5 Reasons Why Gen-Y Are Choosing Experiences Over Materials

In Life

Material things don’t matter – John Catsimatidis

An Exciting Era

It’s 2016 and there’s no doubt we’re living in an extremely exciting era where individuals, particularly Generation Y, are placing more importance on experiences rather than materials.

In the pursuit for contentment and happiness, it’s no longer about the latest iPhone, trendiest clothing or shiniest car.

In fact, it’s not about what you’ve got, but rather, what you’ve done.

In light of this fascinating era, here are five reasons why generation Y are beginning to opt for experiences over materials.

Why You Should Choose Experiences Over Materials

1 – Experiences stay with you forever.

There’s tonnes of research out there that shows that experiences bring people more lasting happiness than possessions do.

One major reason for this is that materials, in their very nature, are transient. We become accustomed to them very quickly and they give us an unsustainable and somewhat fleeting sense of satisfaction, which once the material becomes obsolete, can only be replenished with subsequent purchases.

On the other hand, experiences are not bound by time or place and stay with us as long as our memory holds up. Experiences are exclusive to you, and unlike materials don’t deteriorate in value over time.

2 – Experiences are utterly unique.

There’s an old saying that goes:

“If money can buy it, it’s not exclusive.”

Most modern day materials such as cars, clothes, and electronics can be acquired by anyone given that they have the resources. With the power of modern day technology, materials can be duplicated at the touch of a button with immaculate precision. This makes materials readily available to the masses, thus compromising their exclusivity.

In contrast, experiences are unique to you. They are yours to cherish for the rest of your life. Since we live in an ever-changing environment, no matter how hard anybody tries, an experience cannot be imitated.

You embody your experiences and they become part of you. I believe that when you meet someone, the story you tell them about yourself is the sum total of all of your experiences.

3 – Experiences don’t have to cost anything.

Materials such as flash cars, electronics, and designer clothes can come with hefty price tags. But experiences are different – price and quality are NOT in direct proportion. The more that I have travelled, the more I have realised that great experiences can be found without spending a penny.

In fact, looking back at some of my most memorable experiences from the last 3 years travelling such as:

  • Couchsurfing and hitchhiking 20,000km across North America.
  • Living in a shed in outback Australia for 6 months.
  • Trekking to 5,400m in the Himalayas.

Each of these experiences cost little or no money and derived from a spontaneous decision.

4 – Experiences can be co-created and shared.

Because of the nature of materials, it’s hard to share them. Their value diminishes, the more people they are shared amongst.

In contrast, people can help co-create an experience and the value of that experience can increase when others are involved. It can be nice to create memories with others, and as the old saying goes:

“Happiness is best when shared.”

Some of my most memorable experiences have been co-created with others:

  • Hitchhiking 6,500km across 12 European countries with 4 friends.
  • Motorbiking 3,000km across Vietnam on a $200 motorbike with a childhood friend.
  • Living out of a car for 2 months and travelling 27,000km down the coast of Australia with a great friend from university.

Years go by and you’ll reunite with those people you created your experiences with. You’ll laugh, joke, smile and even cry about the good times. And let’s be honest, most times, even the so-called “bad” experiences eventually become a good story to tell.

5 – Experiences don’t weigh you down.

I’m talking about this point in both a literal and metaphorical sense. Materials take more energy than you think to manage. You may have to:

Carry them.
Store them.
Charge them.
Update them.
Clean them.
Replace them.

There’s no denying that materials come with unnecessary obligations. And of course, the more materials we accumulate, the more energy we expend trying to manage them.

For many, this causes stress, confusion, and worry.

Experiences are different though. They are light, don’t weigh you down and you can fill your bag full with as many of them as you want.

They come with no obligations, and as the master of your own life and mind, you have the power to create happy, fulfilling and memorable experiences right now.


The more you try and search for sustainable happiness through materials, the more happiness will elude you.

The reality is, when all is said and done and you are lying on your deathbed, you will not remember the expensive purchases you made but rather the memorable experiences you created with people who count.

Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Daniel Beaumont, 24th January 2017

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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