The weeks continue to fly by.
I finished my assessments from last week and I only have 12 classes between me and Easter holiday.
This experience has been supersonic—when break is over, there is only one week left in the semester.
I will be in Spain for 12 days, and then Eileen and I will fly up to Paris for the next four nights until we make it back to London for a little exploration on April 18.
I booked the hostels just last night and the cost is a bit depressing, but hey, how else am I going to spend my money?
Money can be a limiting factor for so many people.
They say, “I’m so jealous of all your travels; I wish I could do that, but I can’t afford it.”
I say; if you want something, go get it. You’ll never travel anywhere if you don’t purchase the first ticket.
My secret to affording world travel as a 21-year-old is as follows:
I decide I want to go. Period.
When you are dedicated to doing something, it radiates through you. Focus on the end goal. Others will be able to see it and everyone you encounter will want to help you in some way. It might be pointing you to a good website for cheap airline tickets, or they might straight up tour you around the country.
Once I jump that big hurdle, I simply save money.
I normally save 20 percent of everything I earn, but I was able to save between 40 and 60 percent of each paycheck from September to when I left work mid-December.
That money helped me pay for all my deposits and fees while I applied for scholarships.
The Norbert O. Schedler Honors College offers its students Travel Abroad grants (TAG) and Undergraduate Research grants (URGE), and the Office of Study Abroadis always connecting students with financial assistance.
If you are in the Honors College, take advantage of TAG and URGE!
(If you are not in the Honors College, you should think about applying!)
The final chapter of Peyton’s financial advice is to make a weekly and a monthly budget based on the money you have in pocket.
How close you stick to the budget form on a week to week basis will tell you how the trip is going to go. You can always adjust your plan from there.
Planning on the front end can be stressful and difficult, but now that I am on the downward slope, I can honestly say I’ve never been more relaxed in my life.
The first few days I was in Sunderland, I sat down with a girl who has become my best friend and we made lists of what we wanted to get out of our experience here.
I mapped out the approximate cost of my adventure list and left it to sit.
On Sunday night, I checked with the list:
1. Visit Edinburgh—check.
2. Visit all the national parks (I must say that this one is a little ambitious, but I’ll try.)
3. Go to beaches all the time—check. I frequent a few, Roker Beach is really close to home, too.
4. Participate in a pub crawl—check. Thank you St. Paddy’s day for the 14-hour headache that followed.
Side note: I went to a hockey match with my hangover. Hockey matches are really fun. Hockey matches are really loud.
5. Go to London—April 18!
6. Ride the London Eye—see #5.
7. Try windsurfing. Maybe.
8. Full English breakfast. I’m not really sure what this entails, but I’m 100 percent sure it’s not vegetarian.
9. Amsterdam. There is a 30 quid ferry that will take me there, I just need to do it.
10. See the Lake District—booked! I’m taking a bus there this weekend!
11. Get a small tattoo.
After looking at my progress thus far, I think it was completely reasonable when I woke up on Monday morning suddenly motivated to get my next tattoo.
I had planned on spending around £50 to get a little flower on my left arm. Lucky for me, I met a beautiful Australian soul named Eby who had already explored the local tattoo studios.
We were able to walk in to Sunderland Body Art, show our design ideas and get tatted for only £25.
(Can you say budget adjustment?? That’s a ferry ride to Amsterdam!)
I love my new tattoo and my new friends and I cannot wait to continue checking off this list with them.
Cheers and beers,