Pursuit of Happiness: Your Life or Your Money

You can never make enough money, but you will run out of time.
-       Mrs. Y's Facebook status

We graduated from school. We were eager to join the workforce. We got our first paycheck. We moved on from our first job to a better paying job. We worked harder and for longer hours, hoping for that promotion and that raise. We did not take vacations. We chained ourselves to our desks.

According to Project: Time Off (http://www.projecttimeoff.com/news/press-releases/americans-waste-record-setting-658-million-vacation-days) , workers in America wasted 658 million paid vacation days. There was also a commercial from Visa, showing kids telling parents those were PAID vacation days. Most of us are so invested in our job. We no longer try to think what the work is providing for. We work but we are not living. Luckily, Mrs and Mr Y realized that and started our pursuit of happiness when we found our what made us happy. We made sure we utilize all our paid vacation days and used those to explore the world.

Among many of the MMM Facebook groups and blogs, it is usually suggested that spending money on many things should be avoided. It is true that to reach the goal of financial dependence, saving is an essential part to it. If I understood MMM correctly, he recommended avoid buying things you do not need, but instead, use it on experiences and things that enrich your life. I took the picture below from our latest trip to Antarctica. The trip is worth a series of posts itself and will come soon in the future.

For the past few years, we spent more than 60% of our total annual income on travel, mostly small-group travel. Those trips tend to fairly pricey, but the experience and accommodations were incredible.  One of the trips we were able to tour an active archaeological dig site that was not open to the public. On another trip, we had a National Geographic photographer as our photo instructor. We valued those experiences as lifelong memories that are worth more than the money spent. We tend to do those trips with small travel groups, because of safety concerns and the remoteness of the areas.

We still do some of the trips on our own, both domestically and internationally. For trips that we do on our own, we try to utilize points that we have earned. We were able to explore a few European cities the past April and will continue to do that this year and the years to come.  Wandering through an ancient city and tasting the different cuisine widens our horizons. Travel urges us to learn more about the world, its people of the region, the language, and the culture.

I do not think I can live without travel any more because now I know how much there is to see outside the 15 mile radius we live in. The wonders of the world is our happiness. We probably will not be able to see everything, but we should try anyways.

Spending money on things may not bring additional happiness, but the experience of travel will. Do not hit the pause button on travel because of your financial independence goal. Do not wait to travel until retirement. Explore the world while you are still young, so you can experience it and to live.

Happy travels in 2017!


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