Happiness is Only Real When Shared - A Guide to a More Meaningful Solo Travel

Happiness is Only Real When Shared

A Guide to a More Meaningful Solo Travel

5 Comments /

As a solo traveler, I can always find happiness within myself. I have spent my fair share of time traveling alone, and enjoying every moment of it. To be able to be comfortable in my own skin, I thought life couldn't get any happier. From my two previous trips though, I had come to a realization that this is not completely true. Even though the euphoria is there, without someone to share it with, the happiness feels hollow.

During my trip in Africa, I had a chance to finish a book, Into the Wild, written by Jon Krakauer . The book (also a movie) is about a guy name Chris McCandless, who truly believed in living off the land. He burned all the cash in his wallet, went into Alaska with his rifle, a few winter gears, and a bag full of rice to escape from the meaningless dullness of human eloquence and took refuge in nature. Four months later, his decomposing body was found in an abandoned bus along the Stampede Trail in Alaska. At the end of Chris's inspiring and lonely life, one of his last statement to the world was:

“Happiness only real when shared.”

— Passage highlighted in a book found near Chris McCandless's remains

McCandless had happily escaped humanity his whole life, only to find that happiness itself can only be amplified when shared. As a solo traveler, this statement hit me right in the heart. We decided to travel alone to escape from the excessive nonsense that is our modern society, and yet, we still can't escape the fact that human intimacy is an integral part of a meaningful life.

As a solo traveler, the thought of being dependent to someone else, sacrificing your goals to make everyone happy, disappointed by the lag of commitment from the other parties, are extremely scary. We want to go our own way, at our own speed, do whatever we want, whenever we want and how ever we want. That's the beauty of traveling alone, and if "true happiness" requires us to drop all these perks, then.. is it really a "true happiness"?

Does Chris's statement hold any truth in it?

I believe it is and here's why. Even though I despise all the things mentioned earlier, I realized that you don't actually have to go through all those things to share happiness with someone.

When I was traveling alone in Australia and Africa, I have met many awesome people and we tagged along together, nurture our short friendships and see where it took us. For example, in Zambia, I went out with a couple of guys, played beer pong, went on a booze cruise, did some crazy shit like we were friends for years. These are the kind of memories that you will recall, and think, "Wow, I had a great life", not the time when you spent sitting around at a hostel all day.

Happiness real when shared

The thing is, when you have a shared happy experience with someone, no matter if it's with your love ones, or a complete stranger who shared similar goals as you, your happiness will always be amplified.

A research conducted by Benedetto Sacchetti of the National Institute of Neuroscience in Turin, Italy, shows that the part of our brain that's in charge of senses also plays a role in storing emotionally charged memories. We tied all the senses we experienced such as sounds, smells, and sights together to evoke emotionally charged memories. The experience that strikes us as unique (shock), will always triumphed the experience you already grew accustomed with. A location can only be as unique as your previous ones, it's the people around you at that moment that throws you out of your game and makes the difference.

So don't get too scared about sharing your happiness with someone. On your next trip, try opening up to people you meet. Talk about your life, listen to their life stories, tag along, enjoy the company of each other, share happy moments, and see how far it will take you. I can't guarantee that you both will become best friends (who knows?) but I'm sure as hell, you will experience happiness in a level you can't experience without a great companion.

If you found this article helpful, please do share it with your friends and families.

Looking for more inspirational articles? Check out The Solo Traveler’s Inspiration section where we will discuss topics related to the nomadic and traveling lifestyle and shower-thoughts that will invoke wanderlust in all of us.

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5 Comments


Israel Garcia

I respect your article, but I don't think you addressed the quote's meaning. You keep talking about amplifying happiness by sharing it with others. But Chris's quote is, "Happiness is only real when shared". He's implying that true happiness only comes from sharing it. He was so focused on losing himself, and finding that inner happiness. It wasn't until those final moments that he realized that happiness is more than just being "happy" with yourself. I completely agree with his quote. The only truly "real" way of being happy is by the act of sharing it, otherwise is just stays an intention. And well, we know intentions are the paved road to hell.


Pj Zafra

Awesome post here man! I watched "Into The Wild" which was a movie based on Chris McCandless' life. I really truly agree "Happiness is only real when shared.". That was a very emotional part for the movie. Something that Chris realized seconds before his death.

Thanks for sharing!


Pj Zafra

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Hello!

I stumbled upon this post by happenstance. I'm currently solo traveling Europe and like you, have recently been enjoying every second of it. I am a pretty independent and introverted person and like to tell myself that I don't need others to feel fulfilled. However, a couple days ago I was watching Into The Wild and in the ending scene on his deathbed he scribbles that quote and it hit me right in the gut. It made me question all my happiness I've had while travelling solo. Sure, it's euphoric and amazing, but does it mean anything if I don't share it with anyone?

That quote really threw me for a spin. For the first time in three months, I've been lonely. I'm currently in Vienna and everytime I see something beautiful all I can think about is wanting someone to share it with. I googled the quote, "Happiness is only real when shared" hoping that I could find something to disprove it and to validate my desire for solo travel. Instead, I found your post, which was highly relevant but not what I wanted to hear as I cope with loneliness.

Do you think solo travelling still has its benefits? I really, truly am an introverted person and meeting strangers exhausts me. Would you still recommend solo travel to others?

Sincerely,

A worried traveller


I probably won't check this post again so if you feel inspired to reply, [email protected] is a good place to reach me. :)


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