A few years ago,in my first semester of university, a girl I was chatting with told me: "I spend money on experiences, not possessions".
Years later, this notion has stuck with me. It's a lifestyle that I greatly admire, but hardly embody in my own life. I love to shop (yet another hobby of mine that counters my desire to protect the environment, travel of course being number one) and I dream of owning a home, renting a beautiful apartment, filling it with lovely furnishings and my sense of style... For some reason, when I should have been spending time planning my trip, I spent hours pouring over home decorating blogs and magazines.
I clearly, unfortunately, buy into consumerism (and yes, the pun there does not escape me) and have a desire for more "stuff". Nevertheless, I still think of those words and do try to cultivate this idea in my own life: it's my mantra for this trip. At times I've questioned how much money this is costing me (and trying with all my might not to think of what kind of couch or dining set a particular flight could buy me) but I try to remember that value I hope to acquire in my life, at least in some ways: it's all about the experience. I have been so lucky in my life to have the chance to do to travel, and I am really trying to live in the moment: a career, a house... These can all come later. When else will I be able to see elephants on the islands of Thailand, monkeys in the mountains of Japan, friends in the middle of rural China? Now that I'm here, I know it's certainly worth it.