Travel vs. Things: Where Old Money Spends It

Every six months or so, I venture into my closets and drawers in order to consider the fate of clothing items that I haven’t worn recently. There aren’t many, as I purchase for the long haul, avoid trends, and try to take care of my investment (and I do consider clothing an investment.)

But even with the best laid plans of mice and men, it’s inevitable that several still-wearable items make their way to the local charity resale shop every year.

Mixed emotions abound: I feel a sense of relief as I get rid of something I’m not using; I feel grateful that I have the opportunity to give, even something modest, and in doing so provide others the opportunity to get good use out of something they might not otherwise be able to afford; and honestly, I feel a little regret that I spent money on something that I’m not keeping.

Please know: I’m not cheap. I seek value. And when I discard material possessions prematurely, I review the purchase. Did I get my money’s worth? Would I spend money on this item again? And sometimes, as disciplined as I am, I have to ask: what the hell was I thinking?

I contrast those emotions with the feelings I get when I come across a remnant of past travel:  a poster from the Palio in Siena, a photo of a drizzly morning in Paris, ticket stubs from the opera in Verona. The memories flood my brain, and the emotions are all pleasant. I don’t question the expense. I would recommend it to anyone. And I ask myself, why the hell don’t I do this more often?

At the end of our lives, we’re going to look back on the experiences we’ve had more than the material possessions we’ve acquired. That should direct us now, in this moment, to prioritize our spending. Pack a bag and go before you buy a purse and pose. Commit yourself to two weeks on the road before you commit yourself to 36 months of car payments. Invest in a memory that will change you forever, and probably for the better: travel more, buy less.


One thought on “Travel vs. Things: Where Old Money Spends It

  1. I can definitely relate to the feeling you described as “mixed abound emotions”. Sometimes I feel guilty to have so much and to not doing something great for people who cant afford those things.

    I hope that one day insteads of buying things that I really dont need for myself , I’ll go one step further and use that money to buys things for people who really need them but can’t afford them. It will definitely replace guilt with happiness .

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