Travel in Europe: How to Let Yourself Be Happier

A European travel agent once said, “The most common regret shared by people nearing death is ‘I wish that I had let myself be happier’. Actually, many senior citizens in their 70s and 80s are travelling to Europe because they don’t want to have that regret. Of course, it’s never too late to enjoy life, but in my view, people probably should travel when they are young – when they are more energetic, because when people enjoy life earlier, they can always savor those beautiful experiences for the rest of their lives – they actually benefit from those experiences for a longer period of time.”

  • A great vacation in Europe is better than a great car.

Research shows that people often overestimate the amount of happiness things can bring them and underestimate the long-term positive effect of experiences. Scott Galloway (author of The Algebra of Happiness: The Pursuit of Success, Love and What It All Means) argues that people would be well-advised to invest in experiences over things – drive a Hyundai and take your spouse to France.

If you value experiences more than stuff, you will have a life well lived.

Daniel G. Amen (MD) claims that exercise and relaxation are very important to your brain health. Interestingly, international travel provides you with the right amount of exercise and relaxation in an exotic location. Many travelers point out that the quality of their sleep has improved after traveling to a foreign country – this is especially true when they return back home after the trip – indeed, when you are satisfied, you can sleep better at night.

  • Organizing yourself will give you more space and time for international travel.

Time management basically boils down to a mindset of focusing on your priorities, objectives and goals for a specific time period, e.g. an hour, a day or a week. Time management is actually the awareness that you are the one who lays claim to your success with the allotment of precious time you actually have for today.

It is said that time management is a set of skills which are learned over time, e.g. time blocking and controlling interruptions. Although these skills won’t give you overnight success and you probably can’t even perfect or implement them quickly, these skills require patience to fail, adjust, proceed, and then repeat this process again and again. Yet by sticking to your plan, you will accomplish your goals without lots of unnecessary stress, anxiety or panic, and perhaps some extra time left over – you can use the extra time for international travel.

First of all, effective time management starts with planning. The planning process for your workday, a project, or a vacation in Europe is more vexing than the execution for a lot of people. Many individuals invest too many hours planning that perfect vacation to Ukraine. They research different options, review recreation activities, air travel, dining options, and so forth (the list is literally endless). However, very few people plan their week or day with such enthusiasm.

In order to manage your time properly, you have to fall in love with planning. In reality, you will probably face tasks you would rather not do each day, yet frequently they look like high priorities at work.

This is exactly where planning brings big dividends to you and me. Before a day begins (perhaps the night before), you can plan to do the toughest but most important / significant thing first. Difficult tasks oftentimes become harder to complete as the day progresses. And more deadlines, projects and emergencies will rock up later on. Therefore, you’d better clear out the most challenging task first. Just get it out of the way.

Planning unlocks creativity, clarity, mental strength and problem solving. Planning increases your physical and mental energy as you see the pathway to a very productive day when it comes to work or international travel.

Remember: The better you implement planning techniques and strategies, the more you are able to avoid procrastinating away what you hate to do. Basically, planning is creating a to-do list. Studies show that you can increase your productivity by 29% by writing down a to-do list.

Research indicates that creating a to-do list gives people peace of mind. Personally, I often write down a to-do list before I go to bed at night so that I know tomorrow is planned already and I can sleep better tonight! Sometimes I use a weekly planner to plan a whole week beforehand.

Second, we should handle everything once only. Don’t spend 2 hours doing your emails every day. Instead, whenever you receive an email, you simply decide what to do immediately: you either read it, delete it, respond to it, or add a star to it because it has to be done later. In my case, I have 7 email addresses (this system works really well for me because the system has simplified my life tremendously): 1) my primary email address for my accountant, financial planner, and so on; 2) my business email address for clients; 3) my home email address for my family; 4) my social email address for my friends; 5) my company’s email address for my boss; 6) my private email address for myself to save some useful documents, notes, and so forth; 7) my junk email address for all “newsletters”.

  • Give yourself permission to be happy.

The mainstream culture tells us that in order to be successful, we have to work our ass off. I don’t deny that. I acknowledge the fact that most successful people who are self-made entrepreneurs actually worked 60-90 hours per week for a few decades (they don’t want to talk about this because this doesn’t sound sexy in public). Frankly, those who tell you to follow your passion are people who are already rich. If you examine those rich people closely, you will realize that these people didn’t really follow their “passion”. A lot of rich individuals get rich because they are in boring industries that are actually sustainable and profitable.

Although most rich people tell you that they don’t think about money, in reality, these people think about money A LOT. They are actually obsessed with money and success. But at the end of the day, money can bring you happiness to some degree, as research implies that once a person’s annual income reaches $75,000, they won’t get happier when their income increases after that.

Hence, I’d like to give you the permission to be happy right now. If you are thinking about traveling to Europe, please don’t wait until you are ready. You know what, chances are you’ll never be ready. Marie Forleo famously said, “Start before you are ready.” Don’t wait until you make six figures a year; don’t wait until your spouse has resolved their anger issues; don’t wait until your mom is happy. You should make yourself happy NOW.

If traveling to Europe makes you happy, now it’s time to take action.

“What makes you happy? Do that now.”