Google+ Unpacking Happiness: The Importance of Curiosity | Travel & Happiness I by Jenn Smith Nelson

Guest Post – Unpacking Happiness: The Importance of Curiosity

Growing up, I never much fancied the idea of travel. I was – and, in many regards, still am – a creature of habit, of comfort, and of home. I would wonder, out loud and in private: why propel yourself into chaos and culture shock when the people and places you love most are within arm’s reach? I bought shares in the false belief that leaving my home meant betraying my roots.

It would take years – decades, even – for me to unravel that sweater of misconception.

2010 marked my first big adventure: I moved to Vancouver Island to pursue what turned out to be an ill-fitting Master’s degree. I can still remember the feeling of packing the final box into my pocket-sized Chevrolet Aveo and practically doubling over in fear. My knees were shaking with such intensity that I wasn’t sure how much longer they would support the rest of my body.

What the hell am I doing? I’m not strong enough, smart enough, outgoing enough to ever dream of starting over.

Instead of doubling, though, I decided to lean.

In that moment, I discovered that by leaning into my fears, I could transform them into a much more powerful, creative, and positive force: curiosity.

Although my time on Vancouver Island was short-lived, I wouldn’t trade those eight months for anything, for they introduced me to the power of curiosity. I learned that when you train yourself to see the world as a place of opportunity rather than one of oppression, it’s a lot easier to find reasons to smile.

Since then, curiosity and I have journeyed to dozens of countries. Together, we’ve dined along the Thu Bon River, marveled at Times Square, and watched the sun rise from the summit of Mount Fuji. We’ve felt homesick, awestruck, lost, and found – sometimes all at once. But always, always curious and always, always happy.

Why? Because a commitment to curiosity is a commitment to happiness. If you’re willing to search, the world is willing to show, and if you’re willing to grow, the world is willing to guide.

This is not a call to arms to grab your passports and book the next flight out, though (but I certainly wouldn’t discourage it). It’s okay, and even encouraged, to be curious at home. Even now, as I sit in my new bedroom of my new home in Australia, I still crave certain comforts and familiarities I’m convinced only Saskatchewan can provide.

The beauty of curiosity lies in its portability: you can travel with it as near or as a far as you like. Pack it in a suitcase, a backpack, a clutch, or a pocket… and go.

Stay curious, mes amis.


Jessica Reimer

Jessica Reimer is a born-and-bred Saskatchewanian who currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. When she’s not napping, reading, or sharing cat videos on Facebook, you can find her copywriting at Paper Plane Communications ( and blogging at Little Writer, Big World (

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