Travelling experiences have been truly exhilarating and looking back on those experiences brings great joy. Experiences - rather than buying stuff - seems to be the rage recently, summarized in Doing makes you happier. So, I came across some well-read articles by Thomas Gilovich (Cornell) on heuristics. One article on Heuristics and Biases (2002) summarizes some of these sentiments. A more recent publication in Journal of Consumer Psychology (2014), A wonderful life: experiential consumption and the pursuit of happiness, shows that it may be even more important during the younger years (21-54), much more so than during retirement, see Figure 1 of article, and below.

It also discusses the "letting go of comparison". Another important question is how bad purchases and bad experiences affect the equation. In my experience, bad experiences are usually forgotten, see Silk Road Race.