Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

“If you want to live a happy life …



…Tie it to a goal, not to people or objects”.

A. Einstein

I came across this quote the other day and it got me thinking : Our contract in the Philippines ends in December, and when I wonder “where next?”, I have a hard time tying the answer to  a goal.

I consider what would be good to our family – a safe place for the kids, with a good education system, a country not too far from our European family .. We have been expatriate for the last 15 years, and all I know is that each time I felt in love with a place, it was because of the people around me. Not the place itself. A white deserted sandy beach can be the most boring place on earth, if mute. Add the laughs of the kids, everlasting conversations with people who have a brilliant mind and a beautiful soul, the arms of the one you love around you .. My happy life is definitely tied to my favorite people (grilled fish, chocolates, fresh fruit juices and cold beers can be decent accessories). Detachment does not really work with me, although I adhere to many concepts of Buddhism. I am attached and I love my ties!

If you had to consider moving to another country, what would you take into consideration? Where is your Happy Place?

Wishing you all a Paradisiac Week ❤


20 comments on ““If you want to live a happy life …

  1. brittabottle
    January 11, 2016

    Oh my goodness, yes! I think goals are important, yes, but I’ve discovered that life gets INFINITELY better when you surround yourself with good people. My Thailand experience wouldn’t be half of what it is without the friends I made in my TESOL course in October, the help given to me by my school in getting settled in my town, and in the amazing, adorable (and sometimes unbelievably obnoxious) children I get to teach everyday.

    I could care less about what I accomplish in life–if don’t have the right people by my side, none of that matters.

    • estelea
      January 11, 2016

      I couldn’t agree more. What are goals if you end up being solo on the top of the hill? I realised this very strongly when the other day someone asked me about my career goals and if I would accept a (super well paid) job that would take me away from home for 70% of the month. Well, no. Money can’t buy everything and definitely not time with our loved ones..

      In all my missions, I remember much more about the great people we met along the way than the places we visited.

      In a few years from now, Thailand will always be linked to the sweet friends you made,and that’s what will give it its special flavour 😉 I am so happy to see how you are liking it! I knew you would 😉 X

  2. anroworld
    January 11, 2016

    You are so right, dear Estelea, not the place is important, but people around you! However, I prefer being close to my family, parents and country. I can go for a tourist trip, but I always need to come back. Home is only one and I cannot get used to another, no matter how good another can be. I am too attached to the place where I was born! If I can choose, then I would not like to move anywhere! Here i am not the best adviser! Wish you also a great week!

    • estelea
      January 11, 2016

      I can totally understand you! I don’t think I can call another place “home” than the one where my parents, brothers and sister are. Funny enough the kids also consider France as their home – probably because of my influence 😉
      The more I travel, the more I realise the importance of my culture and it feels good to be surrounded with people who at least understand where I am coming from. Makes things so much easier! .. Thanks for sharing your opinion, I can relate to it 🙂
      Btw, a friend of mine is now working in Ukraine and sent me pic of your country.. so beautiful, I understand why you love it so much. Very cold but very very beautiful!

      • anroworld
        January 11, 2016

        Oh, thank you for your compliment regarding my country! We have really great surroundings here and a lot of nature, but maybe your friend recognized some other not so beautiful things that are in my country, hope he understands that we have not the best period in economical system and general life of country! No matter of anything my Ukraine is the only one and will be always, I always dream of doing something to help make our life here better, more stable and calm! You can call me a big dreamer! Hope your friend is ok, in case he needs something than you know how to find me!

      • estelea
        January 13, 2016

        Thanks ! From all the pics I saw, you can tell he fell in love with your country, even with the weather 😉 Wish this year will bring peace and love to your beautiful place!

      • anroworld
        January 13, 2016

        Thank you so much, dear Estelea, let’s hope!

  3. that traveling nurse
    January 11, 2016

    Ah, perfect time to ask this question. My happy place is in my heart. I can be in any place in the world if my heart is not happy, then I would not be able to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings and it all would be useless. True, I love to travel, it makes me happy but I don’t think I can travel solo for long periods of time. I need my hubby along with me, no matter how much sometimes he annoys me to death, I realized that if we don’t travel together then I’d rather not do it at all. So, thats my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

    • estelea
      January 13, 2016

      Heheheh, same here! Plus he is the only one bearing my grumpiness – or maybe he is really deaf ! 😉

      • that traveling nurse
        January 13, 2016

        Thats called selective hearing loss! 😉

      • estelea
        January 13, 2016

        RIGHT !Now I know where my kids got that from !!!

  4. rosemawrites
    January 14, 2016

    Wow. Your words are truly from your heart, Estelea. I am glad to know that you are still in the Philippines. 🙂 I am sure you are loving my country, not just because of its beauty, but because you are with your lovely family.

    I wish you all the best! May your feet lead you to a place you can call home. (I am sure you will be happy anywhere, though, as long as your ties strong and your family is happy.)


    • estelea
      January 14, 2016

      Thanks so much for your very kind words dear, they mean a lot! Your country is so very family friendly, we feel at ease everywhere – especially the kids who love the attention ! Stay tune for the next destination … X

      • rosemawrites
        January 15, 2016

        Yay! I think we are really fond of kids, being a country with young population I guess? 😀
        Nonetheless, I wish you all the best, Estelea! ❤

      • estelea
        January 15, 2016

        Young population with many siblings for the large part. I guess that s why you guys are so empathic when it comes to toddlers behaving like .. toddlers 😉 Very different back home …

      • rosemawrites
        January 15, 2016

        Yes. That is true. I am actually the eldest among six siblings! My two youngest sibs can be my sons and daughters already! Haha!

        I bet having a lot of kids isn’t something Europeans do?

      • estelea
        January 18, 2016

        Not really, first because we usually marry very late and study late too. Then we overthink it (money, responsibilities ..) and usually have 2 max.

        But given the high divorce rate, there are many “recomposed families”. In 3 years, my best friend has now a family of 7 kids! 2 she had with her hubby, and the 5 he got before meeting with her!

        When I say we are 5 siblings, the reactions are always “waou!”. Either people believe we are some sort of missionaries or super rich. I sometimes have to precise that 2 are my “half” siblings to look normal 😉

      • rosemawrites
        January 18, 2016

        Ooooh! Interesting. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with me. It is quite fascinating to learn a culture which is quite different to mine. 🙂

  5. justbluedutch
    March 7, 2016

    Ahh perfect post. This was boggling my mind for the past weeks. We are on the big move once again.And yes, that was a great reminder from cannot really tie yourself to people, or things..Your inner motivation should be your goal. Although there’s so much hurdles again to overcome in moving and settling again,in anew country..I guess for me, it makes our lives more interesting..
    I couldn’t imagine myself living in one place only, maybe the travel bug has really in me, travelling & exploring new is something that adds to who you are right now.

    My happy place? for me this is a very personal question. A happy place is where I am with the vital parts of my universe,right now is my family & my daughter.So place doesn’t really matter. As long as they are with me, healthy all, and holding my hands then I’m in wherever it is.

    • estelea
      March 8, 2016

      I can totally relate, again 🙂
      That’s why I had to adapt my own special Buddhism. The non attachment does not really work for me. Maybe at the time my kids turn into boring teenagers ?..
      So you re on the move again? Which continent this time ?

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2016 by in Europe bound, Expat, expatriation, Family, Inspiring Monday, Me and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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