Traveling Makes Us Far Happier Than Material Wealth

They say that money doesn’t buy happiness, but everyone at work seems to be in far better moods every time payday rolls around. That being said, once most of the disposable income is spent over the course of the coming days, people often feel worse than they did before getting paid. So, perhaps a more accurate saying would be that money doesn’t buy lasting happiness.

Psychologists say that human adaptation often stifles our happiness. When we buy something new, its appeal tends to wear off for the most part once the item is no longer “new.” So if we want to experience the same feeling of “new happiness,” we must keep purchasing new things on a very regular basis. Of course, most of us have a limited amount of finances, so acquiring and maintaining happiness in this fashion is destined to fail.

Fortunately, researchers at Cornell University have discovered another way for humans to enjoy life. Professor Thomas Gilovich argues that when human beings travel, they experience the same degree of happiness as they do when purchasing goods. What’s more, the happiness we gain from travelling tends to stick with us long after a trip has ended—as long as we retain the happy memories of travelling, they will continue to make us happy (unlike the memories of what an expensive shirt used to look like when it was new).

In short, experiences result in happiness which is more meaningful, so if we devote more of our time and money to doing things rather than purchasing things, we will be happier individuals for longer periods of time. Although playing sports or going on nature walks would be worthwhile experiences, going on exciting trips is number one according to Professor Gilovich—checkout the fifteen quotes below which agree with his findings 100%

#1: “Adventure is worthwhile.”—Aesop

#2: “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”—Robert Louis Stevenson

#3: “Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”—Ibn Battuta

#4: “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”—Anais Nin

#5: “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”—Tim Cahill

#6: “The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”—Sir Richard Burton

#7: “No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.”—Chuck Thompson

#8: “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”—Mary Anne Radmacher

#9: “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”—Gustave Flaubert

#10: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”—Anonymous

#11: “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”—Henry David Thoreau

#12: “To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”—Freya Stark

#13: “The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”—Anna Quindlen

#14: “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”—Mark Twain

#15: “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”—Andre Gide

*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.

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