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Travel Tip: Experience vs. Stuff

It’s no secret these days that our culture encourages buying things. This can be especially true when traveling, or going on vacation. May I gently remind you what happens when you return home? Where will you keep your mementos? Will you use or appreciate them enough to justify the space they take up in your home, when space is precious? Below are some suggestions for making the most of your travel experience, so as not to let the pastime of acquiring things get your way.

  • Take photographs instead of buying chachkies. We often do both, but could you consider that preserving your vaca memories with digital photos of the people you shared it with are a complete substitute for t-shirts, key chains, and shot glasses? Then when you go home, enjoy creating an album to share on social media, maybe created as a family effort. Your family and friends may get more out of viewing photos of your experience than receiving a less personal gift.

  • If you do really like to buy your loved ones gifts, help them out with clutter as well! Buy them consumable gifts.

  • Decide on something you actually need and shop for that. For example, if you could use new sandals, find some that you could only get at your destination spot.

  • One technique I use when going shopping on vacation is to go shopping for the sake of shopping. I mean like window shopping, but furthermore I take in the whole experience to feel satisfied, rather than the act of buying it to accomplish satisfaction. I pick something up to take it in, feel its texture, take in its scent, read any text included, even take a photo of it. I’ll share with someone what I think of it. I’ll ask the store owner about it. Then I put it back, feeling like I received its essence, without having to spend money and store it in my house for years.

  • Tickets, brochures, postcards, or maps can be preserved in a digital photograph. Paper items such as these are prime suspects for surmounting paper clutter down the line!

  • Don’t forget that one of the best things to take home with you are the stories you can share.

Isn’t traveling all about the experience? Sometimes it’s hard to drop our expectations for the trip to the wayside, and truly seize the moment with full presence, five senses, and openness to unpredictability. By forgetting to preserve your get-away experience with mementos, gifts, and paper, (and spending all your time taking photos!), you remember to simply live in the present moment. Talk about a rejuvenating get-away!

Originally posted: July 16, 2017

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