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What makes you happy? 6 things that made me happy this year


I started this Blog just over two years ago. One of the reasons I started it was because I had been advised to give up work.  You see, after being cancer-free for 6 years, I found out that this awful disease had returned.

As travel had been my job and life for such a long time, I decided to try my hand at writing about my personal travels, past and present. This turned out to be a great decision as it has become a wonderful outlet for me.  Sharing my stories, hearing your comments and sometimes or hopefully more than sometimes, even inspiring my readers to get out and go travel has given me a certain sense of satisfaction.

Another reason for the Blog was so that I could try  to take a moment is this hectic lifestyle that we have all so become accustomed to, to write down my thoughts on “WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES ONE HAPPY”.  Are we confused about what makes us happy, can we actually remember what makes us happy?  Unfortunately, I did not get very far with these deeper thoughts…. my travel stories simply took over…..  :)

Looking back at my Blog and reading through my initial “About me” transcript, I could not help smiling thinking back to that day when I decided to call my Blog “Hapidayz”.

2013 has certainly not all been “happy days and happy nights” as I struggled through a further 6 months of chemo, learned to administer injections to myself, had blood transfusions and the worst of all, found out what true PAIN is all about. But, these experiences have actually made it much easier to understand “ WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY” :)

It’s not rocket science, it’s really the simple things in life each day that make one happy.

So, with this in mind, here are:

SIX experiences that made me very HAPPY this year.


  • Hearing that my son, Craig and his fiancé, Michaela were coming back to live in South Africa.  He had been living overseas for nearly 10 years!   What an amazing “Hapidayz” moment to have him back.  And, the longer he stays, the more hapidayz I have!


Craig and Michaela


  • Seeing the heart- stopping beauty of the Namib Desert and watching the huge herds of game in the Etosha Game Reserve. Namibia had been on my bucket list for a long time but there always seemed to be something that came up and it would be placed on the backburner….. not this year, not even in the middle of chemo, I was determined to see that dream through – 10 unbelievable “Hapidayz” shared with hubby and our close travel buddies, Kevin and Pat.  Wonderful Hapidayz memories!


Nambi Desert


  • Southern France – three glorious weeks of “Hapidayz” moments….. the countryside of this area is just so relaxing to the eye and the mind, I love the formal greetings of the shop attendants and the friendliness of the people of Southern France, very different to the “normal” French. The well marked country roads – “HapiDayz” is never getting lost and we only use old fashioned maps….the beautiful boxes of geraniums and petunias and of course the markets and, don’t forget the food, especially the  bread, “Oh Hapidayz” :)   Now, when I am having a bad day, I can simply close my eyes and let my mind roll over all those Hapidayz and I immediately feel better.


Southern France


  • Being involved in assisting with a local charity – this wonderful day care school closeby to where I live and which I have become involved this past year has given me so much joy. The conundrum of life is that we all feel like we should be giving something back to society but, we also really expect something back…even if it’s joy, we still expect to get something back. I have found, with difficulty that when one gives without any selfish motives, then only does one gain the best “hapidayz moment”. It’s not easy to get your head round this, but give it a go, “Hapidayz” could be around the corner.


Jabulani Day Care - Westlake, Cape Town


  • Moving to a new area has given me the opportunity to make some amazing new friends.   That does not mean that I will forget my old friends.   One can never replace one friendship with another.   A lifetime of “hapidayz” moments with friends is something to cherish and reminisce about.   This saying however by Albert Schweitzer is very true: In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” That explains exactly what new friends have done for me this year. :)


New and Old friends

New and Old friends


  • Last, but not least, my very close family – my husband and two amazing children. Every extra day that I have to enjoy their companionship, generosity, kindness, joy, enthusiasm, wisdom and love, those are all “Hapidayz” – I cannot imagine what life would be without my family.  “Hapidayz”  moments are watching my children’s relationships extending into new daughters and sons – yes, there is a wedding on the horizon – “Hapidayz are definitely here again” – perhaps even grandchildren?? Okay….we won’t get too carried away :)


Celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary


Life is short “Do what makes you happy” but, you better make pretty sure you know what it is that makes you happy! What makes you happy?


About Cynthia

I am a fun loving woman who loves to explore new destinations and experiences. My philosophy in life is “Have suitcase, will travel” and I like to drag my family and friends along with me to share in the joy. Naturally, along the journey of “life” I like to indulge in long, lazy lunches, delicious champagne, creamy chocolate and most important, lots of laughter……Having being in travel for many years, I write about my personal experiences, mostly about Southern Africa but I do also get to travel internationally so will pop in some stories about my travels abroad. As food and wine are an integral part of my travel experience I also explore both those topics as well.

16 Responses to What makes you happy? 6 things that made me happy this year

  1. Kathy says:

    Family is so special! We wish you and your family a very Blessed Festive Season.

  2. Pamela Quinn says:

    Cynthia, what an inspiration you are to all of us. I really have to admire your strength and courage when faced with such difficult times and am so pleased you are able to enjoy “happy days” as described in your blog. I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and New Year and look forward to reading many more blogs in the future.

    I am going to take a lesson out of your book and start reminding myself of all the happy days I have enjoyed in my life.

    With Love,

  3. Anne Buchholtz says:

    You are a very special person and your positivity is a lesson to all of us. Have q great Christmas with your family.Annexx

  4. Anita says:

    Wow Cynthia you are one very special lady!
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us.
    Look forward to enjoying many more happy times with

  5. Janet says:

    Sage words, my friend and so beautifully written. You are the light in many lives around you who may have forgotten how to appreciate and be grateful for what we have, and more particularly our health which we all take for granted. Until we read your inspiring words which brings to mind what you have been going through with never a word of complaint or self pity. You deserve every bit of your happiness and every hapidayz moments for a long time to come. Love JF. PS see you next month – looking forward to that!

  6. Teresa Kotze says:

    Hi Cynthia, long time no see. I am so happy to see that you are doing well. I remember not long ago the two of us sitting on the floor at Virgin Active while the ladies were being put through their paces. I think a lot of us have very different journeys that we have to deal with. Sometimes through our own illness, pain and suffering and sometimes watching those close to us go through their journey. I truly admire your strength and courage, you are a very special lady. You have made me think of a few things. After having to deal with closing down of Curves Tokai, the financial and emotional loss has taken a great toll on me this year. As well as having to deal with criticism which I think is the hardest when at the end of the day all you really try to do is your best. I have had to learn to deal with this with a soft, kind heart for at the end of the day those who criticise, I don’t think have ever walked in the shoes of anyone who is going through an illness, dealing with pain, or anytype of loss. Just listening to you I have realised how much I have neglected my children, partner and family. My goal is going to be to just spend some special time enjoying the simple things in life. I think we always need to look at those less fortunate than us to realise just how special life actually is. I hope you have a wonderful festive season with your family and that 2014 will be a good year for you. Lots of love Teresa xx

    • Cynthia says:

      Lovely to hear from you Teresa and good to know you still reading my Blog – I can only imagine what a difficult year this has been for you, but I am sure that there have been lessons to learn from this experience, some bitter but hopefully, more sweet lessons too. No doubt, you have also learnt who your real friends are and those are the ones, including your family, that you need to take extra special care of. Don’t forget too that they say that you should surround yourself with happy and positive people, this increases your chance of being happy too. I am sure 2014 is going to be a good year for you, start the year with a positive mind and leave all those critical hangers on in the dust :) :)

  7. Pippa Stokes says:

    Cynthia, you are one very brave and special lady and your kind and warm thoughts to me are so appreciated. Although we only meet once a year when we come to SA from England, I think of you and Darryl as friends and I cannot believe how much you have suffered over the last few years and my heart goes out to you. Keep on trucking!

    Much love and a very happy Christmas and HEALTHY 2014.

    Pippa x

  8. George says:

    Cynthia you are an inspiration to all of us with your tenacity for life to the full.
    By the responses from your friends above, tells a significant story!
    Love and health going into 2014.

  9. Pat Whelan says:

    Hi Cynthia Just re-reading your blog on the last day of 2013 and reflecting on the many ‘happidayz’ we have spent together this year. You are one very brave and special woman! Thanks for sharing so may travel opportunities with Kevin and I

  10. I love your quote: “Do what makes you happy” but, you better make pretty sure you know what it is that makes you happy!”

    So many people do things that doesn’t make them happy yet still continue. Travelling is one thing that really makes me happy. Doing it and marketing it for others to do. I have also discovered Geocaching about a year ago which is actually enhancing my travelling experience both around my home town and out of it even more.

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