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The most expensive book I’ve ever purchased: $12.98?

July 16, 2009

I remember it vividly.  It was just last summer.  I had ordered two California hiking books from Amazon, and T and I were sitting on the balcony in my old apartment going through them, drinking white wine.  Trekking California captured us.  I’m certain I didn’t realize how hard core a lot of the hikes in this book were when I purchased it, but the pictures were SO stunning I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Something inside me said “I need to do that”.

We’d only hiked very casually and had virtually no gear.  I always liked hiking in theory, but there were more corn/wheat fields than forested nature trails and mountains where I’m from.  “Can we do this?!?”  I asked.

I doubt I would’ve had the guts to take the plunge and buy all the necessary gear if it weren’t for T‘s excitement about the idea.  He had the same feeling, the same desire to trek out into the woods, away from cars, away from the internet, away.  There’s something absolutely romantic/adventurous/exciting/thrilling to us about carrying everything we need on our backs, going to the tops of mountains, and seeing some of the most stunning vistas in the country.

So, we decided to do it.  The book (which now seems to be available for much more) was only $12.89.  But it was the driving force behind the thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and ideally, a lifetime of adventures and memories.

Have you ever purchased something, seemingly small, that ended up being very very expensive (and maybe, that ended up changing your life)?

[Photo by Mat Honan]

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2009 5:18 pm

    Working holiday visa to the states one college summer. I think it was around 200 Irish pounds at the time. Somehow I obtained a (now) husband, NYC career and many (many) more immigration bills along the way …..

  2. July 17, 2009 4:24 am


    Electronics do this to me. I spent $50 on an iPod shuffle or something, and now I want better headphones for it 😛 That cost another $50.

    Or wanting to buy a book of piano songs to get back into playing the piano? Now I want to spend $3000 on a digital portable piano, a case, a stand.. you get the idea

  3. July 17, 2009 4:25 am

    Oh and I’ve also noticed when people update the cushions in a living room or buy a new lamp, suddenly, everything has to go and be changed to focus around the new lamp.

    And then the whole home has to be redone.. and then a new car to match up.. and so on and so on

  4. July 22, 2009 12:16 pm

    I didn’t buy it, but finding a Motley Fool book in my grandfather’s car when I was 14 definitely changed my life (their first I think, some short simple thing on investing).

    I poured over that compound interest chart – you know the one, where it compares Bill putting $3K in an IRA for 10 years and then quitting forever to Tom, who starts investing 10 years later but puts $3K in for 30 years. Of course Bill ends up with way more money at age 65. I couldn’t get over it! I was 14, and none of the charts even started until age 25 – how much could I end up with?!?

    I opened a brokerage account that year and bought my first stocks. I opened a Roth IRA 4 years later. And the rest is history!


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