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The Geography of Bliss

Traveling to the happiest places in the world  

Can travel make you happy? Is possible to truly follow the path of contentment to find bliss?

The Geography of BlissThe Geography of BlissEric Weiner, an NPR foreign correspondent has traveled to more than 30 countries in the past 20 years, reporting all that is wrong with our tired and aching world. Now he's telling the other side of the story.

Using the philosophy of happiness as his guide, Weiner catalogs his journeys to the world's most contented places in his book, "The Geography of Bliss." Writing about happiness isn't new, but showing us where it is - now that's something worth talking about.

Weiner describes his process for writing: "Researching a book on a subject as vast and multi-faceted as happiness requires not only diligence but also a degree of luck. One of my more fortunate discoveries was the work of geographer Yi-Fu Tuan. His insights into how we humans shape-and are shaped by-our surroundings are fascinating and provided much for me to chew on."

Between researching stints at the University of Miami's Richter Library, Weiner spent months away from his wife and daughter - lingering over dinners and conversations around the world. He journeyed from Iceland, one of the happiest countries in the world, to Bhutan where "Gross National Happiness" is a national priority.

In Switzerland he discovered the hidden pleasures of boredom and in Qatar he explored the tangled relationship between money and happiness. In London, he talked to happiness experts who are attempting to "change the psychological climate."

"It wasn't always so easy, though, to get these people to talk about happiness," he says. "To be honest, it's not something most of the world (outside the U.S.) thinks about very often. Perhaps, I wondered, that is one of the secrets to happiness: not thinking about it."

Looking for your own path to happiness? Maybe Weiner can help you find a way to take those first important steps.

Visit Eric Weiner online to learn more or Amazon.com to order your copy.

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Folks, I feel honored to be named Bliss and living in a city as cool as Asheville! How many of us are so blessed as to be Bliss in Asheville?

Those of us who live in Asheville, NC (the U.S. city Weiner highlighted in the book) were so excited when it came out. ABC's 20/20 even did a feature, interviewing locals who share their "bliss" with others via the arts and culinary scene.

I love that the "blissful" place in the U.S. is my hometown of Asheville. My husband and I traveled all over the world. After living in Southern France, it was hard to find a place that we liked in the States. and visited Asheville. We fell in love, and we're here now. It's a really special place, and it's cool he recognizes that in the book.

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