Recently, my parents and I took the kids to Skegness. For those of you who don’t live in the UK, Skegness is a seaside town with tonnes of shops, a large funfair, a beach with a few rides on, and loads of arcades.
As fun as it is for a day out or a short holiday, it is a place where you can easily go over budget and spend a lot of money very fast.
The old me delighted in spending my time buying knick-knacks and a whole lot of stuff as a memento, then spending hours in the arcades winning trinkets in the coin machines and playing shooting games.
I was that person who went out for the day and dragged a weekend’s worth of stuff with me, went away for a weekend and packed for a month, or went away for a week and worried at the end how the hell I was going to pack my new games, t-shirts, soft toys and ornaments in my suitcase.
I’d enter perfectly clean and relaxing hotel rooms,only for the place to explode with half our house.
It’s only in the past few years since becoming a minimalist that my mindset has shifted to simply enjoying the experience without shopping for and winning future clutter. And it’s a work in progress but I can tell you it’s infinitely better travelling with less, with only the stuff I’m sure we’ll need.
I no longer understand the appeal of travelling to escape and relax, but bringing all the stuff that causes stress with you.
Why on Earth would you go somewhere to relax and have fun, only to spend hours unpacking and even longer packing to return home?
Why would you go on a fun day trip out to lug around heavy bags and panic you might leave something behind every time you stop somewhere? Then get back home exhausted in all the wrong ways with an aching back.
I’m proud to say my kids fully enjoyed the day at the seaside and the only money spent on them was on a few rides at the fair, a short stint in the arcade (which wasn’t focused on winning trinkets), and food. In fact, the only physical thing I bought there was a soft toy for my son because it helped him to relax on the car journey home.
As for myself, I simply enjoyed being around the sweet, fried smell of chips and donuts, screeching seagulls, the gently rolling sea, and the retro sounds blasting from the arcades. I went back home having bought nothing for myself but feeling satisfied as I’d got to experience far more with my time. I formed memories with my kids which my son was still talking about days later – the excitement of building a sandcastle village on the beach.
Going anywhere for any amount of time and spending it shopping and acquiring more stuff takes away from truly great experiences that form a lifetime of memories. Similarly, lugging around or unpacking heavy bags takes away the freedom and time that could be spent letting go and just having fun.
No amount of new stuff will truly make you happy whether it’s from the seaside or somewhere more exotic. You’ll just seek more and become weighed down while your wallet gets lighter. New sights, sounds, smells, and experiences, however, will stay with you a lifetime and make you smile every time you remember them.
Seeking new experiences will leave you light and free to explore. Seeking new stuff will leave you heavy and looking to store.