Money is a means, not a meaning. Wealth influences a small variance in levels of happiness, and the pursuit of wealth itself doesn’t create happiness. Most importantly, you do not have to be wealthy to have an experience-rich life. Some of my most memorable and valuable experiences happened when I was flat broke.
This may sound like I’m just placating you. Don’t get me wrong—if someone said to me, “You don’t need to go on a safari—just go to the local zoo instead!” I'd probably want to punch them in the face. I certainly know that big, expensive experiences can be some of the most magical, and you should absolutely seek ways to plan and achieve them. For example, gorilla trekking in Rwanda wasn’t cheap—it took us a long time to plan and save for it—but it was an extraordinary experience.
However, that doesn’t mean your high-ticket bucket list is the right place to start. You could wind up sitting on your couch wasting your life while you wait endlessly for that magical experience to become possible. Don’t fall into that trap. The way to move forward is by going after what’s within your reach. While you’re busy exploring all the free and low-cost experiences that are right in front of you, you can start planning the expensive ones down the road. Just don’t wait for only the big ones, because if you do, you just might miss out on all the easy, everyday experiences that add up to so much value. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
For example, the entrance fee to any US national park? $35. Bourbon trail in Kentucky? $20. Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts? $17. Getty Center in California? $15. Hoover Dam in Nevada? $10. Hundreds of incredible museums around the world? Just pay to park. Step-by-step instructions on how to make an incredible Indian dinner for your family? Free on YouTube. Hikes just about anywhere? Free. If you get creative and think locally, you’ll find plenty of valuable experiences you can have on the cheap.
About Bridget Hilton
Bridget Hilton creates tools to help teams and leaders connect in the workplace through rich experiences and shared goals. Her keynote helps Fortune 500 companies navigate topics of mental health and wellness, burnout, employee belonging and connection, inspiration, motivation, and goal setting. Her book Experiential Billionaire and card deck Treasure Maps is out now. She is located in Los Angeles, CA and is booking keynotes and workshops worldwide now.