Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wandering sole: big world, small budget

Dream big, start now

By Jen Jepsen, Guest Travel Columnist

It’s a big world out there, kids.

Between 196 countries, seven wonders, and 13,000 zip-lining companies in the U.S. alone, the allures of travel are endless.

So what’s a broke college student to do?

With part-time jobs and looming tuition payments, travel can seem like an impossible option for even the most dedicated of wanderers.

I’m here to tell you differently. Equipped with a backpack, initiative, and at least a touch of wanderlust, you’d be surprised just how far away from home you can find yourself.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we live in a treasure trove of adventure opportunities - from hiking to theater to coffee shops, the breathtaking beauty of the Oregon Coast to the street art of Seattle. Whether you grew up here or are a newcomer like me, there’s always something new to discover if you’re willing to take the time to look.

How many times have you wanted to get off campus but haven’t? Or thought of doing something out of your comfort zone but put it off ‘til later?

It’s the beginning of a new semester, the perfect time to start the plans you never thought could actually happen.

As a senior, trust me when I say the time goes fast. Waiting to hike Rainier or take the road trip to California only makes it more difficult as time goes on. With a little bit of creativity, saving a little from each paycheck and some initiative, plans can happen.

Budgeting is pivotal while travelling as a student. That includes time as well as money. Set aside the time now in your full calendar for the birthday trip to Vancouver or celebration Seattle run.

We all know how procrastination works.

Wait until the last minute and the number of reasons to stay at home only increases while you spend the weekend wishing you were doing something else. You’ll thank yourself later for coordinating schedules now instead of talking with your friends this summer about the camping trip you’d wished you’d taken.

The world is yours to be explored. Every trip begins with a crazy idea, some initiative and planning. So what’s keeping you from starting?

You get one chance to write your life story.

Make it worth retelling.

Jen Jepsen is a senior English major at Pacific Lutheran University officially diagnosed with a bad case of wanderlust. Aside from travel and photography, her pastimes include dancing, hiking, Bananagrams and being vegetarian.