I want to give you some practical ideas on “buying happiness”—via buying experiences, not gear and stuff.
Why I love to travel
Let me break this down.
The benefits of traveling or living abroad (one of my favorite experiences)：
- Novel experiences that push you outside of your comfort zone. Allows for growth opportunities, and questioning your own cultural customs, and perhaps changing how you live your life for the better.
- Having novel experiences which will always bring back pleasant memories, regardless of your life circumstances. For example, remembering enjoying a nice Kirin beer by the Kyoto river with Cindy and heading the soft current of the water. This is much more memorable and meaningful than just looking at a new couch, new car, or new camera, new phone, new gadget…because all physical things and stuff will eventually lose the novelty.
You don’t need much stuff to be happy
Traveling is probably the best “bang for the buck” way to buy you happiness.
Why? It forces you to travel light. When I travel, I just wear the same outfit, and try to have as little things as possible. Therefore, it reminds me：“I don’t need a lot of physical things to be happy.”
The joy of traveling with family or friends
Another bonus of traveling with family, friends, or loved ones： finally having the time to speak uninterrupted, by the distractions of life back home. For the best and deepest conversations, make sure NOT to buy internet connectivity for your phone or devices. Less screen time, more face to face time.
Investing in learning experiences
Experiences can be attending classes, workshops, or any educational opportunity. The wisdom, knowledge, that you will learn from these courses will stay with you for a lifetime.
Books are experiences
I also see books as an experience, not just a thing or object. Why? With a book, I experience it, and am transported into a different world, of awe, wonder, and excitement and opportunity. It elevates my mind and spirit. It makes me excited for life.
Gear and things decay.
No matter how cool your new sports car or Porsche, with enough time, the headlights will turn yellow and ugly.
No matter how new your iPhone, it will be outdated in 2 years.
Your life is short.
MEMENTO MORI: at best, you might live to be 120. And no, we will never be able to “upload our consciousness to the cloud”, nor find the magic pill for immortality. And we wouldn’t want to anyways— because DEATH is what makes life sweet.
Without hunger, we wouldn’t feel pleasure in eating food. Without boredom, we could not experience excitement. Without heartbreak, we could not experience love.
Experiences are what makes us who we are. Experiences via who we talk to, what we study, what we make, and how we experience the world. How we interpret the world.
Ain’t nobody gonna be in their deathbed and wishing to themselves,
I wish I had more money, objects, cars, clothes, gadgets, cameras, and stuff.
No. We would think on our lives, and think about our MEMORIES and EXPERIENCES, and the things we CREATED in our lives.
To live a more fulfilling life, MAKE and CREATE things. And one of the best ways to find motivation or inspiration, is to travel, learn, and invest in experiences, not stuff.
It also means to savour the limited time you have on planet earth with your loved ones. Never forget to express your gratitude towards them, your appreciation, your love, your words of affirmation, and your actions to show you care for them.
So in photography and life… are you making pictures to make more meaning in your life? And what does it matter which camera you use? Why do you make pictures, and for whom?
Never stop questioning yourself, and always have faith in yourself.