What does happiness mean to you?

Our Online Program Manager Mike reflects on the things in life that make him happy.


Where do I even begin to start with such a diverse word? It means many different things to many different people.

Is it your wedding day?

Is it that fleeting moment when you realise you’ve successfully won a bid on EBay?

Is it sightseeing some of the remote corners of the Earth?

Is it watching cat videos on YouTube until the wee hours of the morning?

The truth is there is no right or wrong answer.

Every year I try to go back to my hometown Manado, on the North Sulawesi Peninsula, Indonesia. Why? Because it makes me happy.

If I could pinpoint why it makes me so happy, I couldn’t name just one thing

It’s the amazing vistas in the volcanic ranges located inland.

It’s places like ‘Bukit Kasih’, where five religions have built their places of worship into the side of an active volcano (an achievement in itself when considering that parts of Indonesia’s history have been shrouded in religious and political conflict).

It’s the incredibly beautiful scenery under the waves, considered by many to be the top diving spot in Indonesia, and one of the best diving spots in the world (if you’re lucky, you can catch sight of a Coelacanth!)

It’s the breathtaking beaches and sunsets.


It’s the collection of all of the above, combined with spending time with my extended family, that truly leads to happiness.

Sharing experiences with the people you hold dearest is what makes us human – I think it’s part of the reason why I work at RedBalloon; to be in an organisation that can help people give, quite literally, a package of happiness in the form of an experience, which the recipient can then go on to share with family and friends.

So what’s my next goal? To share this world with my seven month old son and my wife.  After all, to see them learn and smile is what makes me happy.

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  1. Posted April 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Happiness for me apart from quality time spent with my husband and children, is an early morning run, before the rest of the world is awake. I have the streets to myself and I can listen to whatever the hell I want to on my ipod!

  2. Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
    and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell
    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
    ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

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