The concept of “buy experiences not things” is not new. Studies have been conducted and countless articles written about the idea.
I’ve just returned from the PNW (Pacific Northwest). The memories I bring back will last me a lifetime, but aside from my clothes and hygiene kit, I couldn’t tell you what else I packed to save my life. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I could tell you what I had, but I couldn’t detail on which day I wore or used what. More importantly, in no way did I ever feel anymore exhilarated and excited or my day improved because I wore or adorned a specific item. I couldn’t tell you what clothes my colleagues wore or what knives they used while we were together. But what I can tell you are the stories we shared, the laughs we had and the places we visited. It didn’t matter if we were wearing the latest in fashion, or using the latest in gear anymore than it mattered if some were wearing and using decades old clothing and gear. None of those things impacted the experiences we had. And there in is the dichotomy in thinking. We think buying this or that will bring us happiness, but it never does. We think buying this clothes or that gear will somehow make our experiences better, but they never do. The excitement of a new widget only lasts for a while and then becomes the new normal. Quickly you’ll be on the lookout for the next thing to buy in order to experience the exhilaration one more time. Before you know it, you’ll have a room full of clothes and nothing to wear.
As I visit various online outdoor communities, how sad it is to see the vast majority of the traffic is in gear sections. How sad it is to see threads being started about “latest gear purchases.” What’s even more sad is the thousands of replies, with far more traffic than any other section of the bulletin board, everyone showboating their latest purchase. How sad it is to see the same people buying and selling gear over and over again. It seems as if they buy something, the excitement wears off, and then resell it to fund another purchase. It reminds me of the habits of drug addicts who are always looking for a way to fund their next fix, or the gambler who is trying to fund his next bet. And like gamblers and addicts, they always have an excuse that makes their actions justifiable.
Sure we may ogle over that new shiny knife or three hundred dollar pack, but how about using the funds to get away for the weekend with friends and family and create memories that will bring excitement to the stories you share about your adventures. I promise you, no one gives a shit about your knife. And when you’re thrust into the moment of fun and adventure you don’t either. Try recalling the most fun you’ve ever had. Do you recall what you, your family, or friends were wearing at the time? I bet not. But I do bet you recall where you were at, what you were doing and who you were with.
When you tell your friends and families stories, do you tell them about your two hundred dollar boots, or three hundred dollar knife? Do you think they care to hear about your latest jeans purchase? Or do you think they rather hear about your adventures like camping when you were a kid, or getting chased through the woods by an angry squirrel, or getting cornered by angry geese. Though I say it laughingly, I mean it in all seriousness, it’s like the Oscar’s or Emmy’s when all the reporters are concerned about asking anyone is “Who are you wearing?” In all honestly, we’d all much rather hear about how you escaped the attacks of the squirrel or geese than know who’s knife is on your hip.
Use your money to create experiences people rather hear about, not a room full of crap no one gives a shit about and soon you won’t either.