New Years Resolutions: Spend Less, Travel More
Christmas is nearly here. We haven't yet overindulged on chocolates and nuts and bucks fizz. We can't wait to! And presents. Less than usual but still, presentssss!
The other day I was driving around between picking up dogs and amidst the traffic I looked at the expensive car in front of me, and it got me thinking...
2015 is going to be a huge year for us, maybe the biggest most crazy year yet, we already know this. But what do you think is ahead for you?
In 2014 we have gone through a tough time of sorts.
Choosing to go to Australia meant big cutbacks and sacrifices had to be made. Social outings missed, nights spent indoors trying not to kill each other, weekends of avoiding spending temptations. Generally becoming a bit boring. But it's all been for a good cause!
So back to the other day, when I was driving around in my yellow 2001 Suzuki wagon.
My car has cost me a lot of money lately, fixing it to keep it roadworthy for another couple of months. Its such a pain in the arse. We cannot wait to be relieved of this financial burden! I was looking at the cars around me, thinking, yes your car looks a whole lot cooler than my yellow thing, and likely has some fancy little features. But when it comes to repairing it, it's gonna come with a nasty price tag, especially if you spent a lot for the car to begin with. A cars repair cost doesn't lessen even as the car depreciates in value year after year.
I've decided never again, when purchasing a car, will I get something which is brand new. Nor will I buy an old car about to drop dead. I'll find a nice middle-ground.
Because I've realized, as nice as a car can look from the outside, to your neighbours, friends and anybody driving past you on the motorway, it's still just a great hunk of overpriced metal parts, ready to fail at any point. No matter how pretty a car can look or how expensive it is still a minefield of complications under the hood. And when it does fail, mechanics are waiting to rip you off. Not all of them but many.
So basically spending lots of money of your car doesn't mean it won't end up costing you an arm and leg down the road. Not literally I hope.
Now I'm not being disrespectful to people who simply love cars, who visit classic car shows or restore them at the weekend, it's a great hobby and I totally get it. I just don't get the whole disposable culture of having the latest model of the latest high-end make.
I don't think your a dick if you drive a fancy car. But then again this isn't a car website this is about travel and living a nomadic and less materialistic lifestyle, so I doubt I will offend many readers here!
I guess the point I'm trying to make here is, in 2015, maybe it's time to reassess the way you spend your money, looking at why you feel the need to have the bigger house or the latest model of a car.
I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence by saying this; there are obvious reasons for wanting such things. But then again, questioning the thoughts which come to us as common-sense or normal, is what becoming a nomad is all about. It's what WE are all about!
Do you drive a nice car because you like the way it makes you look? Do you feel it adds to your image? Nice handbag, nice clothes, nice car. Is it all part of the capitalist package? Do you feel entitled to something which is plush and nice, inside and out.
It's certainly become a marker of wealth and financial success in recent times.
The car's we drive can come across as the clearest identifier of someone's social class/place on the income scale, right out there on the streets, where you see someone like me, cash-poor, in my less-than-stellar machine opposite someone like the man in a Mercedes in front of me, most likely earning the big bucks to afford such a luxury car, one might assume.
I did once own a fancy car. I made the mistake of thinking I needed to have a 'nice' vehicle (the car I already had worked perfectly fine and is probably still running happily today). So I bought a car on finance two years ago and god, did I live to regret it! I sold it a year later when I needed something more functional for dog-walking, and it was just a costly headache.
Why? Because I tied myself into a financial contract where the exchange was my money, thus my freedom, for the ability to drive a nice toy from A to B. And then I realized the pointlessness of such spending, when it is literally just a means of getting you places.
And when your car breaks down, like mine has, you realize the value of simply having a safe vehicle that moves off the driveway each morning, never mind it's colour or specification.
Now I'm 24, I'm a little bit wiser, and having had a car which I at first hated, for its look, colour, almost everything about it, has actually made me a happier person. Because it has only reinforced my values about money and how I intend to spend it on experiences and travelling as opposed to tangible things.
Things can be costly but can also be lost easily; a car can be written-off or burnt to a crisp. A handbag can be stolen. An expensive pair of shoes can sit in the box for months on end for fear of ruining them.
Things can give us an illusion of happiness or satisfaction, but the appeal of having them is often tied-up in us caring about what others think of us. Life is not about impressing others by flashing the cash. Nobody really gives a shit what car you drive. Envy is not something you want to inspire. I'm not shaming anyone, I'm just trying to empower you a bit!
If more people cared less about how they look to others they would be relieved of ever feeling inferior, jealous or less-than.
I know that when I first drove my little Suzuki wagon, I felt like it was ugly, to the outside world. I actually cared what people would think of my silly tall but tiny car. Why did I care? Aside from disliking the look of the car, I didn't want people to think that I THOUGHT it was a nice car to have.
God, what a waste of thinking energy!
As people, we like to control others perceptions of us and we do this is by portraying an all-round look and image. We are self-aware, we know that we too make snap judgements on others based on appearance, before we truly know a person.
But we are failing ourselves miserably because those who count don't care (and those who care, don't count, to finish the inspirational quote...).
Those who love us aren't doing so because of the car we drive
I really believe that enjoying a peaceful and happy life can't co-exist alongside the constant need to impress others or feel as if you need the visual markers of success to be successful. The way others see you does not determine your worth nor can anyone guess how happy you are based on your banana yellow car with blue swirly interior and a rattling engine.
So maybe 2015 will be your year. Maybe you will release yourself from some financial weight and pressure, and feel a new confidence in yourself. Maybe you will get closer to a more nomadic existence, one where you exchange money for unforgettable experiences and beautiful memories.
Even if your goal is to be richer financially, why not enjoy the hard earned fruits of your labours with travel as opposed to a new car or the latest ipad. Just a thought!
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!