For new readers: This post is part of my on-going happiness journal updates. It’s basically a public case study on Tracking Happiness, by publishing about the ups and downs I write about in my journal. I started doing this when Tracking Happiness was first launched, and never stopped.
To say that things have changed this month would be an understatement!
I spent September and October on the road, traveling and enjoying our sabbatical. In November, that unfortunately changed. This month, we had to fly back to the Netherlands and get used to the limited-lockdown-life we so desperately tried to avoid.
Despite that, November was still a great month.
I want to share some of these moments with you here. Let’s get right into it.
Here are my personal happiness ratings:
As you can see, November was a pretty happy month for me!
My average happiness rating was a 7.95, compared to 8.06 in the previous month.
Before diving in again, let’s summarize November in a couple of bullet points:
- At the start of the month, we were planning to enjoy Greece for as long as we could, as it seemed like the COVID situation was under control (at least in the area we were in).
- On the 2nd of November, Greece updated its policy: everyone in the country must wear masks whenever outside. Fair enough, this didn’t bother us too much. We continued to travel to remote beaches and remote mountain roads, which was awesome!
- On the 6th of November, we woke up with the news that Greece would enter total lockdown. This meant that we weren’t allowed to go outside anymore. No more hiking, no more sunbathing, no more exploring. It means that our sabbatical was put on hold again!
- We flew back to the Netherlands on the 9th.
- We quickly adjusted back to our limited-lockdown-lives. The Netherlands still allows small social gatherings and limited outside activities, so we could still go out and have fun (thank god).
- I’ve been focusing a LOT on developing Tracking Happiness.
Unfortunately, this update will be a little less “eventful”.
But it’s still really valuable for me to look back and reflect on November, as it’s been really interesting.
Changing from a YOLO-travel-sabbatical mindset to a lockdown mentality is quite something! 😉
Relaxing in Greece
The start of the month was fantastic. We enjoyed a great combination of hiking, adventuring, sunbathing and relaxing.
We were staying in the city Kalamata, which turned out to be a great base for many roadtrips and adventures.
Relaxing, traveling and hiking were amongst the top happiness factors in November. You can probably see why from these pictures!!
Locked down in Greece
When we woke up one morning, we thought it was going to be just another day.
However, we completely missed the fact that the prime minister of Greece addressed the entire country in a speech. Due to the rising number of cases, Greece would enter a total lockdown by tomorrow.
We knew it meant the end for our trip.
We canceled our next AirBNB and booked flights back to the Netherlands. In the meantime, we stayed put and complied to the new rules of this lockdown.
Luckily, our AirBNB had a beautiful garder area, and the weather was amazing. So I got to relax in the sun, which definitely had a positive influence on my happiness.
Back to the Netherlands
I’ll be honest: we weren’t looking forward to returning to the Netherlands.
- The weather in the Netherlands is crappy. It’s WET and COLD.
- We have no jobs, so no income.
- COVID was (and still is at the time of writing) a much bigger issue in the Netherlands than Greece.
- There’s far less adventures to be had in the Netherlands than in Greece (from our perspective).
But these are all things that we have no control over anyway!
My girlfriend and I both decided to focus on the positive side of things as much as possible.
What this meant:
- We have lots of free time, so we try to exercise 6 days a week. Walking, exercising, running, etc…
- Exercising keeps us physically and mentally fit.
- We try to eat as healthy as possible.
- Tracking Happiness has become my biggest priority, and I spent a boatload of time on getting it to the next level.
- My girlfriend is helping me take charge of Tracking Happiness’ social media presence. I’m a total robot when it comes to social media, whereas my girlfriend is much better at it. Thanks to her, Tracking Happiness now has quite a nice and growing Instagram account!
Also, I was able to hop on my skateboard again, after 2 full months of inactivity!
I’m happy to share that it took me LESS than 10 attempts to land this beautiful kickflip! 👇
Who wants to sponsor me already?
Additionally, we also tried to walk as much as possible. We went back to all of our favorite places in the area to just walk and be outside. 🙂
However, to say it’s all rainbows and butterflies would be a bit of a lie.
The weather is getting COLD and WET, so it really feels like we’re locked inside some days.
It doesn’t help that we’re both jobless and don’t have an income. This means that the money we saved for our sabattical is slowly draining away. Needless to say, it sucks that our hard-earned money is now being spent simply staying at home.
But let’s get back to positive things! 🙂
I’m spending a LOT of time getting Tracking Happiness to the next level. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof! 👇
(Yes, my girlfriend took this picture for me, and yes, I was totally faking my “hard at work” pose. Please don’t be mad.)
Ever since we got back from Greece, the days have all looked sort of the same. While this is not a bad thing per definition, it doesn’t make for an eventful happiness journal update!
Positive happiness factors
There were plenty of positive happiness factors in November, most of which looked similar to the previous months. Here’s the top 10:
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve added a little something to my happiness journal (more on that later!). This additional “feature” tells me which factors had the most positive influence on my happiness.
What this means is that I was – on average – the happiest when I recorded “Friends” as a positive happiness factor.
When we got back from Greece, my girlfriend and I spent a couple of days catching up with friends. These days were the happiest in November!
Also, I spent lots of time on my “business”, which is what I call Tracking Happiness in my diary. 😉
Negative happiness factors
There were a couple of factors that had a negative influence on my happiness.
These factors were mainly caused by things that I couldn’t control.
For example, I felt agitated when our sabattical plans had to be postponed again due to changing COVID regulations.
Also, the weather in the Netherlands is just not that great these days… 😅
This is what we signed up for though!
Sure, our sabattical plans didn’t include a pandemic.
But when we started our trip to Sweden, we knew there were lots of things that could go wrong.
For now, our plan is to:
- Sit tight.
- Focus on the positive things.
- Do as much of the things that make us happy.
- Stay healthy.
- Wait till we can hit the road again, and make the most of our time.
That’s it again!
I’m afraid the next update may be even more uneventful, but that’s the reality that we’re in right now.
It’ll be interesting if my average happiness rating will stay this high. 🙂
Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.