How Travel Cured My Materialism

July 28th, 2017 at 2:00am

I’ve always been quite the spender. When I was younger, I absolutely loved showing up to school in my newly-purchased outfits. I practically lived at the mall and found so much joy in buying new outfits and accessories. Of course, this ended up being my parents’ spending and not my own. It was easy to spend, spend, spend on clothing and other materialistic items.

But now, at the ripe age of 20, mommy and daddy’s wallets are not mine for the taking. Instead, I have to work, save, and budget. What? As a college student, I have learned to spend wisely on the experiences that truly matter to me.

I’ve found more rewards in wanderlust than materialism.

As a college student, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on travel. But I do have the time. In fact, I have more time and flexibility now than I ever will with a full-time job. So my mindset is this: why not take these opportunities now and work to pay them later?

This was my mindset starting a few years ago. Since then, I have traveled to five countries and 15 different cities. I visited Prague, Rome, Positano, and Paris all this past month. The incredible views I saw, the foods I tasted, the cultures I experienced were unexplainable. These were all incredible experiences—ones that will stick with me forever.

I realized that fashions, trends, and the next big thing will come and go, but experiences and memories will last forever. So my once-materialistic self naturally decided to start writing down my dream travel destinations in my favorite journal and start planning these trips out.

I found that I wanted to save up for these destinations and naturally, I became more stingy with what materialistic items I chose to purchase. Don’t get me wrong, I still find so much joy in purchasing clothing and accessories. But I don’t go overboard like I used to. Be practical. I love my denim overalls, but I only need one pair. Because let’s face it—they will eventually go out of style once again.

When I look back at these past few years, it’s the moments, the memories, and the experiences that stand out to me. Not what I was wearing, or how good I looked. Clothing, accessories, and fashion are like the icing on the cake. It’s fun getting all dressed up, especially for pictures! But these things simply enhance the cake. Your experience—they don’t make it. So my advice is this: Be frugal in materialism but be generous in experience.

Experience for me may mean wanderlust and travel. I encourage you to find your dream experiences that are worth your saving.

Then, grab your bags and go. I promise you won’t regret it.

What are those dream experiences for you? Where should I travel to next? Let me know in the comments below!