Why You Should Choose Experiences over Materials

In Life

The core of a man’s spirit comes from new experiences. – Chris McCandless

A Not So Distant Past

For a long time I clung on to what I owned and searched for happiness in material accumulation.

I thought the latest clothes, car or technology would bring me the sustainable happiness I was looking for.

But it never did.

There would always be something new that I wanted.

I didn’t make me feel good and I needed a change.

In 2012 I hit the road with a purpose to challenge my mindset by collecting experiences rather than materials.

Experiences ‘vs’ Materials

After a few months travelling and some great experiences, I realised that materials would always be separate to me.

I figured that they only existed in the external world, making them susceptible to change, and beyond my control.

It became clear to me that I was looking in the wrong direction all along, and that my quest for happiness through materials was an endless pursuit.

I came to understand that if I chose to continue living life this way, my happiness would be shaky and unsustainable.

After reflecting on the “experience vs materials” debate for quite some time I came to understand that, unlike materials, experiences:

  • Don’t break, become obsolete, need to be updated or replaced.
  • Don’t need to be stored and aren’t heavy to carry.
  • Don’t deteriorate in value.
  • Don’t have to cost you a penny.
  • Can be co-created with other people.
  • Are 100% exclusive to you.

An Experience Era

It’s 2016 and we’re living in an exciting era where people, particularly Generation Y, are placing more importance on collecting experiences rather than materials.

With the rise of social media, and hundreds of means to share our experiences, the narrative is no longer based on what you’ve got, but rather what you’ve done.

With technology improvements, globalisation and cheaper airfares, there has never been a better time for Gen Y  to travel, see the world and grow through their own unique experiences.

Bag Of Experiences

When I think about life and experiences, I find it useful to use the follow analogy:

Imagine that you have a bag which you can use to collect experiences.

Each experience you have in your life, whether good or bad, is a little nugget of your story and can be added to the bag.

Once those experiences are added to your bag, you embody them.

At any given moment, you are the sum total of all of your experiences in your bag.

You can share your bag of experiences with other people to inspire and empower them to fill their own bag full of experiences.

The world is ready to be explored and you have a great opportunity to craft your own unique story by filling your bag full of experiences that matter to you.


The more you search for happiness through materials, the more happiness will escape you.

Don’t listen to the noise from society. A happy and fulfilled life isn’t determined by who finishes with the most toys.

At the end of it all, when you are lying on your deathbed, will you remember the materials you spent your life accumulating or will you reflect on the great experiences with those who mattered to you?

I know what I’ll think about.

Thanks for reading and all the best, 

Daniel Beaumont, Thursday 26th January

About the Author

Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.

I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.

I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.

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