I have decided, and I’m saying good bye, to most of my designer shoes and purse purchases from now on. Wait. What? Did I just write that? Pause…Yes. I can’t believe myself but it’s true. As I still have clothes in my closet with tags left on them, I felt guilty when I read that the average Cambodian’s monthly salary is $100. I feel regret that instead of having my unused clothes (as well as jewelry and shoes) collecting dust in my closet, I could have done some good by donating the money that I spent toward a worthy cause. Since my rapture to WanderLust began, when I think about buying something, I equate every purchase to what I call, “Travel Dollars.” For example, I went into the Louis Vuitton boutique the other day to look at a new wallet (to replace my old LV wallet) with a price tag of $800. Now, for something that I use and look at multiple times a day, this price tag doesn’t really bother me, although, I admit, it’s ridiculously expensive. Except that now, afflicted with my insatiable desire to travel, I think of that $800. and think about what other travel related things/experiences I could purchase. It could go toward another international flight, for example, on my Bucket List. I could tip the hotel workers more generously, buy meals for the homeless, or donate to other charities.
As we all have experienced, the high of a delicious new handbag or a new pair of shoes wears off…and very quickly, I might add. I have read multiple books on happiness and research continues to show (and we can all attest) that true happiness never comes in the form of material goods. Instead, it comes from experiences. The experience of sharing exquisite moments while traveling to distant lands, meeting and connecting with friends on a spiritual level, or volunteering in a foreign country where you have an opportunity to help people in a meaningful way are some experiences that will surely leave lasting, profound impressions in our minds.
I am not saying that I will completely stop buying all beautiful things. (I’m not THAT crazy!) I’m merely declaring that I will be more conscious of my purchases instead of wasting my money on impulsive, frivolous things that will go out of style in a few months. I am encouraging my readers to do the same. From now on I will think of where my Travel Dollars are being spent. I will feel good for now on “voluntouring” in Cambodia where I will teach English to some Cambodians so they will have an opportunity to increase their monthly salary to $250., as well as assemble wheelchairs to children and monks that are maimed. As I just watched a GlobeAware video for my upcoming trip, I was surprised to hear Led Zeppelin’s STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN at the end. I am reminded of the meaning of some of the lyrics which applies to me, and I hope you find resonance in them, too:
(this applies to most of us)
“It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.
(we don’t NEED all the crap…clean out your
closets and consider doing something more
meaningful with your money)
“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”
Yes, let’s all do our best to travel toward the Stairway to Heaven…
actually have a “Shoe Fund?”