About a month ago I was sitting in an airplane on my way to Oslo to meet up with friends I’d never met before to go to a party with even more people we had never met before. Little did I know that this trip would mark a turning point in my life. 

Let’s rewind a bit.  

This trip was everything but planned. When I heard that two of my friends were going to Chris Guillebeau’s The End Of The World Party in Norway, I bought a ticket on a whim, because it would be our first chance to meet face-to-face. That was four weeks before I landed in Oslo.

I bought a cheap Ryan Air ticket two weeks later, and we booked the Airbnb place three days before I left. Talk about spontaneous.

Yet up until the minute I sat on that airplane, I wasn’t sure if I was really going. It seemed so unreal to take a trip to Norway, a country I had never been to before, just to meet up with two friends I knew from the internet to go to a party. Not necessarily something I usually do.

In the end, I did go because I yearned to expand my comfort zone and make room for some adventure in my life. And I couldn’t be happier that I did. The conversations I had with my two friends in our lovely Ikea styled apartment was incredible, filled with laughter, joy and deep, deep insights. I’ve learned more about myself and life in these few days with my friends than I have in the countless hours of self-study that I’ve gone through this year.

Some of these ideas have caused me to make some drastic changes in the way I go about my everyday life, as well as the overall direction of my life. The lessons I learned are just too good to keep to myself. That’s why I’m sharing the ones that had the biggest impact on me with you today. Maybe they’ll touch your life as much as they touched mine.

9 Lessons Learned on a Trip to the End of the World

1. This moment is all we have. Time is fleeting, always. One moment you’re talking to your girlfriends and next thing you know you’re sitting at the airport, trying to wrap your head around the subtle sadness that comes with saying goodbye. This moment is all we have. So we might as well experience it while it’s there. [tweet]

2. Feeling good is the primary intention. [tweet] Got this from the brilliant Danielle Laporte. Everything we do can be explained by our desire to experience happiness. We want to feel good. So why not stop going on achievement detour and focus on creating our desired good feelings now?

3. Detach your self-worth from what you’re doing. Your to-do list doesn’t make you a better person. Self-worth is about loving who you are, taking a look at your soul and honoring whatever you find. Self-love means understanding that you are enough.

4. “Because I want to” is a great reason. [tweet]

5. Searching for happiness in achievements only leads to misery. [tweet] It doesn’t make sense to live life as a series of achievements because what we search for in our goals is usually plain old happiness. The problem: We suffer our way through to make our goals happen and lose our ability to stay in the moment on the way. That means no happiness in the pursuit of the goal and no happiness when we succeed. Ouch.

6. Focusing on creating happiness now vs. running after future achievements brings fulfillment. [tweet]

7. Only you know what’s right for you. [tweet] When someone has strong opinions about what you should be doing with your life, that doesn’t mean what he suggests is the right thing for you to do. And only you can tell the difference.

8. Other people care less about what you do than you think. [tweet] Most of the pressure and expectations we project onto ourselves are our very own, even when we strongly believe we must act a certain way to please other people. We think they expect us to be/do/have {insert something scary}. We don’t want to let them down so we work towards being/doing/having what we think they expect from us. Truth is: They don’t really care what you do all that much. And if they’re your loved ones, the last thing they want is for you to kill yourself over perceived expectations.

9. Doing what other people tell you to do is exhausting. [tweet] Valuing other people’s opinion more than your own is hard work, even though it seemingly allows you to shut off your brain and take the easy route. Your intuition knows what you’re doing and it will keep bugging you until you start to make use of your own judgment again.

Taking the trip was a big catalyst for me and one of the reasons I was able to go from unhappy to happy Iris again. Right now I’m implementing these lessons and I can already tell that they’re making the biggest difference. Though the trip is over and it will probably take a while until I get to eat Norwegian cake again, these insights and memories will stay with me for, well, hopefully forever.

Now I want to hear from you: Have you ever taken a life-changing trip? When have you done something out of your comfort zone that has lead to profound changes in your life?  

PS: Curious what The End Of The World Party was like? Check out Chris’ special broadcast from the end of the world and see if you can spot me in the pictures. :)

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