I’ve been thinking about this travel quote a lot lately. Normally I only post quotes I can find attribution for, but this one is too good to pass up.
I have always struggled with a lust for material things. Clothes, shoes, books, furniture and things to fill a nonexistent home with… I want them all. And one of the things I have loved about long-term travel and living as an expat is that my irrational desire for these things disappears when I am fulfilled by other things and removed from a situation (basically, living in New York) where I am bombarded by the material world and all my complicated emotions surrounding it. I feel like I used to spend a lot of time feeling envious of those who seemed to have more than me (in a material/monetary sense), frustrated that I didn’t have the same, and then on top of it all, guilty, because really I did have more than anyone could ever need. Travel, and the perspective I gained from it, freed me from those emotions, and it was exhilarating. I spent far more money than I made last year (luckily I had the savings to do so), have almost zero physical things to show for it, and yet I still feel rich… rich with warm memories, unbelievable experiences, true friendships and an opened mind.
Since my temporary return home I am struggling again somewhat. The entire contents of my overflowing closet seem out-of-fashion and drab compared to what everyone else is wearing, the stores I used to spend hours perusing are calling to me and I feel in desperate need of retail therapy. But I’m fighting the feeling and working hard to remind myself that I have more material things than any person could ever need, I’m grateful for what I have, and my current resources are limited. I would rather spend them on experiences than I would on a 44th pair of shoes (yes, I just counted). The memories and the lessons from travel and experiential purchases such as a beautiful hot air balloon ride over the Laotian countryside last far beyond the soles wearing out on that new pair of shoes.
For me, travel truly is the only thing I buy that makes me richer. What do you think?