Monday, May 30, 2016

The Key to Happiness - Travel

"We'll always have Paris" - Girls' Trip, June 2011

Have you seen the latest ad from Groupon called “Haves vs. Have-Dones”? I love this ad because I’ve always thought that the most precious gifts are gifts of shared experiences, doing and seeing new things with the ones I love. And it turns out that there is scientific research to back this up. An article by Thomas Gilovich and Amit Kumar titled “We’ll Always Have Paris” shows that people who spend money on experiences (such as a trip or even a visit to a museum) tend to be happier than people who purchase material goods.

One reason for this is adaptation. Material purchases quickly became the new normal and we stop noticing them. On the other hand, we talk about our experiences long after they occur. Experiences stay alive in the stories we tell, and even a less-than-perfect experience can turn into funny family lore. (Remember that insane taxi driver we had on our first trip to Vegas??)

And new experiences are not just rewarding after the fact. Planning and anticipating a trip can be almost as much fun as the trip itself.

Experiences also have social value. When we go on vacation, we usually go with family and friends, and these shared experiences create a lasting bond.
Finally, our experiences are an important part of our identity. “Although we can be heavily invested psychologically in our possessions, and they can contribute to our sense of who we are, they exist ‘out there’ and remain separate from us...Not so for our experiences. In a very real way, we are the sum total of our experiences (Gilovich and Kumar).”

So be a Have-Done. You’ll be happier for it.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful thoughts - I agree about the trips and experiences, and the one shown in your picture, Susan, has to be one of our all-time favorites! They enrich life so much. How glad I am for this record you have and are making of all your travels and many of your learnings. Thank you!