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Materialism.

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How materialistic are you, compared with the people you live, work and otherwise interact with?
11 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 1 Msg: #70418  
The Travel Camel wrote....'I don't have a plasma TV, mortgage or a car - travelling is my favourite way to spend money! This is quite an alien concept to most people, hence the reason for the disconnect from many of my friends, families and work colleagues'

Hello everyone. Hello Travel Camel, what you said above made me smile. At this moment in time all the goods we own in the world fit into 8 small boxes sitting in a friend's cellar. And it feels great. I'm finding that the less you own - the less there is to worry about! You're right when you say your lifestlye choice is slightly alien to most people. I was self employed and before we left the UK I had virtually stopped mentioning our plans to my customers or anyone else other than closest friends. People used to automaically assume we must be emigraing for material gain, a bigger house or something like that. When I told them we didn't have jobs lined up or anywhere to live because we were going traveling for a year (it will probably be more if we can make the money last) they just couldn't get their heads around it. Lynn had the same senario with most of her work collegegues at the hospital she worked in.
It became so I used to lie and say we were only going to have 2-3 months away before going to start work because that's almost within boundaries people could understand. In the end I didn't talk to people anymore even if they asked, because of the 'straight line thinking' responses I knew were guaranteed everytime I did speak. What annoyed me about most about peoples' attitudes was that if I had bought a half decent Mercedes car and not gone travelling it would maybe cost a similar amount to what we will eventually spend traveling. And if I had done that my neighbours and customers etc would all have thought "Oh John's doing alright, he's driving a nice Mercedes car) But I don't want a Mercedes. I want to have as long as possible away from work having new experiences and a great time traveling. But that's not in the work, mortgages, pensions, format most people in the UK seem to worship. But to me its not as though work is going to disappear while were travelling is it? (unfortunately) I'm sure work will be there to greet us off the plane when we eventually do stop travelling, haha
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11 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 2 Msg: #70457  

I'm finding that the less you own - the less there is to worry about!



How true, and your comments about the materialistic attitude of the UK ring home to me as well. Does it also ring true to those of you living outside the UK? My friend moved back to Brisbane two years ago after spending 5 years in a very snobbish and affluent part of the south east of England. Part of the reason they moved back to Australia was that they were so sick of people in that part of Enlgland only being interrested in you for what job/house/car you have and what school your kids go to, rather than the kind of person you are. She has always said to me that in Australia the attitude is different, not based so much on peronal wealth and social standing. The funny thing is, when they were making plans to move back she was getting really hacked off with everyone obsessing over how much bigger her new house in Australia would be.

I must admit that I was sucked into it all for a few years as well. The houses always had to get bigger, the cars more expensive and better, but none of it has made me happy, quite the opposite infact.

March last year, I had saved up ten grand to get the latest must have bathroom suite to put into the house we were renovating. I was stood in the bathroom showroom, surrounded by stepford wives looking like they were all trying to out do each other by spending outlandish amounts of money on showerheads, and I panicked because I didnt want to end up like them. I left there and then, and the next day booked a four week trip to travel the east coast of Australia, caught the travel bug while out there and have not stopped traveling since. I may still have the ghastly 1970's bathroom, but I have seen and done some amazing things instead of buying a new bath! Reply to this

11 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 3 Msg: #70461  

Does it also ring true to those of you living outside the UK?


It does here in in Munich, Germany where I live. I am confusing for people because I have no black BMW parked outside and dont wear designer clothes, but still manage to go on holiday quite a lot. They presume the holidays are the expensive packages they go on, so it makes no sense to them that I afford the holidays but dont have fancy furniture. Reply to this

11 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 4 Msg: #70492  
I found the area I grew up in NY state and the coworkers I had, to have what I call the "checklist" mentality. You graduate high school, get a bachelor's, find a job, get your house, spouse, white picket fence and astroturf-green lawn, 2.5 kids, dog, cat and goldfish. Then you sit back and compare with your neighbours.

Perhaps that's why I have drifted apart from many former coworkers and high school friends. I lost that checklist...oops. I suppose some of them may wonder when I will "grow up" and join the "real world". 😊 So I send out the mass emails and updates anyways, and occasionally get a response. And for the most part it doesn't bother me anymore...people drift apart as their lives change and head in different directions. It's natural. Reply to this

11 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 5 Msg: #70507  
Guys, I may sound crazy...but I have another way to deal with it.

There are enough people on earth..so I tend to get surrounded by friend who are friends, and understand me, and if they don't...well....it's that we are not done for each others....and I've got plenty of great friends, so won't complain.

Look for people who match with you...take care of them...and be yourself....because who care of those who don't share our views...I'm not into politics! Reply to this

11 years ago, May 30th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #74419  
N Posts: 4
"The things that you own, end up owning you" Tyler Durden Reply to this

11 years ago, May 30th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #74439  
Is needing to travel a type of materialism? How would we feel if we no longer had the money to maintain this expensive hobby? Or is travel more honourable than other things we could spend our money on?
Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 8 Msg: #74450  
Travelling is not an expensive hobby... If I were to live in my own country with the amount I earned I would not survive... Travelling is not honourable, it is a choice, like so many other choices people make... Is travelling a type of materialism? Yes, of course, and one should be aware of this, but it makes no difference in the end and that is fine as long as one is aware of that too. Be happy, don't worry and adieu, I just came back from the pub slightly intoxicated and therefore the wiser. Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 9 Msg: #74470  

Travelling is not an expensive hobby...


The cheapest plane ticket from Europe to Thailand costs what is a years wages in some parts of the world.
Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 10 Msg: #74480  
people don't like it when you play outside the rules.

So make your own rules up! Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 11 Msg: #74487  

The cheapest plane ticket from Europe to Thailand costs what is a years wages in some parts of the world.


Yes and a beer in London is about three days of wages for a poor farmer in India... That doesn't mean drinking a beer in a pub now and again is an expensive hobby... You can't compare the two.

Anyway, travelling isn't a hobby for me, it's my life 😊 Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 12 Msg: #74512  
Does anybody agree with me that some people see themselves as somehow living an alternative lifestyle to the materialist society they've left behind just because they are traveling¿. I think I can see it expressed in the clothing people choose to wear while they travel. Never more so than here in San Cristobal in Mexico where we are now. This new age "I dressed this morning for the total cost of 10 pence" look. I think people step off the plane and assume this new identity for themselves wearing it as a kind of statement. As if to underline the fact the see themselves as serious travellers shrugging off materialism, and not just mere tourists. I'm finding that these people are pretty far from alternative in their attitudes. They're often aloof, just far to too kool for school. They wear a uniform, but its just an anti fashion with the same I'm better than you prada attitude. The irony is that at the end of the day travelling does cost money, and relatively quite a lot of it!. Travelling is an indulgence, but there´s nothing wrong with that! any thoughts¿

By the way I don't think I'm above the anti fashion uniform look. Years ago I was a punk for about 10 years and with the silly haircuts and clothes we all just looked the same back then! ha Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 13 Msg: #74514  

I think people step off the plane and assume this new identity for themselves wearing it as a kind of statement. As if to underline the fact the see themselves as serious travellers .....


Dressing for 10 Cents can sometimes be all that is possible after paying for the Round the World trip. I remember being an impoverished student. I spent almost all the money I could scratch together on travel.

The irony is that at the end of the day travelling does cost money, and relatively quite a lot of it!. Travelling is an indulgence, but there´s nothing wrong with that! any thoughts¿


My point exactly. It is a type of materialism. We spend a lot of money on it, and trash the environment with our plane journeys. Are we really any less materialistic than those who spend a lot on furniture and designer labels. The travel industry is huge and survives because of what we spend. Hostels, hotels, plane tickets, backpack producers, hiking boot makers, travel irons....
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11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 14 Msg: #74528  
This thread made me smile and I just had to comment...

Please remember that all these people amassing wealth in the UK, merely felt wealthy as their house had risen 100% in value in the last ten minutes.. etc.. etc... Most of the fancy cars and expensive indulgences were also bought on freely available cheap credit, so aren't really owned.

Personally I'm not all that 'materialistic' I don't really like owning stuff, especially not nice stuff as I'm incredibly clumsy and would probably break it in ten minutes. The thought of spending £100+ on a pair of sunglasses is horrifying, I just know I'd sit on them in the first week!

I'm at risk of losing my job at the moment, and am I worried... Not at all. Thankfully I didn't buy expensive cars every couple of years, surround myself with huge amounts of crap or stretch myself to the limit with a crippling mortgage. I saved, and now thankfully if the worst happens (relatively speaking... as someone who's survived cancer, this in my eyes is way down the list but I understand it would be pretty bad for some), I'm going to just sit back and decide which country to go to next.

Again all things said, some people live through their possesions and if that's what makes them happy, well then good for them, it's just not my lifestyle choice.

Mike. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 15 Msg: #74554  
I still don't agree with the money bit 😊 I agree it costs money, of course it does, and I agree it is just another form of materialism, and I agree there are a lot of people who take their own travelling far too serious. But relatively quite a lot of money, no I don't agree, at least not if you compare it with what you spend if you didn't travel (again this also depends on how you travel, that is how much you spend, what your budget is and all that, I am talking about myself in this case). I will give you an example of what I mean, the last few years I spend about 300 dollars a month travelling, now add up the flight tickets, on average I spend 400 dollars for a return ticket. Say I travelled for 4 month and bought a return ticket, that is 1600 dollars in 4 month, so an average of 400 dollars for the whole period. Now at home I would perhaps just about be able to survive on that, probably not even without government grants. Renting a cheap room nowadays puts you up to almost 400 dollars a month, and than I haven't even eaten. So if I would stay at home, rent a room, buy the cheapest food in the supermarket, have no car, no tv, no radio, buy clothes only at the 1 dollar shop etc. etc, I would still need more than 400 dollars a month.

I would say, travelling can be as expensive as you make it. You can blow a thousand dollars a night on some luxery holiday or spend 10 dollars a day on a shoestring budget.

But as I said I agree it is just another form of materialism in the end, nobody needs to travel, but everybody needs to eat. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 16 Msg: #74570  

at least not if you compare it with what you spend if you didn't travel



I do agree with that part. When my son and I went away for three months to three countries earlier this year, we spent a lot less than we would have done at home on weekly food shops, petrol (we spend a lot on petrol as we live in a very rural area) and heating oil for our home etc (without factoring in my morgage, but that comes out of my husbands wages). BUT, I still spent £4,000 on flight tickets (cheapest I could find) before we left, so the initial outlay to go travelling was the very expensive part. Granted, we flew to New Zeland first, just about the furthest palce you can fly from the UK, so while I agree with you that actual travelling does not need to be expensive, its the getting there first. Even if I had factored in buying flight tickets along the way, the cost would have been the same, and as I was budgeting carefully, I needed to get the big expenses over and done with in one go.

While I may not be planning on going as far afied as NZ this time, I am planning a trip across Europe by train to Russia, but again its the cost of tickets etc that I can't do at the moment. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 17 Msg: #74572  
I think materialism and travel are both defined as wants - rather than needs (such as food, clothing, shelter). There are some individuals who can exist with very few wants - I certainly do in the materialistic point of view, but not so on the travel side, which is quite insatiable. There is a quote that states your wealth is not determined by what you own, but by your absence of wants.

I find that the vast majority of people source their wants in material objects or from other people. If you do not fit into this majority, well, you just don't play by the normal rules, and thus can be seen as odd or different. It is not about materialism as such, it is the perception that you - as the rare non-materialist amongst the many - walk to the beat of a different drum.

There is a tremendous quote about this subject, written by the eloquent Winston Churchill about the enigmatic T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia):

"The world naturally looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame. The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is someone outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be spread in vain; someone strangely enfranchised, untamed, untrammelled by convention, moving independently of the ordinary currents of human action..."

I think that there are a number of people within the Travelblog community who would fit this description - to a lesser or larger degree. It is a lifestyle choice, and everyone has the right to chose their path. But for me the memories and experiences of travel outweigh, by a considerable degree, the lifestyle that is occupied with the size of my house, the labels on my clothes or the make of my car. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 18 Msg: #74588  

I'm at risk of losing my job at the moment, and am I worried... Not at all.


This reminds me of when I got my last job. I decided that I would save some money in case I was ever made redundant or fired, so I would have money to travel for several months before looking for a new job. I didnt want to have no money in the case that I suddenly have plenty of time.

I didnt lose the job(even though I would not have been too unhappy about it if I did), but gave it up after a few years when I had a baby because I wanted to make sure I got to bring up my own baby instead of somebody else doing it. Those 'just in case I ever have plenty of time to travel' savings came in useful because they were enough to pay for a deposit to buy appartment in Dublin so we had someplace to live together as a new family. 😊
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11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 19 Msg: #74595  

...at least not if you compare it with what you spend if you didn't travel ....


The lack of earning while travelling can also be considered to be an expense. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 20 Msg: #74596  
Yes Mel, good point. I was just thinking of that myself. I am lucky in the fact that my husband works to pay the mortgage, bills etc. If I had had to pay bills while I was away and wasn't earning then I couldn't have travel at all. Reply to this

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