On Happiness (Part II)

So I’ve bought the ultra-cool must-have leggings from Topshop. What’s next?

Last night I was talking to a French friend about how our lives in Europe differ from in Sudan, and she made me realize that I did actually achieve my main goal in travelling to a Third World country, which was to remind myself of what is truly important in life.

In England and other countries whose culture has being dominated by consumerism, we are constantly being bombarded with information and ultimately brainwashed into thinking that what is important is money, new products and staying on trend. Unfortunately these convictions simply lead to a fruitless and frustrated search for fulfilment down the wrong alley.

I had never truly realized how much our thoughts and actions were being controlled by the media in Europe, as after all we generally consider ourselves to be free here. Being away from all of this; the media sources, celebrity and popular culture as well as the endless stream of consumer goods you are told you “need”, you can finally decide for yourself what your priorities should be. Unsurprisingly, these are quite different from those portrayed by businesses.

As my friend rightly pointed out, as much enjoyment can come from sipping an expensive cocktail at a trendy bar as from drinking a 3-guinee cup of tea with friends, sitting in plastic chairs by the Nile. After all, it’s not where you are but who you’re with that counts. On my last night in Sudan, we did just this, and had such a good time that we stayed on Nile Street until well after the tea lady had packed up and gone home. We laughed and joked until my voice was sore, then sang along to the playlist blasting from my friend’s car.

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