Why you should chase experiences and not things

While most people are chasing cars, steady jobs (and perhaps even lovers) you’ve never felt the same calling. Sure, you know you should be doing it. It’s what everyone has been saying to you for who knows how long. Perhaps you’ve even tried it but after a while found that you’re still unhappy. Deep down, you know the truth and so do I. All you really want is to pack your bags and go! You want to buy a one way ticket to somewhere new. You want to travel the world and see new things. You want to snorkel to unheard of islands and talk to locals in little cities no one has heard of. You want adventure! But is it worth it? Are you just taking an extended vacation from life when in fact you should be adulting your way to a more responsible you? Should you chase those experiences across the globe? Yes. You absolutely should and here’s why.

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Experiences become part of who you are.

While possessions will fade over time and we outgrow them, our experiences stay with us forever. Everything you are right now is an culmination of the things you’ve seen, done and felt. Twenty years from now, the person who you will become will also be an accumulation of all the things you’ve experienced along the way. Perhaps you won’t remember your second car but you will remember the time you cycled along the ancient city walls of X’ian in China.

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You can’t quantify experiences.

Ever been part of a conversation where people tactfully start comparing their assets and politely boasting about their salaries? I have and I really don’t like those conversations. Not because I don’t have any assets or a stable salary. Sure I do but I dislike those conversations because life isn’t meant to be a competition with the person next to you. You shouldn’t be judged by what car you drive or how much you earn. The difference with experiences is that it can’t be compared to something solid. Nobody can take away the feeling you had as you walked through the red Torii Gates in Kyoto or as you climbed up stairs to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.

Life of Shal_Essential snorkeling tips for Bali_5

 Experiences give you lasting happiness.

While possessions can make you happy, that feeling doesn’t last forever. Experiences on the other hand last a lifetime! From the time you start planning your trip, you feel excited and eager but that excitement doesn’t really ever go away. Years later you will still be excited when remembering how you snorkeled to an unknown island in Hurghada or sailed down The Nile in Egypt.

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Experiences are ALWAYS worth the money.

Regardless of whether you have a good or bad experience when traveling, no one ever claims to have wasted their money traveling through Asia or backpacking through Europe. The fact that these experiences perhaps last for a short time is what makes them all the more valuable to us because even after it’s over, the memories last a lifetime meaning their value only increases as time goes by.

 Life of Shal_Shalinee Naidoo

Experiences help us learn more, faster.

If you’ve traveled to a new city before, you will most likely be amazed at how fast you were able to grasp essential local phrases. That’s because when you immerse yourself in a new culture, you force yourself to learn as fast as you can to survive and become comfortable in the space you’re in. Call it the traveler’s version of Darwin’s Law of Natural Selection. Either way, you will learn more about a city from chatting to the street vendor sitting at the side of the road than you ever will from behind your computer screen.

Over to you dear reader! Do you agree that chasing experiences are more valuable that things? Leave your thoughts below!

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Hi World! I'm Shal - an environmental microbiologist, writer, teacher and artist from Durban, South Africa. I've spent the last two years traveling and teaching Chemistry and English to young kids in Asia. Life of Shal was founded as a way to share travel experiences, tips and other worldly magic with you! Join me on my journey!

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