Unfortunately, there are a number of things standing between me and going to Europe. Some of these are issues everyone has, but some are just me.
- Problem: Money. Obviously. This is a problem for anyone who doesn’t make six figures a year, I’d imagine. I have to plan carefully to stay at the cheapest hostels and couch surf when I can as well as buying transportation tickets far enough in advanced that it won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Solution: I will be working all summer. Well, that’s assuming Wendy’s will take me back. Also, even though I don’t like borrowing money, I’m going to ask my grandpa to lend me $500 as an emergency fund that I’d hopefully be able to return to him when I got back home. Also, I have to convince my parents to put money in my bank account to start paying off my student loans because that will start up while I’m away. It’ll only be $200 a month starting in November, so hopefully they’ll consent to taking care of that until I get back.
- Problem: Stomach issues. I have unspecified stomach issues that would make it difficult to tour the world and not know for certain where the next public restroom would be. I’m also lactose intolerant, so I’d have to watch what I was eating in places were I don’t actually speak the language.
Solution: Visit a legit doctor before I go. When I went to my family doctor he basically said it was all in my head and prescribed me fiber capsules. No, they weren’t different than over-the-counter fiber pills you can get, and “it’s all in your head” was the same thing he said when I went in for headaches. I haven’t taken the time to find a new doctor since I’m in college, but I’ll have to to get my asthma medicine sorted out before I go anyways. As for the dairy situation, I’d probably make a cheat card for each country on how to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak your language but I can’t eat food with dairy, can you help me pick something without it?” and hope that worked out for me.
- Problem: Neck problems. Again, I have an unspecified neck problem. It started when I sneezed violently like a year ago and it’s hurt me ever since. Seriously. Usually it’s not as bad if I’m more active and not staying in one position for too long, but there’s nothing I can do about sleeping and half the time I wake up with neck pain that will turn into a migraine if I don’t use ice or ibuprofen to make it go away.
Solution: Visit my chiropractor and see if he can do anything. I’ve been there before, but maybe the second time around he’ll fix it? Also, I plan to take a small microbead neck pillow with me that helps my neck when it hurts and I’m trying to sleep. I’ll be traveling with a bulk bottle of ibuprofen (well, unless there is a restriction on how much I can take on the plane or anything) and I’ll look into instant cold packs that athletic trainers use to take along in case things get bad. I can only imagine the horror of getting a migraine in a hostel.
- Problem: I have never used public transportation before. That combined with the fact that I only speak English and a small amount of Spanish means that I will most certainly get lost, and I will not be pleased about it.
Solution: I’m going to New York City! I’m only 3 hours away here at school, so I’m going there whenever I can walk and I will use the subway and pop my public transportation cherry.
- Problem: My feet. I have a plantar wart problem. Currently, I am recovering from surgery and can’t walk yet. Obviously in Europe I will have to be able to walk quite a bit.
Solution: Get rid of them! The warts, not my feet. Unfortunately, if I don’t take care of this before the fall, I won’t be going anywhere.
I’m not laying these out just to gripe about them, but because once I know exactly what I have to get past I can make goals to get past those. There are going to be other problems, like only speaking English, but that’s something that almost every traveler has to deal with.
I really want to be able to see the world and learn about other cultures, so hopefully this will all seem like nothing once the end of summer rolls around.
Besides, I am afraid of large bodies of water (as in, swimming in them, and I get anxious in boats) but I got over that long enough to go tubing last year. And I was killing, it, as you can see below. At one point I got airborne enough to flip over completely, and I have a picture that’s blurry where I’m over three feet up. So if I could combat seaweed and open water, I got this whole tackling the world thing.