Don’t Need Much to be Happy

Just this morning, yet again, I was made fun of when I brought out my little Nokia mobile phone. It’s a mobile phone that can only make phone calls and send text messages. I’ve been dating someone who has been unashamedly sending out dire warnings that he is going to buy me the latest and greatest smart phone – And I have unashamedly ignored all warnings. I love my little Nokia. I can, after all, get online simply by logging on to my computer, or my Kindle Fire, or my iPod (Yes, iPod. Why do I continually get the strangest looks when I bring out my iPod for email & such checking?) And when it comes down to it, even though I do have a blog and am wired into twitter & facebook, I do not particularly enjoy (or desire) being so connected and plugged in.

Almost a year ago to the day I officially accepted a job offer to come work in a hospital in Saudi Arabia. And 11 months ago I began putting my meager belongings into storage – I did not own property or furniture (well, besides my car and an ottoman.)  And as I started to, in earnest, go through my (hundreds of) pictures from the mystical & enchanting Sri Lanka today; I thought about my little Nokia phone and my trip and was reminded of how happier I am without stuff. I was reminded of how unloaded & unburdened I felt moving to Saudi Arabia with only two suitcases.

Polhena Beach, Sri Lanka
Polhena Beach, Sri Lanka

And going through these pictures I remembered I do not need resorts when I travel. Small, quaint, guesthouses on the beach (for $20 US dollars a night) is what travel is all about.

Guesthouse, Mirissa Beach ~ Sri Lanka

Guesthouse, Mirissa Beach ~ Sri Lanka
Where I am invited into my host’s living room to share their food and keep this sort of company…

Abha ~ My shadow in Mirissa.

Abha ~ My shadow in Mirissa
I do not need room service or maid service. I am carefree & full of life when I can walk across the street every morning for my banana’s, and have my pineapple & mango’s cut up for me as I wait.

Mirissa fruit stand

Mirissa fruit stand
I do not need a waiter to bring me my afternoon diet coke. I enjoy making the afternoon daily run and chatting up with my lady.

Afternoon diet coke run in Mirissa

          Afternoon diet coke run in Mirissa

And who needs a hotel gift shop when all this is across the street from one’s guesthouse?

          Mirissa grocery shopping

And who needs an air-conditioned taxi when there is a tuk-tuk awaiting you at every corner with natural air-conditioning?

tuk-tuk in Mirissa
Going through these pictures I was reminded that a phone call is a phone call whether it’s made on a smart-phone or a simple Nokia.
I was reminded that I do not need a mortgage, a fancy car, or the latest gadget to make me happy.
I was reminded that even though my stuff & possessions are minimal, I have a true abundance of fortune.

Polhena Beach ~ Sri Lanka

Polhena Beach ~ Sri Lanka

I was touched & moved by Sri Lanka as I have never been by a place.

Stay with me as I tell you about it in the coming days…

22 Comments »

  1. I love reading your posts, but this one was my all time favorite! You really sound happy! So you are 11 months into your journey . . . are you ever coming back? What will the next year bring?

  2. I used to have a little Nokia and loved it so much, until I dropped it into water. Now I have this huge smart phone and I fiddle around with it even when I shouldn’t…

    But ohh I really miss Sri Lanka now. Mirissa is a lovely and peaceful place. Thanks for a great post!

  3. I really connect to what you are saying. My husband and I have adopted the KISS philosophy…about travel and our lives in general. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Love the place you stayed at. Haven’t traveled to Sri Lanka, but it is on the LIST.

  4. Amen! I recently had to get a new phone because the one I had was dying – and my provider was making the plan I had obsolete. I have an eReader, I have a laptop, I have an old iPod that usually works. I find that I’m thrilled when I can “retire” items that have died and I don’t need to replace them with the latest and greatest.

    Traveling with one carry-on and one suitcase is my goal… Less is more.

  5. I’m the same … my Nokia is nearly 12 years old now .. it only rings and I can send text – love it … so happy to get my old life back, not have to have a smartphone glued to my ear every awaking hour. Good on you! Happiness .. is small wonders. Like a toothpaste. *smile
    Fantastic photo gallery !

  6. Tahira I love this post! As someone who used to be such a shopaholic and growing up in New York, those two seemed to have called for a recipe for materialistic disaster! That was until I discovered my pure love & passion for traveling. I had no problem selling and donating expensive clothes, bags, and shoes. If anything, my friends were more than happy to snag them away from it, and I felt so much better about that. Nowadays, every time I shop, I shop with travel in mind – if I can’t fit it in my 55L backpack or not versatile enough, I’m not buying it. Of course the expensive shopping habit was replaced with something equally expensive (flight costs, etc…) but they are so much more worth it, so much more enjoyable, and I know for a fact the memories are definitely something that will remain with me forever.

    How long will you be in the Middle East? Or should I ask how long your contract is?

    • Antoinette, this post is coming from someone who has HUGE hoarding tendencies! I too use to be a shopaholic – my evil was the online shopping. But now a days I find other ways to fulfill that need of hitting the complete purchase button. And yes, the equally expensive “hobby” of traveling, no matter how frugal one is, st in the end expensive. My latest hobby is acquiring accessories for my cool DSLR camera – definitely not cheap BUT I have no guilt whatsoever at the expense. It something I love & enjoy whereas I was just internet shopping just to shop.

      For now, I have recontracted for another year…. but what will actually happen is yet to be determined. The beauty of life, aye.

  7. Tahira ( beautiful Arabic name) this is a real sentimental post.Wishing you success in Saudi Arabia.Thank you for liking my post.Jalal

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