Someone Asked Me – “Are You Happy?”

For once I told the truth

John With CamelsSince retiring I’ve watched the different reactions towards my change of lifestyle. Last week I talked about the fun and exciting rumours. Since publishing that blog I’ve been amazed by the feedback from people in Perth about what they’ve heard and who they heard it from.

Among the myriad reactions is a very well-intentioned one, which aims to be supportive, but shows a complete lack of understanding of who I am and what I’m doing. The reaction treats me like I’m injured or broken, as though I’ve lost my way and am limping off to find myself, escaping the reality of my everyday life. They want to guide me back into the “real world”, because they assume that those who step off the well-worn path have lost their way and will re-join “normal” life as soon as humanly possible.

Is it such a struggle for someone to imagine the freedom I wake up to each day, the experiences I have had and those ahead of me?

Some people have to judge my choices as wrong in order to make their choices feel right.

I used to catch myself sometimes comparing myself to friends, both real and online, and feeling good or bad depending on where I sat in that social food chain. I guess if others assess me in the same way I used to assess myself I’m pretty damn low on that food chain now!

The Reality

For some, I no longer rank high enough to justify spending time with me. I don’t really lose sleep about that, because should I ever decide to return to the previous life, they are also the first to return.

At my peak on that old food chain, no one asked me if I was happy. They assumed I was ecstatic, elated, everyday and all the time.

Yet at my peak I had a little breakdown. I shut myself in a room for three days and did not eat. I barely spoke to anyone. The antidotes offered included food, parties and sex (even a foursome), but I could not be lured out of that hole by the same things that put me there.  My partner couldn’t handle it and moved out.

Things had to change…

  • 3 weeks later I was single
  • 6 weeks later I gave the Audi away
  • 11 months later the house was gone
  • 12 months later I left my job
  • 13 months later I was on the road, learning how to train wild camels.

Twenty months after that, I wake up every day wondering which adventure awaits.

I start and end 99.9% of my days with a smile.

It’s all new to me. Living a more simple life without all the noise telling me that happiness is about the next car, promotion, holiday, drugs, alcohol or sex.

When I was asked if I was happy the other day, I paused and considered my reply. I answered in three parts:

  1. I’m happy, right now at this minute
  2. The rest of the time I am every other emotion that makes me a human being
  3. I am proud of my past, I am content with my present and I am excited and nervous about the future

I know my new path will challenge some people.

It challenges me!

That’s kinda the point.

John Elliott With a Dog

Share this article
  • Miriam
    Posted on December 4, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Well said John. Our journey is just that OURS – to do what must be done to not only survive life but live it fully xx

  • Miriam
    Posted on December 4, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Take 2 😆 Well said John. Our journey is just that OURS – to do what must be done to not only survive life but live it fully xx

    • John Elliott
      Posted on January 19, 2019 at 5:35 am

      Miriam thanks for that, I agree. A life purely surviving each day doesn’t feel like I’m appreciating the amazing gift of life itself.

  • Trent Robson
    Posted on December 5, 2018 at 12:14 pm


  • Luke Feeney
    Posted on December 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Awesome post mate – Love what you’re doing!

  • Wendy Ryder
    Posted on December 9, 2018 at 2:18 am

    You keep doing what you do John , I think it’s bloody exciting and you must feel so free of all the bullshit of the corporate world that you have left behind and hey you may want to return to it one day . Whatever it’s your life and don’t listen to the naysayers think they are jealous that you have the balls to do what your heart tells you to do . 😘

  • Ken Huie
    Posted on January 9, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Met you today for the first time at the engineering shop where you had your Camel packs made. I have a feeling that the journey your about to undertake will be the first of many. Take care of yourself and your beautiful dog “Bruski”

    • John Elliott
      Posted on January 19, 2019 at 5:34 am

      Ken, great to meet you too, thank you for the message and Bruski is my best pal on this trek, want to take care of him more than myself!


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