Living the Mantra: Experiences Over Possessions

“Experiences over possessions.”

Idealistic, perhaps. But controversial, no. Most people would agree with this mantra.

But would they live it?

After 35 years of collecting THINGS, I downsized my 1,600-square foot house into an SUV and a storage unit. For the past 5 months, I’ve been traveling with only the things that fit in my car — what I take on the road with me — in a reliable Honda CR-V, of course.

These past 5 months on the road, living out of Airbnbs, hotel rooms, and even a catamaran, in states across the entire U.S.?: My clothes are mainly Athleta athletic loungewear, on sale — washed, instead of rotated. Across multiple states and climates, I’ve worn the same 5 pairs of shoes and I have one purse. When I “splurge,” I buy local on flavorful coffee, mouthwatering meals, and once-in-a-lifetime activities.

Flashback to 2011 to 2015, when for me, shopping was a sport: I bought all the things that I thought I needed. (It was Scottsdale AZ, so, it was the lifestyle.) Rich. Successful. Happy and perfect. Massages, nails, hair, jewelry for every outfit.

I was playing a part… the boss b*tch with the designer clothing wheeling around in a convertible. The hostess with the mostest, who had cookware, glassware and bakeware for every dish and every cocktail. Shoes, housewares, decor… you name it. I “made it” and I thought everyone should know.

It was a trap.

In 2016, I woke up. I pinched every penny and went to Costa Rica with only a carryon backpack. It was my most minimalist trip EVER. The first full day there, I went whitewater rafting and had a revelation: status, appearances, and what people thought of me did not buy happiness. Experiences did.

Not only that, but my spending was a hindrance, not an enabler. My rejection of commercialism began to build, passionately.

Think ‘poor’ and forget what others think: My rules

1. Live wherever you want, how you want. Your parents’ house. With roommates. In a van. If you love your life, and you’re comfortable, and you get to do the things that really matter, who cares. Don’t be house poor; it’s not worth it.

2. Consume less — space, energy, resources — live simply —and enjoy more. Don’t fill up a room just because it’s empty. Better yet, get rid of a room. 

3. Don’t fall for the brand name trap. A purse’s primary role is to hold your stuff, not say, “I have money.” An $50 bag works just as fine as a $2,000 one. Logos aren’t required to clothe you.

4. Buy used. Shop at consignment stores. Refurbish your own furniture. People throw away and give away so much. (I did.) There’s great stuff to be found at rock-bottom prices.

5. Most importantly: don’t judge a book by its cover. This is a societal problem. Someone who lives/dresses/drives simply is not necessarily poor. People with the fanciest cars and attire may not actually be wealthy. Oftentimes, the least showiest people are the richest… in experiences AND the bottom line.

I have to do a lot of laundry, guys. And I’m 100% ok with that. 😘

Connect with me on instagram at @juliebrose. I’d love to hear what you thought of this blog entry! ❤️

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