Is this it in life?! A question a lot of people my age are asking themselves. Me too. Since my graduation in the summer of 2014 I even ask myself this question daily.
The vision of the Western world of ‘picture perfect’ of being succesful and being happy, in my view, is making a big career, buying a house, having kids between the age of 30-35 years old and go on a holiday twice a year. But what is the vision of other people globally about what being succesfull and being happy includes?
Due to this trip I want to get to know other frames of references through discussing this with people from all over the world. Locals of the countries I’m visiting and other travelers I meet on my journey. What is their vision of life and what can we learn of them?
Neda (21), Yazd - Iran
Neda approached me while visiting the Hazira Mosque and invited me and my friend to sit with her. She told me her name means ''a voice which comes from heaven''.
She sat down in the womans' area to let her nine month old baby sleep. During our conversation I noticed her as a confident, strong person who knows exactly what she wants in life. I admired her strong personality at this young age and the peaceful energy she had over her.
A remarkable combination of a forward, open-minded thinking Western girl and a traditional Iranian lady who values the norms of her culture.
''The mosque is always such a serene place, so I visit it often to enjoy the peace. My husband owns a fashion shop nearby, so I can easily visit him whenever I want.
I met him five years ago when I was shopping. While I was on the phone I looked up, and his bright, green eyes were the first thing which I noticed of him. I instantly felt in love with him! It made me shy and I tried to hide behind the clothes and left quickly.
After two months he knocked on the door of my parents house to marry him. He got my contact details of the sister of the assistent store manager, who was in the same class as me. In our culture we meet the family to talk about our norms and values, to see if our charachters and family matches and if we have the same view of a future together.
I was 16 when I married him. Yes, I know I was really young, but I believe that some woman are ready for marriage at an early age. I love my husband so much!
I think marriage in general will succeed when you have the same vision about the future. One condition before marrying him was that I would be able to achieve my PhD and study English. I think it's important to keep educating myself. Now I take care of our little baby, but I don't know what the future will bring when I graduate.'' - Neda
Hamed Nadabi (30), Muscat - Oman
I experienced Hamed as an excellent example of Omani hospitality. He is in the top 3 of Couchsurfing hosts of Muscat. After studiing in the UK he worked as a field engineer for a couple of years in Oman and some other countries. After he bought two other appartments and started renting them, he quit his job.
Since two years he is very active as a host on Couchsurfing, and find his fulfillment in showing travelers the beauty of Oman.
''Happiness for me is waking up every day without having to worry about the future and making the most of my day doing what I love.
Some days are just bad, but sometimes we need sadness to experience what happiness feels like. I strongly believe that each and everyone of us can contribute to a better future for all of mankind.
What makes me happy is seeing people from all kinds around the world coming together to spread the message of peace and love. I have always wanted to help random travellers who seem to be lost in the city or having hard time communicating with the local people. But sometimes it is not clear whether they need help or they are just trying to decide on doing something. I heard from a friend about an app for meeting and hosting travellers from around the world called Couch-Suring and it was just the perfect tool for me to do that.
Having a good relationship with family and friends is what keeps me going in life and I think it’s the main element of being happy. Success is not the key to happiness, if you are happy and love what you are doing you will be successful. For me success is being kind to all people. Either family, friends or complete strangers and help those who are less fortunate than me.'' -Hamed
To be continued..