Forget the new car, get your ass on a plane
Before taking off on new overseas adventures I tend to hear the same things come out of people’s mouths – “you’re so lucky, I wish I could afford to travel, I’m so jealous”. A few weeks later and I’m scrolling through a newsfeed full of said people bragging about how rad their brand spankin’ new rides are. Now I have nothing against buying new cars, especially if the old one has kicked the bucket or whatever. What I do have beef with is people wasting their money away on materialistic possessions then complaining about how much they don’t have.
It’s not just my Facebook friends who do it, the whole world is guilty of overspending and over consuming. Studies show that Americans today own twice as many cars as they did 55 years ago. Even worse, Australian consumers are spending a casual $20,000 million more than they were just three years ago. Consumerist behaviour has spiralled out of control and our love for ‘things’ seems to be replacing our love for the greater joys in life. The more rewarding things. Like travel.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer”. Well it’s so goddamn true. Upgrading your iPhone every time a new model comes out might give you clearer photos but it won’t give you a clearer view of your aspirations in life. Just as liking other people’s wanderlusty travel photos on Instagram won’t give you the same feeling as seeing the places with your own eyes.
I understand that not everybody wants to travel overseas, some are perfectly happy staying in their country their whole lives or only going on the occasional short-term holiday, and that’s fine. As long as what you are spending your days doing and your hard-earned money on is making you happy. If not, it’s time to rethink your purchases.
Because the thing is, travel doesn’t have to use up your whole life savings. If you know how to budget (or can survive without eating a few days here and there) it can actually be relatively inexpensive. Of course your standards for accommodation need to come into the equation, aka, you’re going to need a little more moolah if you want to stay in five star resorts everywhere you go. But for the hobos among us, it’s definitely doable to travel on a tight budget.
And boy is it worth it. Anyone who’s chucked on a backpack and bummed their way around Asia would know how incredibly refreshing the freedom that comes from travelling, especially travelling alone, is. Not only do you see the beautiful world we live in and endure experiences outside of your comfort zone, but you also grow as a person. You learn to embrace new perspectives, push your own limits and overcome new challenges. Every bit of routine you once knew goes out the window and you realise there’s so much more to living on this earth than working your arse off in a job you hate just to pay for stuff you’ll someday forget about.
Think about it. If you’re lucky enough to make it to a ripe old age at the end of this rat race we call life, what’s going to put the biggest smile on your wrinkly old face – the jet black lamborghini you did a couple of phat laps in when you were 21 or the worn out passport full of stamps and unforgettable memories?
I know which one I’d choose