Saturday August 1st,
I was recently asked by a friend back home; “Where did you get the money to travel the world all summer?!” This is a funny question to me. For her I broke it down to three parts of travel, and one main point. The first two weeks I traveled with my mom and she paid for our expenses. It was an amazing experience to travel through London, Paris, and Marseille with my mom and I would highly suggest it to any mother-daugther duo. It strengthened our bond, and pushed us far out of our comfort zones.
The second part of my travels this summer was the two month portion of my study abroad and internship where everything was covered by the cost of my summer tuition which I paid in May. I received a great scholarship that nearly cut the cost of my summer studies in half through Purdue University. Every trip I took during those two months was paid for by the University here in France.
Then there is the last two weeks of my travels where I am going to Greece, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany before flying out of London. This part I am paying on my own, out of my savings with some help from my parents. But here’s the most important part of this whole thing; in all honesty I’m probably going to be plum broke by the time I graduate college, but aren’t all college students these days? If I would have waited to when I could “afford” to travel Europe I would be in my thirties, most likely married with children. And at that point I wouldn’t spend the money on traveling, it would have gone into savings. So to answer my friend’s question on “where did I get the money” I didn’t. I just made it work, and so far it has. If you’re someone reading this blog and wanting to travel then my best advice is to make it happen. If you wait till you can afford it, you’ll never do it. And with that being said, I couldn’t afford not to take this trip.
What I have gained in the past three months is something you can’t put a dollar sign around. The experiences, memories, and friendships aren’t something money can buy. You can’t pay for this kind of independence and self confidence I now have. And at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done money is paper and plastic. It’s materialistic and has no real value to it. Whereas the life lessons I’ve gained while in Europe have a lot of very real value that will last me a lifetime.
Now sure money makes things easy, but its pretty easy to find the cheapest train ticket around and ride it to your next adventure. So if you are like me, wanting to see and experience more and your a college student, look into your university’s study abroad programs. They are affordable, get you out of the states, and put you in a place to make the experience anything you want it to be. So step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, see new sunsets, and learn to really live your life.