Posted back in May of 2011
“Can I ask you a very personal question… how do you afford to travel?”
In the Americas any discussion on personal finances is often considered a quite sensitive matter. Personally I’m of the opinion that wages and benefits should be publicly known, at least among employees in order to help dissolve favoritism and discrimination in the workplace. I ran upon this article by CNN which highlights some of the difficulties many Americans are facing in the workplace. Recently an old friend of mine spent her own vacation days dealing with critical surgery. I find this very frustrating as time off and travel has become a luxury in the US.
Back to the question, having been asked more than once, it is no secret that I have worked for minimum wage most of my life and do not have a steady income I can yet rely on. Simply put, under any normal circumstance I shouldn’t be able to afford international travel. But a bit of luck, flight vouchers and a lot of good people make it all happen. Along with the occasional airport, bus, and train station, in the last couple years I’ve slept in over thirty homes in nearly a dozen countries never once hungry or lacking of a roof over my head. Which means I do owe a lot of people my bed ;]
Yet, if times were simpler and the economy as strong as it once was, then in all actuality there would have never been a desire on my part to travel in search of something better. Who knows, maybe I’d be driving back from work right now to a modest little apartment where the afternoons would disappear to an enjoyable game of Counter-Strike. The adverse situation in which we find our world today has led me to make more contacts then I would have never made in the past. Simple meetings that lead to friendships that will last a lifetime, and those good people you probably will never see again; from the pair of ladies who bought me lunch at Heathrow as they prepared to fly to India, to the Hostel manager determined to make my life in Hungary a reality as I continued my job search. Two years ago the idea of continuing my studies was an afterthought. The idea of a Master’s had never on any serious note sunk in. Today it’s part of the reality I’m aiming at, as I look forward to the day I can save up my vacation time. =]
P.S. Not to leave any mention of family out, since it’s not like I have no place to go =P
Patiently waiting here among relatives as I see Finland on the horizon.
Life is good.