The argument for experiences

A photograph of Gullfoss — the largest waterfall in Europe. It was freezing when I took this. The spray of ice cold water didn’t help.

I’d like to think everyone’s heard “Experiences are worth more than material wealth.” and yet, the number of people I see spending time, energy and resources to obtain material items is appalling. Now, I’ve been a part of this group of people forever, too. I think a large part of me still likes the idea of owning material items which I think make me happy. Material wealth has its place in this world, and can absolutely bring people joy, but I’d like to make the argument for experiences instead.

I would imagine I must’ve been happy for a couple days, maybe a week.

I’ve been a materialistic person my entire life. There’s nothing I wanted more than the newest radio controlled toy car, or lego set, or skateboard, or *insert toy/product category here* growing up. I didn’t always get what I wanted, but I learned early enough that I’d have to work for whatever my next goal was. (I vividly remember drawing classmates’ names for them in interesting ways in exchange for fractions of a dollar to save up for a radio controlled helicopter!) Never have I ever been able to identify that point in time, however, as one that stands out as particularly happy. (Shortly after getting the helicopter.) I would imagine I must’ve been happy for a couple days, maybe a week. I probably took it to school for show and tell, but whatever emotions that followed have faded away into the abyss. The older I’ve gotten, and the more disposable income I’ve had, the more I’ve spent on material items. A new camera, a new iPhone, pairs of shoes I don’t need, watches, unnecessary odds and ends, and outside of just creating clutter, nothing with a tiny group exceptions has stuck out as having created a permanent impact, or memory of happiness.

Us in front of some water and ice.

In March, 2017 five friends and I spent our spring break exploring Iceland! The idea came about after I watched a video on YouTube about someone driving around Iceland’s ‘Ring Road’, and the idea stuck. I started talking to my friends about it in September, 2016, and before we knew it, we were all on a flight from Boston, Massachusetts to Reykjavic, Iceland. While the details of planning aren’t as important, and as a non-us citizen, it was extremely time and resource intensive. It was more than worth it though. There isn’t a single other time in my life that I can recall more vividly, or fondly than my trip to Iceland with my friends.

There isn’t a single other time that I can recall more vividly

Its been months since my trip to Iceland, but I still remember every minute of my trip like it was yesterday! There isn’t another time in my life that I’ve enjoyed more. I’ve visited other countries before, its been a while since I’ve been on a vacation, but this experience was unlike others. It was something I worked for. I spent months working to save up the money, organize my finances, put time and money into traveling back and forth from Rhode Island to New York City on multiple occasions to get my documents and Visa processed, all alongside managing relentless academic work. But nothing could have been more satisfying than finally getting on that plane, and knowing its something I had worked hard for. Nothing could have made fonder memories.