Rafael Belchior
Feb 5 · 5 min read

From the 22nd of January to the 26th, I visited Poland. We could go over a lot of arguments why Poland is an excellent destination and, conversely, why it is not the best place to live. But that’s for another time.

Effectively, traveling is one of the few things you can buy that makes you richer. Travelling allows you to open your mind, listen to different perspectives and, on top of that, gives you the tools to reason about our world under a renovated bliss. People who travel regularly have invariably fewer difficulties seeing different angles of the same situation and tend to be more empathetic. Keep in mind that while traveling can be illuminating, it is not an absolute way to happiness, but it helps you find meaning in small things. Finding meaning in smalls things allows you to develop gratitude, which helps you find your life purpose.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Travelling also allows you to meet and discover amazing, inspiring people. It was on my Erasmus that I’ve made friends for life, learned what is to struggle in a different country and additionally, how to thrive there.

But traveling requires some money, and that needs you to have some discipline managing it. With the money I receive from my part-time job, each month I always manage to: invest 10% in stocks; save 10%–15% for traveling; pay the university tuition fee, cover all my expenses and even allocate some “fun money” (dining out, cinema and so on). If you can do this efficiently, you will be able to invest your money, aiming for the long term financial independence, while not compromising obligations and, best of all, be able to travel every two-three months.

And the best, my dear readers, is that traveling is very cheap, way cheaper than people realize if you are willing to go on adventure mode. After a few months of saving, you can go on an adventure. An overview of the expenses of my last one:

Five days of costs abroad, after converting PLN to EUR

Pro-tip: use Revolut. It is awesome. 0% exchange commissions, and even has some nice features that allow you to control your budget and visualize consumption patterns (so this summary was rather easy to do). It allowed me to save a lot of money.

If you buy the plane tickets in the right time-frame, they are ridiculously cheap (RyanAir, WizzAir). For instance, there are sometimes tickets from Lisbon to Italy/France/Germany for 20€–40€, two ways. For example, I pay 31,40€ to go from Lisbon to my hometown, with the student’s discount.

Plane tickets are not that expensive, although they may account for most of the budget, depending on how much time you are planning to stay abroad. Concerning public transportation, in Poland, they are quite cheap. Bus tickets within the same city cost around 0.40€ (15 min, student’s discount). From Szczecin to Wrocław, I paid about 7€ (+- 360km). If you are in adventure mode, you can hitchhike. It’s not because of the money, but because it allows you to know helpful and interesting persons, most with exciting life experiences. So on my second day of traveling, I accepted the (cold) challenge:

“They better understand what ‘Por favor’ is because it’s freaking -5ºC here.”

I hitchhiked three times in my life. In those three times, the drivers made small detours to help me. They all had inspiring stories. They all wanted to give something back.

You might find odd that you don’t see any information concerning hosting. That’s why I didn’t pay anything for hosting. I used a platform called CouchSurfing, which incredibly connects people. Their vision:

We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.

And that allowed me to get to know many interesting people through my journey. On Wrocław, I met Ewa, a traveling master, Ania, a Japanese culture lover than plays the violin, piano and studies Finance and Asia, the calmest person I have seen in my life, who works in a Cafe with only three tables. Also one of the most contagious smiles I have seen. On the way to Poznań, I met Mateusz, who gave me a ride. Seems that he loved Portugal and hitchhiked a lot! On Pozań, stayed with Marta, a brilliant, avid traveler, medical student, and artistic person. And her cat, Alaska. On Szczecin, I stayed with Gonçalo and his friends. He lives in the same home as I do, in Lisbon. Amazing guy. We met Piotr, who has the biggest craft beer forum in Poland, Jepiwka. After some beer (obviously), we ate Durin, a Thailandese fruit which tastes like onion Pringles (seriously). It was terrific to have such enriching experiences for such a low amount of money.

The Message 🔥

Ladies and gentleman, please, please: give traveling an opportunity! It is a great way to improve yourself as a human being. It is an excellent chance for you to see what are your weaknesses and limitations and, more than that, discover that you can do a lot more than you thought. Simple steps:

  1. Save some money
  2. Book tickets
  3. Plan ahead (such as CouchSurfing, public transportation)
  4. Have a great experience
  5. Give something back

That’s all, for now. 🔥

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Cheers, Keep Rocking 💪
P.S.: If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my mailing list.
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Rafael Belchior

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Still trying to find a decent catch-phrase || https://rafaelapb.github.io

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