Look at me! It’s all about me!
Rollo published an excellent post the other week on the topic of men refusing to spend their money on material items and instead collecting experiences. This goes directly against the feminist imperative of hypergamy:
What concerns the feminine is that men would devote the lion’s share of their personal efforts on anything unrelated to meeting women’s future or present security needs. It’s not just men wanting to scale Mount Vesuvius, it’s men having any self-import at the expense of women. When men’s ambitions are centered on satisfying themselves and not about developing equity that’s useful to women, that’s when those men (and those who would encourage it) are shamed for not being an adult. They are shamed for not manning up or growing up to meet the needs of women and thus not living up to “adult responsibilities”.
Read the whole thing if you haven’t done so already as it is an excellent appraisal of many different factors that are circulating in the general dating world at the moment. However, I want to focus on the aspect of collecting experiences itself. The premise from Rollo is that this is inherently a good thing for men and I cannot disagree with him on that. But there is a right way to go about it and a wrong way.
If you go out there with the attitude of “collecting experiences” then it will inevitably become a competition of sorts on who has the greater number or better category experiences amongst your cohorts. So it’s not enough to have traveled to Machu Picchu – you will have to have climbed the mountain at the precise moment that dawn was breaking while drinking the holy urine of a three toed sloth. Or something like that.
This then becomes a series of bragging and one upmanship and as I mentioned in my podcast on bragging this only serves to underline a person’s deep insecurity. In other words, if you’re going around collecting experiences for the sake of collecting experiences then you’re doing it wrong. What you’re doing is living for the outside world which coincidentally is pretty much what infects people with materialism. It’s the old cliche of buying a new car to impress your neighbors but in this case it’s being able to boast that you’ve sampled 170 different French wines in the past year or whatever experience you’ve been able to cross off your bucket list.
When I traveled I did it because I felt driven to explore the world so as to make the most of my time on this planet. It never once entered my mind that I needed to collect experiences. It was why I never really felt comfortable around backpackers. Being able to boast that you’ve been to 100 countries in the past year while proudly displaying your stamp-filled passport is the antithesis of adventuring. After a year of traveling and arriving home broke and exhausted, this typical backpacker will not have grown at all from what they have seen. They are still the same person – shallow, insecure, and empty, only now they can boast about how many places they have been to.
This is why I advocate to travel without a camera. The act of constantly taking photos is a prime example of living for the approval of others. If you wish to have personal memories of what you have done, simply get a photo from someone else. People are out there taking photos all the time so it is no great challenge to find a way of having a few snaps of yourself for posterity. But freed of the camera, you are forced to truly experience what is going on around you.
So don’t travel to 50 countries. Travel to one country and stay there for the same amount of time. Learn some of the language, maybe get a simple part time job that forces you to interact with the locals. Maybe you like hiking and camping. So go out and do it but don’t act all precious about what gear you have and boast about all the really difficult treks you’ve made. Remember, the person who brags the most about what he’s done is inherently insecure about his so-called achievements. The guy who sits in the corner of the room and doesn’t volunteer any information about his exploits unless asked has learned a lot more from his experiences.
And that is the key. Experiences are for learning. Not for having.
If you want to see how I went about a process of personal growth through having adventures, check out my book. I ended up having a lot of experiences but they were a by-product of what I was doing. They weren’t the end game, and that is the difference.