A coworker of mine said something to me the other day that caused me to start really looking at my life and my priorities. We were talking about trying to save money for travel and other “adult” things like a new car at the same time. He said, “That’s why I don’t have a lot of things. I’d just rather save the money for travel.” Really simple right? But for whatever reason, it just completely jolted me as I sat in my desk chair at work.
Those of you that know me, know that I work for a travel company. However, I’ve done very little traveling since high school (one of the reasons this went from being a travel blog to a much different one). I’m probably the least traveled person in the entire building; a fact which frustrates me to no end sometimes. There have certainly been economical factors out of my control that have contributed to this (i.e. losing my job twice), but I can’t deny that part of it is also due to where I actually put my money after I earn it. My disability certainly plays a part in there being extra obstacles when traveling too but it in no way prevents me from doing any kind of real travel and I certainly wouldn’t let it either way. I don’t consider myself to be a materialistic person for the most part but I do like clothes, I have a love of Sephora (I can’t deny it) and I love doing things like eating out and going to the movies. Nothing too out of the ordinary. But hearing my coworker say he doesn’t have a lot of things caused me to start looking at all the “things” I have. I have a perfectly fine amount of clothes. Will I be able to wear a new outfit and pair of shoes every single day for the next year? Heck no. But I’m not Nicole Kidman and I’m not going to be walking on any red carpets anytime soon so what do I need that many outfits for anyway (though I did recently learn what it’s like to wear the same dress as someone else to an event)? I went through my closet this weekend too and realized I can actually shop in my own closet and find new outfits to put together without having to run to the nearest Forever 21. I also have a tendency to want to buy all sorts of things for my room (when you rent a room in a house, your room truly becomes your only sanctuary) and I’ve since started to revisit what I really need for my room and what would just have aesthetic value.
When it comes down to it, what would I rather have? A new pair of shoes or a travel experience of a lifetime? I know just from the one time that I traveled out of the country, I was freed in a way I never thought possible. A passionate fire was ignited inside of me that’s never been extinguished. I think the ability to travel is one of the greatest gifts the world has given us; a gift we sometimes take for granted. What can be better than learning about our fellow human beings all across the world? Learning about the differences we have but the similarities we all share too? It’s profound and amazing.
This same coworker and I talked a little more about the topic today and we both agreed that women have more pressure put on them by society to want to buy things: clothes, makeup, shoes, purses. Magazines, TV shows, Pinterest (I mean seriously, have you ever been on there? It makes you want to buy a whole new house)…they all tell us we need to have this or that in order to be a valuable human being. That we need to look like this in those jeans in order to get a man and to be loved. I know I have given in to that pressure way more than once in my life.
But as hard as that urge may be to fight sometimes, I think in the end it pays off ten-fold. You can have a closet full of clothes or you can have a lifetime of travel experiences you can share with your family, your spouse, your boyfriend, your kids and grand kids. Travel is something you can’t put a monetary value on but it’s definitely something you can put monetary value in. And that’s what I want to start doing. I will always like to buy clothes I think. But I don’t need to have a new outfit for every minor occasion that pops up into my life. I’d much rather wear an old worn pair of shoes and a shirt I’ve worn 12 times as I board a plane to my next travel destination and the next great experience I’ll be able to share with those I love…