Ultimate Happiness On Sabbatical? – October 2020

Written by - Last updated on November 2, 2020

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.

I can’t believe how fast October has flown by. My girlfriend and I are trying to keep our sabbatical going, and it’s quite a challenge amidst constant shifting with regards to covid regulations.

Despite that, October was a fantastic month. I felt great throughout the entire month, and still can’t believe how lucky we are that we’re able to experience this freedom and happiness.

I want to share some of these moments with you here. Let’s get right into it.

Here are my personal happiness ratings:

My average happiness rating of October 2020 was 8.06, compared to 8.14 in September.

I’m happy to say that October was (again) a fantastic month on the road, and my girlfriend and I made the most of it.

Before diving in, I feel like I need to disclose some things first:

  • We spent years saving for this sabbatical, and it’s something we’ve been planning a long time (>2 years).
  • We are extremely lucky to be able to travel during this pandemic. Sure, our original plans have been crushed by the pandemic, but the fact that we’re still in a position to travel makes us extremely lucky. For that, we’re grateful every single day.
  • We have to be flexible. Countries are opening and closing its borders every week, it seems, which makes it hard to plan ahead. If you want more info about our plans on this sabbatical, last month’s post should explain a lot.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the actual happiness journal.

Looking at the chart of my happiness ratings, it’s amazing to see that every single day was great again. Every day of the month was a good day!

Adventures in Sweden

We started our month in Sweden, where we had been traveling for most of September. We spent the first 10 days of October in the south of Sweden.

When we first entered Sweden in September, our goal was to go as far north as possible. Now that the temperatures were getting colder and colder, we had to travel further south.

We spent our last days 10 in Sweden in a couple different places:

  • Wild camping on a lake near Norrköping
  • Sightseeing in Gothenburg
  • Traveling on the beautiful island Öland
  • Our last couple of days in Sweden in Kristianstad

We knew it was eventually time to move on, since the weather was getting worse. But we still managed to squeeze the most out of our days in Sweden.

waterfall sweden september 2020
One of the many beautiful waterfalls in Sweden
kayaking sweden september 2020
Kayaking a lake in Sweden for the last time
sightseeing gothenburg september 2020
Exploring the beautiful city of Gothenburg
wildcamping sweden september 2020
Our simple wild camping setup while in Sweden
beautiful beach sweden september 2020
A beautiful beach in the south of Sweden

Eventually, we had a BLAST in Sweden, even though it was time to move on.

Uncertainty

So we had to move on to another country, preferably a country where the weather would be good!

Throughout September, we had our eyes on Italy as a next destination. We had all kinds of plans:

  • Drive with our car through Germany and Austria into Italy
  • Visit Venice and Rome
  • Enjoy the sunny weather in the far south
  • Etc
  • Etc

That all changed when Italy changed its regulations overnight in early October. We were – once again – forced to change our plans.

In hindsight, I can’t help but smile as I’m writing this. After all, it’s quite funny how we were constantly trying to plan ahead, while every time, it would only end up in disappointment.

When our plans were killed again, we took a couple of days to reschedule. In the end, we decided to go back home – temporarily – in order to re-pack our bags and hop on a plane to Greece instead!

Traveling to greece

We drove back to the Netherlands from Kristianstad in one go. We weren’t allowed to stop even if we wanted, because both Denmark and Germany didn’t allow tourists from the Netherlands.

Back home in the Netherlands, we spend 2 days to regroup, before we hopped on the plane to Greece. We booked our tickets 1 day in advance.

We knew that Greece could potentially close its borders any minute, which was quite an uneasy feeling. It was especially tricky for us Dutchies. The Netherlands is one of the countries that’s hit really hard with the second corona wave. So other countries were (naturally) blocking any incoming traffic from the Netherlands.

Luckily for us, Greece remained open, and we landed in Athens on the 17th of October.

Beautiful weather in Greece

Once we landed in Greece, we essentially continued right were we left things in Sweden.

We continued to go on adventures, rented a car and drove around the country.

flying to greece october 2020
We landed in Greece on the 17th of October!

We first spent a couple of days in Athens, the beautiful capital of Greece.

After a couple of busy days, I was happy to escape the busy city and go to the relatively quiet peninsula of Peleponnese.

peleponnese travel october 2020
Traveling to the quiet peninsula of Peleponnese

In a matter of days, we exchanged the rainy and cold weather of Sweden for the warm and sunny weather in Greece.

We made the most of this beautiful weather, by:

  • Relaxing on the sunny beaches
  • Hiking in the mountains
  • Road tripping around the peninsula
  • Visiting castles, museums and local restaurants
  • Etc

It was a fantastic time!

incredible acropolis athens october 2020
Looking out over the ancient Acropolis in Athens
jumping joy athens october 2020
I’m doing a happy jump here.
mountains peleponnese october 2020
Hiking in the beautiful mountains of the Peleponnese peninsula
simos beach october 2020
Visiting Simos Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches i’ve ever seen

Positive happiness factors

Here are the positive factors that influenced my happiness in October:

This chart looks very similar to last month’s chart.

That’s because my girlfriend and I are both still really enjoying our time on the road together. We’re not getting sick of each other (yet), she didn’t strangle me in my sleep (yet), and I haven’t thrown an empty wine bottle at her face (yet).

So far so good!

Negative happiness factors

There were a couple of things that impacted my happiness negatively:

Just like last month, there’s not a lot to go into here.

The truth is, there’s simply not a lot of my happiness that is not within my control these days. There’s no stress from work, no early alarm clocks, no traffic jams. Hell, there’s even no shitty weather here in Greece!

I sure hope it stays like this!

For the near future, we’re not planning (ha!) to leave Greece. As long as this country doesn’t go into total-lockdown, this is probably the happiest place on earth for us.

(knocks on wood, again)

How was your October? What would you rate your happiness on a scale from 1 to 10 this past month? Let me know in the comments below!

hugo huyer author of tracking happiness small

Hugo Huijer

Founder

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.

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