If my mom’s English was good enough and she read this post, she would probably not talk to me for a long time. My mother-in-law lovingly called us “traveling fools.” And I get it. I am sure their generation in general grew up on different values. House, car, furniture, jewelry and savings were all of paramount importance and a natural way of showing your status in life, your progression, your achievements. Don’t get me wrong, all of this is still important (and I wish more people could afford all the material pleasures of this life without sacrifices and budget planning). However, my generation is starting to progressively shift towards a different mindset – where experiences matter more than things. The priorities are shifting from collecting things to collecting experiences.
My husband and I are just another couple with average income making most of our lives and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Given the choice and budget constraint, I’d rather drive a Honda, but vacation four times a year, than say no to travel and spend next 10 years paying off 100K Mercedes to show my status. We also agreed early on that we’d rather splurge on a date night at a 3 Michelin star restaurant than spend money on exchanging gifts.
You might call me an addict, and you might be right about that. Although, I prefer to call it passion. Either way, the symptoms are clear: I feel like I’m suffocating if I stay in one place for more than three months; I need regular weekend getaways (near or far); I plan my vacations one to two years out; I do meticulous research and prepare detailed itineraries for every trip; CondeNast Traveler, Culture Trip, National Geographic and Travel + Leisure have turned into my bibles; I also frequent websites like booking.com just to daydream of the wonderful destinations around the world.
So, why do I choose to invest in travel versus things? The reasons are simple:
BROADEN MY PERSPECTIVE
As Mr. Twain once rightly pointed out, travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Two years in Haiti opened my mind in a totally different level. You might see the hardship of developing countries on TV, but until you experience it first-hand you cannot truly appreciate the every-day struggles of people who live there. Thankfully, our living conditions in Haiti were nothing like those living in an absolute poverty. However, I started appreciating even the simplest things like paved roads, traffic lights, grocery stores, movie theatres and shopping malls – basically, everything I took for granted before.
MEET NEW PEOPLE
Seeing the main sights of the destination is not enough for me. It honestly blows my mind how some people live in a foreign country for years and don’t have any local friends. I don’t think you can really learn anything about the country or its culture without interacting with locals. I think I’m the richest person because I have friends all over the world, because multicultural engagement is key to understanding the beauty of this world. Besides meeting locals of the host country, travel also gives opportunity to interact with other nationalities and learn a little bit about their culture. Every person that you cross paths with during your travels has a story to tell.
EXPERIENCE NEW CULTURES
Whether it was a luau night in Hawaii, climbing The Great Wall of China, overnight in a Buddhist temple in Japan, diving in St. Kitts, sumo tournament in Tokyo, or dune-bashing in Dubai – the possibilities of immersing into local culture at your new destination are endless, and the thrill of experiencing how people of other nations live and experience the same things that make their hearts tick is incomparable. As you trot the globe in pursuit of new smells, sights and sounds, the extent of your understanding of the world around you and of new cultures that are different from yours broadens and enriches you.
TASTE NEW CUISINE
It’s no secret I love good food and I always make an effort to try local cuisine everywhere I travel. No matter how much people try to recreate food it never tastes as good as in its original country, simply because the local produce and spices cannot be replicated anywhere else. Thai food will never be as good as that in Thailand, or Indian as mouthwatering as in India. I still remember our mind-blowing food tour in San Juan, when we savored the local specialties while touring the beautiful cobble-stoned streets. Our latest favorite was sampling Sichuan cuisine in the most unassuming little eatery in a random Chinese village on our way to the Forbidden City. It was cheap, simple, yet so so good.
TO NOT LOOK BACK AND WONDER, WHAT IF?
Life’s too short, and at the end of the day, the only “thing” that will stay with me forever, are all the adventures and sweet memories I made with my loved ones. I don’t want to put off anything that I can do today, this month or this year. I don’t want to look back in regret and say I wish I went there, or done this. Honestly, I don’t think this travel bug will ever go away. I will always have that itch to pack my bags and book the next flight out. I don’t think there is right or wrong answer to living your life. Doing what feels right now is probably the best answer, because we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
What are your thoughts on travel vs. things?
Which one would you pick if you had to choose?
Linking up with Monthly Travel Link-up, Faraway Files & Wanderful Wednesday.
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Thanks for writing such an insightful post, it is really motivating to us readers. Makes me really motivated to see what other people can achieve and to set big goals. Truly impressive list of achievements, well done.
Really appreciate your advice! Thank you so much
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I decided to re-read this post, for I am in consensus with every line. Rather than spending on unnecessary luxurious, its better to have our own stories from travel experiences. The learning from book is actually nothing when compared to real life lesson. From my experience, nothing other than travel can impart this knowledge. Once again a wonderful post indeed. Hope you have a Wonderful New Year with many more destinations. Love, Vannie from India.
I agree with the way you live 100% it is definitely how I picture myself in the future!
Thank you Camila, I hope we live the lives of our dreams! Happy holidays!!! xoxo
Very nicely captured! I couldn’t have described the uniqueness of travel any better. I’m looking forward to being able to write articles similar to this one as my travel experiences will be skyrocketing shortly!
For a split second I thought I wrote it! It’s exactly how my husband I live our lives :)
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very interesting post , can i share it on my news blog ?
I completely agree with what you wrote on your post :)
it was a really nice read! thank you!
Love it love it love. Thanks!
I too & my wife as well believe in Travelling and exploring a lot.
Wonderful one ☝️
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I feel the same way Nano! Traveling is such a privilege, and something everyone should experience for themselves. Meeting new people and absorbing new cultures around the world, really is the best way to learn hands on, while also making new amazing relationships. Thank you for the post :) – Nadine
Love your post! I have just began my own blog .. https://loaahblog.wordpress.com
enjoy your travels x
I love this !!
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This is my goal! This is what I want to do
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Its nice to read a story where the writer shares a very similar perspective as I do. Material items will bring short term satisfaction where experiences build character and make for life-long stories.
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You are so right! I love travel too and I always prefer to spend my money discovering new places <3
I agree with you 100%! Also, I think it gets very boring if you stay in one place for a long time and don’t travel. No matter how big & busy is the city you live in.
My names kelly….and I am a travel addict too :-)
LOVE your outlook on travel. Some may not be able to travel world wide right now, but in our own backyards (mine being Michigan), I’m able to experience new, exciting attractions, restaurants, and art/culture. Thanks for sharing your insight on travel!! What an exciting life!
I share the same passion!! I get you 100%! That’s why i began creating my own travel blog. It would be nice if you can visit it. https://euphorheablog.com/
I wish more people would think like this! If we consumed less and traveled more I firmly believe that all the current problems with society would go away.
You can’t hate people when you really open your mind and get to know them.
You can’t tell me things are more important than memories after a tour of the world.
When someone asks how we, “college kids” getting married, can afford vacations, we tell them to look in our house. We don’t have much and are happier that way. What you can’t see in our house are the lessons learned and memories made in new places.
I love your post! It is so true. Especially the last point, ‘to not look back and wonder, what if?’ I’ve listened to so many people say they’ll never be able to do certain things, and I promised myself that if I ever found myself saying that, I would find a way to make what I want happen. Thanks for sharing and keep traveling :)
Thanks for the advises!!! You are amazing!
This is a wonderful post – I couldn’t agree more. Travel really shifts your perspective on what’s truly important. We have such a short time on earth, why not experience as much as we possibly can!
We couldn’t agree more!