Adventure and Travel Make You Happy

Adventure and Travel Make You Happy

photography, travel, adventure

Aurora while photographing Polar Bears in the Arctic

The world is a book and  those who do not travel have only read a single page ~ Saint Augustine

So it’s a bit of a lazy Sunday night for me tonight, work last week was an absolute bare.  I was productive this weekend but tonight I’m just a bit worn out.  So I thought I would cheat a little bit tonight and write about my favorite subjects, travel and adventure.   Okay,  maybe not so much write about them as lay down some links to my previous writings.  Travel is something  I encourage everyone to do, the trip doesn’t have to be long or expensive.  You don’t have to travel far, as long as you are going someplace new you’re on an adventure and adventure pushes you out of your comfort zone.  It is once you’re out of your comfort zone that change really happens in your life and if you’re not as happy as you’d like to be, you need to change.  If you change you can be happier my friends.  So here are some posts from my past adventures, I hope you enjoy them. ~ Rev Kane

Rev Kane in Wadi Rum in Jordan

The Ancient City of Petra

My Polar Bear Adventure

Swimming with Whale Sharks

My Himalaya Adventure

Hiking Havasupai Falls

Precious Moments on the Appalachian Trail

Happiness and the three questions

My book on hiking the Appalachian Trail

 

 

 

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Happiness, the minimalist mind and hiking the Appalachian Trail

Happiness, the minimalist mind & hiking the Appalachian Trail

happiness, hiking, Appalachian Trail

Rev Kane fully living in the Himalayan Mountains

I want to hike the Appalachian Trail because it will be an adventure, adventure is transformational and I want to live a transformational life         ~ Rev Kane

As my big adventure gets ever nearer my mindset, as I mentioned in my last post, is beginning to change. One of the biggest changes, (driven I’m sure by how little weight I want to carry on the Appalachian Trail), has been a minimalist attitude. It has hit in some really interesting ways, first I had packed everything I will be taking with me on my year plus journey. But as my mind has changed I’ve found myself re-evaluating and have already cut the amount of clothing in half. Hell I even find that I’m starting to eat less and less often. The funniest one is that I’ve actually started showering less.

A good friend has been kind enough to give me a place to live for a couple of weeks before I depart and you’d think, knowing how rarely I’ll get a hot shower while camping across the US and hiking the Appalachian Trail, that I’d be taking three a day but it’s been the opposite. The one thing I will say however is that my level of gratitude and appreciation is greatly increasing. I’m taking fewer showers but have been incredibly mindful during each one of how precious a hot shower is and have really focused on how wonderful they are.

happiness scotland

Rev Kane goin native in the Scottish Highlands

The same thing has happened with meals, as my time has grown short people have been taking me to dinner and I’ve really focused on how wonderful a really well-prepared and tasty hot meal is versus reconstituted camp food. So, before I have even stepped my first step on the trail, two months before in fact, the AT has already begun to impact my mindset, making me more mindful and grateful.

It is important to keep the psychological aspects of the trip in mind, both the benefits and also the psychological challenges. I’m starting to feel some of the challenges as well, the anticipation of being alone, of being electronically out of touch and the diminished social connections. A great book that deals with this is Zach Davis’ book, Appalachian Trials, it’s a great read on the subject.

So life is changing and change can be good, the minimalist mindset is helping, so take a moment to think about what could you really do without, maybe giving it up will help you have a happier day my friends, give it a try ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You’ll Enjoy!

Appalachian Trail Happiness, the book!

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness: Our Best Posts

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Acceptance is the Way

Happiness is Not Safety

 

 

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Happy Summer Solstice!!!

Happy Summer Solstice!!!

happiness solstice

 

 

 

 

Happy Solstice my friends, today a happy day as we get more light than any other day of the year.  So here’s a really beautiful poem for you to read and reflect on the longest day and the beauty of love and nature.  Give it a read and have a happy Summer Solstice my friends ~ Rev Kane

Summer Solstice

by Stacie Cassarino

I wanted to see where beauty comes from

without you in the world, hauling my heart

across sixty acres of northeast meadow,

my pockets filling with flowers.

Then I remembered,

it’s you I miss in the brightness

and body of every living name:

rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.

You are the green wonder of June,

root and quasar, the thirst for salt.

When I finally understand that people fail

at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,

the paper wings of the dragonfly

aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?

If I get the story right, desire is continuous,

equatorial. There is still so much

I want to know: what you believe

can never be removed from us,

what you dreamed on Walnut Street

in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,

learning pleasure on your own.

Tell me our story: are we impetuous,

are we kind to each other, do we surrender

to what the mind cannot think past?

Where is the evidence I will learn

to be good at loving?

The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond

for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.

There are violet hills,

there is the covenant of duskbirds.

The moon comes over the mountain

like a big peach, and I want to tell you

what I couldn’t say the night we rushed

North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers

and the way you go into yourself,

calling my half-name like a secret.

I stand between taproot and treespire.

Here is the compass rose

to help me live through this.

Here are twelve ways of knowing

what blooms even in the blindness

of such longing. Yellow oxeye,

viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms

pleading do not forget me.

We hunger for eloquence.

We measure the isopleths.

I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.

The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.

Fireflies turn on their electric wills:

an effulgence. Let me come back

whole, let me remember how to touch you

before it is too late.

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Sometimes, Happiness is Avoidance

Sometimes, Happiness is Avoidance

happiness

Happiness depends on ourselves ~ Aristotle

Here at the Ministry of Happiness we have talked often about the necessity of facing your issues and dealing with them straight on. This is almost always the option and particularly at the times when we least want to do it. So for the truly important things in life that are diminishing your happiness this is still my best advice.

However, there are small things in our lives that can suck away our happiness and for many of them it would take more energy to confront them, than it would to simply avoid or ignore them. One way I’ve done this in my life over the last year has been to avoid the news. This was not an easy thing for me, I’m a news junkie, I like to know what’s happening and have some deeper understanding of the why of the world. A female friend once joked, you’re the only guy who I ever leave alone in a hotel room and when I come back he’s watching the news instead of sports.

Watching the news however was doing less to inform me that it was to inflame my emotions and annoy me. So, I essentially banned news channels from my viewing habits and have chosen to get my news from less inflammatory sources. Something else that wasn’t easy! My go to news sources include the New York and Los Angeles Times, the BBC and my absolute favorite news source, The Christian Science Monitor. I find that the Monitor does a good job of analyzing the news without much spin to the left or the right. Of course the tradeoff is, that unlike CNN or USA Today you don’t get new headlines every 20 minutes but you do get more depth.

I will still scan through the headlines on CNN but if I want more in-depth reading I’ll dig into the web for the information. I have to say that this change has made me less politically oriented and less likely to jump into political arguments on social media, again a very good thing as all of this has lowered my stress level which increases your happiness.

The inspiration for this piece came today from a very conscious decision to walk about 2 minutes out of my way to avoid having to face an employee. This person is utterly fragile, prone to exaggeration, passive-aggressive and any contact just fuels her fire for drama and conflict. So sure, I walked a few extra steps, but in doing so got a little more exercise, lessened my stress and had a happier day, hope you’re having one to my friend.

~ Rev Kane

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Happiness is reducing stress

Happiness & Selected Families

Happiness, Simplicity & Letting Go

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Stop Preventing Your Own Happiness

Stop Preventing Your Own Happiness

happiness Until you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy with what you have.~Zig Ziglar

So a lot comes screaming across social media and every once in awhile something really good comes by and one today was a piece about the things we do to ourselves that holds us back.  It’s a piece entitled, Thirty Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.

I particularly liked the following pieces of advice the author shared.

1. Stop spending time with the wrong people.

Your environment means a lot and surrounding yourself with the wrong people can really impede your pursuit of happiness.

2. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.

Becoming the person you want to be, revealing your inner beauty is a key to your happiness.

3. Stop trying to buy happiness

Very often the simplest and free things in life will lead to the most happiness.

Give the piece a read my friends, I think you’ll enjoy it, and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

 

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On Hiking Alone

On Hiking Alone

01I really like this quote, thanks to my sister for sharing it with me. There has been a lot of talk in comment sections, in the NY Times and on Social Media about the woman who died in Maine. A lot of people are posting reminders, never hike alone, it’s not safe. Let’s understand something, hiking is inherently not safe, you can ask a lot of my hiking friends, or me for that matter. Hiking is a dangerous activity one misstep can lead to damaged, knees, backs, bones or even death. We talked about this a lot on the Appalachian Trail last year.  A wrong turn can get you lost and in some places lost for good. You can get bit by poisonous snakes, mosquitoes (the most dangerous), bears, or mountain lions.  But I’ll tell you this, sitting on the couch will kill you a hell of a lot faster and in less pleasurable surroundings.

fix nh1 colorIt’s not always possible to have a hiking partner and most day hikes are unbelievably safe, at least as safe as any hike can be.  There are also some serious benefits to hiking alone, you’re quieter so you see a lot more wildlife.  You get to be alone with your thoughts and even find natural quiet.  You get to pick your own pace and control how far and how hard you go without inconveniencing anyone else.

fix nh2Now, there are trade offs, there always are, hiking alone is more dangerous and remote hiking can exponentially increase that danger.  I just think in most places, on most days, the trade offs are acceptable, but my eyes are wide open and yours should be as well.  If I die on a hike because I’m alone, I’m good with that, not the dying part, the fact that I willingly put myself in that situation and knew the potential consequences.

3 q day 1More important than having a hiking partner, in my estimation, is preparation.  I think a solo well-prepared hiker is safer than a pair of unprepared hikers.  You should know the area, at least at a general map level. You should have a map, supplies (yes your pack will be heavier), you should give an itinerary to someone and they should know what time/day means you’re overdue and they should be concerned.  You should have a compass and know how to navigate with it.  Knowing at least a little bit about living off the land is also a good skill to have.  You don’t have to be Suvivor Man/Woman, but you should have some basic skills especially if you are going remote.  Knowing how to properly deal with wildlife like bears, snakes and mountain lions is also a good idea.

KODAK Digital Still CameraNONE OF THIS, is to say that people who have gotten lost or died weren’t prepared.  No matter how prepared you are things can happen that you can’t control.  It’s horribly sad when hikers get lost or injured and end up dead.  So please be prepared, be careful but don’t completely abandon the idea of hiking alone, I’m not going to give it up anytime soon, and I plan on having many happy hiking days. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

My favorite AT photos from 2015

Thru-hike Gear Lists

Thru-hike FAQ’s – Part 1

My Appalachian Trail Resources Page

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Trail Community

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments

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Reflecting on the Year So Far

Reflecting on the Year So Far

happiness, quote

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience which is the bitterest. ~ Confucius

So for my Sunday night post this week I decided to sit back and reflect on the first six months of this year. In beginning each year, I don’t necessarily do resolutions but I do try to set some goals.  For this year the focus was on my upcoming adventure, originally that was to try to do 7 hikes on 7 continents and I was hoping to get up to 10,000 social media followers and then do a crowd source funding campaign to fund the adventure.  Well something I learned a long time ago was that I can make plans, but the only thing I am really deciding is a general direction that has once again proven to be true.

The Best Laid Plans

fear happiness

Fear is killing your happiness

The first revision to my plans this year was that the 7 hikes plan wasn’t going to work.  Unfortunately, partially due to my fear that I couldn’t make the crowd funding work and wouldn’t have the funding to do the whole plan.  So I began to adjust things and decided initially to change my plans and start by moving to Oaxaca City, Mexico, do two months there then head to Machu Picchu and a month in Peru.

My Broken Heart

broken heart, happiness

So I had the plans in place for my trip and was trying to get some medical procedures taken care of before I go off work-based great insurance and go on to disaster control insurance.  So I had a wisdom tooth pulled and I scheduled a surgery to remove a lump from my back.  My blood pressure medication was no longer being effective so on the day of my surgery it spiked and I got cancelled out and needed to get cleared for the surgery by a cardiologist.  Well he heard a heart murmur and that started a medical roller-coaster that has lasted the last two months diagnosed me with a broken-heart and ended with my finally getting my surgery accomplished.

surgery, happiness

Little lump, giant bandage

So with my diagnosis of an aortic aneurysm doing time hiking at high altitude didn’t seem like the best idea so it was time to juggle my plans once again.

On the Road Again

travel, happinessSo just because I have a newly diagnosed heart condition, doesn’t mean I’m not going on an adventure, life is not about existing but about actually living.  That is one idea that I truly hope that I have gotten across to you in writing this blog, it is without a doubt my deepest core value.  So I set about planning once again.

I will still be wrapping my job up at the end of June and hitting the road in early July.  I’m planning a few days in Las Vegas to celebrate the fourth of July.

las vegas, happiness, travel

Vegas Baby!

I then plan on meeting up with some friends in Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and Reno.  From there I will head east, making a stop in Nebraska to see a friend I haven’t seen in 25 years!  From there I’ll float east to Chicago and do something off my bucket list, catch a day game at Wrigley Field.  I had initially thought to take a trip to Pittsburgh to catch a Pirate game two days later, but then I found out that Steeler Training camp is opening and so instead, one more bucket list item, a day at Steeler’s Training camp in Latrobe, PA.

steelers, pittsburgh, bucket list

Rev Kane at a Steeler Game in Pittsburgh

From Pittsburgh I’ll be heading east to NY and hopefully Boston and see some family and friends before leaving the country.  My plans are to head for Glasgow, Scotland and after a couple of days in Glasgow and a stop at one of my favorite places St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Art. I’ll head off to hike the Western Highland and the Great Glen Way. I’ve done the Great Glen before and really looking forward to the full two-week experience.

happiness, hikingFrom there after a quick stop in Edinburgh I head for Spain and plan to hike the Camino de Santiago Primitivo, this should be another 2-3 three-week hike ending at the Spanish Coast.

happiness scotland

Rev Kane goin native in the Scottish Highlands

From Spain it will be train time, train rides down through Portugal with a couple of stops eventually heading to Gibraltar and the ferry ride to Tangier in Morocco.  A couple of weeks in Morocco and then back through Spain, and eventually Glasgow and a flight back to New York. Once in New York I’m planning on doing the 100 mile NY section of the Appalachian Trail, including the last 7 miles of Connecticut that I have left to do.  Once completed that will give 8 out of 14 states finished on the Appalachian Trail.

be happy, hiking, appalachian trail, tennessee

Rev Kane on the Appalachian Trail at the Tennessee border.

From there the plan is to head off to Oaxaca City for a few months, continue to work on my Spanish language skills and do a whole lot of writing!  As well as working on a new website that I’m working on with a friend, but more about that at a later time.

So in looking back at the last six months although a lot has changed and it’s been a wild roller-coaster I’m pretty pleased with the year so far.  I’ve been through a lot but my plans are in place and I have one heck of an adventure to look forward to in the next six months.  And on the social media front, this past weekend I did finally hit that 10,000 social media follower goal, which was a goal for the year, it’s really important to believe in yourself and so far, so good in 2018!

Hopefully in looking back at your own year you see lot’s of good and lot’s of happiness, challenges overcome and that you have some positive things to look forward to coming up, including many happy days my friends.  ~ Rev Kane

 

 

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Rev Kane, Celebrating 10,000!

Rev Kane, Celebrating 10,000!

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. ~ Oprah Winfrey

Thank you!!!

So my goal for this year was to reach 10,000 followers across my social media accounts and I’m very excited to say that I hit the mark this past week!

rev kane, slower pace of life, can make you happy

A slower pace of life can make you happy

First off I want to say thank you to all of you who support the Ministry of Happiness in all of it’s various forms and outlets, I deeply appreciate your interest and support.  As a reminder of what all of those ways are, below is a list, just click on the links and please feel free to share with others if you like what we do here. ~ Rev Kane

To subscribe to the blog and get every post in your email:  Follow this link

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Links to my books, first my book about hiking the Appalachian Trail and also my first book of poetry, Otherness.

 

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Take Time to Stop and Take in the Beauty Around You

Take Time to Stop and Take in the Beauty Around You

Appalachian trail, happiness, hiking

Fall on the AT

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. ~ Dale Carnegie

We are all busy people, we have jobs and families.  We have responsibilities and commitments.  The last week and a half at work have been especially stressful.  I was out of the office for the most part for four weeks so the work has piled up and the deadlines, well the deadlines are best addressed by a better writer than me, Douglas Adams.

It’s been a hard time for another reason as well, one that  I was only aware of apparently on a subconscious level until my sister reminded me today.  It’s been two years since my granny past.  She was an incredibly important person to me and I miss her dearly.  I wrote about her before in a piece called, Happiness is Granny, and here’s a picture of her from a couple of years ago.

happiness, granny

My granny looking cool

Add to the mix people acting especially stupidly lately, things not going the way I’d like.  I’ve also been very quietly dealing with what I can only describe as some personal emotional devastation lately.  I’ve worked through most of it, in the next week it comes to ahead for me.  All of this has amped up my stress levels pretty significantly.  However, Thanksgiving is coming and it is by far my favorite holiday and I’ve got a nine-day Christmas break coming as well.  So things will get better my friends.

In the middle of all of this the other day I walked out of my office in a pretty high level of frustration and looked out at the mountains west of campus.

happiness, photography

The view from outside my office

I was instantly reminded of my favorite teacher in high school, Mr. Sullivan, the first person to truly teach me the lesson that we have to appreciate the beauty all around us.  You see our classroom faced the Catskill Mountains and there were many beautiful views like the one above.  He would on those days suddenly stop class, turn to us, command us in his best Shakespearean voice, “to the windows children, to the windows, look at the beauty, look at the beauty.”  He was a magnificent human and an even better teacher.

As a traveler an adventurer and a photographer I often put myself in magnificent places where there is beauty all around.  It’s how I get great photos, it’s not much talent, just me being smart enough to put myself in really great places like the Himalayas, Ireland, Havasupai Falls or even Burning Man. You can see over 1200 of my images on my Instagram account @ReverendMichaelKane.

happiness, burning man

One of my favorite photos from Burning Man this year

It’s easy to stop and appreciate the beauty when you’re at an event with thousands of pieces of art, or in the highest mountains on earth.  The real trick, the truly important trick, is to remember to do this in everyday life.

happiness, flowers, photography

A picture I stopped and took while driving between meetings this spring

We have to look at beauty everyday.  While we’re in the middle of driving kids to soccer practice, when we’re walking to our cars from our office or taking out the garbage.  Those are the moments it’s truly important to stop and drink in the beauty that is all around us.  Doing this will bring you happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

My Polar Bear Adventure

My Himalayan Trek

Burning Man

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We are all damaged, but we can be happy!

We are all damaged, but we can be happy!

happiness

 

 

 

 

Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself, but others. ~ Shannon L Alders

It is funny how often ideas come to me while driving, and while on the way to the gym today something hit me. I was thinking about a past relationship and how what I really couldn’t get past in the relationship was her damage. She was a great girl, but in her life she had been hurt too many times by other men. This manifested in ways that I could not accept, that kept us from being at peace in our relationship. This is not blame, only recognition; I have plenty of damage of my own. For me, I’ve been somewhat slow in my emotional growth and as a loner I have a hard time bonding with others. Add to that terrible timing in my relationships and for a very long time an inability to be fully open or trusting and you might not be surprised to know I’m not married. However to be fair, being married has never been a significant goal of mine, if it happens that would be great, but I won’t do it unless it truly feels right.

We are all damaged, the real trick is to understand and know ourselves well enough to know how we are damaged. Some of us can do this work on our own, some of us need counseling or other help to understand these issues. Once you know where and how you are damaged, that’s when the work begins because you have to work to fix these things. I’ve done a lot of work over the years, a lot of my damage has been repaired. Many of the things that doomed my previous relationships have been dealt with to my satisfaction but I’m still working and still on the path.

So my friends the keys are to know yourself, do your work and also try to be as accepting as you can be of the damage that exists in others. We are all in this together and forgiveness and acceptance are powerful acts. So understand, work, accept, forgive and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

 

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