Travel Will Not Make You Happy

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What?!  Yes, you read that right. Travel will not make you happy.

If you think you will be happy once you save up enough or your circumstances change to enable you to travel more…you are wrong. Yes, going on a trip is great.  It’s fun, and it can make you happy for a while. But, inevitably, all trips must come to an end.  Then you are back home, living your life, going to work or school or taking care of the kids or doing whatever it is you do.

The happiness that comes from travel is short lived.

True happiness lies in being content in your life.  Right now.  Exactly how it is at the present moment in time.

It’s simple but not necessarily easy to achieve.

Travel Will Not Make You Happy | Tips For a Zen Life
Happiness is a state of mind that comes with being content with life at the present moment.

Serenity Now

I recently saw a video run across my Facebook feed that I shared on my Facebook page.  The man had a simple message. Be happy with your life right now. Enjoy your abundance, and figure out if you can change the things you don’t like. If not, learn to accept them.

I am not a religious person, but I did endure 4 years of Catholic High School.  I had to learn the Serenity Prayer at some point in school.  As a teen I didn’t pay any attention to it (as most teens tend to not be deep thinkers), but now as an adult, it has a ring of wisdom to it:

Serenity Prayer:  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think this really helps boil down the subject of how to achieve happiness to a simple level.  Just accept what your life is right now.

That’s it.

Serenity Now.


I love going on vacation (shocker, I know)…but I also love being home.

At the end of our recent family vacation to the Dominican Republic, we were all asking each other that “end of vacation” question: “Are you ready to go home?”  My answer is always yes.  Being on vacation is great, but there are lots of great things at home too.  Learn to appreciate those “small” or “mundane” things and you will be feeling all zen in no time.

I love petting my cats, waking up in my own bed, being totally unpacked, the sounds I can hear with my bedroom window open at night, taking my daughter to a playgroup, writing at my computer, enjoying the art on my walls…these are all “little” things that I take the time to appreciate everyday.

Travel Will Not Make You Happy | Tips for a Zen Life
Vacation doesn’t suck…but neither does coming home.

I’m Not Sunshine And Rainbows All The Time

Don’t worry, I’m not going all Buddhist Monk on you!  I still struggle with this simple concept sometimes.  I am not always stress free and I don’t always appreciate things like I should because…I’m not perfect.  I may or may not have wanted to gouge my eyes out at my daughter’s Mickey Mouse themed craft class this morning. And I yell at all of the stupid drivers on the road.

But, I try.  I try to appreciate every day.  I try to just be content with whatever is happening that day, no matter where I am. It’s a journey, people, not a destination.

Travel Will Not Make You Happy

So, really, it’s simple. Focus on the here and now. Change what you can and learn to accept what you can’t. Just be content. Happiness will find you.

And just because travel doesn’t make you happy doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful thing! Go ahead and take that vacation (It’s a great idea and can help with stress levels), but don’t expect to be a different person when you return.

Enjoy the hell out of every trip you take, but be content to return to your everyday life.

Travel Will Not Make You Happy | Wisdom From Pete The Cat
Life lessons from Pete The Cat

Be Like Pete

All of this talk about being happy with where you are reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, Pete The Cat – I Love My White Shoes. Pete loves his white shoes, but has some unfortunate run ins with piles of strawberries, blueberries, mud and water which leave his shoes red, blue, brown and wet!

“The moral of Pete’s story is: No matter what you step in keep walking along and singing your song… Because it’s all good.”

-From Pete The Cat – I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin


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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. amit

    This is one of very few posts that as a long-term travelers (6 years continuously) that I feel really reflects how it really is. You’re right, happiness is the now. It’s hard sometimes to tell people back home that I’m not happy all the time while I travel, people don’t understand – They think I’m out traveling the world how on earth can you not be happy. That’s not to say I’m not happy, I am most of the time but I understand what you’re saying here 😀 Nice to read a post like this

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it!

  2. Laura Lynch

    I think being away on travel for me is a sort of rejuvenation from my daily grind. It doesn’t make me happy in and of itself, but it does help me feel more peaceful and it also makes me more grateful for my time at home.

  3. Jennifer

    This is true. I have come to realize that when I return from traveling, that I am happiest when I get home.

  4. Indrani

    I agree to what you say but I will add that travel eases your stress to a large extent. Home is the ultimate reality unless one chooses to be a nomad. Good reminder for the day. 🙂

  5. Cate

    Great attitude! I’m NEVER ready to go home after traveling but I’m typically pretty content when I’m at home. I have’t always felt this way but I’ve learned to be pretty happy wherever I am. 🙂

  6. Alyson

    WellI toyally disagree! Travel does make me happy and has been doing that very thing for 4 years. The problem was, where we were in our old life, I really disliked, I knew all of the alternatives and craved getting back to them. I knew there was a problem and as you say above, I fixed it.

  7. Maggie

    This post is spot on! Even if you travel mostly full-time (like myself) there are still days when it wears on you. I think it’s important to be content with everything and to have the courage to change the things that make you unhappy 🙂

  8. Jason

    Jai ya.

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel


  9. Victoria

    This is so true!!! Parts of travel can make you happy but they can equally make you very unhappy or unsatisfied.

  10. Punita Malhotra

    I agree with the crux of the message. Learning to be content and happy with what we have in life takes a conscious mindset. Simply travelling cannot create contentment or happiness.

  11. Jolene Ejmont

    Well …. I think travel can add to your happiness simply because it pace of life slows down and you can appreciate things more. But I get what you are saying, and just because one is travelling … it doesn’t mean you will be happy.

  12. Great post and I do agree in parts. Travel makes me happy but so does being at home in my day to day environment. I do think it does change you especially a longer trip or going to a different culture. It shapes you even when you don’t think it does

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