We scroll through our social media feeds victim to an infinite collection of social influencers, celebrities, artists and models selling luxury. Slippery tan bodies sprawled on the top of yachts, hands accented with diamond rings holding glasses of champagne and towers of little meals on large platters. We like, follow, repost and create boards until one day we’re the subject of the lustrous photographs. But what does it all actually amount to? The best food, the best clothes, the best transportation and hotel. But when the food’s digested, the clothes outdated, and you’ve checked out of the hotel, what are you left with? A little pinch of pudge around your belly button and an album of great pictures. Instead you should be left with a lingering warmth wrapped around your heart and the tingle in your mind of a sweet memory.
Whilst the monetary wealth of an experience can be duplicated, the sentimental and emotional wealth is truly unique. It is uniquely felt by you and becomes invaluable as it belongs to you alone. It’s a luxury to be welcomed into the home of a local and to pull apart the bread kneaded by their grandmother’s worn knuckles. To be whispered the secrets and tales of a village once thought forgotten. It’s a rarity to find yourself embraced by the wisdom behind a carpenter’s carvings or the emotion behind little hills of colours in a paint stroke. When you’re floating above the blue cloth of the Mediterranean, it isn’t the boat that defines the moment but rather the people you’re with, the way the sea rocks more than your body, and your ability to let go and reveal yourself.
It’s the warm sense of being and the comforting sense of place. Its staring into the folds of mountains or peering at a grape dangling from the vine and seeing your own reflection. It’s having the privilege to melt in time. Lingering at the dinner table until the lights are dimmed but your laughter brightens or gazing into the star-speckled midnight sky and feeling a pulse in your breath as you would looking into the eyes of you lover. Its gripping onto a value that surpasses the material. Whilst five-star hotels promise optimum comfort, there isn’t anything quite like the comfort of knowing you can be yourself. Whilst yoga retreats and spa resorts declare rejuvenation, they can’t replace the surging youth of running between polka dot trees of orange groves or the wonderment in tracing your fingers between the grooves of olive tree wrinkles. Olive pits and orange peels that a man has respected, grown and brought to fruition; a farmer, a man, that walks beside you.
Whether the hope in someone’s eyes shifts something in your own, or the lyrics of an old song speaks the feelings of today, we feel luxurious when an experience resonates inside us. When we feel the experience reverberating through our core; because true luxury is unrefined and rests in the sparkle of human connection and raw human emotion.