Fast Company had a story about how spending money on experiences is better than spending money on things. To this I say “Duh.”
Any fly fisherman will tell you that (or most, if they think about it long enough… sure, some will never get to that conclusion, but some people are idiots and this cannot be helped).
The purpose of the rod is to enable you to take the trip, to be out there, on the water, near the water, in the water, doing the thing the rod was built for. The purpose of the rod is not to sit in your garage, unused, unseen, un-bothered. The rod is to be held, gripped, dipped in water (fresh or salt) and flung around a bit. A rod is built to be thrown, in excitement or in frustration because of the power wrapped up in the experience. The purpose of the rod is not to be owned, not to be counted as a thing, but to be counted as an extension of your arm, of your will, to reach out with it across the distances to connect you intimately to the experience.
It is the experience we seek, that we crave, and the thing becomes a tool, a means to an end, or, sometimes, a substitute for the thing until we can be out there again.
The vice is not something we have to have a vice, but to connect us to the experience of creating. I think the experience is more valuable than the sum of all the flies I’ve tied, of all the materials I’ve bought (and man, I sure do burn through materials when I’m on a fly tying kick). The act of wrapping the thread around the hook, the act of creation, of art, that is what it is really about.
Of course the experience > the thing. The thing has no purpose without the experience. It is the experience I crave and dream of, not owning more rods, unless the new rod or reel opens up some new experience.
Yes, this is a thing we anglers know and know well. So, we’re ahead of the game on that front at least.