Welcome to the Monthly Happiness Report of August, 2014! In this month, I was properly reunited with my girlfriend again. We went on a two week camping trip to the Ossiacher See in Carinthia, Austria and to Lake Garda in Italy. It was a fantastic month for me and my girlfriend.
Let's have a look at some of the happiness tracking data.
My average happiness rating in August, 2014 was a 7,98. This is as high as it gets for me, as you can see in the rest of my Happiness Reports.
The chart below shows my happiness ratings during August, 2014:
The chart shows that my happiness was pretty constant throughout the month. The two week holiday camping trip influenced this a lot, as you might see.
The table below shows all the happiness ratings for August, including the factors that influenced it.
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We left the Netherlands on the 13th of August and headed straight for the Ossiacher See in Carinthia, Austria. We had booked a week at a camping on the lake. After that, we were going to Lake Garda in Italy for another week. It was going to be the longest holiday we ever took together.
The table below shows all the factors that had a positive influence on my happiness during August, 2014.
My girlfriend made me a very happy person in August, 2014. Out of the 31 days in August, my girlfriend positively influenced my happiness in 26 of them. As of yet, I have not seen a factor having such a positive influence on my happiness. It's incredible, really.
Almost every day was spent with my girlfriend, and I liked them all. It made me a happy guy. Especially since we survived a long distance relationship for 5 months when I finished my Bachelor's Degree in New Zealand. It eventually made our relationship stronger, and we got to enjoy the results in August, 2014.
"We survived and were ready to experience the ups together again"
I have said it before, but I believe that every relationship is made of ups and downs. Everyone needs some darkness occasionally in order to see the light *. I feel this was our set-up as well. We struggled for 5 months, making sacrifices and communicating mostly via Whatsapp and Skype. But in the end, we survived and were ready to experience the ups together again.
* Beautiful Bob Ross quote
Ever since this period, we have survived more long distance periods. It has been a challenge each single time. It does not get easier, but you just have to remember that there is an end to it, and it should be worth fighting for.
I think August, 2014 was our reward. We got to go on a beautiful holiday together, and it was an amazing experience for us both.
Camping in Carinthia, Austria
We booked the first week in Carinthia, on the Ossiacher See. I am a big fan of Austria, and was looking forward to exploring this beautiful area.
We stuffed our car with camping gear: our tent, inflatable mattress, cooking gear, fresh food and clothes. It was going to be our first camping trip together. We were pretty disappointed upon our arrival, though...
The weather was absolutely terrible. It was pouring rain non-stop. We were pretty exhausted from the drive, and had to set up camp in the rain. The inside of our tent looked like a battlefield, before we had even finished setting it up! It was not what we had signed up for!
"It was not what we had signed up for!"
We also brought a bunch of fresh food with us, which we couldn't prepare on our portable stove, because it was raining all the time. On the second day, we even had to dine at a nearby McDonald's, which was kind of a low point during the trip.
Nonetheless, we still had fun during these days, despite the crappy weather. Even though we were trapped in the tent a lot of the times, we still had fun together! We played games and laughed together, and the weather eventually got better. After some days battling the rain, we got out to see some of the local nature. We spent a nice day at some small zoo's, and another one in an underground cave. Slowly, the days got more easy, and it began to feel like a proper holiday!
After 3 days, we finally got what we so desperately craved for: a single day with perfect weather. The weather forecast showed nothing but sun. We spent the entire day relaxing on the lake, enjoying the sun and laughing together. We were both a little sunburned at the end of the day, but we didn't really care.
"There's more than enough fun to be had in Carinthia"
After this day, the weather stayed okay. Good enough for us to continue the outdoor activities. There's more than enough fun to be had in Carinthia, and we eager to get started! The outdoor activities were the reason for deciding to go to Carinthia in the first place.
We spent a beautiful day on the Gerlitzen Alpe, a mountain easily accessible by a gondola. We also spent some time exploring the area by car. According to the local maps, there were 2 beautiful gorges not far from our camping, which looked great for a small hike. We had a great time walking through the Raggaschlucht and Groppensteinschlucht Gorges. If you are ever in the area, make sure to visit these beautiful locations!
Camping on Lake Garda, Italy
After the first week in Carinthia - with slightly dissapointing weather - we were looking forward to camping on Lake Garda in Italy. We had booked a week at a camping in Moniga del Garda, a small village next to the lake.
The drive from the Ossiacher See in Carinthia to Lake Garda in Italy was fantastic. We passed a beautiful mountain pass with a lot of gorgeous bridges and tunnels: things that I appreciate as a fresh Civil Engineer. 😉 What made it even more glorious was the fact that the weather in Italy was much better. We left the clouds behind us and drove straight into the sunny weather. It was nice to set up our tent in the sun this time!
This second part of the trip was supposed to be more relaxing, so that was exactly what we did. We took full advantage of the sun, and relaxed at the side of the lake on a lot of these days. We spent a couple of days visiting nearby areas as well, like Sirmione and Verona. It was all very relaxing.
"I got to sit down and enjoy a beer during the sunset"
The best part of the day - for me - was always the moment when I got to sit down and enjoy a beer during the sunset. It was what I liked most about camping (and I still do). Sitting in front of the tent in shorts, while listening to a nice jazz album. Absolutely brilliant.
We decided to rent a small boat on one of the final days of the camping trip. The weather was perfect, and our budget allowed us to spend a little bit of money at this point. The day was amazing. We crossed the entire lake and enjoyed a lot of beautiful sights. The camping trip was already a great experience, but this was the icing on the cake. It made us both very happy. It is the reason why I rated this day the highest out of the entire holiday.
These two weeks flew by, and we were back in the Netherlands before we knew it. My girlfriend had to prepare for her next year in college, and I had to prepare for the next step in my life.
I had to start looking for a job. I had finished my Bachelor's Degree, and was now ready to make a decent salary. It's not like I had much of a choice, because the past 6 months (New Zealand, Austria and Italy) did not leave a lot of money on my table. I had to start paying back the debts that I had accumulated over this period! [My parents were kind enough to loan me money at a zero interest rate. Lucky me!]
"I had to start paying back the debts that I had accumulated over this period!"
So I started looking for jobs these months. I did not have a clear idea of what exactly I wanted to do. I knew I was looking for something related to engineering, but didn't know which role I would prefer. Moreover, I wasn't sure which companies were even hiring in the first place.
So I started looking for traineeships. I argued that traineeships were perfect for me: most of them lasted for a year, in which you get to work in most departments of a company. This way, I would be able to determine exactly what I wanted to do. I also wanted to work for a contractor. Working for governmental agencies or something like that didn't really attract me. I wanted to work on big and exciting projects!
So I applied to a dozen of engineering contractors. All I wanted to know was whether a company had a paid trainee program. If it had, then I applied. Simple as that. Luckily, my resume wasn't all that bad. I had interned at 3 companies for half year periods, including half a year of living in New Zealand.
"All I wanted to know was whether a company had a paid trainee program"
So I actually got invited to an interview at a major marine contractor. I was stoked!
It all went very quickly. This all happened in July and August. I was interviewed, and progressed to an external audit where they tested my qualities and character. One week later, I was basically hired. After the camping holiday, I signed my contract. I was now officially a trainee! It made me feel on top of the world.
I want to acknowledge here that I got lucky. Back in the day, I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but still landed an amazing job. I am typing this post in June, 2017 (I still have some Happiness Reports to catch up on!), and still enjoy the job I have! I am grateful for what I have going here.
Negative happiness factors
There were still some negative factors decreasing my happiness during August, 2014. The chart below shows these factors.
I didn't have a lot of negativity during this month. I was sick a couple of days, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's all basically not worth mentioning. Yes, these things did have a negative influence on my happiness, but it was not something structurally bad. I have found out that happiness is cyclic. There is some negativity that cannot be controlled. No matter how perfect life gets, there are always going to be negative aspects to it.
Sure, my relationship negatively affected my happiness during two days in August. Does that mean I would be better off without my relationship on those days? Hell no!
As I've said before, everybody needs a little darkness once in a while, in order to fully appreciate the light.
It's much related to the hedonic treadmill. This is actually something I want to prove in another post, once I have all the data analysed. Happiness is cyclic, no matter how much control you seem to have over the happiness factors. All you can try to do is to get more positive than negative factors in your life. This is also why I show the trailing average happiness in most my charts. It's a lot more revealing than the daily happiness factors with regards to overall happiness.
"It's much related to the hedonic treadmill"
That will be it again for this month. If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I'll be happy to answer them!