Happiness can't buy you money!
Some of the best things in life may well be free, but you still need money to enjoy them
I love teaching people how to make money; how to invest their hard-earned cash. Not because making lots of money is an admirable goal in itself, but because money is an enabler. It enables us to do those things we really want to do. Of course there are people who argue the best things in life are free. But is that really true?
If I want to get away from it all and escape from the brash world of commerce, for me there is nothing more exhilarating than getting into the mountains. It is one of the few situations where you can totally get away from civilisation and immerse yourself in an environment that hasn't changed in thousands of years. No roads; no houses; just the awesome spectacle of nature.
So there I was being picked up by my brother-in-law, Andy, outside the terminal building at Edinburgh Airport. The plan was to climb two very remote peaks in the northwest of Scotland. Ahead of us lay four hours of driving just to get to the start of the walk-in. When we eventually arrived at our destination, the sun was already setting, but the day's journey was by no means over. We now faced a three to four hour hike by torchlight, over a high ridge, to reach the bothy (mountain hut) where we would spend the night.
It was time to unpack our kit bags and load up our backpacks. "Sleeping bags? Check. Food and drink? Check. Waterproofs and warm layers? Check. Map and compass? Check. Full gear for the ascent? Check. Boots?" A pair of climbing boots were indeed in my kit bag; the only problem was I'd packed my wife's boots and her shoe size is two sizes smaller than mine! I could see Andy's expression turn from excitement to horror. Were we about to abort the climb we had been planning for the past few weeks? The weather forecast for the next two days was excellent. I looked at the ridge we needed to climb over. It wasn't difficult terrain; I could do that in trainers. Tomorrow though would have to be in my wife's boots but, as they say, no pain no gain. We knew that when we eventually got back to the car and civilisation we should be able to find an outdoor store where I could buy another pair of boots before embarking on our next climb.
It was a great trip. Ten thousand feet of ascent and descent in 24 hours in boots that didn't fit. Was it worth the pain? Oh yes! The mountains were at their most majestic. When we reached the first summit I was able to take off those boots and just soak in the scenery. Views like this cost nothing; walking costs nothing; climbing costs nothing; Andy and I were elated. This is why we come to the hills.
But was this happiness really free? I had paid for return flights to Edinburgh. Fuel doesn't come cheap. Between us we possessed over £1,000 worth of gear. On top of which I had to buy another pair of boots. Then, after the climb, we stayed overnight in a hotel and treated ourselves to a slap up evening meal washed down with a delightful bottle of wine.
So yes, the main event was indeed free, but we did need money to enjoy it. However, the good news is you can still be happy even when you're in pain!
It may be true that money can't buy you happiness, but achieving happiness without money may prove extremely difficult! And that's why I like to teach people how to make money. Money itself can't make you happy, but what you do with it can.