I’ve mentioned before that I love to travel. I love seeing new places, hanging out with locals, and eating at restaurants you can’t find locally. The way I am able to do this is by budgeting and of course, my favorite, using credit card reward points. There was one trip a few years ago that I used absolutely no points for, and even though it was a trip we paid a little extra for, I realized that there are memories that are worth it. There are things that might throw your budget a little off, but they are things money can’t buy.
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Things Money Can Buy
In summer of 2015, we decided to take our first vacation as a family ever since my brothers and I were kids. Our parents were on board, all the brothers and wives or girlfriends were on board and although it took a while to plan, we finally managed it. We decided on Toronto, Canada. We rented a hotel in downtown Toronto and rented a car so that we could go check out Niagara Falls while we were there. It was all beautiful. The city itself, the Falls, the people, the food, it was all amazing to take that in.
Things Money Can’t Buy
After leaving Niagara Falls, we went to eat at a local restaurant and as we sat, our dad just sat back for a minute and said he had to take it all in. I asked him if the waterfall impressed him, but he said he wasn’t talking about that.
You see my dad is a first-generation immigrant in the United States. He left Cuba during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980. We lived in Puerto Rico for years and throughout that time we never had much. We were happy kids, we were never hungry or anything like that. My city isn’t exactly known for money so we didn’t see ourselves any different than anyone else. For a few years, it was 6 of us living in a two bedroom, where we took turns sleeping in the one open bedroom (the other one was my parents), or the living room couch. Like I mentioned though, we grew up happy. These things didn’t bother us, they were just the facts of life.
What my dad was taken aback with was the fact that we could all do this. He had no idea that when he moved us here from Puerto Rico in 1993 that it would be the best choice he ever made. That his 4 kids would be homeowners, and besides homeowners, have the means to travel to another country. He had never seen anything like Niagara Falls and he admired its beauty, but what he would never have dreamed about was us having dinner in another country.
The Point Is…
My dad is usually very serious and a closed up guy. To hear him talk like this made me realize that it isn’t all black and white. Yeah, I adjusted the budget when I got back home. I had to make up for this trip. But I don’t regret it for a moment. I realized that these moments are just some of the things money can’t buy.
We all want to keep moving forward. I track my net worth to one day reach financial freedom like the rest of us. But sometimes its ok to make a memory with the ones we love. Remember, none of us are going to make it out alive in the end. My goal to retire well before the age of 65 is still the same. I just don’t want to lose any of the precious time I could be having today.