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The best gift I’ve ever received was learning how to have a wonderful time while spending little to no money.
When I was a kid, my parents taught us to enjoy hikes, camping, picnics, storytelling (courtesy of library books or amusing tales from my parents’ childhoods), and swimming in local bodies of water among many other activities.
This was a tradition they continued even once their financial situation improved and we could technically afford the occasional visit to a movie theatre or amusement park.
Yes, there were times when I was a preteen and teenager that I envied the flashier outings and presents some of my classmates talked about after summer vacation. I don’t intend to portray myself as a saintly kid or anything like that, but the funny thing about growing up is how much your perspective can change over time.
I entered adulthood with a vivid imagination and a long list of hobbies and interests that I can enjoy regardless of how much money is or isn’t left over after all of the bills are paid.
Even when I do go on something closer to a traditional vacation, I’m happiest when I enjoy it by swimming in the hotel pool or wandering around town and pretending I’m a local. You never know what cool parks, monuments, or hole-in-the-wall diners you’ll find if you go with the flow, walk past the tourist traps, and see what hidden gems are a few blocks or miles away.