When happiness is packed in one red suitcase

Red suitcase of happiness

Can happiness fit a standard red suitcase? How heavy will it be, then? The answer will depend on your understanding of happiness and the subjects you pack in that suitcase.  

suitcase of happiness

As a kid, I thought happiness was having candy or an ice cream every day, playing with friends outdoors, and watching cartoons. In my teenage years, my perception of happiness changed: I became a fashion magazine fan and dreamed of having long legs, a shiny smile, and 90-60-90 body proportions. As a student, having a long sleep, going to a club, pass the exams without studying became the ultimate, unattainable happiness. After graduating and entering adulthood, my perception of happiness was no longer wanted because I didn’t even have time to think about it. Then marriage happened, later divorce, and trying to escape emotional pain, I buried myself in work. A year after, a glimpse of hope shined far away on the horizon of my hectic life. It looked alluring and warm and reminded me of something pleasant I had experienced long ago. 

happiness is seeing flowers

If happiness is a choice, how to make it? 

2013 was a year when I discovered the courage to think beyond the limiting beliefs of my past experiences. I traveled abroad several times and flew on a plane for the first time. In October of that year, with a one-way ticket, I flew halfway around the world to the city I’d never been to before, Cancun, Mexico. I talk in detail about this brave trip in the article “How traveling solo with one-way ticket changed my life.” 

I was 31, alone, far away from family and friends, and all that I owed at that moment was in the red suitcase. Should I tell it to my conservative friends, they would summarize my state of life as a disaster, would have made a sad face, and mumble some compassionate phrases. Nevertheless, I was happy like never before. 

happiness is a choice smiling
Packing my red suitcase a day before departure in 2013

The red suitcase with everything inside was what I needed to be happy back then.

It had a moderate assortment of casual clothes, a Nikon camera, a Sony Vaio laptop, and a little red purse with a debit card of only 3000 dollars. Having just a red suitcase forced me to love it because there was nothing more that I owned. I didn’t have beachfront apartments, villas, yachts, jets, memberships in private clubs, and millions in a bank account – all the items that define luxury happiness in our modern, hectic world. I had so little, but it was enough to be happy. Having limitations resulted in freedom and made me once again realize that the number of material goods does not define happiness, neither does likes on Instagram, success at work, having the biggest house, the most expensive car, etc. Living in a highly consumerist world, I feel awkward even assuming that maybe 


less consumption, and more real-life experience is a simple recipe for feeling happier. Less comfort and more enriching challenges can restore a feeling of happiness. Or maybe I am just naive! 

what is happiness flowers
happiness is a state of mind
money cant buy happiness why

Money can’t buy happiness; it’s a fact! But it can certainly buy plane tickets and a room at the hotel, nutritious food and clothes, a car and a bicycle, a phone and laptop, books and a Netflix subscription, coffee and tiramisu, and so many other things. Happiness is generated by using all the before mentioned and getting the benefits out of it. The process of buying and using it can make you happy. 

On my adventurous trip, it was not the money that made me happy; but the process of exploring the world, visiting new places, meeting new people, trying new food, and speaking a different language, and the money I saved for this trip, definitely helped.

i want to be happy mindset
In InterContinental Hotel in Madrid, summer 2013. My first big trip with a red suitcase.

In 2013 I wanted freedom and simple easinesses, feeling that I was a citizen of the world, belonging nowhere and living only in now. And traveling allowed me to experience a long-forgotten sense of exploration and wonder, the one we experience in childhood when everything seems new and exciting. 

happiness is smiling

Every time I look at this photo, I see pure, sincere, innocent happiness shining from every cell of my body. It’s in the smile, eyes, body position, and hair flying with the wind. I took this photo at Delfines beach on my second week in Cancun. At that moment, I didn’t have a business plan, didn’t know the local language, and knew no one there. I was a foreigner in a country whose culture I didn’t understand. I lost myself to eventually reinvent in another part of the world, with new surroundings, language, and friends. 

Nothing is forever, and the red suitcase of happiness was temporary. But it was what I needed in 2013, and it brought me much bigger happiness – experiences and knowledge. 

If happiness is a choice, how to make it? I can only write about my perception of this philosophical question, and I don’t think there is one universal answer. In my life, it happened gradually. I didn’t wake up one day with a clear thought, “I want to be happy!” It took me years to understand that in all my traveling and adventures, the goal was to be happy. I’m focused on having a creative lifestyle, exploring my capabilities, overcoming my fears like public speaking and others, bringing values with my branding and photography business, empowering women with a flying dress experience, connecting with an artistic community, and many more. So, my guess is you choose happiness when you focus on filling your life with interesting, creative, and challenging experiences; when you gently push yourself beyond your own limiting beliefs; when you try something new just for the sake of the experience itself; when you stay curious and ask questions, and sometimes happiness activates when you go against the current, “the norm” and “the ordinary” thus create you own extraordinary, authentic happiness. Whatever you choose as a definition of happiness, remember that happiness is an active feeling that changes with time. 

What did I learn about happiness on my journey with one red suitcase?

  • Happiness is personal, and we all can define our own. 
  • Happiness is not a destination. It’s a way of life. It’s not permanent and frozen in time; it’s alive and active. It doesn’t go stale and has no expiration date. What made you happy in childhood will not bring the same excitement in adulthood. As long as you are enthusiastic and eager to experience life, happiness will stay fresh and evolve with time. 
  • Sometimes to find happiness, you must be brave and let go of old beliefs, challenge yourself to explore the world, ask questions, and create your happiness. 
  • Happiness has to be experienced. It’s a reaction to an action. 
  • At different stages of life, happiness looks different.
  • Happiness is not a recipe printed in books; everyone must personally write it. 
  • Happiness is a feeling of abundance stored in quality rather than quantity. 
be happy with what you have flowers
authentic happiness in flowers

Since this article is about happiness, I want to mention the movie “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” a 2014 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Chelsom. A highly engaging movie with a beautiful message, some of which are the following:

 “The only moment when happiness is ruined is when you think it doesn’t last.”

“Happiness is a by-product or side effect of being aboard, engaged in doing something.”

“We should be concerned not so much with a pursuit of happiness but with the happiness of pursuit.”

BTW did you know that the International Day of Happiness is celebrated on March 20? Excellent day and why not have one more reason to talk and think about happiness? Choose happy, my dear reader! 

What are your thoughts about happiness? 

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