List of Happiness

As much as I try not to be, I’m a rule follower. I like order, I like organization (even if you’d never know it by looking at my suitcase packing techniques), I like things in place and needles to say, I like lists.  Lists of things, lists of facts, To Do lists and Top 10, 100, 1000 of whatever lists.  Clearly I’m not the only one because companies, governments, media houses, international organizations and community groups keep putting out lists and people keep looking at them and discussing them.

This week I saw a list that I just couldn’t resist diving into: The World’s Happiest Countries (Developed Nations) based on a poll from the OECD.  What’s not to love? It involves foreign countries, happiness, travel and (I’m sure) happy people.  
So what country won the title as happiest country in the world? Austraila!  Way to go to Aussies.

Australia – the World’s Happiest Nation?

And like any addicted traveler, I do a mental note of how many of the happiest countries in the world I’ve been to. So far I’ve made it to 7 of the 10 (U.K., The Netherlands, Denmark, U.S., Canada, Sweden and Australia) and of the 3 I haven’t been to yet, 2 are on my list of countries to see in 2013 (Switzerland and Iceland). 

Of course it is also fun to analyze the lists. Like why aren’t folks in Finland as happy as their neighbors who made it on to the list (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland)? Or is there honestly not one happy, developed nation that isn’t predominately white?  And isn’t it interesting how the lists differ from one source to the next. A similar list from Forbes earlier this year switched had Norway in the lead and Australia in the 4th spot.  There are always statistics and scientific measurements quoted to give validity to these lists, but in the end these lists are really a mix of marketing and entertainment.

So for my own entertainment purposes, here are the Top 10 Countries that make ME Happy (in alphabetical order because it is hard to say which makes me happiest).  The scientific research I used to develop this list?  The fact that I had a damn good time in each place, and that I’ve either returned multiple times or have definite plans to do so.

1. Brazil
2. Cyprus
3. Egypt
4. Japan
5. Laos
6. Lebanon
7. the Netherlands
8. South Africa
9. Thailand
10. United Kingdom

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