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Experiences Are Better Than Possessions

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    Experiences Are Better Than Possessions

    The satisfaction we get from buying vacations, bikes for exercise and other experiences starts high and keeps growing. The initial high we feel from acquiring a flashy car or megascreen TV, on the other hand, trails off rather quickly, reports a new Cornell study.

    Why are experiences more satisfying? For one thing, it's harder to compare them to others' experiences; they belong to us alone...


    Study shows experiences are better than possessions

    #2
    This is a lesson I've learned as I've gotten older. I've posted about it before. We definitely spend more money on experiences today than we used to and less money on things. When we do buy things, they tend more to be practical things, like new cookware, rather than impractical items that sit on a shelf and collect dust.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    Comment


      #3
      I think it depends.

      I would generally rather spend money on a possession (that I use and get joy from every day). Which I suppose you could argue is an "experience."

      I don't generally *get* vacations on a lot of levels. They are very fleeting. I understand the psychology behind them, but don't understand why I have to spend a lot of money and travel far to create a unique/memorable experience.

      I agree that experiences mean more. BUT, the free experiences mean the most, from my experience. So, I just wouldn't interpret it to mean "spending a lot of money on experiences is rewarding; possessions, not." Kind of depends on the mix of it all.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by MonkeyMama View Post
        I don't generally *get* vacations on a lot of levels. They are very fleeting. I understand the psychology behind them, but don't understand why I have to spend a lot of money and travel far to create a unique/memorable experience.
        How does one explain travel to a non-traveler?

        Some famous person who I can't recall right now said that the world is a book and those who don't travel read only the first page. Some people are perfectly happy staying on page 1 but lots of us want to read the rest of the story. We want to learn what the world has to teach us. Sure, I can create unique experiences in my family room but I can't experience the Grand Canyon or Disney World or Mount Washington or see the giant sequoias or go snorkeling along a coral reef or swim with dolphins or go wine-tasting at a vineyard or hike the Appalachian Trail or a zillion other things that travel allows you to do.

        As a parent, I can tell you that nothing beats actually taking our daughter to places that she has learned about in school. Her face lights up and she starts telling us what she learned. It makes her education come alive in a way that watching some documentary on TV just can't match. Reading about the Holocaust is one thing. Watching a Holocaust movie is another. Walking through the National Holocaust Museum is entirely another. And actually walking through Auschwitz still another (we haven't done the last one yet but hope to some day). You can stay home and learn about history or travel and actually immerse yourself in it.

        Connecting with nature is another big part of it. No picture can do justice to the experience of standing at the base of the General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park and looking up and around at the massive object before you. Hiking along Cannon Mtn in New Hampshire a couple of years ago was such an incredible spiritual experience that I still get teary eyed when I think about it.

        Can you tell I like to travel?
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

        Comment


          #5
          I would point out additionally that possessions can create/enable/enhance experiences.

          Because I love photography, I've bought thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment. Because I have the equipment, I make specific trips to certain places specifically to do photography. Also, by focusing on my photos, I notice things that normally most people wouldn't. Same thing with cars--I bought my car to get around. But that "getting around" has brought me across the country multiple times, creating all kinds of experiences. I could point out many other examples, but I think the best thing that possessions can do is act as an enabler for better experiences (such as owning your own snowboard so you can board every other weekend rather than simply renting, or driving yourself cross-country vs. riding a bus cross-country.

          I love to travel, but admittedly my biggest problem is not knowing how to travel. Make plans, find places to go/things to see and do, etc. But having traveled with friends and family all around the world, I completely agree with DS.... Traveling opens your eyes, and you learn and experience far more than you can imagine.
          "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

          Comment


            #6
            I love travel too! I can't do really expensive vacations right now but I love to see different places. I don't think one can put a price on seeing places other than what you are used to every day. However I do think an expensive vacation must be within one's means.

            Oh, and Steve, since you were telling us about the Holocaust experiences I thought that I would share that me and my family are planning on a trip to St. Petersburg, Fla this year and they have a Holocaust museum there that I would like to see. Hopefully it's not too expensive!

            Comment


              #7
              I completely agree with the experiences over possessions as well. My house is a bit sparse compared to many because of this. I also noticed on our last vacation, that the travel wasn't just about the destination, but the experience of exploring together and sharing uninterrupted time together as a family. When you don't have the day to day stuff to distract you, one can really focus on each other.

              And I'd like to point out that experiences do not have to involve travel. Going to the zoo, a local museum, a concert, a park, trying a new sport, having a massage, are all experiences that can be tried in your own town. Genereally in the end, you have come away with an experience rather than possessions.
              My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

              Comment


                #8
                I think it depends on the experience, Traveling someplace to eat the same take out I can eat at home would be a bit boring, but spending the weekend in the woods with my kids, while they learn about nature, and self reliance is rather cool.

                A trip to some hotel to eat room service was only fun when it meant time to hang with my husband (in bed) with a bunch of kids I can't see it being worth it. But a trip to see the family, even if I do have to sleep in a hotel, quite worth it. And many trips I can't currently afford would also be worth it.

                Now a beach or resort 'vacation' I totally do not get...going to all the trouble to pack and the like just to go lie down somewhere else? I will pass, I can lay down here just fine! And quite a bit easier, no worry of little ones drowning, or whatever.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                  How does one explain travel to a non-traveler?
                  Agreed. But to each, his/her own. I know some people who have spent their entire lives in a 60-mile radius.

                  Not me though. I was in India a couple months ago and Germany last fall including a trip to Dachau.

                  I'd spend money any day on travel over any possession.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    We have been watching TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive and the husband of the hoarder said as he looked at the pile of stuff -- this could have been a family vacation. That said it all, didn't it?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Travel can be a huge learning experience if you let it. It's much easier to be adventurous and outgoing in a new environment because you've jettisoned day-to-day responsibilities and stress. You learn a lot about yourself, what you like, what you don't like and why. In a new environment it's fun to try new things, new food, entertainment, culture. Getting lost is ok, in your home city it's cause for argument. Don't let it mean sleeping in a different bed and eating in familiar chains. Make an effort to talk to locals and check out all the interesting things to see and do. You may as well since you've invested the time, effort and cost of getting there.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Spent $50 on a trip to the museum this week...can't really think of too many things that would keep all 6 of us as entertained, nor be as fun to 'relive' via memory.

                        (also went to zoo, and science center, but we have memberships so they were kinda free)

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