We all fall into the dilemma of whenever in a bad mood, or not in our best shape, the first thing that comes to mind would be: SHOPPING, shopping, and more shopping! Buying things that we mostly don’t need, falsely believing that possessing new things would make us feel better, which will, but the enjoyment would be temporary, truth is it will fade away much quicker than we think.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University says that “one of the enemies of happiness is adaptation … we buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them”. Think of your new TV vs. your last vacation in Paris, the Cirque Du Soleil Performance or a Musical vs. a new pair of jeans…does it ring a bell?
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Not only but also, believing that the happiness of possessing material things compared to taking a trip, or going through a thrilling experience -even if a very short one- would last longer. It’s true that these objects would live longer, however their effect won’t. We by human nature quickly adapt, so the brand new that was once the reason we were excited, becomes part of the new normal, the excitement fades away, and the happiness from material things diminishes over time, however experiences, and memories -whether bad or good- will have the greatest impact on us, would remain with us, and would become an inseparable part of our identity.
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Think of how you become filled with enjoyment once you bring up some memories from your trip, of how you feel good about trip-advising your friends to have similar experience, or the very thought of it, versus talking about the technology of your new iPhone, the trendiness of your bag, or the design of your watch.
No matter how interesting your material object is, there isn’t really much to talk about, as for travel you will never run out of stories, or anecdotes. Your experience will whether be a story to tell, an advice to give, or a way of encouraging others to go through the same experience.
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From another perspective, let’s assume that you saved for several months to upgrade your phone that didn’t really require an upgrade, to splurge on a Chanel bag, or to buy the trendiest sunglasses while you already have 4, at first you will be the happiest person on the planet, overwhelmed as you finally bought what you saved for, but after a little while you won’t feel the same way about it, as you adapt, you will start thinking what next should I buy to get the excitement going?. However buying a trip; is buying an experience that no matter how good or bad it is it’d last forever, it’d stay with you.
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Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences…
Don’t you think?
I distinctly remember the time I zip-lined in Switzerland to end up bumping hard into a tree, the time I was lucky to witness an FC Barcelona Copa Del Rey Celebration for free, and without even planning, the time we were chased by a rhino during a Jeep Safari in South Africa, the time my friend called me crying hysterically asking me to buy her a new suitcase as she was asked to check-out from the room while all her shopping couldn’t fit into her bags, the time I shared my anxiety with the group fearing that I won’t be able to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the time one of my fellow travelers found a poisonous snake in his room, the time I missed my 2 hours direct train and had to hop on a 5 hours train with 6 changes, the time I almost got kidnapped, and the list goes on, and on.
How about you? Your memories, your adventures, and misadventures? Share them with us!
Though I was so eager to get them, but I do not remember how much it took me to save for my hiking boots, or how happy did I feel when I bought them, and I certainly am not as excited as I was when I first got them, same applies for my camera, my phone, you name it! And the same goes to you :).
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That’s why I have taught myself to only buy what I need, and not what I want, I rarely splurge. I have completely stopped going crazy shopping, and whenever I feel like it, I remind myself that this amount could buy me a flight ticket, accommodation somewhere, or a two course meal some place around the world.
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So the next time you spend your money on a material object, think twice before you do, and invest your savings on experiences -such as travel- instead.
Now you can buy experiences, instead of material gifts…Buy it here!