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Continuing the happiness safari
  1. Ebony Escalona

Abstract

A trip to Kenya offered Ebony Escalona a whole host of lessons on living in the moment, escaping from the hustle and recognising happiness. And, as she explains, she’s determined to keep applying them as she returns to her regular routine

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Ebony Escalona is a vet and training adviser at VDS Training

‘Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.’

I was definitely not seeing the ‘gift’ earlier this year while flying 30,000 feet in the air on the way to Kenya for a best friend’s wedding and safari. Even as I looked forward to the experiences that lay ahead of me, my mind was worried about all the loose ends I hadn’t tied up before I left. I caught myself thinking about all the emails I hadn’t yet replied to as my food tray was passed to me.

This section is supported by the VDS and is aimed at improving the efficiency and wellbeing of vets. Encouraging you to have a more balanced life outside of work.

I genuinely love the surprise of plane food, peeling back my little foil carton like a kid at Christmas. It’s the same feeling I get when I walk into a charity shop or discount supermarket. You never know what you are going to come out with! I noticed that, in that moment, I was happy. I didn’t have to wait to be at the wedding or on safari to start smiling. So, as I tucked into my miniature chocolate pudding, I made a commitment to notice when I felt happy.

The wedding and safari flew by, but even though I am now miles from Kenya, I have promised myself to try to incorporate some safari lessons into my London life. So, what did I learn and how am I applying it?

Enjoy the tracks that you are following

Enjoy the tracks that you are following

It’s easy to get hung up on ‘happiness’ as the destination: ‘I’ll be happy when I see the leopard…get the job…pass the exam…go to the wedding…’ But what about the journey to these destinations; all the little tracks we make on our way? A day tracking leopards was full of so many other wonders. The leopard was only sighted for a second and then was gone. But the beauty we saw on the way was just priceless. I’m going to try to enjoy the journey a little more as the destination isn’t always a given.

Look up and out…like a giraffe

Look up and out…like a giraffe

I spend a lot of my time looking at a screen and while this is not all bad, it’s easy to forget that there is a whole beautiful world out there and we are just a tiny speck of cells in the mega mix. Wherever you are, there will be something worth looking up and out to. I’ve been trying to catch the sunset more since being back in Blighty.

Pursue campfire connection over wifi connection

Campfire connection over wifi connection

My trip to Kenya was a chance to surround myself with good old-fashioned connection – stories, laughter and sunset drinks with my mates. I am missing this chance to disconnect so now switch my phone off for a few hours a day. There is a happy place between digital connection and original community conversations.

The pursuit of happiness can be a futile game, especially if we forget to notice all the smiles that the journey pulls across our faces. Capturing what I am grateful for daily, and noticing when I am happy, helps me to boost my happiness; getting into nature, hanging out and sharing experiences with my most treasured friends are common themes.

So, what gives you happiness? Is it the sight of nature’s feats, or an achievement, or is it being in the presence of someone? Let’s go and do more of the answers. Big cats (not the obese domestic variety) may be a little harder to find in London…although I am not that far from London Zoo!

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