Is happiness the journey or the destination? It may depend entirely on who you ask. For a young couple from Germany, the joy seemed to be all in the journey. The creators of a video log (or vlog) called Expedition Happiness tell their journey across a continent and how they found new definitions for what it means to be happy with every mile they traveled. You may create your own version of Expedition Happiness by examining what the concept of happiness means to you and creating a plan to achieve it. An online or in-person therapist can help you experience more happiness in your daily life.
What Is Expedition Happiness?
What could inspire someone to give up a comfortable apartment and a stable life in Berlin, Germany, to buy a 40-foot bus and remodel it into a "loft on wheels" to travel across an entire continent? For Mogli and Felix, it was a heartfelt desire to explore the world and the experiences it has to offer. The couple dubbed their 2017 vlog documentary Expedition Happiness because it brought them joy, and they wanted to tell it with others.
How Do You Define Happiness?
What is happiness? It may be a simple question, but it often has a complicated answer that can vary dramatically from one person to another. Some view happiness as a positive emotion, while others see it as experiencing pleasure and thriving or fulfillment (hedonia and eudaimonia, respectively). Whether you take an emotional or scientific approach, the exact definition of happiness can be unique to each person.
“Philosophers have most commonly distinguished two accounts of happiness: hedonism and the life satisfaction theory. Hedonists identify happiness with the individual’s balance of pleasant over unpleasant experience … Life satisfaction theories identify happiness with having a favorable attitude toward one’s life as a whole.” — Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Meet The Expedition Happiness Founders
Mogli and her partner, Felix Starck, left a comfortable life in Germany to travel North America with their dog, Rudi.
Mogli is a talented singer, songwriter, and musician. She wrote the soundtrack for her partner’s documentary and is known for composing and acting in multiple cinematic albums, such as Ravage, Mogli: Animal, and Mogli: Mirror. Traveling was always her dream, and she uses her experiences to help her create new music.
A year before they embarked on Expedition Happiness, Felix Starck, an accomplished filmmaker, spent 365 days cycling more than 18,000 kilometers through 22 countries. He filmed his journey and released the documentary Pedal The World.
Mogli and Felix met and became a couple while he was on the cycling trip, moved to Berlin together, and were both unhappy living in the confines of the busy city. They wanted to travel and film another documentary about their experiences and how those experiences shaped their view on happiness.
Experiencing The World From The “Loft On Wheels” Tiny House
After giving up their apartment, the pair bought an old school bus and converted it to a loft on wheels, creating a comfortable tiny home from which they could travel anywhere they wanted. They went to New York on a three-month visa and converted the old bus into the perfect portable home. From there, they made their way to Canada and on to Alaska to officially start Expedition Happiness.
They undertook their journey without a specific route in mind, preferring to decide each day’s destination that morning. Exploration and showing a different perspective of the world is generally what brought them happiness, so they took each day as it came, hoping to make the most of the opportunities presented to them.
Why Go From A Comfortable Berlin Apartment To Life On The Road?
Travel is often a meaningful experience for the couple, and both felt too constricted living in a busy city. While their tiny home may have come with less square footage, they usually had an endless and constantly changing view each day and a wide array of new experiences with each place they visited and new friends they made.
Lessons You Can Learn From Expedition Happiness
While the things that inspire happiness can be different for each person, there may be some lessons you can learn from Mogli and Felix.
Find Ways To Make The Mundane Fulfilling
As you might imagine, incredibly long road trips can get monotonous when you're driving the interstate every day. Mogli said they often took side roads and even dirt roads to shake things up and add some excitement to the trip. Sometimes, the longer route offered unique sights or required them to backtrack, but the fun was in not knowing.
“It’s called Expedition Happiness. When you wake up and open the door and stand across this here, this mountain, these trees, and this river, that kind of is happiness, I guess,” Felix said.
Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
Following your dreams can lead you to uncomfortable places before you get where you want to be. Expedition Happiness's founders suggest stepping outside your comfort zone and opening yourself to new experiences. It may go badly or beautifully, but either way, it will likely be an experience you may not have had otherwise.
Dream Big, Then Plan Realistically
Big dreams often require big plans, and things sometimes go differently than you want. Sometimes, reality may interfere with your goals, and the only happiness to be found can be how well you handle an unexpected obstacle. When the couple's dog got sick and required surgery, they had to shift their plans and adjust their expectations. As the cliché says, it can be ideal to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
Take Time To Let The Simple Things Ground You
One of the primary lessons the couple learned on their journey may have been that happiness can often be found in simple everyday adventures rather than grandiose moments. While they frequently faced unexpected challenges and obstacles, they frequently found fulfillment in how they adapted to the circumstances and made things work.
Be Present In The Moment
Mogli and Felix rarely compare the places they visit with their former home in Berlin. They usually prefer to live in the moment and enjoy life wherever they are. They found joy in many unexpected places by focusing their attention and efforts on having fun and being happy wherever they were.
“Our routine is waking up when the sun goes up and going to sleep when the sun goes down. No appointments. Just living the life, living the moment,” Felix said. “This is happiness for sure.”
How Can You Develop Your Own Expedition Toward Happiness?
You don't necessarily need to take a massive road trip to develop your own version of Expedition Happiness. You might begin by examining what makes you happy. Perhaps you could make a list of the things you think would bring more happiness into your life. If you like nature, you might take a regular walk and enjoy the abundant beauty around you. If you prefer quiet solitude, you could try working meditation into your routine. The journey to happiness can take you to many places, even if you don’t physically go anywhere.
Happiness Can Be Individual
Studies suggest that altering your thought patterns can increase your happiness by activating brain regions associated with positive feelings.
How Therapy Can Help You Redefine Happiness
Many people have trouble experiencing or trusting happiness. If you are struggling to feel happy on your own, consider working with a licensed therapist online through a virtual therapy platform. A qualified therapist can help you identify unhealthy thoughts and behavior patterns so you can shift them toward more positive, productive habits. Therapy can also teach you coping skills to manage stress and communication techniques to enjoy healthier relationships by expressing your emotions and needs. Plus, online therapy can make it easier than ever to schedule and attend appointments.
According to mental health experts at the American Psychological Association, online therapy offers similar results to traditional in-person treatments, often at lower costs and with shorter wait times. Many patients reported that being physically separated from the therapist made talking personal details easier, leading to a more trusting relationship. Another frequent comment is that the convenience of receiving treatment at home made it possible to participate in more sessions. An open relationship with your therapist and regular attendance can increase the effectiveness and duration of therapy outcomes.
What is the life lesson of Expedition Happiness?
Mogli and Felix left the life lesson of Expedition Happiness open for interpretation, but the themes of adventure, purpose, and simplicity resonate with many. The intended life lesson may be to break outside your comfort zone and find new experiences by conquering the fear of the unknown. Perhaps the message of simplicity resonated with some people. Many people know that happiness can be found by feeling grateful for life’s special pleasures.
Expedition Happiness also contains themes of a present-focused mindset. Focusing on the present is associated with an increase in overall well-being. Focusing on the past sometimes means reliving old failures or unpleasant memories, and focusing on the future can often lead to anxiety or worry over ultimately unpredictable things. Focusing on an immediate instance of existence taking place in the present days and hours can prevent the past or future from creeping into daily life.
What happened after Expedition Happiness?
According to an interview with Mogli, after completing their journey in Expedition Happiness, she and Felix returned to their home country of Germany. Mogli continues to travel frequently as part of her musical career, based out of her apartment in Berlin. Felix, a filmmaker and director, worked on preparing Expedition Happiness for release before moving on to other projects.
Where do they go in Expedition Happiness?
The journey of Mogli and Felix begins in Alaska, among wild wolves and grizzly bears. The couple travels south, journeying through deserts, across glaciers, and atop the tallest mountains in North America. Their travels eventually end in Mexico, thousands of miles from where they began.
What happened to Mogli from Expedition Happiness?
Mogli returned to her home country of Germany and continued her music career. She frequently travels, mostly around Europe, promoting her new EP Cryptic. She is focused on producing new music, meeting new people, and continuing to live the life lessons she acquired from her time on Expedition Happiness. She continues to look toward the future while focusing on the present, incorporating the themes of happiness and satisfaction developed on Expedition Happiness.
What was the importance of the Magellan expedition?
In 1519, five ships departed the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The ships were headed west and intended to find a westward route to the Spice Islands in southeast Asia. Eastward routes had been ceded to Portugal in a treaty signed years earlier, and Magellan sought to reopen Spain’s trade with the Spice Islands.
The Magellan expedition was notable for being the first recorded expedition to circumnavigate the globe. The expedition faced storms, disease, and combat. It ultimately saw the death of Magellan, with the last remaining ship returning to Spain under the watch of Juan Elcano. Upon his arrival, Elcano was hailed as a hero. Global trade was spurred on by his and Magellan’s route, which indicated the bounds of the Earth for the first time.
What does the pursuit of happiness teach us?
The pursuit of happiness often refers to eudaimonia, a Greek phrase roughly translated to mean a fulfilling life or a sense of purpose. Pursuing happiness may be as rewarding as happiness itself, indicating that self-improvement, goal attainment, and other things associated with pursuing happiness may be the secret to becoming happy.
The theory that the constant pursuit of happiness provides a sense of purpose is supported by the happiness paradox. The happiness paradox states that those who try to achieve happiness directly are unlikely to achieve it, but those who focus on things other than happiness are likely to become happier overall. At first glance, it may seem that pursuing happiness is futile, at least according to the happiness paradox.
However, it is focusing on happiness that has been linked to unhappiness. Focusing on concrete goals like being a nice person, building trust, practicing gratitude, and helping others will likely lead to much more happiness than pursuing happiness itself.
What happened to Lewis and Clark after the expedition?
When the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806, they were greeted with a hero’s welcome. The entire expedition was awarded with extra pay and land. Both Lewis and Clark received 1,600 acres of land, with their men receiving 320 acres each. Lewis was appointed governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory, and Clark was appointed to be an Indian agent.
The legacy of Lewis and Clark persists to this day. Their maps portraying the geography of the West were the best navigating tools available until the 1840s. After their expedition, Lewis and Clark became known for their contributions to geography and scientific discovery, published nearly a decade after the expedition was completed.
What happened to the Lewis and Clark expedition?
The Lewis and Clark expedition launched in the summer of 1804, just outside St. Louis. For several months, the expedition paddled upstream against the current of the Missouri River before wintering near Fort Mandan. In the spring of 1805, the expedition set out for the Pacific Ocean. They traveled through Montana and over the Bitterroot mountains before wintering again in Oregon.
The next spring, Lewis and Clark set out to reverse their course and travel back to St. Louis, which they eventually reached in September 1806. Along their return journey, they traded and established diplomatic relations with many Native American tribes while documenting their discoveries of flora and fauna. They drew maps that guided America’s westward expansion and remained the best navigational tool available for decades. Upon Lewis and Clark’s return to St. Louis, they and their expedition were greeted with gifts of money and land bestowed by the U.S. government.
What were the main goals of the expedition?
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, who petitioned Congress to fund an envoy of a dozen soldiers to explore the Missouri River. The goals of the expedition included making diplomatic connections with Indian tribes, expanding the American fur trade, and locating the Northwest Passage, a theoretical east-west water crossing across the American continent that would provide way to the Pacific Ocean.
The expedition did not successfully locate a water crossing similar to the Northwest Passage, but they substantially increased the fur trade and made connections with many Indian tribes. Lewis and Clark also documented many species of plants and wildlife in the Pacific Northwest and created maps that would not be surpassed in accuracy for decades.
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