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Prioritizing travel

I had an eHarmony match ask me a few weeks ago how I could afford to travel so much.  Something about his wording – and the fact that it was the very first thing he asked me when he was allowed to ask his own questions – made me feel defensive, as though I needed to justify where I got the money to travel.  I don’t remember exactly what I wrote back, but I’ve been thinking about the question a lot in the days since then.

So how do I afford to travel?  Well, to start, I make it a priority.  There are dozens of things I consider buying, but don’t, every week – and dozens of things I no longer even think about buying.  These things range from tea or a snack between classes to a pretty sweater, a cool baking sheet, a new book – or even a bag of popcorn at the grocery store.  I consider and then dismiss almost all of these purchases because I know the money adds up, a few cents or dollars at a time, and I have more important things I want to do.  I’m willing to be a little hungry until I get home to the food I already own, borrow the book from a friend, or go without another addition to my wardrobe.  The pleasure I get from most everyday purchases is fleeting, but the happiness I get from travel sticks around.

Also, I realize that travel doesn’t have to be very expensive.  It can be, for sure, but it doesn’t have to be.  When I travel I try to go off-peak, I stay in hostels (nice ones though), and I eat cheaply.  That means my biggest cost is just getting there, and with enough flexibility and internet searching, that can usually be pretty affordable.

To me, then, it’s all a matter of priorities.  Both day-to-day and while traveling, I spend my money on the things that matter most to me, and so far that’s allowed me to have some great experiences.

Categories: Travel
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