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What I Learned About Happiness From Living in South America

As I opened my eyes, I saw the sun beaming in on the wooden panels that would be my new home for the next month or so. I put my feet to the floor, looked out the window and smiled as I saw the smoke curling from my new neighbour, the towering active volcano, Vallirrica. 

After 5 weeks in the busy metropolis of Santiago, I was now in the small town of Pucón, Chile. As the adventure capital of Chile, Pucón has a lot to offer a tourist. Upon my first day I ventured out to discover my new home. After discovering the local lake, shops and taking in the breathtaking view, I went back to my room to set up. With my laptop on my lap, tripod and iPhone, I was ready to meet with my clients. 

You see, I am a digital nomad, which means that I can work from anywhere in the world (as long as I have good wifi). Over the next two weeks I proceeded to work and on my off time be a great tourist. I hiked mountains, biked the area, kayaked on the lake, broke bread with locals and foreigners and generally enjoyed my time there. 

About two weeks in I started to feel an uneasiness. ‘Perhaps I was missing home’, I thought. ‘I have been gone for over three months now.’ Another week later that feeling had not dissipated, it had gotten stronger. ‘Hmmm’, I thought. ‘Perhaps it is time to move on to Argentina’. So, I booked my ticket and a week or so later I was off to the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires. 

Buenos Aires truly does have a romantic allure about it. The city is vibrant and seductive as is its people, wine and signature dance, the tango. Over the week I was a fantastic tourist. I did the walking tours, saw the sights, shopped the markets and of course, took tango lessons. Yet all the while I was there I thought, ‘I just want to go home’. 

This was odd because according to my list, I was living my dream. Seven years ago I had made a list about what I wanted in my career.

What I Learned About Happiness From Living In South America . Www .jennifer -trask .com

I wanted: 

  • To be my own boss;
  • The ability to impact millions of people;
  • The ability to make as much money as I desired;
  • The ability to live anywhere (to be 100% digital);
  • and I wanted to loved what I did so that I never have to work a day in my life.  

Three years ago, that dream came true and two years ago, I went on my first digital nomad trip to South America. So why then, did I feel uneasy and want to go home? 

With this dilemma, I knew there was only one source that could give me answers… the universe! I asked and as always, the answer was given. The funny thing about this however is that when I heard the answer I knew it was profound and at the same time I thought, ‘How come I didn’t get this before? Don’t I already know this?’.  

But the truth is that there is a huge difference between knowing something intellectually and living it. 

So, what did I discover from the universe? 


That happiness isn’t about being in the moment,

happiness is about owning the moment.


There were many times when I was very present on my trip. Always drinking in the awesome of where I was. However, being in those moments didn’t take away the uneasiest that seemed to continue to creep up on me. 

That’s when I knew what I had done. I wasn’t owning my moment. I wasn’t fully living in the reality that I had created for myself. So often we are so good at talking about how we screwed up, what we haven’t done yet, what we ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ did. What I realized was that this practiced pattern of thought was still chasing me and it was that pattern of thought that was stopping me from truly living in the magnificence that I had created for myself. I AM living my dream. This is an amazing reality. 

The funny thing about life however is that it’s like a video game. You can’t get to the next level until you complete the level that you are on. I realized that by not owning my own awesomeness of what I had created, I was playing on the same level for too long. This was causing me stagnation in my own growth which is what was causing the uneasiness that was growing within me. 

Incredible, I thought. 

No matter how great your life may look on the outside, if you aren’t living the awesomeness of it on the inside, you’ll always feel like something is missing... And the truth is, something IS missing, it’s you. 

Today, I want to invite you to Own Your Awesomeness. To step into the truth of all that you have become and give yourself the recognition you deserve. Life will always cause you to want more but for right now, in this moment, I want you to acknowledge your truth, your awesomeness and OWN THIS MOMENT.  

To living in awesomenesss, 

Jennifer Trask - First 



Written by Jennifer Trask at 05:41

User Comments

Jennifer Trask

Thanks Virginia! I always do make a conscious effort no matter where I am to make the most of the moment. It was a practiced effort though after being a 'go, go, go' person for a long time.

Virginia Reeves

Jennifer - I am so glad to see you talking about being in the moment while traveling. It makes me sad not to see people pause and smile when they are out and about doing something out of their ordinary routine. It's like a ' should do this because it is here' instead of "wow - this is so fun/different/wonderful".
It can be hard to immerse yourself in the moment but so worthwhile.

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