In June we announced the formation of EcoAdventure Media, a new collective of strategically hand-picked media professionals collaborating to connect sustainable travelers with destinations and brands that put an emphasis on traveling responsibly. Now, we’re thrilled to announce our company’s first major project, #EcoCostaRica!
(Four months ago, on my 45th birthday, we published a post called 45 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self. That post has since become our most popular ever, with over 65,000 views. What follows is the first chapter of a book based on the post– part memoir, part self-help, part philosophical guide to happiness– which I hope to share with my daughter someday. We appreciate all constructive feedback!)
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“The creative artist and poet and saint must fight the actual (as opposed to ideal) gods of our society– the god of conformism as well as the gods of apathy, material success, and exploitative power. These are the ‘idols’ of our society that are worshipped by multitudes of people.” – Rollo May
In the beginning, we are each born whole, full of the magic and spark of creativity; full of awe and wonder; full of life and light.
To watch a young child explore the parameters of their existence, experimenting with the boundaries and discovering the outer limits of their imagination, is to witness the birth of self– a wholly original work of art upon the blank canvas of our souls.
But, all too often, in our attempts to nurture children and help them find the right path, we unwittingly imply that the path they might find and choose for themselves isn’t good enough. And, while it may not be our heart’s intent, the message that’s ultimately conveyed is, “You’re not good enough.”
We don’t often (read: NEVER) write about Internet memes. But this viral video on The Science of Happiness from Soul Pancake simply proved too inspiring and thought-provoking for us to ignore.
The concept seems simple on the surface. “Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness in your life is how much gratitude you show.” It’s not a new idea– self-help gurus like Brené Brown talk about the benefits of practicing gratitude all the time, and I used to write about my weekly gratitudes back in the MySpace days. But Soul Pancake’s Experiment in Gratitude takes it one step further, offering compelling proof of the scientific theory in action.
First, subjects were given a brief survey to determine how happy they are. Next, they were asked to write a letter of gratitude to the person who inspired them the most. Then, assuming that person was still alive, they were asked to call and read the letter to them over the phone. The emotional catharsis was clearly powerful and, in subsequent surveys, every single person registered as being happier for having expressed those feelings of appreciation. Most interestingly, the people who benefitted the most were the people who were least happy to begin with!
When most people start having kids, they tend to wait a few years in between babies to give the first one time to develop. So perhaps it’s not entirely coincidental that we’re launching our second website, Green Travel Reviews, just one month shy of Green Global Travel‘s 3-year anniversary.
Last year was incredible for us: In just over 12 months, we traveled to the Galapagos Islands, Yellowstone, the Peruvian Amazon, Bermuda, Panama, Dominica, New York, Jordan, Churchill, Ft. Lauderdale, Chilean Patagonia, and Antarctica. In that time, GGT went from a few thousand to more than 35,000 unique visitors a month, and emerged as the biggest independent ecotourism/conservation blog in the world.
But, as we took time over the holidays to reflect on our insane 2012, we realized that our lives had gotten out of balance. We missed my daughter, our dog, our home and our friends. And since our intense travel schedule didn’t leave much time for freelance work, we also missed about 1/3 of our annual income!
Although we had 103 friends in common, were members of the same travel blogging group on Facebook, and had commented on each other’s posts in the past, I didn’t know Anita Mac personally. But still I was shocked and saddened yesterday when our mutual friend Robert Schrader revealed that the blogger behind Travel Destination Bucket List had taken her own life at the age of 43.
Anita seemed like a lot of our travel blogging friends– outgoing, adventurous, and happy. Her Facebook page was filled with enthusiastic posts about weekend plans and gorgeous photos of food, friends and fun on the road. As Robert said, her mission was “to inspire and empower people to live their dreams.” On the surface, she seemed to be succeeding. But, as “What do you do with a broken heart?” (her final post, on August 22) revealed, Anita struggled with private pain that ultimately tore her life apart.
I’ve been struggling to come to grips with her passing for 24 hours now, trying to figure out why the suicide of a person I barely knew upset me so much. Her death led me to re-examine this industry we’ve become a part of, questioning why we blog about our travels and wondering about “the dream” we, as a community, encourage our readers to live.