Money can’t buy you love. Fortunately, what it can buy is fascinating, exciting travel that will amp up your fun factorin a way nothing else can.
That said…who needs love anyway?
According to recent happiness studies, money spent on experiences leaves you feeling satisfied and happy far longer than any other type of purchase. That expensive handbag you’re coveting? Make the big purchase and you’ll find your buyer’s thrill is frustratingly fleeting. All too soon, another handbag will become the ‘it’ look and yours will be passé. Even the most fabulous clothes fade out of fashion, those expensive shoes get scuffed and smudged, and even that money you’ve stashed away in wisely chosen investments won’t score high on the excitement meter. Really, how often do you leaf through your portfolio?
Travel ‘investors’ on the other hand, enjoy every minute, starting with the planning. Surfing glam websites, devouring glossy travel magazines (like this one!), enjoying exciting planning sessions with soon-to-be travel companions, conferring with favourite travel professionals – it’s an adventure in itself. Then comes the thrill of the actual travel, the precious moments on the road, aboard the cruise ship, at the resort, and in the air, experiencing new places, tastes, sights, sounds and people. Far from home, travellers discover not only new destinations, but also new versions of themselves, trying things they’d never think of at home.
Best of all, the pleasure doesn’t end when the trip finishes. Those same psychological studies show that travellers continue to relive their adventures in happy memories for years to come.
I once read an article by an elderly woman who had raised her family in a too-small house. Every year, there were plans to build a second bathroom – an addition that would have made things far more convenient for their five-person brood. Instead, each time they’d saved the necessary money, a family vacation gobbled up the renovation dollars. They fished and hiked and skied, went to Disney World, took a family cruise, saw Paris and drove a camper across the country. The much-needed second bathroom was never built.
“We really could have used it,” the writer said, “but I never regretted our choices. All these years later, when I watch my now-adult children pouring over albums of our holiday photos and remembering our adventures together, I’m more than sure that we were smart. I can’t imagine them looking at reno photos and saying, ‘Wow! Wasn’t the new bathroom just the best? I’m so glad we skipped that year’s vacation!’
It’s possible to convince yourself that tangible things are more valuable and longer-lasting than experiences but it’s a dangerous fiction. In truth, life is far shorter than we’d like it to be so our primary goal should be to celebrate each moment and squeeze out every drop of fun and excitement we can. If we do, my guess is we could be lucky enough to reach the age of that wise, elderly writer feeling happy to have adventures to remember and relive, rather than purchases to regret.
Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Winter/Spring 2019 issue.