The Happiness Walk USA
Global Vision Institute 2014 Photo Contest
Six-Month Report, May 2015
Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA) received a GVI UN Change Agent and Global Visionary award in the amount of $1,000 for a photo submission representing one of its projects,The Happiness Walk USA. This project is an innovative approach to building awareness on creating expanded measures of progressto increase community wellbeing, in keeping with the United Nations’ initiatives on happiness.
The Walk is a transcontinental journey on foot by GNHUSAco-founders, Paula Francis and Linda Wheatleymeant to inspire people into action aswe engage thousands of people in conversation, listening, analyzing and reporting on responses to “what really matters in life”. We seek to galvanize positive social change in a way that is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and GVI’s desire to strengthen universal values.
Outcomes and Impacts (since October 2014)
The Happiness Walkers have traveledan additional 836.5 miles from Fredericksburg, VA to Jacksonville, FL, for a total of 1,634 miles. In all, this walk has taken us from Montreal, Canada south through 12 states plus Washington, D.C.
Many more hundreds of meaningful conversations about what matters in lifehave been recorded. Education occurs with each interaction on the implicationsthese answers haveon our universal aspirations for happiness and on the need to create thoughtful public policies that support community happiness and wellbeing.
Conversations about what matters most in life were further encouraged to take place in people’s homes during the week of March 20th,International Day of Happiness. Photos,representing events in twelve states, are posted on www.happinesswalk.com while summaries of these conversations are being analyzed for common themes.
We are in the process of transcribing all the audiorecordings,which will be analyzed by two University of Vermont math professors and co-creators of the Hedonometer, a tool that offers real-time, online measurement of happiness by tracking Twitter feeds.
A movie traileron The Walk will be madein JunebyKingdom County Productions. The trailer will be used to raise funds for a feature-length documentary to spread the vision and mission of GNHUSA. The film will educate people on how expanded measures,when skillfully identified and nurtured, increase the root causes of happiness and provide a meaningful barometer of community success.
A new Happiness Charterhas been drafted. This document acknowledges our ethical responsibility to exercise our pursuit of happiness by behaving in ways that are aligned with our national valuesand our ability to reach our highest human potential whilehonoring the richness and diversity of our planet.
GNHUSA is in the process of expanding its board to include greater diversity and national representation. Our very first executive director has been identified and we are currently negotiating a contract and creating transition plans.
Linda Wheatley was an opening presenter at The Economics of Happiness conference on February 17 and The Happiness Walk was recentlyfeatured in media as follows:
Gathering Peace, WGDR in Vermont (monthly)
Radio Bahai, WLGI in South Carolina (Nov 2015)
Tidewater in Franklin, Virginia (11/29/15)
Channel 13 in Central North Carolina (Jan 2015)
Natural Awakenings, North Carolina (Jan 2015)
Natural Awakenings in Norfolk, Virginia (Jan 2015)
The Colletonian in Walterboro, South Carolina (Feb 2015)
South Strand News in Georgetown, South Carolina (2/6/15)
Live Happy Magazine(March 2015 edition)
The Times Argus, Vermont (4/5/15)
Some photos from the road: