To travel is to live, said Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish writer.
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.
This quote made me think. I believe that travelling is living in the best possible way. Exploring different landscapes, cultures and people. But it also prompted me to consider whether I live to travel.
For 8 months of the year I live in Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities in the world, and study architecture. This is my passion and I love it. However, the 4 months that I get off every summer are incredibly precious to me because it’s when I get to leave. Travelling is the only thing I’ve ever been sure I wanted to do and as soon as I was old enough I got a job and started saving. This allowed me to jet off alone 2 summers ago when I had just turned 18. Then, throughout my first year of university I saved money in order to get me to America where I worked for almost 3 months. The money I earned allowed me to travel for a couple of weeks at the end of the summer. Now I’m in my second year of university and, with a big year of travel coming up, I’m doing everything I can to save money. I don’t have the time to work so I have to rely on my loans, grants and bursaries to fund my trips. It’s not about how much money I receive, it’s about how I balance spending and saving. Personally it’s far more important for me to save.
When considering whether to go out for a meal, see a film or buy a top, I always consider how much it is really worth. For example, saving £5 could be breakfast while travelling, £15 could be a night in a hostel, £25 could be a train ride between two places and £50 could fly me to a new country. Every price has a ‘travel value’. More often than not I choose to save it instead of spending it.
I feel like this makes me sound stingy. I’m not though. I still do things that I enjoy. I’ve been to the theatre 3 times in as many months, I will often go for a nice lunch at the weekend and I like to treat myself to a good book or some ice cream. I try to ensure that I don’t in fact live to travel. I love my life at university and feel like I’ve got a good balance between doing things I like and saving enough money to do the thing I love.
I was chatting to my best friend today, one of the only people I can be truly honest with, about university. When I finish university, either in 1.5 or 2.5 years, I will go travelling. It’s the only thing I’m sure about. I am in absolutely no rush to become an architect, but I do want to travel. I need to travel. This makes me want to pack up and leave immediately, or as soon as possible at least. Whilst I do thoroughly enjoy university, it’s got nothing on the feeling when you step foot in a new city, or see a view that makes your eyes water, or meet someone who you know you’ll be friends with forever.
I think that I do actually live to travel.
To travel is to live.