Collect Experiences, Not Things
A new outfit can make you feel like you can conquer the world. A new phone can help you feel connected and cool. A brand new thing can bring you joy… for a while. What happens when the novelty of those gifts wears off? New clothes, gadgets, “things” aren’t new forever. But memories are forever, and trading in experiences over things means the experience is yours for life.
A beautiful sunset or sunrise. Climbing a mountain. Eating the best meal you’ve ever tasted. The first successful conversation in a foreign language. A touching journal entry. A spark of inspiration. These things are unforgettable, permanently embedded into our brains – and they never get old. No matter which college you go to, what job you accept, or where you live, you are the sole owner of memories that are one-hundred percent uniquely yours.
Memories, unlike things, can shape who someone becomes as a person. Memories can give someone a happy place or feeling to recall when the blues strikes. Stories of discovery and of getting lost turn into great tales to share with friends and family. Meeting new people and visiting new places opens minds to new ways of living, thinking, and seeing. Travel and exploration can make you better-rounded, more interesting, and more empathetic.
Oftentimes, travel is presented to us as a massive project: a passport, an international flight, hostels, backpacking across a continent. It may seem ideal to travel across the country or across the globe, visiting somewhere for weeks at a time. These trips can be life-changing, memorable, and completely amazing, but this type of travel isn’t for everyone all the time. The reality is that many people may not be able to make those kinds of trips happen due to school, work, or finances. Exploration and adventure can fit into any schedule and any budget!
Here are some ideas if a weeks-long, all out travel bonanza isn’t for you:
- Try traveling locally or regionally by visiting a new town.
- Go to a museum, wildlife park, or aquarium you’ve never been to. See if it offers a behind the scenes experience.
- Visit a new part of town and eat a cuisine you’ve never tried before.
- Volunteer with a new organization.
- Take a cultural class.
- See a play instead of a movie.
- If you normally drive, walk around town and photograph new things you see
- If you normally walk, drive around and look for new corners to explore.
- Check out library books on local culture or travel. Write about how these things make you feel.
While things may lose their appeal, memories are forever. Instead of asking for and saving up for expensive gadgets, try saving up for a unique experience. Not only will you have a fantastic adventure, but you’ll have memories and stories to share for the rest of your life!
About the Author
Lindsey Turnbull loves adventures of all kinds: from international trips to exploring new corners of her city. She is the owner and operator of MissHeard Magazine, a submissions-based teen girl magazine.