Last updated on September 13th, 2023
Meet the woman “bringing the science of happiness to life” as she travels around the world one dance (or 18) at a time.
Aliénor Salmon was working as a happiness researcher at UNESCO in Bangkok when she realized that her research on happiness in schools wasn’t relevant to adults in the workplace and society.
It led her to question her own happiness at a time when she was grieving over a personal loss, as well as experiencing the first signs of burnout.
After years of working in an office, she wanted to put her own happiness first and show others how to do the same so that we can really build a happier world. Dance seemed like the perfect way to liberate her body from her desk and connect authentically with others in an era when we are so often looking at our screens rather than at each other.
Today, Salmon has her ideal career traveling around the globe and spreading happiness. In this interview, she shares her inspiring story, explains what “bringing the science of happiness to life” means, and her tips for creating your dream job.
Rosie Bell: Tell me about yourself and your story
Aliénor Salmon: I am a Franco-British happiness expert, author, and speaker. I was working at UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau of Education in Bangkok, Thailand, and realized that research projects and policy analysis could actually be done from anywhere. I then transitioned from a full-time staff member to an international consultant.
In August 2016 I set off on a sabbatical dancing around the world. I discovered eight countries through dance and learned a total of 18 dances in just ten months — all of which have been documented in my first book Finding Rhythm: An International Dance Journey.
This journey completely changed my life and taught me that dance is such a powerful tool to increase happiness and what truly matters. So, I built my blog and business Bailando Journey, and started dance retreats and workshops in addition to speaking, research, and consulting work.
RB: What does your job entail?
AS: I bring the science of happiness to life — showing how theories and concepts can work in real-life situations whether in schools, the workplace, or daily life.
I work on consulting projects for governments and international organizations such as the UN. I also work with startups focused on research, policy analysis, and strategic communications in the fields that relate to creating a happier world such as education reform, social and emotional development, and urban environments to name but a few.
I am also an advocate for happiness as I continuously study happiness itself, both in theory and in practice. I share my findings through speaking engagements, interviews, and social media to help others incorporate happiness into their daily lives and allow themselves to dream beyond limits.
RB: You have designed your own dream job. How can other people create theirs?
Salmon: First and foremost, I ask people to become aware of their core values, beliefs, and principles, and then see how they can make small choices in their daily lives to be better aligned with what truly matters and brings them meaning and purpose.
Then, I encourage people to conduct a dream mapping exercise where you remove the limits of time, money, and other responsibilities to allow yourself anything that comes to your mind. You will find that while some things may be out of reach right now, they may be possible with a proper roadmap. Some things are already achievable if we choose to make them a priority.
Everyone deserves to live their happiest life. I truly believe that we are capable of creating anything for ourselves as long as we take that first often terrifying step.