Let me tell you about the world—one that a lot of people don’t even get to see or dream about because they are fixated on the acquisition of empty stuff.
There are about 192 UN countries in the world—and your country is likely one of them. Each of these countries is unique, filled with sane and intelligent people—different but fascinating cultures and wonderful buildings or landmarks.
I have been to over 20 countries and even that I feel so ashamed—desperate to see more.
A lot of people do not leave their country of birth and even there they vegetate at just one corner (city, town or village) until they die. Yet, these people believe they’ve lived, experienced and see what the world has to offer.
Even if for nothing, to just help shape your worldview, you must see the world and appreciate the differences between yours and others.
As Mark Twain cleverly puts it: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Instead of travelling the world or around through your own country to experience the beauty of the world we live in, we use the monies which we can put to this use to buy material things—pieces of stuff that eventually become rubbish.
Stuff is monies you previous had.
Travelling to experience the world does not necessarily have to be expensive—contrary to the popular view. You can always find a cheap or affordable ticket and place to stay—if what’s important to you is the experience and memories you will gain.
I’ve realized through my meetings with new people that—those who are well-travelled are generously tolerant and have beautiful perspectives about life and the world—and are highly open-minded. That is the priceless value of travelling.
If we begin to cut down the amount of money we spend in buying garbage, disguised as clothes, shoes and electronics, we can have enough money to build beautiful memories of our existence from the world we live in.
The value of a person having been to China or India or Senegal cannot be compared to the common use and purpose of iPhone 12. But a lot of us have the latter—when the same amount could have gotten us the former and something else to use for our phone activities.
I envy two sets of people: those who are well travelled and well educated and this is because their rich experience and knowledge define truly what is meant by wealth.
As Professor Stephen Hawkings once noted, it’s time we re-evaluate our universal conception of WEALTH—which mainly focuses on possessions or cash. He persuasively argues that if we continue in this path, the world would become more unequal, terrible and superficial. We will continue to miss the core essence and value of life, our existence and what should sit on top of our scale of preference.
Because, if you own something, you should be able to take it with you to wherever when you die. We are just transient custodians of the ipads, lands, houses, cars and even the cash in our bank accounts.
Yet, we place emphasis on these things as wealth—when in fact the knowledge and experiences we own, that will follow us wherever we go are deeply devalued on the spectrum of wealth.
And this is true—ask yourself this: when you die, what do you take with you? It’s your knowledge and experience—everything else will be left behind. These are truly what you own, your wealth.
If you have not seen enough of the world, your opinion of the world shouldn’t really count at the table and you should be ashamed of this.
Instead of accumulating stuff/material things, save your money and become a bird of this world. Organise with your friends or find new ones who understand the true nature of wealth and take trips with—enjoy life because it is meant to be.