5 Reasons Why I Invest in Travel, Not Things

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

xoxo, nano

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    1. FYI – I see you haven’t traveled to Iceland yet. 5 Words: Put. It. On. Your. List. It was absolutely breathtaking as I’m sure you’ve read on other blogs. Take a look at my first ever post for tips and tricks in planning your trip to Iceland! You will not be disappointed. :)

      1. Cara, thank you for the tip. I was talking with my friends about Iceland just the other day! Believe me, it most certainly is on my bucket list 😁 Will definitely check out your blog for more info! coxo

  1. Presented diversity of experiences in the best way. Thank you for this amazing and encouraging article. Connected on instagram. User name- lannister_boy_mucron

  2. I truly appreciate this post. My husband and I bought a house and it felt like we nailed our feet down to one spot by making the commitment. We run an airbnb to be sure that we still have money for traveling, and it makes a huge difference to know that although we have some stability, we’ll be able to get up and out when we want to.

  3. Excellent post – we also prefer to spend money on travelling where we can, for all of the reasons you mentioned – memories are the things that stay with us long after the material things have gone :)

  4. So agree with the statement you made about how experience has more value than materialistic things! I think that is the reason why I personally spend more money on food and at restaurants than on clothes and accessories sometimes because for me, food is not just about eating but about spending quality time talking and bonding with people who are dear to me 🙂. (But of course, I love clothes too haha).

  5. You are speaking my language! My husband and I definitely chose travel and experiences over things and I feel like our life is much ‘richer’ for it! When people buy expensive purses, my response is always, do you know how many plane tickets you could have bought with that!

  6. Love this! My hubby and I are giving this a try, as well :) spending next to nothing and then splurging on amazing experiences. SUCH a better (or at least more exciting) way to live!!

  7. Really liked the way you express your passion for travel; agree with you completely that travel opens out the horizons of the mind and that interaction with different people is one of the most vital benefits of this hobby. I wish I were younger and had more money, better health, to be able to travel so much, but yet, I’m thankful for whatever travels I am doing at this age.

  8. I used to be a flight attendant and got the opportunity to travel a lot. I miss it and totally agree with traveling rather than acquiring things. Now that I’ve found your blog, I look forward to reading your adventures. :)

  9. I really love your post. I too enjoy traveling. It does not have to be across country it is all about the experience and now that my kids are grown. I want to spend the rest of my life exploring the world.

  10. I rarely regret the things I do in life. It’s the opportunity I didn’t take, the new experience that I didn’t open myself up to when I had the chance, that I’m sorry for–when it’s too late.

  11. I so agree with you. I’m a bit (maybe a few decades?) older than you, but I can honestly say that some of my most insightful discoveries have been when I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and gone somewhere different–where the culture and ideas are new and where I know I’ll get pushed to try to see things in a different way.

    Great post!

  12. This is such a beautifully written post! As I am a new travel blogger, you have reminded me why I love what I do and inspired me to continue on to fulfill my dreams!

  13. Great post! When I was younger I did a lot of traveling, but as I’ve grown older, my priorities seem to have shifted. I’m trying to get back into exploring again!

  14. I feel like this post is my spirit animal! It is so true that most older generations just don’t get it. My family would love for me to settle down, buy a house, start a family etc but I’m not interested at all. All I want is too see the world and fill my heart and mind with experiences, people, culture and knowledge. Great article, thanks!

  15. I think you’re completely right about the generations mindset changing. I’m twenty years old and I’ve travelled by myself for three months, something my parents or old never would have even thought about!

  16. I think you’ve summed it up. A lower end car today is pretty much the apex of yesterday’s luxury car, what with air conditioning and comfortable seating and all. Even still, I think us millennials recognize branding and ads better so we’re somewhat resilient when it comes to the latest and greatest.

  17. Travel enriches our soul, exposes us to different experiences and thereby helps us grow into a more kind and compassionate souls

  18. Hi Nano,

    I am very inspired by your life and writing style. I am planning to live a T life after my marriage. Do you have any tips on starting a travel blog now. Well, i am already working for some online portals but looking forward to make my own travel blog.

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