Vermont Press Releases

Serious about Happiness: two women walking 8,000 miles

News Release — Gross National Happiness USA
October 4, 2014

Contact: The Happiness Walk, a project of Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA)
[email protected]

Linda Wheatley and Paula Francis are serious about happiness. They have already walked from Montreal in Quebec to Washington, D.C., and they have plans for another 8,000 miles. Paula and Linda are collecting stories of happiness, wellbeing and what really matters in life. As co-founders of Gross National Happiness USA, they plan to use the stories to raise national awareness of the importance of prioritizing happiness and wellbeing, and ultimately influence public policy.

GNHUSA is a Vermont-based nonprofit organization raising awareness about measuring what matters. The organization has hosted two national conferences and conducted a statewide happiness survey in Vermont. It also helped pass the state’s Genuine Progress Indicator bill (S237 – ACT 113) in 2012. GNHUSA advocates for the use of a broader set of wellbeing indicators for policy-making and general development.

The Happiness Walk is a project of GNHUSA. The goal is to walk across the entire USA, east to west, and then back again. They will continue to talk to people about happiness and values. Statements collected during the initial legs of the Walk uncovered some common values: family and relationships, making others happy, health and education, freedom and opportunity, nature, pets, music, faith and more. Paula and Linda believe the consistency of these messages feed into the identification of common values which have the power to impact systems change.

In summary, the walkers suggest that we should take happiness much more seriously. Why? 1. Everyone seeks happiness, 2. Our systems should therefore use appropriate indicators of happiness and wellbeing to measure progress, and 3. Ultimately, happier individuals lead to stronger families, workplaces, communities, societies and systems.

The third leg of The Happiness Walk kicks off on Tuesday, October 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the North Branch Cafe in Montpelier, VT. A Washington, D.C. kick-off party is planned for 12 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 12, at a private home, and the Walk itself will resume Monday, October 13, 9:30 a.m .at the Jefferson Memorial in D.C.

The Happiness Walk is active on Twitter (@PoHWalk) and Facebook (HappinessWalk2016) and much more information can be found at our website The walkers can be reached at [email protected]

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