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  • Yaa Asantewaa Faraji

How to Travel the World

The only difference between me in Paris and Beyonce in Paris is where she stays.

She might stay in a 5-star hotel and have a chef that serves her a 3-star meal, and I might be living in a budget hostel somewhere in Montmartre in front of the Sacre Coeur. But when we both look out, we are looking at the same Tour Eiffel. And to get to the top of it costs €14 for her as it does for me. Maybe she didn’t have to dine-and-dash one night because she had enough money to pay for her meal, and maybe she wasn’t taking the train to get from the Tour Eiffel to the Louvre, but when we saw the Mona Lisa, we saw it the same.

It was the same size to both of us: ironically small despite its grandiose appearance across the globe, and we probably both laughed at the irony of the portraits misnomer. Possibility is funny that way – it suggests that it can be done because there are many ways of doing it.

Anything is possible because anything is not restricted. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how much access you are allowed – you are allowed it. Even if you only have €25 to your name in Amsterdam, you can still bike through Vondelpark and enjoy a coffee shop on the way.

(The tiniest little thing that you ever did see)

It’s a matter of knowing what you want, not knowing what you have – what you have is not important; having more of anything does not guarantee more possibilities – possibilities are given to those who decide to have them.

My study abroad advisor told me that I would need 3 times as much money than I had to embark on this journey – she had encouraged me not to partake in this experience. I calmly thanked her for her advice, and then ignored all that I had been told. I was going, and nothing was going to stop that.

There were moments when I had no money, where I had to stretch €40 for a month, yet still managed to travel to local Cannes and Nice (left photo) in the meantime. Still managed to eat a hearty bowl of pasta each night (1KG of pasta and a jar of sauce is only a €3 meal!). Still managed to make it to class each week, worry free, and actively tackle my course-load.

I didn’t live in France because I could, I lived in France because I wanted to. The most powerful tool any of us are given in life is will. With it, you can conquer the unimaginable, simply because you imagine it so.

Just as Beyonce imagined the Tour Eiffel towering over her as she drank her morning coffee, so did I, too, imagine its inescapable charm accompanying me to dinner.

You can’t put a price on experience, just as you can’t put a price on a life. What you experience does not have to cost millions or even thousands (and sometimes even hundreds) of dollars. You can experience the most in this world, simply, off of what you are willing to pay for it.

Some are willing to pay millions, others hundreds, some only a scrawled poem on the back of a napkin somewhere in the Champs Elysees, with only €2 to offer for dinner that day.

Make do and let live. The world is yours, after all.


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