Swedish people are living for the summer and it’s true that the cold and the short days make it a challenge to live there in winter. Even if the lack of light could be a happy downer, I found joyful people on my journey. And I learned quite a few things about Sweden.
Well, I can totally understand it since Copenhagen has almost everything of the dream city to me. The sea is at a walk distance and you can even park your boat on the canal in front of your house. Parks are everywhere and the architectures is very diverse with huge monuments and colourfull houses. The city center is only for pedestrian and I found Danes very outgoing. What a great place to live in!
But the funny thing is that when I asked people I met if they were happy, half of them said no!
« Vaillant brings a healthy dose of subtlety to a field that sometimes seems to glide past it. The bookstore shelves are lined with titles that have an almost messianic tone, as in Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. But what does it mean, really, to be happier? For 30 years, Denmark has topped international happiness surveys. But Danes are hardly a sanguine bunch. Ask an American how it’s going, and you will usually hear “Really good.” Ask a Dane, and you will hear “Det kunne være værre (It could be worse).” “Danes have consistently low (and indubitably realistic) expectations for the year to come,” a team of Danish scholars concluded. “Year after year they are pleasantly surprised to find that not everything is getting more rotten in the state of Denmark.”
I left Paris and my comfortable life to go on the roads of Europe. I feel a bit like an old lady putting on leather pants to ride a Harley. I used to travel a lot but I was young and fresh. Now in my thirties, I should be sleeping in hotels and fly first class but I am very grateful that the money limit pushes me to choose alternative solutions and opens new horizons.
So it is bus and couchsurfing. Couchsurfing.com is a website, a community. Their mission statement: Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch at a Time. The system of friendship and references makes it easy to trust other couchsurfers. Once you have tasted it, it’s a delight. You meet people who love travel and sharing. A truly happy community.
Last week, I was with a student and I told her to open her door to all possibilities. I also told her how when possibilities arise she can find answers by finding a peaceful place, visualising options and listening to her emotions. Was it wrong? Is our future simulating system totally floaded?
Dan Gilbert is a psychologist at Harvard University. He is a great speaker and those 21 minutes are packed with humor and revelations. It’s a must see.
Two great quotations from his speech:
« I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Archilles; Fortune hath not one place to hit me. »
Sir Thomas Browne
“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.”