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True happiness is a byproduct

True happiness is a byproduct

by Chris Crause

We did not seek happiness. We have earned enough through our business and invested it well for our old age. We bought a little house by the sea. The local congregation cautiously enquired if I was interested in an upcoming vacancy, but my wife and I was contemplating something else…

The words of my final sermon in Perth: “Stop postponing your bucket list!” was still fresh in my memory and I decided to follow my own advice. We bought a 4×4 and a caravan to tour around Australia for one year, without receiving an income. This is one of the big Australian dreams. One hundred Australians do it every day. The only difference is that most people wait until their retirement. Some of them wait too long. We decided to stop postponing and to experience the essence of Australia. I have led too many funerals where I was told of dreams that were left unaccomplished.

It is now 25 000 km later and we are back where we started. It is almost impossible to relay how radically this has changed us. (I have tried to keep everyone posted with my blog and had more than 1 000 followers).

How does one describe the adrenaline-filled wave when you swim alone in the 80 mile beach, which is 40km from any form of civilisation, and a 40cm shark fin swims between you and your wife? Or what it is like when a dozen Cockatoos eat from your hand when you feed them through the caravan window? Or experiencing the sunset whilst sitting on a mountain in Kakadu and looking out at Arnhem Land, where only 16 000 people live in an area of 97 000 km2?

How does one describe the wonder of an Echidna or Platipus in it’s natural habitat? What can possibly exceed the National Parks where you can camp for as little as $10 per night, or the 5 000 incredible ‘free camps’ next to rivers in the outback?

I was listening to the radio the other day when someone tried to explain the difference between the sense of smell of a dog and a human. He compared it to the overwhelming smell of coffee or chocolate, freshly baked bread or sweet fragrances which meet us when we enter a cafe, bakery or perfume shop.

For humans the intensity fades after a while, allowing us to function normally, but it is different for dogs. They never get used to the intensity, which is often a case of sensory overload.

This is how we experienced camping in the bush. We never grew tired of the sound of birdlife or the smell of being in the bush, on beaches or in valleys. We repeated our mantra over and over – if we were to die the next day, it would have been worth it! After a while we could identify more than 200 bird species (often by their calling) and once we camped in a national park merely to see Gang-Gang Cockatoos. We attended sermons with the Mowanjum Aborigine congregation in a building without walls (near Derby) and feasted on delicious snacks offered by church members of Tonga en Samoa in Mt Isa.

We deliberately travelled without any advance bookings. When the park manager asked “How many nights?” I’ve always wanted to answer “I’ll let you know, mate, and I did!

Someone once said to me that you are truly living your life the day when your kids are concerned about how little you worry about the future!

This brings me back to my chosen theme. I think true happiness is a byproduct of simply living and experiencing what makes sense. Or to quote Richard Branson: “Happiness should not be a goal, it should be habit.” Nobody can forward a recipe for happiness via Whatsapp. You have to take risks, or else reconsider why you are doing what you are currently doing. Will $1 million be enough? Or $2 million? Or is it irrelevant? Perhaps it was more important to take Sanity (the nickname for my espresso machine) with us on our adventure? Is it not perhaps more important to ask who are the ones accompanying you on your life’s journey, or if you can escape a rut?

I’ve read somewhere that nature offers free therapy. For us it was experiencing God in nature. It was this Therapist who again blessed us with new energy and happiness.

What a priviledge! Perhaps your therapy is waiting somewhere to be discovered. The most important thing is to quit searching in places which offeres zero or negative contributions to your life.

Chris Crause (from Hervey Bay)


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