Ok, ladies and gents. I have been asked many times how I am able to afford traveling to different states and, every so often, different countries. The answer? Well, I can’t afford it to be honest with you. However, that does not mean I still can’t travel. Here is how I basically manage to travel interstates and intercontinental. Some of my advice may be tailored to current students since what I’ve learned, I learned as a student and came across it because I am student. Others can still hopefully benefit from this. Enjoy.
In all honesty, I feel I am not the brightest out of the bunch. When observing the individuals around me, including my colleagues, friends, and even my best friend, I notice that it takes me more significant amount of time to learn or comprehend a subject, word, or event. In other words, I’m a bit slow lol. It’s frustrating, but I don’t let it derail me from my ambitions. Where I lack learning swiftness, I compensate with determination. In anything you truly desire, you must be determined to attain it, and persevere through all failures. Now how does this relate to traveling? In more ways than you may initially think. One definite relation is having the determination to find the means, whatever, whenever, however, to travel wherever you desire. But this is just a segue to the next topic.
About 90% of my travels have been funded through some sort of educational program such as academically- oriented jobs, internships, or research position. I have the drive to learn, experience new things, and succeed in my ambitions. A side effect of this determination is being granted the opportunity to work in different areas across the states and the world to continue my education with either little or completely no loss to my personal funds from my bank account. I am currently writing this blog in my office in South Korea. How did I get here, and what am I doing? I wrote a research proposal with a South Korean professor, and NSF flew me out here to work with him for the summer. Let me emphasize what I just said. I wrote a 6-7 page paper… and NSF paid for my flight to Asia. Again, if you desire to travel, find the possible means to do so, and have the determination to see it through. I have to admit, writing that proposal was not easy.
I would recommend every student reading this blog post to apply to several of the scholarships you recently shrugged off as impossible to attain. I used to do that until I hit the mother load one day, and decided to at least try if I think the requirements for applying are reasonable. I usually don’t aim for big ones unless I really need it because those are usually very competitive, and the chances of being awarded are low. Interesting enough, many of the scholarships, at least several years back, had low application rates because people did not think they could win it. There have been times where I thought I wouldn’t get a particular scholarship, but now I am starting to get used to “Dear Oyindamola, … Congratulations for winning the…. “. Just try. If the application requirement is essay based, it will improve your writing skills in the process. Now how do I find these scholarships? … I found this awesome website called um… oh yea… Google.com. That has to be the best fucking website I have ever come across. I just search for “scholarships” and see what pops up. I may sometimes tailor it with “computer science”, “African-American”, “undergrad”, etc. to find more options. You should try it some time. 😉
This section and subsequent ones are for the general audiences. If you find the means to travel, minimize the amount of luggage you carry with you. Coordinate, for example, the clothes and footwear in such a way that you maximize the number of distinct complete outfits with the minimum amount of clothes and footwear. This helps with saving airport fees with check-in luggage, and also helps you with being able to move around faster and easier. Trust me, you will understand soon enough.
Cheapest Routes (thru friends)
If you are able to acquire the funds for traveling, make sure to do your research to find the cheapest route to the desired destination. It saves you a lot more money. Imagine what you can do with a couple extra hundred dollars once you arrived to your destination. You could possibly visit fancier restaurants, shop more, stay longer at a hotel, do more sightseeing, or even skydive over the island you maybe planning to visit. This is where one advantage of efficient backpacking comes into play. The cheapest route may not always be the easiest to travel. So you want to be able move swiftly and easily while traveling. Traveling can be stressful, so the less things you have to worry about the better.
Most of all, Make Friends
I can not stress this enough. The best commodity you can have in your travels are friends. They hold an abundance of knowledge and opportunities. They can help you with the cheapest routes to take from one place to another. They can recommend places to visit, both tourist attractions and secret spots for that area. They can even increase your networking opportunities as well. Introduce you to people you could not even imagine randomly meeting on your own. I just traveled to Japan again for ten days, and this great guy I know Danny introduced me to Miss World Japan 2012, 2011’s Miss Universe finalist. One thing I always try to take advantage of is a place to crash. If I am spending money to fly to a different state or , even worse, a different country, I especially do not want to pay any additional fees for housing! I’ve been traveling a lot since 2008, and every where I’ve been I either had housing already paid for or I crashed at one of my friends I know that live in that area. I don’t think thats cheap, but more like maximizing your funds to do what you want, especially with the friend you will staying with.
That’s all I can give in terms of advice as of now. I’m currently on my way to the airport for JEJU ISLAND baby!!!!
Just another day in the life of me. 🙂