The Price of Experience

How much do you think experience costs? A picture-perfect memory, a folder of GoPro photos, a Facebook album, some Likes, some double taps, and stories to brag about.

“Travelling is priceless — it’s the experience that counts,”

Nowadays, experience has a different definition. It used to be a word that recites the wisdom of age. Yet, now, it is all about the joy of youth. It is that thing captured in your photos taken on the other side of the world, by a stranger or a friend, using a selfie stick or a tripod or simply your hands.

Experience, however, is a tricky thing. It is not exactly something that can be rushed overnight or captured in pictures — not even after several weeks of backpacking and getting lost in the woods or mountains. You might know the small alleys 12-hour flight away from home and the ways in the woods 1,000 miles away from your hometown, or you might have been to the highest tower in the world. You did skydiving once, and bouldering thrice. And, yet, do those really matter if you don’t know the things around you — those on the ground? Does that mean you can make the world even a tiny weeny bit better?

Experience, on the other hand, can simply be the covert details that surround you every day. It is the ground you step on every single day, where you reap and sow. It is about observing and understanding what makes the world around you tick. Yes, you might have a three-hour long conversation with a stranger in a bar thousands miles away from home, but have you ever heard the stories of that girl who always walks pass your house every 5.45, or the gardener living in that huge, empty house in your neighbourhood? If you still do not understand yourself, let alone those around you, what is the point of bungee jumping seven hundred miles away from home? Do you have to pay $1,000 and hop on a plane to buy brownie points called experience? Maybe not. Experience takes time and effort, with no price tag at all because it is priceless.

Just like sharing a Humans of New York post does not necessarily mean that you have become a better person, sharing stories of your life in strange places for a couple of months may not make you any wiser than the breadwinner of the family who spend all of his life as a salaryman.

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