Of Time And Money

One of the
Hardest things I’ve had to
Adjust to
Since coming to Bologna for my Masters is
Not the culture, no—
Though I’ll admit the language barrier has me
Stumbling, even after having taken
Some basic Italian before leaving the Philippines—
But the scarcity of my funds.

My experience of a
One year exchange program in
Kyoto, Japan is
Ill-comparable to my experience
Now.
This is mainly because, in Japan, I was
Fortunate to have a
Full scholarship, with a
Stipend that more than covered my accommodation expenses and
Left a lot over for travel.

Hence, that year,
Travel I did—
Some were planned; some,
Spontaneous adventures. And,
Since then, my
Wanderlust, my
Travel bug, my
Itchy feet—
However you want to call it, really—grew, and
Thrived.

But now, I don’t have
Such luxuries.

Arriving a month prior to the official start of the semester, and
Not even having pre-term classes (which were offered by my school to start some people of on either Microeconomics or Italian, but which were too expensive for my budget)—
Though I did take the opportunity to attend the free
Math review classes for pre-calculus and calculus,
As well as all the orientations that were already being offered at this time—
Most people would say to
Make the most of this time
To travel.

And I would have—trust me, I
Wanted to—
But,
Things aren’t as simple as that.

While impulsive and spontaneous travel is a
Good experience and test of character,
I’ve since realized that it is also
A luxury that one such as I
Cannot afford, at least not at this moment in time.
As most, if not all, budget travelers know:
When faced with limited funds, we
Make the most of our money
By planning.

It’s true, you don’t always need
A lot of money to travel;
The caveat is
To prepare yourself
Beforehand:

Cheaper flights are bought
Months in advance,

Cheaper accommodations can be found
When a good amount of time is put into the search,

Cheaper visa fees are ones
Not in the airport, but those obtained prior to arrival, and

Cheaper trips are built
Not off itineraries, but with well-informed budget plans.

And true, it’s
Almost a waste to
Spend this free time
Not traveling—
Oh, the places I could, would, want to go!—
But then again, there is
Both practicality and
Priority.

For all the plans of
Where to go,
The issue of money also
Dictates when—and
I don’t mean the date or time or season,
But rather,

Now—
While I’m here in Europe for the first time;
This year,
While I’m studying for my Masters—or

Next time—
I’ll come back again;
Someday,
Eventually,
For sure.

And so, I must
Prioritize—

Of all the places I want to go,
Which do I go to now, and
Which will I save for the future?

But also,
When is the best time to go,
That I will make the most of this one (of few) trips now?

To plan and then to go,
Versus
To go without a plan:
If you had my same dilemma,
Would you agree with my stance?

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