The only thing you buy that makes you richer

Ted Blank
Guest Columnist

It struck me during my annual spring cleaning that I had too much stuff. That extra crock pot, a great deal, sits untouched five years later. I’m not sure where I ever thought I’d put that (admittedly very cool) lamp, and I have enough dress socks to last a lifetime or three. It all cost money, but it sure doesn’t add up to wealth.

In contrast to stuff, I can confidently say that there is one purchase we can all make that does indeed make us richer, and that’s travel. Not wealthier in the material sense, of course, but richer in the ways that count. Travel makes us each richer in memories, experiences, personal growth, self-confidence and happiness. In fact, a recent study by Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich confirmed that investments in experiences – like travel – bring longer lasting happiness than money spent on material objects.

That’s a long lead in to introducing a series of columns I’m writing in The Forest Lake Times, focused on travel. The “fasten seat belt” sign is turned on, so please put your tray tables and seat backs up to enjoy a journey with me as I share my travels, experiences and tips to help inspire you to visit interesting places, make memories and, hopefully, learn to be a better traveler.

A little bit about myself to get started. I’ve been traveling my entire life. My first flight was at age 4 months, my first trip to Europe at age 6, my first cruise at age 12 and my first solo trip at age 17. In 44 years, I’ve visited 40 countries, five continents and all 50 states. I caught the travel bug at a young age, and it’s never left me.

That’s what prompted me to start my own travel agency in 2016. It’s called Ingenious Travels, and it’s an independent affiliate of Travel Leaders and Forest Lake Travel. I specialize in making memories, helping people like you plan their dream trips. Whether it’s a river cruise in Europe, something fun in the sun, an in-depth exploration of Alaska, a family vacation for multiple generations, or anything in between, my job is to make sure you have the best trip possible and come home richer for the experience.

In the coming months, I’ll be taking you around the world with me to fantastic destinations like Croatia, Burgundy, Alaska and the Columbia River. We’ll also take a look at some great trips for food and wine (or beer!) lovers, talk about what’s new in cruising, tackle travel safety and look at some great ways to escape the winter blues. Throughout it all, I’ll be sharing some insider pro-tips for a great trip.

I enjoy keeping in touch with my readers and would enjoy your questions or ideas for future columns. You can contact me on Facebook or Twitter (@IngeniousTravels), through my website or by email at [email protected] Happy traveling!

Ted Blank is a Forest Lake-based travel agent and owner of Ingenious Travels.