Posts Tagged With: danish

What I learned in Denmark and Iceland

True to my blog’s name, travel really does enrich your life and make you a better person or in some cases, a more aware person.

I had a great deal of personal enrichments on my last trip that I will share with you today.

My pre-trip goal was to have fun, learn about the Danish culture, find my own “hygge,” and to step outside my comfort zone.  I have not only accomplished what I set out to do, but much more!

First, I found my true “hygge.”  Hygge for me was experiencing the entire Danish lifestyle and embracing what was in front of me daily.  That goes for everything from the local coffee shops, the conversations with locals, and even to the slip and fall in the middle of the street in Copenhagen (I definitely learned I need to look more where I am walking and not assume the curbs are all even as they are in the states!).

When you travel, it is best to expect the unexpected.  By expecting things to not go perfectly one is better equipped to go with the flow.  I had never expected the Danish ground crew to go on strike and delay my plane.  I also did not expect the gate the change and be on the other side of the airport!  By not being upset, and calmly dealing with these travel snafus, I was less stressed and a much better traveler than I would have been had I taken everything so seriously.  Let’s face it, things happen.  Accept it and move on!

I also learned that the Danes are well taken care of by their government and have little to worry about.  This gives them a sense of security that we Americans do not have.  I understand why they live the way they do and how less pressure they live under.  This affords them the opportunity to enjoy family and friends as well as leisure time.  As Americans, I do not think we will ever have this.  At best, all I can learn from this is to want less, and to appreciate what I have and not to yearn for more and more.  If I have less, it follows that I would be able to work less if I am spending less.  It would all even out.  I know this sounds kind of far-fetched, however, I think some of this is possible in our country (America) of excess and materialism.  As I have been saying, less is more.  I intend to make changes in my life such that I am less and less of a materialistic girl and more of a  connoisseur of what I already have.

This trip also taught me that it is ok not to straighten my hair to perfection daily – my hair straightener would not fit in the adapter plug so I had to do without!  I learned that I can survive and go out in public with my hair just the way it is!  Further, it is ok, not to have to put on makeup to go out.  I am who I am and those who pass judgment or do not approve can take a hike!

In addition, I learned what it is like to truly be myself, not caring what others think.  By being myself I experienced spontaneity and freedom.  I played in the snow like a 12-year-old, and I had so much fun!  True, we don’t have snow here in Florida to play with, however, it felt darn good to run in it, throw snow, and make a snow fairy just like I did up north as a child!!  I intend to work on this aspect of being myself while at home so others too can experience the “real” me!

Finally, I have all the experiences and memories in my head that will be with me forever.  I will never forget waking up in my Danish apartment (thanks to airbnb!), or tasting Swedish meatballs in Malmo.  I will always have a sense of peace and rejuvenation every time I re-visit the Blue Lagoon in my mind and in my pictures.  And I will always savor that first bite of Icelandic cod I had in Reykjavik.  These moments will never be forgotten and I will cherish them always.

I am as always thankful for being able to experience my journeys and to come home safely.

What have you learned from your latest travels?

Safe journey,



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Denmark: Happiest nation in the world

According to the World Happiness Report, Danes are ranked as the happiest people in the world.  So what really makes the Danish so happy?  Well, some say it is in their DNA.  Perhaps happiness does breed happiness, but genetically speaking, how logical is it to say we carry a happiness gene in our genetic makeup?

Happiness can be quite subjective, so I am curious to know just how these studies were conducted that concluded who are the happiest and who are unhappy.  In American culture, happiness is often concluded based upon one’s haves versus have nots.  Success often equates to happiness and so does one’s socio-economic status.

In Denmark, this is not the case as I understand it.  The Danes are mindful people as a whole.  What I mean is that they are present-minded people who focus on the here and now versus being future oriented as we Americans often are.  Danes take great pleasure in every ordinary day and have learned to be happy with what they have in the present moment.  This is known in Denmark as “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh).  Hygge is inviting closeness into ones life and paying close attention to what matters most in the moment.  Almost anything can be considered hygge according to the Danish.  Having coffee at a cafe is hygge.  Riding a bike is hygge.  Enjoying a conversation with a friend is also hygge.

Too often life is spent chasing what we do not have but want.  I too am often guilty of wanting more than I have.  I hope to take a lesson from the Danish as I travel to Denmark in the next week in search of my own hygge!  Instead of bringing back a trinket or two, I would like to bring back my own sense of happiness for what I have as well as a greater enjoyment out of living life in the present moment.

What is your hygge?

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