When I first read the article in the August/September 2016 National Geographic Traveler, I said to myself, “Yes, but….” The article’s name is “Joy to the World” and in the first line the Dalai Lama says about traveling in the world, “Trust leads to happy days and happy lives.” Sounds like Hallmark card sentiment to me now that yet another mass shooting–this time in Munich, last week in Nice–has occurred. This issue of NGT’s main theme is 14 TRIPS FOR BLISS. Is that possible anymore?
The Dalai Lama is smiling benevolently in the picture above the words. I haven’t had the impression that he is naive. He has suffered banishment, political persecution, etc. China was angry when President Obama visited with him last month. He has travelled all of his life and appears wise at the age of 81. The Dalai Lama says in the article that when we focus too much on problems “We can make it worse.” When we dwell on what is wrong, “It appears unbearable.” That sounds right. Orlando, Paris, Dallas.
The article’s author, who isn’t credited, goes on to reminisce about his or her first travel experiences and calls them bliss. That would be the word too for my early travel. Who can forget that first trip to London, Alaska, Australia, etc? The author goes on to mature travel, and bliss changes to quest. As I traveled, the focus morphed from bliss to quest for knowledge to the extent that the newspaper I worked for called me Mr. Explore, and I began to desire and plan travel to difficult places–Unalaska, Russia, Argentina, etc.
The author talks about going to Bhutan, a country that supports and promotes Gross National Happiness. This Asian country it the model for Shangri-La. A national survey, however, reports that less than 50% of the Bhutanese are happy.
The Dalai Lama advises “traveling really can make the world a happier place because it forces us to trust one another…a warm heart is more important than a brilliant mind.” Whether this is sentimental muttering or the truth is subject to individual interpretation. In any event, I’m going to Armenia in 2 months.