Hey there! Welcome to yet another Monthly Happiness Report. I finished my adventure on a project in Costa Rica in July, 2015, after which I went on a lovely holiday to Croatia with my girlfriend. It was one of the best months of the year for me.
Let me show you why! Below table shows the average happiness ratings in July, 2015.
At the start of July, 2015, I had already spent 2 months in Costa Rica, working my ass off. Despite this challenging period, my happiness was still pretty high.
The chart below shows my happiness ratings during July, 2015:
The first couple of days of the month were spent on the project, wrapping up my tasks and activities. As I discussed during the previous reports, my happiness was not severely influenced by the challenging work. Even though I continued working 80 hours a week, I was able to maintain my mental health by keeping a sacred exercise routine.
The table below shows all the happiness ratings for July, 2015, including the factors that influenced it.
The end of my adventure in Costa Rica
I finished work on the project on the 11th of July. I was really looking forward to flying back. Not only because the challenging job was slowly getting the best of me, but also because I was looking forward to a beautiful holiday in Croatia.
The last couple of days on the project were very similar to those I had in the previous months. The days consisted of work, work, work, more work, exercising and relaxing. It was all I did. It was definitely not the most fabulous life I had, but I was still relatively happy. I focused a lot on my mental health, by exercising as much as possible and getting enough sleep.
By focusing on my happiness, I was able to enjoy most of my time in Costa Rica. My previous experience in Kuwait had thaught me to always choose long term happiness over short term happiness. That meant that I needed to focus on the things that made me happy over time.
The work still got to me on some days, but these days were few and far in between. I was still pretty relieved when I entered the plane back to the Netherlands. I was happy that I had survived yet another period abroad. This one had been much better than my previous period abroad in Kuwait.
My girlfriend was also still with me! 🙂 We were both more than ready to enjoy a great holiday together.
Camping in Istria, Croatia
We had booked just over 2 weeks in Croatia, and decided to split the trip between Istria and Dalmatia. Just like our summer holiday of last year, we decided to bring our own tent and camp!
In contrast to last year’s camping trip to Austria, the weather was absolutely brilliant when we arrived. Setting up our camping site without having to deal with mud and rain was a welcome surprise! 🙂
We had planned the first week of our trip to Croatia to be a relaxing week. Therefore, we had no big activities planned, and were just looking forward to enjoying the sun. We both had a couple of books we wanted to read, and were more than happy to do absolutely nothing but sunbathing throughout the days. It was exactly what I needed after my challenging time in Costa Rica.
This entire first week basically consisted of relaxing, eating, swimming, enjoying the weather and sunbathing. It may sound like nothing special, but the time still flew by in our opinion. Before we knew it, we had to pack the tent again. We had booked the second week of our camping trip in Dalmatia, the Southernmost province in Croatia.
On our way South, we made sure to stop at the Plitvice Lakes.
The beautiful Plitvice Lakes
We traveled to the Plitvice Lakes on the 20th, and boy oh boy, it was beau-ti-ful.
These lakes are still among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. As I’m writing this monthly update, I have yet to witness another area that compares to the Plitvice Lakes. The collage below is more revealing than anything I can say with words.
None of these pictures have been edited at all. These pictures were taken with my smartphone. Yet, these pictures are still some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever shot.
Walking through this amazing scenery made me incredibly happy. If you are ever in Croatia, please do yourself a favor and visit the Plitvice Lakes. It’s one of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen in Europe.
Camping in Dalmatia, Croatia
After witnessing the beauty of the Plitvice Lakes, my girlfriend and I continued our way down South to Dalmatia. We had booked a spot at another camping for the remaining 8 nights of our holiday. We had a lot more exciting activities planned for our time in Dalmatia, as we had found a lot of advice online about the beauty of this Southernmost province. Needless to say, we enjoyed the second half of our trip just as much as (if not more than) the first half in Istria.
The weather was stunningly warm and sunny. At one point, we found out we were actually in the middle of a heatwave, with daily temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit)! Luckily for us, we had expected this kind of weather when we planned our activities. Most of them were in or around cool water! 🙂
The coolest of these activities was definitely the canyoning that we did. We drove up to the Cetina Gorge, and went on a great canyoning tour through the steep cliffs. My girlfriend and I enjoyed it a lot. We did this the day after our trip to the Plitvice Lakes, so these 2 days were easily the highlight of our camping trip in Croatia.
We also enjoyed a quiet day of canoeing on the Cetina river, somewhere further downstream. Even though it was not as exreme as the canyoning we did, it was still a lot of fun. In addition, we visited the beautiful Krka National Park, which was almost as beautiful as the Plitvice Lakes Park. To change things up, we also drove up to a big set of caves, which offered us a beautiful, cool environment to explore. These activities had a great influence on my happiness. I was loving it.
The remainder of our time in Dalmatia was mostly spent relaxing again. We were more than happy to really enjoy the sunny weather. After the challenging work environment of Costa Rica, I absolutely loved the careless life on the campingsite. I had nothing to worry about, except for what my next meal would be. It was great! 🙂
Unfortunately, this great camping trip came to an end on the 28th of July. If it were up to me, I would have stayed in Croatia a lot longer.
Anyway, I want to show you how this great month influenced my positive happiness factors.
Positive happiness factors
Let’s have a look at the factors that positively influenced my happiness in the chart below.
There were clearly three winners here: my relationship (as usual, right?), the weather and my relaxing life on holiday. The time I spent on holiday with my girlfriend was truly fantastic, and I don’t think I need to explain why.
This month was simply great for my personal happiness. There’s not a lot more I can say about it.
Maybe I can tell you a little more about my negative happiness factors?
Negative happiness factors
Just like any other month in this series, there were some factors negatively influencing my happiness in June. These factors are visualised in the next chart.
There’s not a lot to talk about here as well. But I consider that a good thing! My month was filled with positive factors, and not a lot of negatives.
The only negative factors occured during my days on the project in Costa Rica at the start of the month. Even though my work was about to end on the project, my happiness was still occasionally challenged by it. But still, the effects on my happiness were very minor, since I adjusted the rest of my life appropriately. I continued my sacred exercise and made sure I got enough sleep. Just like the previous months, this helped me maintain my high level of happiness throughout this time.
As I’ve said, I would have wanted to stay in Croatia a lot longer. This camping trip truly elevated my happiness to all-time-high-levels, and I hope I’ve been able to show you why.
I returned to the Netherlands on the 28th, after a killer 18-hour drive back from Croatia. We were treated with a bizarre sunset on our way back. It was a great ending to an amazing time.
As soon as I was back in the Netherlands, I had to prepare for work again. I was going to finish the traineeship that I started a year ago. My girlfriend and I also had to prepare for yet another Long Distance Relationship period, but more on that later!
If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer you!
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 6 years.