Express Yourself

Why it's time to start treasuring experiences, not stuff

Posted by
Louise Doherty
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Creating memories with your friends scientifically makes you happier, healthier and stronger.

Scroll through your social feeds on any day of the week and I bet you’ll see a stream of inspiring but slightly samey posts: meals out, film nights in, far flung holidays, ‘you had to be there’ gigs, sporting achievements and a bunch of other FOMO-inducing happenings that make you wish there were more weekends in the week.

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’re all doing it. But why are we doing it?

Well, because these posts aren’t just weekly reports… they’re actually carefully crafted expressions of who we really are.

Are you a polo-goer, or obstacle course assassin? A drunken bruncher or a new mum luncher? Are you #fitfam or #foodie, or both? And if you don’t post pics from your adventures, how will anyone know who you really are?

Our parents’ generation expressed themselves and defined their status by what they could afford to buy (think fancy clothes, cars and houses), but our generation can’t afford that stuff. It’s no wonder that, rather than waste what little money we have after the rising rent and stagnating wages of the last decade, we want to spend it making amazing memories with our friends. Who knows if we’ll ever feel like a proper adult who’s got the stuff to prove we “made it”, so in the meantime HELL YES to five day festivals, must-visit restaurants and adventure weekends abroad.

Bring on five-day festivals

The good news is that science says that this approach to life actually makes us smarter than our parents. While buying a house is classed as one of the most stressful things you can do in life, studies have shown that strong, real-world relationships make you happier, healthier, recover from disease faster and live longer. And the way to create long-lasting relationships? Science says the key is to have new, mildly adrenaline-inducing experiences together.

My company PlanSnap is a platform to get friends together quickly for any kind of social occasion, and I had the idea because I was organising a 30-person camping trip to a Total Wipeout-style aqua assault course. At the age I quit my job to build the fastest way to get friends together, my mum was married, had bought her second house, had me as a toddler and was pregnant with my brother.

The difference between what my mum had achieved and how she expressed that success could not be more different to mine, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision because I know I’m not the only one making lists of things to see, stuff to do, places to visit and pop ups to hit up before they close down. There has been a fundamental shift in the way we spend our money on experiences not things, which I can see on social media but also by how quickly PlanSnap is growing. I love hearing stories of the awesome experiences we helped take the hassle out of planning!

When you take away being defined by the stuff you own, it opens your mind to being defined by the collection of experiences you’ve had and the depth of your relationships, which is something far more valuable (though try arguing that one with your bank manager before payday).

So, the next time you fire up your feed to update everyone about your latest antics, don’t feel bad about expressing yourself that way, because you’re inspiring people to get out and do exciting things with their friends. Sitting at home with a smorgasoard of of expensive “stuff” is out and getting friends together to tick experiences off your budget list is firmly IN.

Feeling inspired? Here’s five things you can do this weekend, round the UK and Ireland, as put together by myself and Gemma Cairney.

Vegan treats 


Ireland’s largest vegan food and lifestyle event is back bigger and better than ever for the veg-curious and committed plant based eaters alike. 

Griffith College, South Circular Road, DO8 VO4N Dublin 8, Ireland; 10 -12 euros; Sat 22 September from 11:00- 18:00; 

Dog yoga

Doga Mahny

Try Doga Mahny for the unique chance to see more actual dogs than downward dogs in your Vinyasa. No need to bring your own! 

 20 Prince Of Wales Road, NW5 3LG; £35; recurring classes;

Brunch is served 

Bottomless martini brunch

Start the weekend with brunch in a birdcage, with four choices of bottomless martinis including mango and chilli. 

 Dirty Martini Manchester, 1 Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5QR; £25 person; every Saturday at 12.30pm and 2.30pm, in 90-minute slots; 

Nish Kumar 

Nish Kumar: It’s in your nature to destroy yourself

Double Edinburgh Festival award-winning host of the BBC’s Mash Report is guaranteed to make you cackle; 

The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ; £20-23;  23rd September at 8pm;



Art is better beside the seaside  and as part of Margate Festival, Babe Studio is exhibiting Stoops, a look at the seaside steps and the communities behind them. 

Babe Studio, Hantverk & Found, 16-18 King Street, Margate, CT9 1DA; Free; throughout Autumn;

Download PlanSnap for free on the App Store or Play Store and get your friends together, fast! 

Image: Supplied