Prioritize, and go after what you want

Sai Srikar Kadiyam

I took my first vacation out of the U.S. when I was less than a year old, and I’ve had the travel bug ever since.

I traveled internationally by myself for the first time when I was 17, and I’ve crowned my trip to London, the cultural center of the world, when I was 12 as one of my top traveling achievements.

Traveling was what I’ve always wanted. Last year I saved every penny and traveled internationally four times, and 2013 will top it off. I get the same questions all the time: “How did you do that?” or “My parents would never pay for that.” Neither would mine. After all, they’re paying for my schooling. I paid for it myself, and I’m proud I did.

I’m like many UMKC students. I go to school full time and have a part-time job. I probably work less than 20 hours a week. I pay for my groceries, car insurance, gas, electric, internet, etc. Anything extra, I save. Traveling was my goal, a new car or flat screen might be yours. Just decide what you want and go get it. Here are some helpful tips for how I do things.

1. Open a bank account separate from your checking account for that special something. I call mine the travel account. It was easy to set up and that way the money isn’t all together in my checking where I can spend it all on a whim.

2. Put part of every pay check into that separate account. I prefer to put half of every pay check. That’s a bit much for some people, but I want what I want and I want it fast. One fourth of each check is a great start.

3. Cut out unnecessary purchases. In my case, I cut my nonsense trips to whatever stores where I would buy whatever was on sale. It gave me a chance to appreciate all the great clothing I do have. When it comes down to it, I thought of it like this: “Do you want these shoes here, or do you want to save for that trip to India or Brazil and buy a pair there that no one else will have?” Works every time.

4. Stand firm. The rest is about willpower. You want this. You want this car bad. You want to be the first in your family to travel outside the U.S. You want that glass top table for your apartment because it will breathe life into the whole room. So eliminate all else, and focus on what you want. When you get it and you know you paid for it yourself, the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming.

I blame it on our family. It was one of the best gifts they could have given me. We’re the traveling kind.

Wanderlust-a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about: the perfect definition to the calling my heart feels to see everything there is to see. Something expensive you’ve been eyeing to buy? It can be yours if you pick it, focus, and go for it. A little hard work goes a long way. Last year was four trips. This year, I’m hoping for five. May the pages of my passport be full and the goals you set be met.

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