Cracking Retirement Machu Picchu

Experiences versus Possessions

I have two inspirations for this post

  1. A post I read in early April by FourPillarFreedom. It really makes you think. I have a lot of possessions, many inherited. A few years ago, when I cleared my mother’s house, I did resist adding to them as much as I could, but some things I couldn’t part with at that time… Maybe this is the time now.
  2. A comment a friend made when I stayed with her in January this year, on a trip to NZ. Her oldest grandson has just about everything he could possibly need. So she said – he doesn’t need anything, I gave him an experience instead. In this case it was a surfing lesson. I bet he will remember it. It may even inspire him to become a surfer – who knows?? It was the first time I had heard the term, and it is so descriptive.

What are ‘stand-out’ memories in my life?

  • having appendicitis aged 3. Why? It burst, I was in hospital for 3 weeks, extremely ill. It coincided with a flu epidemic, so all visiting was stopped. It was 2 weeks before I saw anyone I recognised, and that was our local GP. The next day, my Dad was allowed to see me. I apparently cried throughout the whole visit. (My Mum couldn’t come, as she had pleurisy, as I later found out.) What an awful few weeks it must have been for them.
  • Sailing. The combination of sea, waves, control (or lack of it!), hanging out on a trapeze with just a thin wire holding you…. Free, edgy, scary, fun, all at one time.
Cracking Retirement - Catamaran
My catamaran, once upon a time
  • going to university in Edinburgh. I was 19, I had only been out of Northern Ireland twice before, and it was my first time on a plane… Not to mention a life-changing experience.
  • getting married. All good news there – I’m still married 38 years on
  • having my two sons. What more can I say?  I love them both equally, I delight in their company, of both them and their wives. I’m proud of them all, I wish they lived next door. Unfortunately for me, one pair lives at the other end of the country, and the other pair, at the other end of the world! It is more than 3 years, since I had them all in the same room with me. As I write this though, all four of them are together in New Zealand. They havent seen each other since December 2013. Wish I was there too.
  • a trip to China in 1997, just as Hong Kong got handed over from UK to China. An amazing trip
Cracking Retirement - Beijing Forbidden City
Beijing – Forbidden City
  • my 25th wedding anniversary trip to Peru, including (the easy tourist way) Machu Picchu. If you ever get the chance to go there – take it! Here’s the iconic photograph.
Cracking Retirement Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
  • a trip to the Galapagos Islands – stunning, amazing, eye-opening. As above, if you ever get the chance, go there.
Cracking Retirement Galapagos Magnificent Frigate Bird
Magnificent Frigate Bird


Cracking Retirement Galapagos Bartolome island
Galapagos, Bartolome Island, Pinnacle Rock
  • I was lucky enough to spend 2 years in Amsterdam for work. A lovely place
  • Since I retired I have been to more fantastic places. New Zealand (4 times!), Singapore, Malaysia, India, St Lucia, Ireland, France, Spain.

I been so fortunate, I have had great trips, lovely experiences, but I can’t say that buying a carpet or a stunning dress is really on the list…. (though I do remember getting a lovely pair of pink slacks, I was 13! I thought I was in heaven!)

So, in my view, go for experiences, not things. You remember them far more. and as the Four Pillar posts suggests, they are also imbued with a rosy tint, because you remember the good bits not always the bad! As a retiree, experiences are all I want to spend my money on, particularly travel. I have enough chairs to sit in, plates to eat off and glasses to drink from. When I am old and infirm, I will be able to sit back, remember them and smile.

So here’s to new experiences…

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Cracking Retirement Experiences versus possessions



  1. I’ve written a post about this too – experiences are so important for creating memories. Things you can remember for years to come. Much better than something else you don’t need!

    1. Hi Nicola
      I absolutely agree about creating memories. They stay with us for a lifetime.

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