Living a life with very few material possessions has taught me to value experiences more than things. The money I have is limited so I have always preferred to spend my time and my money doing things that I thought would enrich my life.
I don’t have a house full of stuff, I have only enough clothes to get by in summer and winter, I don’t buy labels I own two pairs of shoes and 1 pair of work boots. If I had to relocate my life tomorrow I could to it with a backpack and my camera.
There is something incredibly liberating knowing that you can fit your life in to a backpack. When I was travelling around France and Spain, being able to just get up and go wherever I wanted was a great feeling. Obviously there are things that I have that are hugely important to me. My camera and my laptop are the two things I couldn’t do without and there are a few family heirlooms that I have hidden away for when I eventually do put down some roots.
I don’t own much but my life is full and I believe the reason is that I have put value in the experiences that I have over the things that I own. I’ve had plenty of conversations with friends who complain that they can’t afford a holiday, they are stressed out, they hate their live but own 10 designer jackets.
“Things” don’t bring value in to your life.
The idea that we are the sum of our experiences is true. I am the sum of all the things that I have experienced in my life and the more that I experience even the tough times, the happier and more fulfilled I feel. From sailing the Queensland coast to visiting a Vietnamese orphanage, from sipping hot wine in Lyon to hiking the Dandenong ranges all of these things are a part of me, I carry them with me wherever I go and I can share them with the people I meet a long the way.
Things might bring us happiness for a time but they don’t really leave us feeling fulfilled. They are external to us and when they are gone they leave a hole that needs to be filled by other things. The $1000 jacket might make you feel happy for a time but when it’s gone the hole returns.
Right now I am the most content I have been in a very long time and yet I don’t own any designer clothing, a fancy car or the latest iJunk. My money is going on a trip to Machu Picchu or maybe the Great Wall or possibly Burning Man.
See you there?