A recent study has found that travel is the secret to lasting happiness. Scientists at Cornell University found that we remember holidays for far longer than we remember buying material goods. Do the Novus Team agree? Let’s find out.



“After seven years of exclusively travelling in Asia, I was craving a European jaunt. But with two kids under the age of three, I wanted to make it as leisurely as possible, so I rented my family an apartment in one location: Paris. Instead of work and kindergarten, we surrounded ourselves with museums, galleries and playgrounds. It was bliss. We walked everywhere, the kids jumped on every carousel they saw, we picnicked in front of the Eiffel Tower, found a local boulangerie and devoured cheese and wine at every opportunity. Just last week, back home in Singapore, my three-year-old daughter saw a construction site while we were driving and said to me excitedly, “Look Mummy, it’s the Pompidou!” Bless her little heart, it wasn’t. But I love that she thought that odd-looking pipe on the outside of a Singaporean building reminded her of an architectural showpiece she saw in Paris. At the time, I knew our trip was fantastic. But hearing my daughter’s memories, many months on, has made my memory of that holiday even more joyful.”

- Mary Weaver, Subeditor


“Most of my trips for the last decade have been to the UK (mostly by myself) — to watch my beloved team “Arsenal” live on the football pitch. Win, Draw or Lose — the memories and even emotions are here to stay. While I can vividly remember my first-ever live game, I can’t seem to recall what bag I was carrying back then.”

- Juhanna Adam, Group Accountant


“I haven’t taken a holiday in the traditional European pack-a-bag for a summer fortnight way for seven years (since I came to live in Singapore). What I have done instead is to take lots of short trips from Hong Kong to Sydney; Bangkok to Bali. Every one has created lasting memories, the most recent being a long weekend to Phuket and coming across an enormous cobra (dead luckily) on the course of an organised 10km run. I agree that these experiences are much more memorable than any purchase. The great thing about living away from your home country is that going back is like a holiday — a time to really appreciate where you come from — and an opportunity to create more great memories.”

- Alison Marshall, Editor


“My last holiday was a five-day jaunt to Lombok with my girlfriend. We went with wide-eyed plans of volcanic hikes, strolls around the island's pink sand beach and boat trips to the world-famed Gili Islands. We ended up just staying in the resort and eating enough banana pancakes to break some kind of world record. By the end I was just a suntanned pastry on legs. Frankly, I wish I was still there. And now I want pancakes. So yeah, holidays rock. As do pancakes.”

- Daniel Seifert, Assistant Editor


“Travel for me has always been my biggest priority, and I’m rich from my experiences — call me the multi-billionaire investor in memories. I first left Australia in 1992 to travel through the Middle East, then again in 1995 to go through Nepal, India and China. I went on to London after that and have been on the move for more than 20 years. When I travel, I feel alive and free. I don’t care if it’s first or developing countries, all places I visit have magic and nothing delights me more than uncovering it. I know how much I have grown personally due to my travels, and because of that, I tell every young person I meet to go and see the world, for at least a little while in their lives. I took my boys — aged seven- and eight-years-old — to Vietnam in July. Travelling as a family is completely different and I love it, because to be able to offer my children this opportunity, and to see it through their eyes, makes me feel very fortunate indeed. Travel has always been my secret to happiness. It’s given me perspective and a wondrous appreciation of our mighty planet. You certainly can’t put a price on that and I’d prefer my memories to bricks and mortar any day.”

- Andrea Edwards, Director, Content Marketing & Training


“I took my last holiday in London this summer. It has been five years since I’ve been to London and caught up and connected with old friends. What is priceless is the way you are able to step right back into those friendships as though you only saw them the week before. Nothing you buy can ever be as nourishing for the soul as those golden moments you share with those closest to you.”

- Ellen Bone, Head of Client Services


“My most recent holiday was to Chengdu, China, and Tibet (whether they are one country, that's another debate altogether). The Tibet trip was the true highlight for me because, before going there, I didn't know anything about the region's people, culture, political situation — nothing. But because I didn't know anything about the place, every person I met and every monastery I visited became a moving, unadulterated experience. I had read up on Tibet, of course, but being there and going off road to places not recommended in brochures and travel guides really made the trip an unforgettable experience. I mean, we hung out with the locals, we ate local food and we learnt about local customs. Definitely one of the most enriching travel experiences indeed.
Now, with that said, I don't agree that one is better than the other. I spend a lot on books because they allow me to travel when I have nowhere else to go. The act of buying books may not have the same lifelong effects on me as a person, but reading and books enrich just as much as travels. I think they feed the same area of my brain when it comes to happiness, really. I don't think we should necessarily justify why one is better than the other. I think if they reach the same place, then they are both legitimate.”

- Wei Lien, Staff Writer

Novus Debates: Is Travel The Secret To Happiness?

BY Team Novus Asia

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