Why I'm Choosing Experiences Over "Things"

Overlooking the River Dee that passes through Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. Mikee Mutuc

How living abroad has changed my perspective. 

Before starting my hour-long walk home, I paused for a brief moment to watch the sun setting over the river behind my campus. All sunsets have a mesmerizing glow from wherever you are, but this was the first time I'd seen it by myself.  

Much like this honest moment, I have had the privilege of experiencing independent encounters that continue to grow my value for the intangible. The world is finally opening up in a way that I am able to fully appreciate and it truly begs the question: How could someone want anything more?

I am a simple woman—extremely low-maintenance—but the materialistic cravings that came with a city lifestyle diluted my principles, and made me question whether or not my decisions were mine or influenced by my surroundings. With added pressure from social media, it became difficult to surface an outside perspective that rang true to exactly who I was. I was enclosed in a space filled with expensive taste, branded clothing, followers on Instagram, and the consistent recycling of ideas and thoughts. Everyone wanted to be original but still the same. I wanted to be original but still the same.

Humbled by my travels, the only answer I have to that is "who cares?"

Comfort can turn into the inability to grow, inability to change and the inability to have open-minded approach.

When you are stuck in the same environment for years, you get comfortable. After that, comfort can turn into the inability to grow, inability to change and the inability to have an open-minded approach to life. Without exploring other means of happiness, I would not have been able to decipher the fact that superficial materialistic values mean nothing to me. I could buy the same shirt at the same store as many times as my budget will allow me to, but no currency will bring back an honest moment once it is gone.

Travelling—alone, in particular—has allowed me to appreciate experiences more so than ever before. And, in valuing such experiences, the mind begins to expand through the consistent practice of an objective perspective.

Scotland has offered a huge contrast in comparison to the life that I am used to. With my departure coming so soon, I refuse to take the next few weeks for granted. My days are always different, always new and, most importantly, irreplaceable. I have lived outside my comfort zone for two months and this short time has given me the unbiased space to think about what is most important. All the things that I have seen and the beautiful people I have encountered are what I will take to my grave.

I am realizing exactly how priceless these lessons are in forming the kind of person I will be down the road. Whether or not I decide to stay in Toronto is a big step for future-me to decide. Until then, I can only say that leaving has refreshed my outlook on life. My senses are awake and my awareness is high. When the next honest moment comes my way, I know I will accept it with open arms.

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Mikee Mutuc

Mikee Mutuc is a journalism student from Toronto, Canada currently continuing her studies for the fall semester of 2016 at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

Website: instagram.com/mkaev

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