When I travel on business, I like to talk to the taxi drivers who take me from the airport/station/Bus stand to my hotel, or to a convention center, or to a restaurant. Taxi drivers are often immigrants with interesting personal histories and unusual cultural backgrounds. I ask them how long they’ve been in that city how they chose which city to live in, and what they like best about where they live. Of course, I also ask them for advice on good local restaurants and any special attractions they’d recommend to a visitor. I’ve had some great experiences on my travels, thanks to the advice of taxi drivers!
On one trip about ten years ago, I was making conversation with the taxi driver, asking him my usual questions about how he came to live where he lived. Then I asked him a hypothetical question: “If you could live anywhere in the world-and if money was no object-where would you live?”
Without hesitating even for a second, he replied, “I live in my heart. So it really doesn’t matter where my body lives. If I am happy inside, then I live in paradise, no matter where my residence is.”
I felt humbled and a little foolish for my question. Of course he was right– happiness is an inside job. He had reminded me of something I already knew, but had forgotten. If you can’t find happiness inside yourself, you’ll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move. Wherever you go, there you are. You take yourself with you.
I am grateful for the wisdom of that taxi driver. And I’m grateful for all the wisdom others have shared with me about how to be happy.