The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

Happiness Is...Being Back at Home

The soul is no traveller...

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Home again! No matter how much I enjoy a trip, I'm always very happy to be home.

In the past, I often felt bad about my lack of a deep enthusiasm for traveling. Didn't my love of hanging around my own apartment show a lack of adventurousness, a limited curiosity about the world, a cramped sense of possibility? (Not to mention an over-dependence on morning coffee prepared a certain way.)

To show myself that I had good company in this attitude, I collected passages from eminent thinkers who showed similar preferences. For example, in his essay Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still...

As part of my happiness project, I've made a much greater effort to follow my personal commandment to Be Gretchen. I must remain stay true to my own nature. What's fun for other people may not be fun for me -- and vice versa.

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At the same time, however, I remind myself that novelty and challenge do make people happier -- including me. Traveling away from home gives me new perspectives, new insights, lots of fun -- as well as a renewed appreciation for my ordinary life, and the pleasures of staying home.

* If you've never visited Lifehacker, check it out. A huge amount of great information there, presented in an engaging way.

* Sign up for the Moment of Happiness, and every weekday morning, you’ll get a happiness quotation in your email inbox.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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