According to Science - You Should Travel More!

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Why do we consistently value experiences higher than possessions?

“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. At the same time, we also enjoy the anticipation of having an experience more than the anticipation of owning a possession.”
— Thomas Gilovich

Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University has done four studies on this topic and has found some interesting reasons why we are happier with experiences as opposed to things...


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The Social Aspect

 

Our experiences are closely tied to our identity and influence our social interactions. Think of all the times you've instantly connected with someone when you discover you've traveled to the same places. Or laughed over having a common experience when visiting a certain country.  It's amazing how quickly complete strangers become friends when sharing travel stories.

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Travel friendships

And don't forget about making new friends! Some of the most incredible humans I've been lucky enough to call friends were fellow travelers I met on a bus, in a hostel, or some other coincidental crossing of paths. And since the traveler code says 'your couch is my couch' - chances are you'll find a way to cross paths again somewhere else in the world if you keep in touch. 


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The Excitement Factor

We get used to our material possessions soon after we purchase them. It's exciting to have a new item, but the excitement wears off quickly. Our new phone or clothing becomes the norm within a few days. Do we still value them after this? Of course, but that feeling of newness and excitement wears off. In addition, we don't think back to and reminisce about the day we went and purchased a new phone. And we don't tell our friends about our experience purchasing a pair of pants with excitement and joy every time we share the story.  Really, what I'm trying to say is that it's not that exciting to consume material possessions. 


The Anticipation is Killing Me...

Counting down the days until a concert or planning a weekend hike builds excitement and leaves us feeling positive and looking forward to it. If we're unable to attend an event we might feel disappointment, or if we decide not to get off the couch and go hiking we may regret it later.

(Listen to your FOMO).

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So why is it that I own few material possessions and travel as often as possible?

The explanation is simple really -- because it makes me happier!