When you read or hear someone say, “Enjoy the little things,” you probably think Yeah, yeah, don’t let life pass you by, blah blah blah. I’m here to tell you that “Enjoy the little things” means much more than that. And if you heed that perspicacious advice, the results might surprise you.
Jessica and I will be traveling in a few months, and I’ve been planning the trip. I get an extremely fantastic deal on every flight, hotel, and rental car I book. I get great deals because I put a lot of effort into finding the best deals. I didn’t even upgrade my rental car for $1.16 per day, so that I would get the cheapest rate. You might think I’m a cheap-ass, but I like to think of it as one of my quirky personality traits. I get pleasure out of getting extreme bang for my buck.
As I’ve mentioned before, I took Jessica to London not too long ago. As soon as we got back, I was already planning our next adventure. You see, a lot of people think traveling is impossible. They think they don’t have enough time or money. They think they won’t ever be able to completely plan for a vacation. They think it’s all too convoluted, and it’s easier to just avoid it altogether. On my first day of employment at my current job, a coworker said to me, “Yeah, I never got to travel, then I got married, then I had kids, and now I’ll never travel for the rest of my life.” WOW!
To think that someone could give up completely on something that’s not so unattainable… it’s crazy. So let’s get this figured out, and let’s learn something along the way, shall we? It’s not easy to travel. It’s hard to get the plans together in a timely fashion. It’s physically hard on your body to cross time zones, sleep in unfamiliar beds, and walk around unfamiliar cities all day. It’s hard to disconnect from your life for a week (or however long you go) and then reconnect when your travels reach their end. Yes, it’s hard to travel – but it’s worth it.
Jessica and I both agreed that it sucked being jet lagged for the majority of our weekend in London. But you know what? We went. We were only there for a quick weekend, but we were in London for a weekend. What did you do last weekend? Probably not quite as exciting as an overseas jaunt, huh? Our bodies were sore, and we were confusedly sleepy, but we had a blast. And we were in London.
Look at Your Goals Differently
I have a few financial goals. I want to amass a certain amount of money in an emergency fund, yet I also want to continue to travel frequently. When I got back from London, I was ready to plan the next trip, but I could already feel the toll it would take on my bank account. I felt like I would never get my emergency fund completed if I kept traveling, but I wouldn’t be able to travel if all I did was save. You might have this figured out already, but the epiphany only recently hit me, so I’ll share it with you anyway.
I didn’t lose money by paying for a trip to London. I traded money for an experience. If someone robbed me, that would be losing money. But my London trip was NOT a loss. The trip I’m planning now? Also not a loss of money. Again, I’m trading money for an experience. You might say, “That’s just semantics, Casey, you still don’t have that money anymore.” That’s true, but it’s not the point. I’m earning money with an end goal of using it to further my dreams. One of my top priority dreams is to travel frequently and everywhere. Going to London was a small part of that dream. The first part of that dream. So although my emergency fund will take a little longer to fill up, I’m achieving my heart’s goals during the meantime – and that’s okay with me.
Go Forth and Enjoy
The obvious solution to my conundrum is to save for travel and an emergency fund at the same time. Although the emergency fund will come more slowly than if I were to dedicate 100% of my efforts to it, I’m going to enjoy the little things along the way. Before, my head was clouded with thoughts of failure, with regard to savings. Now, I know that where I inch along in one area of my life, I’m leaping in another.
You might wonder why I implied that traveling is “enjoying the little things” in the title of this post. Most people get into a routine that’s hard to break by simply going to the mall, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or hitting the links. When you travel somewhere, you break yourself away from your routine. It’s a guaranteed way to escape the rote patterns of every day life. It is also an excellent relationship builder. You need to travel every once in a while. My personal goal is to travel at least once a quarter. I suggest you travel at least once a year.
The Little Things
So what are these “little things” you’re supposed to be enjoying? The sound of your significant other’s laugh. The cool (or warm) breeze caressing your body. The architecture of a place you’ve never been before. You can even just enjoy the fact that you love the person you choose to be.
Make yourself proud of you. Be better than anyone expects you to be. Be exceptional, and enjoy the little things.