Materialism– a huge issue modern society is facing. The media and capitalists are shoving it down our throats every day. I personally grew up without many material things. As a girly girl I wasn’t always able to get that dress I fell in love with at the store, or that one thing I loved in Sephora. This affected me in a big way once I got older. Once I had money I felt like I had to make up for all the times I never got to buy the things I liked. When I got a high paying job, I spent the majority of my money on clothes. I felt like I was fulfilling some part of me from when I was younger that never got to have “things.” I became very invested in how I wanted to perceive myself, to myself and others. I began indulging my ego.
*An ego is an image one has of him or her self*
How Backpacking Teaches You Minimalization:
When backpacking you literally only have your backpack. Minimalizing the “things” you have changes your mindset. You have to carry your life (for however long you’re traveling) in a very small space. My pack is only 44 liters. This forces you to focus on priorities. I still brought a makeup bag with me, but only a small portion of what I have. Having just what I need keeps me from always wanting more; this goes for my clothes, shoes, and toiletries- this is a major point. Again, having just what I need keeps me from always wanting more.
How The Media and Capitalists Influence Consumers (Us):
No matter where you are or what you surround yourself with there is always a sense of consumerism. By this I mean, going onto YouTube to listen to a song-there are ads, going onto Instagram for photography inspiration-there are ads, walking down the street in most cities while traveling-there are all major stores. I didn’t realize so many people went on vacation just to shop. It kind of blows my mind. You’re traveling to another country full of culture and beauty, and all you want to do is shop? Don’t get me wrong sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself once in a while, but modern society is obsessed with getting new stuff and having it constantly thrown in our face makes it worse.
A Traveler’s Mindset:
While traveling you will change and grow into a better you. I like to think this is a purer form of you. This means letting go of the past, letting go of parts of yourself that are no longer beneficiary (including your ego), and becoming free. Once I began this process I realized why I always felt as if I needed to replenish something by buying things such as clothes.
This post doesn’t just apply to you if you grew up without much money. I think everyone can really take a step back. Whenever I want to buy something I ask myself, why? How will it benefit me? What will its purpose be? Is it necessary? Just think…that money could go towards traveling…
How Materialism Feeds Into The Ego:
Like I mentioned earlier, when I was always wanting to buy new clothes or anything that had to do with my appearance, I was feeding my ego. We are not only a material obsessed society, but also an ego obsessed society. There is some kind of constant competition, some feeling that you need to have certain things or look a certain way in order to be perceived a certain way. Why is that necessary? After losing my ego I realized that I can still be myself without trying to look a certain way. In fact, I find it easier now to be myself and don’t feel the need to look a certain way. This is a piece of the new freedom I’ve gained while traveling, because I let go of the past and that unfulfilled feeling. You should feel fulfilled within yourself, you won’t find something to fill you up.
How Who You Spend Time With Can Develop A Materialistic Mindset/An Egoistic Mindset:
In my previous blog post I talked about how who you spend time with affects who you become. No matter how much we think outside influences don’t affect us, they do, there’s no escaping it. It’s just the way the human mind works. When you’re around people who party constantly it will be pretty hard not to. Being around people who need their ego fed will make you feel like you should be doing the same, even if it doesn’t feel right. For example, someone who always asks if they look pretty or needs lots of attention from people. They are trying to feed a part of themselves that’s starving to be filled. And like I mentioned before…you have to be fulfilled within yourself, nothing and no one will fill you.
P.s.: I want to say that I have nothing against fashion/beauty lovers. I only think that it should be a healthy outlet of creative fulfillment not egoistic fulfillment!