Recent data indicates that Millennials are the most adventurous generation.
Article by Dyer & Jenkins
Millennials have been called technology addicted, self-obsessed, and lazy. Understandably so, there’s plenty of opportunity to get lost in hours of endless video games, scouring the internet, or playing candy crush on our phones. We’re bombarded by thousands of marketing messages for the next new app or gadget every day. We grew up during the tech boom.
Despite coming of age during a time when it’s so easy to get addicted to tech, we do much more than that – we travel, explore, and adventure. We leverage that technology to have experiences and then share them with the world.
A recent study by Barkley shows that we view travel as an essential component to our life’s journey, more so than any other generation before us. We want to see every state, travel abroad, eat a variety of ethnic cuisines, and generally do it all.
We live modern day town & country lifestyles. Many of us are young professionals who live and work in the city, but rush out of town for a weekend camping trip whenever possible. According to EventBrite 78% of millennials say they would rather spend money on experiences over possessions.
Experiences trump possessions
Money does buy happiness, but only to a certain extent. This is a widely held theory provided by the Easterlin Paradox. It states that once your basic needs are met, money doesn’t really impact your happiness.
This can be attributed to adaptation. Our new possessions make us happy for a little while, but over time we lose that feeling. You get yourself a new TV, you’re excited, and you mount it to the wall and watch Netflix. After a few months you come home and you just aren’t as happy with the TV as you initially were.
Conversely, our perception of experiences gets better over time - like fine wine. A study by Van Boven and Gilovich spanning across various race, age, gender, income and geographies concluded that people overwhelmingly feel more positively about money spent on experiences versus material possessions.
Happiness as it correlates to experiences is far more enduring than simply buying a possession. Instead, you’ll find more happiness in the anticipation of an experience, the excitement of the experience itself, and the memories you’ll reminisce about for the rest of your life.
It seems that our generation recognizes this key to happiness and we’re taking advantage of it.
The value of a shared experience
A joy shared is a joy doubled and a pain shared is a pain halved. This is the best way I can think to describe friendship in only one sentence. To embark upon a journey with a friend, going to places that are foreign to you, facing your fears together, and gaining perspective is single handedly one of the greatest joys you can share with another human being.
We like experiences and we like to share them. According to a study called Meet The Millennials about 60% of us would rather travel with a friend. That’s up almost 20% from the generation before us.
We get it, but why?
It’s hard to point to an exact reason why anyone, especially millennials, enjoy travel so much. So, allow us some room for conjecture here.
First, look at technology.
Our generation has been both blessed and inundated with technological advances from an early age. It’s that very thing that some refer to as an addiction that causes us to get out in the world and experience things. The prevalence of tech in our lives creates a desire to take a break from it.
We then take those experiences and share them using social media. We are way more likely to create content than any other generation. This feeds into the psychology of FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out. When we see our friends sharing their recent camping adventure, it inspires us to do the same.
Second, there’s timing.
We grew up in times that were shaped by the recession, 9/11 attacks, ongoing wars in the Middle East, natural disasters like the BP Oil Spill and Katrina, and of course the looming issue of climate change. We’ve gotten used to instability – which is something any traveler knows well.
We also view the world a little differently. In the face of wars, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters we understand just how short and precious life is. We’re going to see and do everything we can because we live on a planet that seems like it’s a ticking time bomb.
This is also most likely the reason why we are more likely to support a company with a social mission, why we spend more time than any other generation volunteering for good causes, and why we’re the most green generation yet.
We grew up during a time when the ugliness of the world reared it’s ugly head, but we aren’t paralyzed by fear. We want to go experience the world for ourselves and change it for the better.
And then there’s the obvious.
We get one shot at this thing called life. We want to learn about other people and ourselves, eat new food, challenge ourselves, and have a little fun!
So what now?
The world is paying attention. Products, technology, cities, transportation are all getting better and many are catering to Millennials.
Millennials are the largest generation of consumers yet and a few, prescient companies have adapted to the growing mindset that experiences are greater than possessions. However, not enough have caught on.
For us, it was this very love of travel and lack of companies that embraced this that inspired us to create a brand that makes clothing for adventurers. We aim to have an experiential aspect to all of our products. We write about experiences on our Journal and we make products that cater to people who live the lifestyle we live. And we admire companies like GoPro, Roadtrippers, AirBnB and HipCamp that embrace adventure and make it accessible.
Millennials get a really bad rap, but we are a game changing generation. We’re quick to adventure and leverage technology to help us get where we’re going. We value experiences over possessions, unless those possessions are going to help us and help others.
We expect higher standards of business when it comes to being socially conscious, but we’re also willing to roll up our sleeves and volunteer. We’re bringing our friends with us too!