Malaysia was the first port of call on my month long travelling sabbatical. 6 days at a retreat to energise, re-connect and rest – and then Asia here I come! At least that was the plan.

More than 3 weeks later, I am in the skies above Singapore, leaving the lovely Malay people for the first time since touch down. I didn’t make it far!

Now some may say I am rather dull, having not adventured wholly into the unknown, thrust myself into adrenaline-filled activities, and having spent an extended stay at my quiet retreat. But, it has been a heavenly holiday. With all 21 Days to Happiness rolled into one trip! As I entered The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Ipoh, the energy of the place hit me. The smiles, the kindness, the gentle and thoughtful welcome. I knew this would be transformative.

And I was not wrong. Surrounded by majestic limestone cliffs, with hot natural spring lakes, meditation and crystal caves, monkeys and rainforest thrown in, the real power of ‘awe’ as we talk about in Day 20 truly hit me. My daily awe practice had been delivered to my doorstep and there was not an hour I stayed there that I did not wonder at the beauty and vastness of the universe. Add to that daily yoga and meditation, a full digital detox (how joyous to have no phone!), healthy food and temperate climate, and the foundations for 21 Days of Happiness had been gifted to me. And gratitude abounds. And did daily, hourly, often multiple times hourly! I chose to be happy; I chose to focus on the positive; I chose to do things that give me joy and refrain from absolutely anything that didn’t. I was finally kind to myself, used positive language and gave myself love supported my Master Yoga and his daily affirmations. I visualised my future a health, happy, peaceful and loving being (again Master Yoga’s words!) and of course away from home I’d sort of de-cluttered with my single suitcase. There was no comparing with others (I simply decided not to!) and a playlist full of songs from my childhood helped me along. I was truly present. Truly happy. Truly at peace. And I shall forever be grateful for this wonderful and special gift.

Yet, as always is the way for me, kindness was the key. For those Hubbers who know me well, you’ll be ever-aware that being kind is top of my list. However, the most unexpected arrival in my trip away was the extreme kindness of the Malay people – and particularly at The Banjaran Retreat. The first thing that hit me was the smiles! They were everywhere, bouncing at me from every direction – making my heart leap. And the kindness, thoughtfulness, warmth and love that exuded from these beautiful people warmed my soul.

So as we go into Christmas Hubbers, may your life be filled with kindness, joy, good health and happiness. And may the 21 Days to Happiness support you and your loved ones in the upcoming months.

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Audrey Hepburn