nawijn from the Journal of the Applied Research in Quality of Life, the happiness you gain from a vacation, is NOT from the vacation itself. Rather, the happiness gained is from the anticipation of the trip. We’ve been there before: amazing trip but wasn’t restful, outstanding trip but the return home was terrible, or you were so worried about all the work at home that the latter half of your trip was ruined.
Can you remember a time as a child when you were excited about a trip? I remember being so excited about going to Disney Land. I would plan what rides I would go on, and what treats I would eat. Can you remember how excited you were as you counted the days down? Can you remember how much joy you felt?
Now, I am a total controller and planner at work, but when it comes to vacations I leave it to my partner. My over analytical mind can make choosing the right hotel and finding the best flights to be stressful. So how exactly does planning and anticipating a vacation create happiness?
The key is DREAMING, just like you did as a kid. Immerse yourself in the destination. Here are some ways you can dive in and start enjoying your vacation now before you even pack your bags:
1. Read travel books or novels set in your destination
- Flying to Northern Spain? Read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises
Jetting off to Japan? Read Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels through Japan’s Food culture, by Matt Goulding https://youtu.be/6-80b8990-A
2. Watch movies or tv shows set in your upcoming vacation spot
Checking out Johannesberg? Watch District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp https://youtu.be/DyLUwOcR5pk
Going to Greece? Watch Masterpiece Theater’s Durrells in Corfu series https://youtu.be/jwOLkNtOtCo
3. Browse the internet! There are so many blogs and vlogs out there about travel, food, and design either from or about where you are going. Here are a couple to get your started:
By reading books, articles, and watching films related to your trip, you can enjoy your vacation sooner. You can imagine what the warm wet Brazilian air feels like as you sip a caipirinha on the beach. You can hear the sound of church bells as you get lost in the cobblestone back roads of Rome. You can imagine tasting the sweet funk of a durian in your mouth, while sitting on a plastic stool on a busy Hanoi sidewalk.
No matter what happens on the trip, no matter how great or bad, you will always have the fun, and the enjoyment of planning and dreaming about the trip.
Just don’t forget the most important part, you gotta go on your vacation! The clinic, hospital, or operating room will continue on without you. Get out of town and get some perspective. So start planning your next trip now, and start being happy now!