Don’t Acquire THINGS, Acquire EXPERIENCES


Our friends got married on Sunday.  Jose and I were fortunate enough to be part of a very intimate union before God.  It was simple.  They focused on the love for each other and forewent the distractions of planning a wedding for the guests.  Don’t get me wrong, Jose and I loved the celebration of our wedding! It was a fun party and we both enjoyed planning all of the details.  It was over four years ago.  Here is a our teaser video if you are interested in seeing it!

Anabell and Jose- Wedding trailer

Now lets get back to simplicity.  I believe weddings are emotional and overcomplicated events for many couples.  It can easily turn into planning an elaborate party versus the true focus: celebrating a sacred union.  I applaud these friends of mine who chose to make it about their love and commitment…nothing else.  There were no “YES TO THE DRESS” proclamations, no hustle and bustle of pictures or decorations or stressing over colors!  If you are getting married, I do not mean to downplay all your efforts.  I just aim to remind you to not lose sight of what the focus is: LOVE and Commitment. (They let me take some photos of their love!)

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Traveling made  me realize how we lose ourselves in focusing on what we want versus what we need in our every day lives.  For example, Jose and I took backpacks with us.  I took a 60L backpack and it took me 2 weeks to narrow down what to bring.  I am a serial over-packer.  I wanted to bring my whole closet in order to be prepared for every occasion; so I could be dressed fabulously of course!  My trip was not a runway show, I had to get over it. Over the course of the trip, I stopped caring about how I looked and was more focused on how I felt: Was I comfortable? Warm? Cool (when in Hot weather)?

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Here are a few confessions about how I managed my 4 month travel with a 60L backpack:

  • I returned some things with friends along the way to reduce my baggage weight.  I tell you, carrying it all on your back makes you want to get rid of things you don’t really need very quickly.
  • I bought some things during the course of the trip, and I gave some things away to people who needed it.  In Sapa, Vietnam, I  gave my jacket to our guide who was so grateful it made me want to give her all my clothes!
  • Salvation Army and Consignment stores were my go-to.  When you are transitioning climates, it sometimes makes more sense to get it along the way.  In New Zealand and Australia where the weather changed, I got a windbreaker for $5! Can’t beat that! 
  • Organization was hard in a backpack. It can get messy with everything jammed together.  I used packing cubes and ziplock bags to group things together! 
  • I didn’t wear makeup for 2 weeks! While in Thailand, I went a stretch of 2 weeks with ZERO makeup.  I applied lotion and sunblock, but thats it.  No one cared!!  Throughout my trip, I believe I put on makeup 20% of the time and that was because I wanted to change things up…but I really didn’t need to.  
  • You don’t have to look like a bum while backpacking! To vary my outfits, I read various blogs of “fashionistas” and optimized my combining pieces to ensure I had enough variation.  Thats how I got my fashion fix!
  • I left some room in my backpack.  This allowed me to pick up a couple of small things along the way! Everyone seemed to be fond of this poncho style sweater I got in Vietnam!

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Returning home to a closet full of clothes was overwhelming.  I have an abundance of items but I had zero interest in using them.  I kept reverting to using clothes from my backpack after I got back.  Why did I ever think I needed 3 black shirts? Things like that now annoy me.

This phenomenon also applied to other scenarios like food! It was odd to go from having a can of tuna and a banana for lunch to a fridge full of food and large portions.  It all makes me anxious!

I realized that I had long ago crossed the line of having exactly what I need, and I was in the realm of having everything I needed in multiple colors.  Why? My time and resources could go to better use! So, I plan to re-evaluate my closet and choices to ensure that I have what I need.

Don’t Acquire things, Acquire experiences. 

So I look to you to share some stories or methods of how you deal with overabundance.  What do you do when you have too much? or what do you do to ensure you don’t get to that point?

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Acquire THINGS, Acquire EXPERIENCES

  1. 4 month travel with 60L backpack! That’s impressive. Great experience you shared here and I wish I have your courage to do such travel! I agree about letting go clothing that we are no longer needed..
    Your thought about the closet is similar to mine! I need to clean up my closet now and stop buying new cloths when it is not necessary..

  2. Im in the same process of figuring out what I really NEED!!! Trying to simplify my way of living and fill up my life with experiences !!!

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