17 April 2012


If you’re happy and you know it… you probably live in Scandinavia. The UN have recently released their World Happiness Report 2012, with Nordic inhabitants coming out on top with Denmark, Finland and Norway taking the top 3 spots. The rankings were based on a number called the “life evaluation score”, which measures a variety of factors including people’s health, family and job security as well as social factors. Denmark, Norway and Finland surpassed all other countries with an average score of 7.6 between them.

Happiness; something that comes so easily in youth, has a habit of dissipating with age. Life’s onward journey often becomes encapsulated by the never-ending pursuit of that serotonin induced high that we once took for granted. So where does happiness lie? Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of Bhutan’s book, measuring quality of life holistically by gross national happiness, instead of gross national product. As Benjamin Franklin once said; ‘Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.’ So perhaps happiness lies in the things that can’t be bought, like a healthy head and a healthy heart, and of course a few things that can be bought, like a cold, icy beer, creme eggs and great books. Who knows? We’ve selected our favourite destinations from the top 15. Read on to see why they make us smile. And remember…

…don’t worry, be happy.


G’day Bruce! Australia is a the land of peregrinating pleasure. Wine, wallabies, and ‘shrimps on the barbie’. Add in thousands of miles of beaches under the enviable eternal Aussie sunshine and it’s easy to see why Australia = the good life.

Reasons to be happy: Some of the best coffee culture on the planet and about 300 days of sunshine a year. A noted lack of drizzle and gloomy skies. Home and Away’s Alf resides here as does Harold from Neighbours.

Our happy place: Patricia, Melbourne. They know a thing or two about coffee in Melbourne and Patricia is our new favourite coffee spot. Modeled on an old Italian espresso bar, Patricia serves coffee straight up three ways, black, white or filter, all to go, all delicious.

Smile rating: :) :) :) :)


Costa Rica signifies the ultimate adventure playground, wedged between two astoundingly beautiful coastlines, not only is it a natural beauty but a cultural gem too, with the vivacious capital of San Jose acting as a veritable melting pot of cultures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reasons to be happy:Pura Vida’ – Pure life. This is the essence of Costa Rica, basically meaning everything’s good. It is used as a greeting, to say goodbye, or to ask somebody how they are. Costa Rica is one of the most stable, and most beautiful countries in Central America.

Our happy place: The Gold Museum, pure pre-Columbian gilded gloriousness. All that glitters… IS gold.

Smile rating: :) :) :)


The land of captivating Maori culture and the legendary long white cloud, New Zealand is a magical country and its inhabitants are a convivial bunch; easy-going, un-confrontational and funny with it too.

Reasons to be happy: If your happiness is partial to the aesthetically pleasing, then New Zealand is the spot for you. Home to iconic landscapes and jaw-dropping scenery, not to mention air so fresh, it makes you feel all healthy (and happy) inside.

Our happy place: Hawke’s Bay, recognised the world over for its award-winning wines. We’d be content sipping (quaffing) the produce at any of the regions 74 wineries.

Smile rating: :) :) :) :)


Beautifully eccentric Sweden, with its idiosyncratic design aesthetics and creative culture is one of our favourite places here at PINCH.

Reasons to be happy: Top notch design, inimitable architecture, beautiful interiors, delectable cuisine and a thriving music scene. No wonder the Swedes are among the top 5 happiest nationalities. Moving out of the urban hubs, true pastoral beauty awaits; intense green countryside, impenetrable forests and glistening snowy landscapes.

Our happy place: City fav: Stolkholm. Rural fav: The Treehotel in Harads, more precisely, the UFO room at the Treehotel in Harads… dreamlike sleeps can only bring happiness.

Smile rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Give your brain a welcome surge of serotonin with a trip to any of these happy countries. For information on Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand or Sweden visit bespoke travel operators, Black Tomato.



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