Why We Should Collect Moments and Not Things

The younger generations appear to be realizing this more and more by the day, that life's not about material possessions. Life's about something so much more than that and the materials are not what will make you happy.

Experiences? Why?!

As I've been wandering around this planet for about two years now, exploring high and low for the best possible life, I came to several realizations about my own happiness. It had all become much more simplified than I could ever have imagined before all these countless backpacking trips, countries traveled, and experiences gained.

There are no taxes to deal with on experiences of your past or on the ones you’re attempting to attain in the future. There is no numerical value that you need to worry about with experiences. 

There’s no age limit on fun, no height requirements on laughter. It doesn’t have to be large in size or price to hold in your heart. No government or any person in this world can ever take them away from you, they are yours and yours alone. You will relive them over and over again and more than likely you will smile each time you remember them. You will feel as if you're there in that magical moment more times than you can imagine. Collect these beautiful moments, they’ll stay with you for a lifetime where money, clothes, technology, and anything else will fade away. 

You will not remember that fancy watch that you bought on this day ten years ago, but you will remember that time you sprinted up that mountain to catch the sunrise from the top. You will not remember that fancy new big screen TV, but you will remember that time you camped under the stars with your buddies and did nothing but enjoy each other's company. It's the experiences, the people, the memories that matter in life.

Time spent out in the wilderness exploring the days away, laughing and adventuring with good friends and soaking in the good times...these are the moments I'll cherish for a lifetime. Things that I will always look back on with a big stupid grin on my face. 

With my travels, trips, and so on, I find it's all about the people. They make or break these moments and these memories. This holds true with anything in life, from backpacking trips to your work life to your home life and everything else in between it's the people that you choose to accompany you in these things that truly matters. 

Experiences and Learning about Ourselves

All this talk about the experiences with good company, but if the company is only yourself, there is still a multitude of things that can be infinitely more beneficial than simply purchasing material possessions. For one, it's the things you can learn about yourself from such experiences and moments. The sky is the limit with this.

If you have ever taken a solo trip or walked through a nature trail before unaccompanied, this has given you time to reflect and become fully self-aware. It's just you and the elements around you. Experiences allow us to learn about what we like and what we don’t like, and more importantly what we're truly after in this life. The experiences help us to find out who exactly we want to be, and not what society tells you to be. They teach us how to face and even conquer our own personal fears, how to be more open-minded, and the list goes on. I would love to see your Netflix account teach you such things about yourself. 

The chances are much more slim that you will remember the times where you stayed in on the couch and watched some TV. Going out into the world and collecting these moments have a far better chance of creating something worth remembering. The more things you can look back on and say; "man, I'm glad I went out and did that," the better in my book.

Experiences can test us more often than not, and show us what we are truly capable of accomplishing. Hiking up to the top of a mountain can test your endurance, trying a new extreme sport (like paragliding, for instance) can test your courage. Long distance backpacking trips can test all of the above, as well as your persistence and mental strength. Exploring a country that is far from your own culturally can help you become more patient, and more open-minded. The list goes on and on, but these are not to be taken lightly. 

In my travels through developing countries, I've been able to discover that some of the happiest people possess very little. I've met wonderful people who owned little more than the clothes on their back who owned the warmest and most sincere smiles that I've ever seen. Those with all the money in the world who could barely even fake a grin. I'm not out here saying go homeless, quit your job, and live off the land (you do you), but I'm also saying that there is so much more to life. 

So, for whatever you're passionate about, no matter what that might be, I urge you to get out and collect as many memories and experiences as you can. The odds are good that they won't cost you the same as that new pair of shoes, but the odds that you will look back fondly on it instead of the shoes, are unspeakably higher. Go try and climb that mountain, try that new sport, swim in the freezing cold alpine lake (seen below), take that trip, whatever it is, go do it. Your future self will thank you.

To wrap it up a bit here; experiences are priceless and they are unique. Why? Because only you can live them for yourself. If you buy that pair of shoes (sorry for ragging on shoes so much here, no hard feelings), the chances are extraordinarily high that somebody else has that same pair of shoes. Nobody else can experience the world in the same way that you can, moments are yours and yours alone so why not invest your time and money into these? 

Published: September 8, 2017

Aaron Hagen

Montana is and always will be home but I'm usually outside of the States these days. Follow along with my travels on Instagram via @hagendaasphoto!

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