In November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with relatives coming together around the dining room table to enjoy traditional roast turkey feasts, and a game or two, if there are any football fans in the house. The day of thanks is filled with warmth as family and friends unite in gratitude.
The following day, those cozy feelings of love and gratitude cease and deal seekers rush about shopping centers hoping (and pining through chaos) to take advantage of the famous Black Friday savings. Similar to Boxing Day in Canada or Buen Fin in Mexico, this is the time retailers offer some of the biggest discounts of the year. Moonlight Madness, Cyber Monday, or Christmas in July, whatever the promotional event, shoppers buzz at the prospect of getting a good deal.
So what exactly compels us to jump out of bed at an ungodly hour, drive around overcrowded parking lots for hours, then proceed to forge our way through a mall full of thousands of frenzied shoppers? All of this madness for a chance to have first dibs on the marked down merchandise that we probably don’t even have room in our closets for.
But saving money makes us feel good. Coming home knowing we got the deal of the year gives us a sense of pride, a natural high. If only we could find some way to make this feeling last…
There is a lot of talk over social media about buying experiences, not things. I for one am a firm believer in this statement; in fact, it’s one of the main reasons we decided to move across the continent. Five years ago, I lived with my husband and kids in a spacious home in the suburbs of Vancouver, Canada. This house had a garage, a backyard and a basement that were filled with STUFF! Swings sets, a trampoline, Legos, Barbie houses, dozens of boxes of holiday decorations, sushi serving sets, fondue pots – you know, things no one should live without! My shopping habit had become a case of retail therapy gone bad.
Well it turns out we could live without those things. We sold 99% of our belongings and moved to Playa del Carmen, Mexico with 10 suitcases in tow. Although the city has grown significantly over the years, there are still no Toys R Us, Gap, or Macy’s, and Playa’s lack of department stores is one of the top three reasons why I love living here.
Since there aren’t gazillion square foot mega malls to lure us in to drop our hard earned paychecks, we have no choice but to spend our time and money on experiences. From snorkeling beneath glistening, turquoise waters to boat tours through mangroves and tranquil lagoons to exploring colonial cities, this region on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is bursting at the seams with awe-inspiring points of interest.
Unfortunately residents in many areas of North America, like Vancouver, (which is pretty spectacular as far as natural beauty goes) have such a short period of the year to enjoy the great outdoors. More often than not, what people end up doing besides snuggling to watch a good movie on a rainy weekend is shop! Before the ink dries on the credit cards statement, they find that their closets are overflowing and their storage rooms are filled to the brim with STUFF!
Come springtime, there is a desire to purge and get rid of items that haven’t been worn in a year, toys that the kids have never played with and books that have never been read. It’s a vicious cycle I am all too familiar with. Even those of us with the best intentions, get caught up in material mayhem because temptation bombards us from all directions and at every click. Especially when sales promotions are involved, it’s nearly impossible to pass up a good deal.
If moving to a remote location where shopping centers are non-existent isn’t an option for you, then consider creating a travel fund. It’s the best investment you can make. Studies have shown that traveling can boost brain and heart health, lower stress, develop compassion and cultural understanding, improve physical and mental wellbeing along with many other benefits. If exploring a new country is on your bucket list, it’s time to get your priorities in order and make a decision. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting on an exotic beach or riding a moped around a Greek island!
Watch for travel deals in the form of seat sales and other perks such as free transportation to and from the airport, or pay for 5 nights get the 6th for free. Black Friday is fast approaching and the urge to dart to mall will be strong. This Thanksgiving season spend your money on something meaningful.
For the same amount you would spend on a pair of boots, you can swim alongside sea turtles AND enjoy a meal of fresh seafood overlooking a pristine, turquoise-colored bay. Instead of another coat to add to your collection, you could be sailing across the Caribbean waters, enjoying cocktails and exploring undeveloped shores sprinkled with starfish. For the price of a Starbucks, you could pay the entrance fee to a cenote and pass the day floating on or cliff jumping into its crystal clear waters! These activities, which draw people back to the Riviera Maya again and again, tend to create memories that stick in the minds and hearts of travelers forever.
Even though international travel may seem impossible on your income or budget, anyone can do it. Where there is a will, there is a way. If seeing the world has been a dream of yours, but you just haven’t been able to make it happen, we want to make it easier for you! For one day only, our reservations specialists are staying on the lines, all day until midnight on November 25, 2016. With over 150 superb vacation homes in our inventory, Bric Vacation Rentals has the perfect home base for your Playa del Carmen beach getaway. When you call or book online on the day of our Black Friday event, you’ll save 20% off your fantastic 2017 accommodations!
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us
Photo Credit peanutstopretzels.com
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About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.