Travel Parables

Is travel the only thing you buy that makes you richer?

If you believe that statement or think it has some merit, keep reading. So, why buy travel? Travel cannot be put in your garage to be periodically waxed and buffed. You cannot stow it in a closet and occasionally take it out, try it on and admire how it looks. Travel resides in your mind ? it grows ? it morphs into stories you share with your kids, family and friends. A travel story becomes a memory and a part of your soul.

Sure, my new Prana jeans fit well and make my butt look small but they will not have a lasting effect on my overall mindset and well-being. The jeans will gradually fade and be relegated to the bottom of my pants rotation and ultimately forgotten. The same goes for my entire wardrobe, my favorite boots or my cozy down jacket. What about jewelry? A watch? A ring? How about a car? Does buying a new car make you happy or richer? My new Mazda CX5 is shiny, red and gets good gas mileage. No, it is not fast, which could in theory make me happier. Truly, I like it because it is economical, reliable and it gets me places that I need to go. I need my car but it does not occupy memory space in my brain. How I feel at the wheel of my car cannot compare to the memory of witnessing the Northern Lights dance over the top of Lake Superior, to name just one example. That memory has staying power and it reminds me that buying more clothes or a new car have not made me richer, in the literal or the spiritual sense. At the end of my days on earth, my stuff is not coming with me, so it seems wise to spend more of my budget on travel, trips and memory making.

I am not suggesting that you stop buying things or even severely alter your household budget. We all want and need things and necessity, of course, comes before travel adventures. I am advocating toward a slight change in priorities that results in happiness and inspiration. Consider using your savings or “mad money” toward travel instead of bigger or faster cars, a larger house, another new golf club or that dumb blender you saw on an infomercial. We will all feel better, break mundane routines and become richer when we make travel memories that have staying power, well beyond the life cycle of any of our possessions. This is not a new concept – to avoid being prideful about the collection of things. We’ve all heard the parables and quotes from esteemed sources, writers and theologians.

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” ~Luke 12:15

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
~Henry David Thoreau, Familiar Letters

“But I do know we’re deficient in some way. We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don’t satisfy us. The loving relationships we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted.”
~Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

I’m curious. What’s keeping you from traveling and planning a vacation?

Cost?

You don’t have to fly overseas to catch a travel high. Stay stateside or close by with a friend or family member. Go camping. Discover local treasures like museums, free events, concerts or festivals.

No vacation time?

Statistics show that most people don’t use their allotted annual vacation and personal days.

Kids and kid schedules?

Exposing kids to travel at a young age has profound impact on their maturation and worldview, plus they will totally dig their cool parents. Again, you don’t have to go far.

Work-a-holic tendencies?

We can all agree, most of us need to work on life-work-play balance.

Schedules or time?

Waiting on your spouse or partner to take the initiative? Go alone or with friends. If you wait until you retire, you’ll have to ditch the hiking and biking idea and play croquet instead.

Fear?

Afraid to fly then take the train or bus, or walk if you have time. Stop being a baby and try something new. Or, stay home and you could fall down your own stairs, hit your head and die tomorrow!

I’ve found I can afford to travel more, but it required an attitude change and behavior shift. Without a stream of luxury and extra purchases on my credit card card, I found the extra cash I needed to plan more getaways. I chose a small condo over a large house, cloth not leather, a burger instead of a steak, plain white vs. stainless and TJ Maxx over Neiman Marcus. I started a travel fund with the difference. My new investment policy includes a heavy dose of contributions to my fun fund. The dividends are paying out well.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how far you go, what matters is how far you’ll let yourself go. Now, get going. Then, drop me a note and tell me all about it.

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