Investing in relationships with other people is the single most important thing I’ve ever done. No traveling experience or material possession has brought me the same long lasting joy. When I look back at pictures of places I’ve been I remember what the mountain air smelled like, subtle tastes hidden in the food and rush from being a stranger in a new city. It’s a gift I’ve given to myself to relive those magic moments the rest of my life.

Coming from someone who has traveled 37 U.S. States and 12 countries in the past 3 years it doesn’t surprise me how travel is romanticized through social media. It’s a ton of fun. While there are still a lot of places on my list to visit I can confidently say I’ve “been there” on the pursuit of experiences.

In some earlier writings I talk about my flip-flopping between enjoying my isolation in nature to seeking social interaction in the city. There’s a certain tolerance for each traveler to have a variety of experiences based on their personality or simply timing. My own groove is somewhere in the middle of taking nature hikes to spending time in hostels making new friends. There’s one thing that the media hype surrounding travel lifestyles are selling to you: The unsettled feeling of missing out on life.

The reason I chose this photo is to demonstrate the type of marketing that is at play in making you feel like you’re not doing enough, not seeing enough and not being enough. While I am a huge fan of marketing it is still obvious to me that the pretty package of selling the romantic idea of experiences versus material possessions is simply another tactic to unsettle your soul. An easy hierarchy can help to simplify the order of priority I learned through traveling, buying and meeting.

Relationships > Experiences > Things.

When I look at the faces of the people I love there’s a deeper appreciation for all of the laughter shared together through all types of landscapes imaginable. Don’t let the world hide from you the beauty in meaningful connections with your peers. It will outlast any trip or mansion you strive to achieve in this world, I promise.