Modern life has led us to accumulate a mass of things that we don’t need.
My room at my parent’s house is a perfect example of this. I have so much stuff in it that I rarely use. Numerous pieces of lego are sat on a shelf collecting dust.
There are numerous clothes in the drawers that I never wear and don’t plan on wearing anytime soon. Then there are items that I don’t use very often, but I have an emotional attachment to them.
My snooker cue is one such item. While I have used it more in recent years, I still don’t use it very often. I could sell it or give it away, but I feel like I should hold on to it because I like it and the cue brings back fond memories from my past.
Despite the emotional bond I may have with certain items, there are plenty that I could throw away. They serve no purpose anymore and just stare back at me every time I enter the room.
Due to my travels, I have realised a profound fact. Experiences are much more valuable than possessions. I would much rather spend my money on visiting a new place than buying the latest must-have item.
While the trip only has a short timespan, the experience stays with me forever. Whereas an item has a shelf life, once it has served its purpose, it is discarded in favour of a new and improved item.
We may think we own our possessions, but the reality is that they own us, and the more of them we have, the more we become bound to them.
Experiences Trump Possessions
Since starting my travel blog, I have realised how important the experiences I have had are to me. I have learnt a lot about myself and the world during my travels.
Writing about where I have visited brought the memories of those trips flooding back to me. These are memories that I cherish. Had it not been for a car crash on my way home from work, I may not have gone travelling at all!
The experiences that I cherish so much may not have happened. Instead, I could have been lumbered with possessions that offer me little value.
I cannot put a price on the experiences I had travelling. They have made me into the person I am today. If I hadn’t gone travelling, I don’t know what I would have been doing and where I would be at this point.
Spending those years in the same place and doing the same thing would have been awful. The fact that I was able to live abroad and experience lots of different cultures and ways of living has been beneficial to me in so many ways
It’s opened my eyes to the world, I have realised just how lucky I am, and I have met so many people from various parts of the globe. All of this has made me a better person than I was before.
It is all a culmination of experience that has enriched my life. Possessions do not have the same effect. Yes, some of them make life easier, it would virtually be impossible to live without a mobile phone now, but other than a certain number of items, the majority of possessions don’t offer much value.
I first learnt this when I was travelling around Australia. It was my first backpacking trip and I was unsure about what I needed to take with me, so I take much more than I needed.
It turned out I didn’t need as much as I brought with me. I didn’t need as many clothes and items as I thought I did. Another thing that was surprising to me back then was how little I missed the possessions I had left behind.
Apart from my bike, there was nothing I desperately missed while I was in Australia. Life carried on, I adapted. I felt much better living out of a backpack and having fewer things to worry about.
It was freeing in some ways. Possessions are all well and good and have their place, but when you put too much emphasis on their value over the experiences you can have in the wider world, you’re missing out.
Experiences are a way of finding out about yourself, growing and developing as a person. Each new experience is like a layer on top of the other. You slowly morph into a better and more well-rounded person.
Spending your money on developing your character and having diverse experiences is much better than collecting possessions that only offer value in the short term.
You can’t take your possessions with you, but experiences last for a lifetime.