“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its original dimensions.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
This quote came up on my friend’s facebook page today and it made me smile. It beautifully sums up something that my husband and I feel so strongly about, lasting happiness comes from experiences. It is said that buying a new toy, gadget, clothes etc. will only bring happiness for about 9 months on average. An experience however, even if it is only a brief period of time, can last much longer than that…..sometimes the memories of an experience can bring happiness for a lifetime. My husband and I have spent the last year trying to minimalize our lives and try to make a conscience effort to buy less. I must be honest, it is hard to give up life as a consumer, I have spent the last 34 years being trained to be one (a good one at that)! We are doing our best and trying to teach our children that experiencing life is far more rewarding and will make you much happier than buying a “thneed” (as Dr. Seuss would say).
A few months ago I came across an article about a mother who bought a used RV and took her children on a 3 month explore of our country. She homeschooled them on the road and reading about their experience made me very emotional. How wonderful to spend that time together and learn about our nations history, geography and environment first hand. Yes they had their share of breakdowns, cramped quarters and her husband had to work through the majority, but overall it was an amazing experience.
I could not locate their story but I was able to find stories of a few families doing the same thing. I am so intrigued by this idea of taking time to be a family and explore and learn about our country, “live history” as the dad in the video below says. These children have learned so much from their journey and the experience will stay with them for the rest of their lives. I hope that whichever educational path that we choose, that experience will be at the heart of it.