It’s proven now: experiences make you happier than things

“Wow, it feels so good!” I was thinking while leaving the store and holding my brand new pair of shoes. I looked around and it seemed that the sun was brighter than usual, people became nicer, birds started singing, and even the asphalt was looking cleaner and shinier.

“But wait, what’s happening?!” just 20 seconds after it stopped.

Grumpy faces, dark colours and a noisy street sent me back to reality. “Oh well…” I walked home.

I am not crazy woman whose mood changes like the weather, though. Research has shown that a purchase of goods makes us happy for only 20 seconds after leaving the shop. It’s true. ONLY 20 SECONDS.

So should we give up shopping? I don’t think so. It’s just better to invest in experiences instead of goods!

Since we’re talking about science and research, we should look at the reasons why we seek pleasure from buying material products. Here the famous Maslow’s hierachy might help you to see the evolution of human needs. But if Maslow is too simple and populist for you- go for Dr. Lewis’ book ‘Impulse’, which gave me a pretty good idea of why we want certain material goods. It offers a good explanation of the shift from “I want to have” to “I want to be”.

But that’s enough with theory, let’s get real. Instead of just buying a candle you can now go and make your own candle. In other words, let’s shop for what will make us richer. Yes, I’m talking about travel!

If I haven’t persuaded you yet, check out our short list of activities, showing how travel is much better than shopping:

 

 

  • Travel opens new horizons
Air-baloon
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Travel always broadens our understanding of what is going on out there in the world. So instead of opening a new book or an issue of the National Geographic, buy plane tickets and go somewhere new. You can go and explore our planet from above with a balloon ride.

 

 

  • You will love more and be more accepting

Elephant
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When we travel, we become more accepting because we see how things are different in a new environment. This means that when we travel more we can make the world a better place, by bringing home the best of what we learn. We can also contribute to the places we visit: be different and experience a beautiful day with elephants in their natural habitat where you can get up close and personal with them whilst helping conservation efforts. Why not enjoy a full day visit to the Elephant Nature Park? It is a natural home and sanctuary for elephants, buffalos, dogs, cats, birds and many other rescued animals.

 

 

  • You accept differences and grasp other ways of living

eco-tourism
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There is a reason why eco tourism is becoming more and more popular. Eco tourism could really open our understanding to how we can do things differently. If this sounds a little too much for you, however, then you can try a more luxurious version of eco tourism.

 

 

  • Travel makes you forget about the who-wore-it-better-awards

camera
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Here’s a nice thing about travel – you will never have such a girl issue such as “Oh no! She’s wearing the same thing as me!” This takes the pressure of you competing in the ‘who-wore-it-better’ awards. The worst thing that could happen to you is to see that someone else is carrying the same map of the city that you picked up from the tourist office. You’ll never meet someone with the same travelling experience as you. It is always unique for each individual.

 

 

  • Eat! Eat! EAT! 

food
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Eating is the best way to learn a new culture. Forget about diets and eat whatever other people around you cook and taste. The foodie explorers will be more than happy to discover Bangkok’s vibrant lifestyle on an evening tuk tuk ride and food tour. You can enjoy an unforgettable ride through the city streets, while stopping in some of the best night markets and trying fresh exotic fruit and local delicacies. Or you can choose a destination of your gourmand dreams in the 20 best countries in world for food.

 

 

  • Travel creates memories that will last you a lifetime

sky-dive
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When you travel, the memories of the experiences that you will create will last you a lifetime. These memories will enrich your life and bring you into contact with new people and places. Seriously though, would you ever forget the time you jumped from an aeroplane in Fiji?

 

 

  • Experience the unthinkable!

volcano
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When travelling, there are no limits when it comes to exploration. Whether out of passion for geography or simple curiosity, you can discover the sea of lava of the Piton des Neiges while you fly in a helicopter! Can you imagine it? If not – that’s already reason to go.

 

 

  • Through travel, you learn more about world history and culture

temple
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Don’t you want to visit some of the most historical places in the world? The Angkor archaeological park is a stunning place that never fails to amaze travellers and history buffs. Go and explore it in all of its beauty!

 

 

  • Go on a trek – feel like a hero!

trek
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You can trek to remote locations and visit places like Machu Picchu, also known as the ‘Lost city of the Incas’.

 

 

  • Travel to spoil yourself

venice
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What could be better than spoiling the person you love the most on the Earth? Nothing. So we suggest you to spoil yourself. For example, with a luxury weekend in Venice. You can spend several magnificent days there, exploring the city on a speedboat or a classic gondola. When darkness covers the city of water, you can return to your luxurious hotel and forget all the crowds, lying in the embrace of silkiest cushions that your cheeks have ever touched.

 

 

 

  • Travel to turn your childhood dreams into reality

ice-hotel
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Honestly now, who has not wanted to meet Santa? Yes ok, maybe you were six years old when you wanted to go to his home in Lapland and meet his helpers. The good news is that even though you might not believe he exists any more, you can finally afford to go and see this one-of-a-kind place! You have the opportunity to go and live the snow fairytale and sleep in the most unique hotel in the world.

 

Conclusions

Now you see, there is no question about it: spending money on experiences will ultimately make you happier than just buying stuff. So stop overthinking or finding excuses and just go and travel. Go and experience a new feeling and create memories that you will cherish for the rest of your lifetime.

 

2016-10-14T23:30:28+00:00

About the Author:

Anastasia Terentyeva
Russian journalist, traveler-amateur. I think that best way to discover a culture - is to try their cuisine!

7 Comments

  1. Chris February 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    This is really great, Anastasia! In fact, at DoSomething.org (where I run the Impact Team) I always try to give away prizes and incentives that are experience based, instead of physical things. This blog post is a great reminder of this.

    Thank you mucho.

    • Anastasia Terentyeva
      Anastasia Terentyeva February 24, 2016 at 7:09 am - Reply

      Chris, hey!

      Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂
      I appreciate it! Let’s stay in touch via email to share with each other our latest contents!

      Cheers,
      Anastasia

  2. cesar February 24, 2016 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    Love the article! Experiences are the best way to learn and grow!

    @Anastasia what is your twitter/IG handle?

  3. Ryan Biddulph March 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Well said Anastasia! Heck, when we want stuff, we want the experience in the thing anyway. The feeling. The invisible Why in the visible What. Always seeking experiences even if the illusion says we want things. I hear you on not keeping up with the Jones-es. Around the globe, especially in rural areas, people are less concerned with impressing and more with being.

    Fab post!

    Ryan

    • Anastasia Terentyeva
      Anastasia Terentyeva March 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Ryan,

      I am happy that we share the same views.

      Have a nice day,
      Anastasia

  4. Christina Thomas March 15, 2016 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Great post! I’m a firm believer in this! My mission at Go Epicurista is to GO #MakeSomedayHappen one bite, sip and trip at a time and to inspire people to do all of those experiences you’ve been saying you want to do “someday”. Thanks for the reminder and reaffirming my mission! Cheers to travel!

    • Anastasia Terentyeva
      Anastasia Terentyeva March 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Christina,

      I completely agree with you. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

      Cheers to travel, YAY!
      Anastasia

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