Money doesn’t buy happiness they say. Or does it…? I was pondering this existential question when walking around the parking lot of Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. Surrounded by super-cars, I couldn’t help but smile. Maybe money doesn’t buy happiness – but it can buy me a Porsche. At the risk of sounding shallow: believe me when I say it’s hard not to be happy when driving a Porsche. Especially when professional driver “Luigi” (no joke) keeps reminding me to “not baby it too much”. But don’t take my word for it – watch the video for yourself.
My dream car is a Porsche. And driving one was another one of those experiences I won’t soon forget. One more item off the bucket list. (Another expensive hobby added to another list. This was a lot of fun.)
Here’s a short excerpt from my travel hacking book The Freedom Project, explaining my concept of Experience Value. Experiences like the one I had in the Porsche are amazing, but for me these were never required when travelling.
The most important thing I get out of travel is something I call Experience Value. Experience Value doesn’t directly translate to a dollar amount. Admitted, I might have to spend a few dollars to have access to a certain experience, but there’s no direct relation between the amount of money I spend on a trip and the experience value I’ll take out of it. I’ve traveled on a very tight budget and had the time of my life. I’ve also experienced some of the more extravagant sides of travel, involving helicopters and limited edition limousine rides to and from “hot” party locations. Having seen both extreme ends of travel, I realized that going for the more extravagant options doesn’t always make for a guaranteed good experience. Money doesn’t buy happiness. If I’m not in the right mindset, or company, to enjoy and savor each moment, I’m simply not going to get the maximum potential out of the experience. So while the dollar value of that experience might be high, the return on my investment, which is the Experience Value I take out of it, is still low.
Happiness comes first. While it’s a lot of fun to charter a helicopter and fly over Manhattan just to get a certain angle for a picture I had always wanted to take, those experiences have never become a mandatory requirement for me when embarking on a trip. If they were, I probably wouldn’t travel anymore at all. The budget required for each and every trip would become astronomical, and prevent me from ever leaving the city I live in. When starting to plan for a trip, simply being at a certain destination is always enough for me. Going to Paris, or any other destination for that matter, doesn’t require a laundry list of attractions, guided excursions and tour buses lined up to experience the city properly. The only thing that matters is getting from where I live to where I want to be, and calling it home for a little while. Soaking in all the energy, smells and sounds a destination has to offer. I’ve been to Paris a number of times while I was still in college, and all I could afford to do was roam the streets, soak in every smell and gaze at every sight I could find. Total cost of that trip was a tank of gas (my old European car at the time was much more efficient than my current “small”, per North American standards, SUV) and a couple of nights in a cheap hotel. All in all much cheaper than a night of bottle service in a Las Vegas nightclub. I applied the same principle when traveling to many other destinations. And I still use this principle today. Just being there was the experience I wanted, and all it took was to just go. The real value of experience, is priceless.
- Read my post about some serious non-gambling fun in Las Vegas
- Get yourself a copy of my Travel Hacing Book The Freedom Project