"What fascinated me about (Bhutan, is that) in the 1970's the king decided not to measure the prosperity of his country in economic terms, the way that every other country on the planet was doing. He decided to literally gauge their prosperity based on happiness. He coined a term, gross national happiness.
"They have a Ministry of Happiness, an area of the government dedicated to maintaining the happiness of the country's population ... you can see, traveling through the countryside, that has been carried out ... ... the people I met in Bhutan are easily among the happiest I've ever met."
Happy Butanese kids. Photo: Matt Harding.
You can take it from a guy who has been in 81 countries. Or take it from Business Week magazine. Citing a global survey conducted by the University of Leicester in 2006, called the "World Map of Happiness," it rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia.
Bhutan on the World Happiness Map.
Finally, Matt says, "watching the video makes people feel happy. And what's better than that?"
Well, maybe there's one thing better. And maybe that's reading his book to find out more about staying on the road to happiness, enjoying the 275 photos of this travels.
RESOURCES & MUSIC
ABOUT THE MUSIC AND LYRICS:
Matt's friend Garry Schyman composed the music for both of Matt's videos sponsored by Stride gum. After Garry composed the music for the last, 2008 version, during their search for lyrics they discovered Rabindranath Tagore's poem, Stream of Life. The poem was originally published in Tagore's 1913 Nobel Prize-winning book, Gitanjali. Garry and Matt agreed that the words were perfect.
The problem was how to find a native female voice to sing it in the original Bangali. Melissa worked her cyber magic in moments, finding 17-year-old Palbasha Siddique, a singer who grew up in Bangladesh but is currently living in Minneapolis.
Matt Harding, Palbasha Siddique and Garry Schyman at the recording session.
The Alhambra, CA, clip of Matt dancing in front of Garry conducting the orchestra is Matt's grateful nod to Garry's contribution to both videos. Garry's musical composition is entitled "Praan," and is available on Amazon and iTunes.
The stunning words below, in a loose translation to English, are the reason Matt selected this poem: