Collector of Experiences or Things?

I have a confession to make.  I love stuff.  Particularly clothes and shoes of all kinds.  Lately, my shopping habit has gotten a bit out of control.  Instead of “spring cleaning” I’ve been “spring collecting,” apparently over-zealous to slip into new sundresses and wedges as summer is quickly approaching.  Being ‘on trend’ is a way of life, now that I live in New York and work for a fashion company.  Life seemed much more simple when I lived in Texas, Hawaii or Colorado, places with a more relaxed and earthy culture.

Sunset on Maui- you don’t need anything else, it’s all right here.

I’ve always loved fashion- and even more than that, I love getting a good deal.  I can’t help it: I inherit this from my mother (and really my grandmother, Florence, who’s 90 years old and still enjoys shopping).  When my sister and I were little, my mom shopped so much at her favorite children’s boutique that she was sent a ham one Christmas for her faithful patronage.  My father was thrilled about that.  I went on to win the award of ‘best dressed’ 3 out of 4 years in high school (another award that my father was thrilled about, as he gave my mother a questionable look and shook his head)and was the poster child for the GAP craze in the late 90’s.

Complete with satin dresses and velveteen bows, my mom always dressed Jaime and me to the hilt.

Last night, Gilt Groupe hosted a massive warehouse sale for the public, and afterwards, for employees.  I made out with so much loot, I feel like a pirate.  I spent $150 in total for about $3,000 worth of designer merchandise, with new items from Tracy Reese, Isabel Lu, Dolce & Gabbana and James Perse.

Oh yes, look at all of this loot. What a shopper’s high!

As I was lugging home my 3 shopping bags, I got to thinking about how I absolutely need consistent travel in my life to keep me grounded.  Traveling gives my soul balance and restores me, reminding me that it is not the material things in this life that bring me the most fulfillment: it’s the experiences I have and the people I share them with.  While I am not assigning a ‘good or bad’ meaning to acquiring stuff, I feel the most free when I have all that I need on my back.

In Varanasi, India- no makeup, no hair dryer, no designer shoes… just a top from a local market, an old pair of pants, my Chacos and full joy.

Traveling through Australia this past fall for a couple of months with just a backpack full of a week’s worth of clothing made me remember the beauty of living simply.  While I do love a nice feather bed and my Pour La Victoire heels, I am most fulfilled when I have the least amount of stuff and am in a beautiful, interesting place with unique people.  On Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island in the world, I sat out on the beach under the stars one night, knowing my heart was completely content and loving the fullness of not wanting for anything.

Sunset on Fraser Island

I love this quote:

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”   – Miriam Beard

Travel changes me.  It makes me better and removes me from seeking fulfillment from tangible things, taking me to a deeper place and giving me a more insightful, purpose-driven life.  When something changes you like this, it will always be a part of you, calling to your heart on a daily basis.  For that, I am grateful.

With a nun at Mother Teresa’s home in Calcutta

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One Response to Collector of Experiences or Things?

  1. Jess says:

    I couldn’t agree more…thanks for the reminder 😉

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