Happiness is on the brain. I read this interview with Cheryl Strayed on The Happiness Project, in which Strayed calls a 20-minute walk “the cheapest, healthiest cure on earth.” Preach it! And recently I finished Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss (which I heard about from JoAnna Haugen’s review.)
Weiner’s book is a compelling and quirky quest narrative. Bolstered with the latest findings in the burgeoning field of happiness studies, Weiner visits 10 different countries in hopes of learning more about how happiness works.
I appreciate his brand of humor, at times whiney and often self-deprecating. For example, Weiner visits Moldova as a palate cleanser in between his cheerier ports of call. Maybe too much happiness has skewed his happy scale?
Moldova bottoms out on happiness studies. Moldova is also where I lived for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer (that’s me in the photo above, third from front on the left side of our host family picnic). My own happiness rating in Moldova was quite high, given my wonderful friends, cool job placement, and access to both the interwebs and house wine. I had to laugh when Weiner tries mamaliga, a glorious mound of polenta served with side treats like meat and sheep cheese (and a Moldovan specialty): “I like the way it sounds. Like a Sesame Street character. Hey, boys and girls, say a big hello to the mamaliga.”
While we’re talking food, Weiner waxes metaphysical about McDonald’s in his “Iceland” chapter: “The connection between food and happiness is well documented. The good people at McDonald’s know this. That’s why they call their burger-and-fries combo the Happy Meal, not the Worthwhile Meal or the Existential Meal. People may like to chew on misery, but they want to swallow happiness.”
In other happy news, this week marks one year of WanderChic at Wanderlust & Lipstick. Thanks for reading and supporting me. Happy blogaversary!