When I came back from my first ever trip to Europe seven months ago, if you had told me that I would get to visit the old continent again in the near future, I would most likely have told you to shut the fuck up. (Sorry but I’m just downright rude at times.) It isn’t that I don’t want it happen or anything; in fact, I have wanted it to happen badly every fucking single day ever since I returned. Here’s the thing, though: traveling to far-flung places in Europe or America or Africa is a huge deal for us, third-world country’s citizens and thus mostly reserved to the cream of the crop. Unlike many of you with a passport that allows you to travel freely and a currency that holds strong values whenever you go, we have to go through the whole visa hassle with the high chance that our visa application will be rejected. On top of that are splitting headaches such as money (just so you know, our beloved currency is among the most worthless in the world), leave permission, family objections yidda yadda yadda. So, I had no idea then how I would manage to pull off another trip to Europe in a mere six month.
However, the reality (as in this evening reality) is I’m going to Europe again. ALONE. This time, I’m going to plant my seeds in France, Spain and Portugal.
Before you make any wild assumption, let me just say upfront that I’m not a trust fund baby. I come from a middle-income family and am actually making a meager income now that I left the more lucrative field of business and finance. For the trip to materialize, I have been saving most of my embarrassingly low income for the past five months. Remember I publicly vowed on the blog a while ago that I would be a shopping diet for at least six months? Except for THIS which is a necessity in and of itself. I completely turned a blind eye to all the amazing deals this sales season. I’m not a personal finance guru or a budget travel expert, but what I know is that if traveling is your priority (as in you genuinely want to travel, not just pay lip service), then you simply have to save to the best of your ability by cutting off everything but necessities. My rationale might be off-base, but I firmly believe that traveling is more beneficial if you do it when you are young. It doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t travel when you get old. However, generally speaking, you get more out of it when you are in your prime, physically and mentally. I’m doing this trip on a very tight budget (in case you like to know how tight, the number is in the neighborhood of $1,600-1,800 for more than 2 weeks, which already includes the standard-rate airfare of $1,000). I will be having major college moments all over again by staying in dormitory style hostels. Bunk bed, anyone?
As you can imagine, I’m excited. Strangely enough, I’m not being as excited as I thought I would be. It’s neither because I have been to Paris before (but never to Spain and Portugal) nor because I’m too nervous about traveling on my own (I’m moderately so, though). I don’t doubt for a second that I love exploring new countries and cultures. Plus, architecture and photography are two of my interests, both of which traveling happens to provide plenty of so I’m quite happy when I’m on the road. But, I have been wondering whether they are only the tip of the iceberg. Is the core of it all that traveling, to me, is a form of escapism? Am I too discontent with my current life that I just have to go somewhere whenever it’s possible? It’s not, by and large, an inherently bad reason but really, hailing from a poor third-world country I can’t help but feel guilt-stricken if that is the real why. For the bigger portion of the world population, just getting on an airplane, let alone going to far-flung expensive places, remains quite a priviledge. So, the last thing I’d want is to indulge in it in order to treat my ‘first-world’ problem if we can call it that.
OK, enough about my rambling thoughts and on to a few housekeeping stuff. Firstly, what you see in the photo above (along with enough underwear to last me the whole trip, LOL) is all that I pack for this trip. 3 outfits in total for 17 days. I will do my best to blog frequently while on the road. But if you want to get real-time update on all the boys and girls and actions in Paris, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Lisbon and Paris again, follow me on INSTAGRAM.
That’s about it. Goodbye and good luck 😉