Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m young, and I’m broke. As a 20-year-old college student, though, what else would you expect?
But the thing is, I am dying to travel.
I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain last summer, through a program with my school, and the experience undoubtedly changed my life forever. Leaving the States for the first time, I was not prepared for the awakening the trip would spring upon me. The ensuing wanderlust when I returned has been so extraordinary that it is almost unbearable. Each night before I sleep, I browse through pictures of Santorini, Prague, Mahcu Picchu, Granada, Johannesburg, Nice, Zurich, Buenos Aires, Lagos, Dublin and every other beautiful city abroad. I have dreamed of returning the Europe since the day my plane touched down in at Newark Liberty International Airport.
So I started planning. I spent the rest of my summer working part time during the day and researching at night. I looked for every possible opportunity to return to Europe. I searched for other study abroad opportunities, teaching English abroad programs, volunteer trips and international conferences. Every single one though, cost thousands of dollars and was completely out of my budget.
I left for Spain with about $1,500 in my bank account after purchasing my $1,450 round trip plane ticket to Madrid. I returned with $100. I had to beg my parents for rent money, and the thoughts of buying new clothes, going to concerts or eating out for the rest for the summer were completely out of the question. Albeit, every penny I spent in Spain was completely and utterly worth it. I just did not know how I could ever afford to travel again while still a student.
By some strange, twisted stroke of luck, however, I received two part-time job offers at the start of the new semester. I already had one job, but the thought of increasing my weekly salary was enticing. I now work about 27 hours per week along with classes, but I would not change anything for the world. I happen to love all of my jobs and am using them all to boost my resume — the most significant benefit, though, is that now I can afford to travel again!
I found a trip through Contiki Holidays, a company planning trips for those aged 18 – 35, which is a 15-day camping trip this summer through four European countries: England, France, Italy and Spain. Sure, we will be hitting the most toursity destinations, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum, but those spots were on my bucket list anyway. Reasonably priced at $1,650 plus taxes, the trip was something I could afford. I have to pay for the flight to and from London, plus food and souvenirs once I get there, but if I start saving now, I should be fine.
And now my head is bursting with excitement, anxiety, and above all else, anticipation .Consequently, I created this blog for organizing my thoughts, plans and ideas for the trip. I plan to post my research and discoveries on this site in hopes to help and inspire other young, broke travelers.
Stick with me kids, and you’ll go far.