Hublot Watch = £9,000.00
Louis Vuitton handbag = £1000.00
Apple iPhone 8 = £600.00
Tom Ford Sunglasses = £200.00
Taking a 14 day trip to South America with one of your best friends and meeting people from all over the world = Priceless
There are many great reasons to buy the latest accessories and other material possessions, but will looking at your designer bag three years later make you smile in the same way a photograph of you and your friends covered in coloured powder after playing Holi in Mumbai would? Probably not.
Whether you globe trot around the world or explore you’re the delights of your own country, experiences are way better than material things!
1. Hostel life
Staying in a hostel has been one of my most amazing discoveries. Hostels have a culture that embraces diversity and brings together different cultures and languages. Sure, it has the benefit of being cheaper, but memories and friends made at hostels are definitely forever! A few years back I travelled to Copenhagen and in my hostel room 4 other guys- a German, two Americans and a Norwegian. From a “hey guys shall we go and play table tennis” to 4am singing Danish songs together! The next day was spent seeing the sights of Copenhagen and learning about each other’s countries, nationalities, and backgrounds- the first time I realised how similar people around the world really are! 6 years later, the reunion is taking place at the same Hostel… lifelong friends huh?
2. Try a new food
There are some foods that you thought you would never try (or did not know you could eat!) so trying the local cuisine is a must! Fried Octopus? Chicken Feet? Frog? Take your pick!
3. Visit a tiny place outside
Great things come in small packages, so why go outside of the city and visit the smaller communities. Toledo, near Madrid, Plovdiv in Bulgaria or Freiburg outside Stuttgart are all must visits!
4. Conquer your fear
I used to have a really bad fear of heights. It is a phobia shared by millions across the world, but while you are out exploring the world, this is the time to get out of your comfort zone! Whether that it is by way of a skydive, bungee jump or another method…mine- sitting on the edge of the cliff of Trolltunga in Norway after a 6-hour trek… there I was about 2,300 ft above lake Ringedalsvatnet. Was I scared? Just a little.
5. Learn a traditional local dance
Museums, architecture and cafes are all amazing parts of a trip, but one way to really get to know the beauty of a new culture is to jump in with both feet- literally! Look for classes to learn a traditional dance or why not dance the night away with some locals? If you visit Peru, take part in local South American dancing, even with two left feet like mine, it is a super experience and so enjoyable!
6. Did somebody say cake?
Even though I am a bit of a fitness freak I can safely say I have never calorie-counting whilst on holiday! Don’t just delve into anything, however, give your sweet tooth an experience to remember with the local desert, try some fresh Rasmali in India, Danish Cinnamon Swirls, or why not enjoy Tangyuan in China!
7. Being human
Anywhere you go, there will be opportunities to volunteer, especially in less developed countries, so why not put some time aside to help out. Every human being can help somebody else and a few hours of volunteering in a local school will give you a priceless feeling that nothing else will.
8. New Country, New Coffee
People say that coffee can only be so different, but actually having been on a coffee tour (drinking it in every country I have visited) the local coffee shop in Bolivia is completely different to the local place in Kuala Lumpur. Starting your day with a coffee from a local community cafe is a must!
9. Go and watch a local sport
Anybody who has visited a country when there is a World Cup being played will know that one of the happiest experiences will be experiencing the euphoria of celebrating the victory… whether that is seeing India win the Cricket World Cup in Mumbai 2011 or seeing France lift the football World Cup in Paris, celebrating with local fans is a must! If you can get to a stadium then great, but if not local viewing at bars is just as good of an atmosphere!
10. Local markets
If you are going to purchase anything, go to the local market! This will be full of Hand Crafted art, delicious treats and vintage clothing. My recent visit to Peru led to the purchase of probably erm… 30-40 handcrafted bracelets, a bit much? Never!
You will not remember that watch that you bought, but you will remember that time you spent time with your best friends on top of a mountain until sunrise.
Collect these beautiful moments, they’ll stay with you for a life where money, clothes, technology, and anything else will fade away.
It’s the experiences, the people, and the memories that matter in life, nothing else.