Happiness and hiking, it’s about the journey not the destination #yogamooc

I watched the #YogaMOOC video on A river of wellbeing and struggled with what she was trying to say. I had my husband listen to the video as well and he agreed. But then I tried to summarize the idea – and it was simple. Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey.

I reflected on this while hiking yesterday. I love it when I see things differently while hiking. The hike itself isn’t about the destination – it is all about the journey. It is about spending 2 hours in nature and just experiencing what is around me. I looked up to the hills and thought – wow, fall colours. In Ottawa, the fall colours are bright red, orange, and yellow – as the leaves on the trees turn before falling for the winter. In the hills to the east of me, the fall colours are the greens of vegetation coming back to life after a dry summer, but contrasted with the almost white grasses that have dried up over the summer – it make the contrast so much more vibrant.

Or maybe it is just that I was seeing nature in a more vibrant way – experiencing the journey and not the destination.

Then I turned a corner and saw movement. At first I thought it might be a mountain lion – it certainly was not a deer – but then it turned and it was clearly a wild boar. I didn’t want to get too close so I started talking loudly to myself. It ran.

I continued walking and then noticed some more movement. Another adult boar and three little ones. I really didn’t want to get too close to them. Fortunately, once they notice me they ran away – right towards some deer in the distance – who also scattered when the boar came towards them.

When I finished the hike, made it to my destination, I reflected on the journey. I felt a sense of peacefulness.

This week we are talking about our attachment to mobile devices and specifically Smartphones. Most of the areas where I hike there is no connectivity. I am disconnected from the world while I hike – however, I’m not really disconnected. My smartphone and my watch track my path. My watch vibrates to signal that I’ve walked a mile. My phone maps out the entire journey.

My phone is also my camera. It allows me to take pictures of the moments I want to share, and the moments I want to remember.

I am both connected and disconnected. Connected to the GPS, but also connected to my body, and more importantly connected to nature. Connected to the world around me. Disconnected from the internet, temporarily, but connected to the natural world. That is the journey. That is happiness.


  • Becky

One Comment

  • Thank you for this. Between this post and our Hangout discussion, I think I have a better grasp on the idea of “eudamonic happiness” as the particular feeling of being on a (semi-)purposeful journey. It really does map well onto terms like “contentedness” (though I suppose to some folks that could connote stasis) or “purposefulness” (though one can be purposeful but not happy).

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