This was posted on my personal blog in March 2012.
So as of last night, my New York vacation is an official reality. While I had originally planned to go in January 2013, an opportunity came up for me to go at the beginning of June. When I say it is official, I mean it. The plane tickets have been purchased! I am so excited, I can’t wait. This feels very surreal; A year ago…six MONTHS ago, I never thought that I would be in a place that allowed me to purchase airplane tickets without the aid of my parents. I’m not rich by any means, but I have been blessed without a doubt.
Thinking back on how this reality was able to fall into place, I understand now that there are a few important steps that one must take to be able to do something slightly out of the ordinary (taking a vacation is not out of the ordinary, but when you’re a college student working with very limited means…you get the idea).
1) Set a goal and be determined that you WILL meet it. At the end of December, I decided that I was going to New York in 2012. Although that temporarily got pushed back to 2013, the idea that I was going to New York in the near future had not been destroyed. When you set a determination, that pushes you to do the next steps that will turn that determination into a tangible object. 2) Include other people in your plans. I was perfectly fine in going to NYC alone. When my roommate expressed interest in going as well, that helped to give me some new ideas on details and logistics. With his fresh perspective, it made it even more likely that I’d make it to the city. Besides, most of everything is more fun when you do it with a friend. So, maybe if your goal is to run a marathon, include a friend in your plans. You can train together, push each other, encourage each other, and have fun together! 3) Manage your resources – especially your finances. The main thing is going to be sacrifice. You will have to sacrifice plenty in order to save financially. Do I need to take that trip to BJ’s with my friends? Or should I just eat a 99 cent sandwich from Carl’s Jr.? Do I need to go on that ski trip? Or should I stay home and visit with old friends? Do I need to see that movie now? Or can I wait until it hits the discount theater? Whatever your options are, there are always clear distinctions between what you need and what you want. When we are saving and pinching pennies, we begin to realize that we have incorrectly classified some “wants” as “needs.” Rethink your financial priorities, and see how much you can save. 4) Don’t lose hope! You might need to dip into your savings every now and again. People might tell you that it’s a crazy idea, but just keep on trying! Eventually, you will see results.
Once we figure out where we’re going to stay, and whether we can afford to eat or not, we will have conquered the entire beast. But for now, we have won one battle already. I look forward to my trip and writing about my experiences. I’m so excited, I just cannot wait!