The Gift of Experience

I grew up in a small town and went to a small school. When our Spanish and French classes decided to take trips to their related countries, there weren’t enough people for separate trips so they created a single trip to Spain and France. 

It was a stretch for my parents to make that trip happen. I’m sure there was budgeting and re-budgeting, but my parents didn’t bat an eye or ask me to hold the burden of that. My mother was worried beyond the beyond (I come from a long line of worriers and I was their first child to travel across the ocean!)

They figured it out, monitored their anxiety and waved me off on this first great adventure of my life. It was the gift that opened the world to me. 

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

I have no souvenirs from that trip, just a few photos, but I remember the sheer joy of discovering new parts of the world. Those 10 days filled my heart with a lifetime of stories of exploration, trying and failing at getting by in another language, adventures with my friends and most importantly the beginning of my journey of falling in love with the world. 

Since that time, I have been fortunate to see quite a bit of the world. I don’t own a car or have a fancy television, though I do have a treasure trove of experiences that have opened my mind and heart. To me, that’s priceless.

For the past two decades, Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich has been studying the relationship of happiness and how we invest our money. His findings are that experiences top the charts every time.

“People often think spending money on an experience is not as wise an investment as spending it on a material possession. They think the experience will come and go in a flash, and they’ll be left with little compared to owning an item.

But in reality, we remember experiences long afterward, while we soon become used to our possessions.”

Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.

On any given day, I can think of many reasons why I shouldn’t invest in a journey. But they don’t hold a candle to the one reason why I should: the gift of experience. There’s something that happens when you make the choice to expand your horizons, to live more boldly. There might not be anything to show for it, but there will be a sparkle in your eye and new stories in your heart.

If you’re feeling the call to give yourself something truly priceless this season, consider giving yourself or someone you love the gift of an experience. Take a journey by yourself or with someone you want to spend some unforgettable quality time with.

How will you invest in yourself in 2020?

What gift of experience might be in store for you?

If you’d like the gift of a journey with warm beautiful sunsets, fresh delicious food, and time to rest and relax with an amazing group of people, join us for our Wholebeing Journey in Costa Rica in May.

Photo Credit:

Meg Townsend

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