Flavors of Happiness

Four and a half years ago, I took a hike. It was about a week into my full-timing adventure, when I’d settled in enough to finally take in what I was doing. That hike was an amazing experience of extreme emotion and giddy anticipation. I’ll never forget how free I felt standing on top of that grassy hill in South Dakota.

Two days ago, I also took a hike. It was a serene experience of peaceful contentment. Over time, the details will blur together with the hikes surrounding it, one more among the hundreds I’ve done since hitting the road.

They were both good experiences, but two very different types of happiness.

People tend to place more value on the first type. It’s loud and charged and can’t be ignored. It’s the kind of happiness that makes you feel alive. But it doesn’t come every day.

It’s the novelty that makes that kind of happiness so visceral. With increased exposure, the happiness doesn’t go away, but it becomes something quieter. This happens in all areas of life, whether you go full-timing, get a new job you enjoy, or start a new relationship.

Sometimes the transformation from the first type to the second leads people to think that something must be wrong with their job or relationship or their approach to full-time RVing. I say it’s just the way we are, and not necessarily a bad thing. Because that quieter joy runs deeper. Instead of sweeping you along in its wake like tempest, it fills you up and grounds you.

Contentment may not be as sexy as ecstatic happiness, but its effect is longer lasting. And a lot of people, particularly those who read blogs like this, ignore it in pursuit of the next big adventure.

By all means, don’t stop reaching for that next moment of overwhelming joy, they make up the highlight reel of life. But don’t get so caught up in hunting those moments that you overlook the peace that contentment can bring, because that will account for a much greater portion of your life, if you allow it.

* * *

Today’s pictures are from the Lower Chimney Rock Trail, a 1.3 mile loop within the city limits of Sedona, AZ offering great views of red rock formations. The unsettled skies that day made for some fun pictures. Definitely worth it if you’re in the area and enjoy hiking!

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. emily on March 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    you’ve posted particularly fabulous photos today 🙂

    • Becky on March 31, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Emily!

  2. Norm H. on March 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Wise words, profound insight from your life journey. Thank you.

    Lovely pictures of Sedona. Love that area of Arizona and was fortunate to have been there, much to briefly, about a week ago. Will put this hike on my list for next time. Peace.

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      I use to write a lot more of these philosophical posts when I worked seasonal jobs and couldn’t travel as much. Now I have more adventures to write about. But every now and then I still throw one in when I can. 🙂

      You’re welcome Norm and I hope you get to visit Sedona again for longer.

  3. Furry Gnome on March 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Well said Becky. Having followed you from the beginning, I can easily understand it. I’d put the same perspective on life. Now we’re retired we don’t quite have the physical health we once did to pursue those exciting adventures, but you can still have deep contentment over your past adventures. And we can still pursue more, even if they are a little gentler.
    Furry Gnome recently posted..Spring has Sprung!!My Profile

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed this Gnome. I’m happy to hear that you’re still getting out and having adventures, even if they’re a bit different from mine. 🙂

  4. Cinn on March 28, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Beautiful, Becky, just beautiful. …and the photographs as welll. 🙂

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:23 pm


  5. Nancy on March 28, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I loved this post and you pictures were beautiful! Thank you

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      You’re welcome Nancy!

  6. Debbie Granger on March 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    That post was beautifully written and so very thought provoking. Excellent. Excellent.

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks Debbie, glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Kelly on March 28, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for this post. Like many of your posts, I enjoyed it very much. We’re half way through a year on the road, and I’ve found the same to be true. And I loved Sedona when we were there!

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Isn’t Sedona pretty Kelly? Congrats on on your 6 month anniversary!

  8. Hawk on March 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks for such a beautifully written post.
    Contentment and Ecstasy: the “twin sisters” I wish to
    always have along for the ride.
    Happy adventures, everyone!
    All the best,

    • Becky on March 30, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      You’re welcome Hawk, glad you enjoyed this!

  9. Clarke Hockwald on March 28, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Extremely well written Becky!
    Clarke Hockwald recently posted..1st SaturdayMy Profile

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Thanks Clarke!

  10. Alan Belisle on March 28, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Great photos! The clouds add so much drama to the backgrounds.
    Excitement and contentment. You are wise beyond your years, Becky.
    Alan Belisle recently posted..Memphis, Tennessee – part 2My Profile

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Thanks Alan. I get that ‘wise for my years’ comment a lot when I write posts like this. I think most people my age are still too busy looking outward to think about things like happiness and dreams and life.

  11. Sharon on March 28, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Loved this post! Beautifully written and so true! Very insightful. Contentment is lacking today. Enjoy every moment in every season of life. Nice pictures. I especially liked the picture of the tree and clouds.

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Thanks and I’m glad you enjoyed this Sharon! That tree was just begging to have its picture taken. There are actually three ravens in the sky in that photo, but only one was close enough to really show up.

  12. Jerry Minchey on March 28, 2017 at 5:45 am

    You describe feelings better than anyone I know. People who don’t go on hikes are like people who don’t read books. They miss so much. My favorite hikes are to waterfalls. Great article, Becky.

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Thanks Jerry, I’m glad you enjoyed this. I’m very glad I went full-timing when I was young enough to do all of these hikes, not everyone is so lucky. And for those who can’t travel, I bring the adventure to them. 🙂

  13. MnDreamer on March 28, 2017 at 4:49 am

    These photos are so striking, Becky, and your writing is wise and wonderful. Thank you!

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:24 am

      It’s hard to take a bad picture in Sedona! Glad you enjoyed this Mn, you’re welcome.

  14. Ron on March 27, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Insightful post and colorful writing. The quality and color of your writing has grown so much since your first posts. Ron

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Thanks Ron.

  15. Lynn on March 27, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Nice post, pics & life observation 🙂 Thanks for sharing your journey!

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:23 am

      You’re welcome Lynn and I’m glad you enjoyed this!

  16. Jodee Gravel on March 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Lovely pics and words.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Out and About in Southern CaliforniaMy Profile

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Thanks Jodee!

  17. Judy on March 27, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    You must be wintering in Arizona! It must be beautiful. Soon I will get the feeling and be able to enjoy some sunshine. It has been a very, cold, winter here in the foothills of CA.

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Sedona is beautiful Judy. It’s more of a spring/fall place than a winter place though, elevation and all that. But yes, you’ll have to come visit yourself someday! Hope your corner of CA warms up soon.

  18. John L. on March 27, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Peace….Solitude….Contentment…..I found all 3 in the desert outside of Ehrenberg, AZ this past winter, and did not even realize I was looking for them….the feeling just sort of washed over me one evening as I watched the sunset. hope I can hold onto all 3!!

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

      In my experience they’re easier to hold onto than that wild joyful kind of happiness. Safe travels and happy trails.

  19. JEFF D HARRIS on March 27, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Nice Becky! Well said, as usual 😉 I’m a big fan of hiking and love to hear about places I’ve never been. Like you though, I will take my time and enjoy everything. C-ya.

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Glad you enjoyed this Jeff! For me, slower travel is a necessity. I’d never get any work done otherwise.

  20. Dianna on March 27, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    I just finished a 4 mile hike in my local state park. I hike in the park at least twice a week and each time I feel that same sense of happiness along the trail. Not the giddiness of the first time, but a sense of calm enjoyment.

    I have begun taking groups on the hikes as part of a social networking site. No cost just a time to share the experience once or twice a month. To hear a participant say “Thanks, I’ve lived here for 20 years and have never been to the park this was great.” Is music to my ears. As I’m sure all the positive feedback that you receive is.

    Thanks for a wonderful post.

    • Becky on March 28, 2017 at 10:16 am

      What a nice thing to do Dianna. It’s funny, when I lived stationary there were a lot of places I never got out to see either, because I thought there would always be more time. Funny how that works.

      You’re welcome, keep enjoying your park!

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