Posted 30 Sep, 2013 | 11 Comments
Posted in: Inspiration, Our Story

Life. What a wonderful thing! Waking up each morning with a smile on our faces, excited to see what the new day will bring is something we consider ourselves blessed to be able to feel. Having the freedom to go where we want, being able to sample new cuisines, discover amazing cultures and witness stunning landscapes, all while growing together as a couple is what brings us joy in life.

small things in life
Happily enjoying the little thing called LIFE!

But even if we were suddenly stripped of these experiences, I think we would still be happy. We’ve been noticing lately that it’s the little things during our travels that bring a smile to our faces.

arslenbob kyrgyzstan
It’s the little things in life

We can be sitting on the side of the street in India with a small cup of boiling hot, milky tea and do nothing but people watch and be completely content.

backpacking india
One of the best things to do in India is just sit back, enjoy some tea and people watch

We love slowly wandering around a small village and making small talk with the local people, who are usually more than happy to chat with us and more often than not, it ends with a photo being taken.

siwa oasis egypt
Enjoying the day with some friendly local men in Siwa Oasis, Egypt

Watching the sun set over the mountains or ocean is a very basic, but very enjoyable way to end a day.

travelling sunset
One of the simplest things you can do is enjoy a sunset at the end of a day

Being a big, scary Westerner and chasing children around the town always ends in giggles from the kids and laughter from the parents.
Some of our fondest memories are of something as simple as sitting with a group of local people and having a meal or tea, or dancing and having my hair braided by village women in Africa.

quirimbas archipelago mozambique
Having an authentic village experience in Mozambique, one of the best days ever

Showing people items of ours from Canada that they’ve never seen before is always an interesting cultural interaction. On this trip, the men have all found Nick’s Leatherman knife very appealing. They love opening it up and discovering all of the gadgets inside. The women and young girls love looking at my necklace and checking out all of my colourful bracelets. The kids are always intrigued by the camera and seeing videos on the computer.

backpacking kyrgyzstan
Kids always love seeing videos and pictures on our computers

It doesn’t have to be something as extravagant as visiting the Great Wall Of China, sailing down the Nile River or Trekking in Nepal, truly some of our best memories are very simple, pure and authentic ones, almost always involving the local people and culture of whichever country we’re in.

local people in arslenbob
Meeting local people is one of the best things about travelling

Because we feel so strongly about making connections with people, learning about their culture and ways of life, we’ve been shocked lately when hearing fellow backpackers complaining about “such and such a place is so Boring!”

Recently, we were in Arslanbob in Kyrgyzstan, a 100% Muslim village of 13,000 people. The place was teeming with cows and donkeys, the call to prayer blazed over the loud-speaker 5 times a day, the village was surrounded by towering mountains and the largest walnut forest in the world is a nice 30 minute walk away. The nearby rivers are stocked with fish and the food at the small cafes is delicious. There are 2 waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints across the village, as well as endless trekking opportunities (by donkey, horse or foot). Besides all of these appealing things, the people there are fantastic!

arslenbob kyrgyzstan
Having a great day with a friendly local family in Arslenbob, Kyrgyzstan

We spent 4 nights there and wanted more. We were shocked to hear other travellers complaining that Arslanbob was “boring”. It was totally mind-boggling. What more could you want out of a place? It’s a very authentic village and the people here are willing to teach foreigners about their ways of life, religion and culture. We spent some days just sitting at the waterfall reading a book, wandering around town, having tea and talking with some local families, and doing many other things.

arslenbob kyrgyzstan
Having a quiet day reading and enjoying the views

Of course, we’ve had some down days while travelling too, but we don’t blame it on the country or the city, it’s usually something we’ve done ourselves (like travelling too fast!) More than a couple of times during this trip we’ve had others complain to us about being fed up with a country or being too bored, to which we both just kind of stop talking to them and walk away. Life is too short and incredible to be surrounded by negative thinking people.

backpacking slowly
Make time to stop and smell the roses once in awhile

Sometimes the smallest things in life can bring the largest amount of joy. We suggest everyone stops to smell the roses once in a while, look around you and take it all in. Find beauty and happiness in the little things.

Where do you find the most joy in life? Share with us below!

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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11 thoughts on “Finding Joy From The Little Things In Life

  1. Lovely blog. You are absolutely correct, although we’ve done the “biggies” of hiking the Great Wall, cruising the Nile, etc etc as well… all the memories that REALLY resonate with me over time are the small moments in time that have a personal connection.

  2. Guys, I simply love this post. It made me smile and made my day, thanks! I have noticed that since you left China, you became much happier and more emotional about travels and I really like it. It’s so true, there is nothing better than feeling this freedom of going where you want to go and doing what you want to do with no pressure. Being surrounded by amazing locals and people who would actually give you more than they have is just amazing :). I know this feeling :).

  3. Indeed! Travel definitely makes you appreciate the smaller things in life and find happiness in the simplest and most routine things ever. As some once said, ” If you want to be happy, be”

    Good luck with your travesl! Cheers!

  4. I loved what you said about finding happiness in the little things. I too am amazed when someone finds a place boring. Do I have favorites? Of course. But I can normally find something special about everywhere we visit. Thanks for embracing the uniqueness in each opportunity.

  5. You guys are my new role models! You are absolutely right, the little things are what make life worth living, and negative thinking/people don’t deserve our time. Rock on!

  6. Thanks for the kind words Rhonda!

    You’re absolutely right, our fondest memories really are all about the local people and the connections we make while abroad.

  7. Thanks Agness, we knew you could relate to this one! We’ve been having a great time since leaving China – although we do miss the people, our little apartment and our life there. The experiences we’ve had on this trip through Central Asia have been truly memorable.

    Cheers 🙂

  8. I like that “If you want to be happy, be” That’s great!

    Thanks for the comment. Happy travels to you 🙂

  9. Thanks for the lovely comment Joanne. We all have our favourites for different reasons, but everywhere has something special to offer.

  10. Hey Sam!

    We think you guys are awesome too 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying our posts.

    Happy Travels

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