Anyone who knows me well – or close to that – probably also knows that I love shopping. While moving to a different country for college with only two suitcases worth of stuff can certainly be limiting, I’ll admit that I have been a little ridiculous with how many clothes and shoes and accessories I’ve accumulated over the past 4 years (in my defense, being from Brazil, I owned exactly 0 winter clothes – so that part was justifiable).
I spent the first five months of 2016 completing yet another internship for my college program in beautiful San Diego, California. And my biggest challenge wasn’t moving across the country (at least not the continent this time, right?) or making it to work every day instead of just going to the beach; it was keeping my bank account nice and fat instead of my wardrobe.
Beautiful swimsuits. Flowy cover-ups. Sparkly sandals. One million sunglasses. Name it all – that’s where my whole first paycheck went. There is something about rewarding yourself after weeks of hard work, but soon I started to realize that while those items looked great on my Instagram pictures, they weren’t exactly the best thing I could do with my money. I felt like a superficial piece of crap. So after my parents, who were going to Europe to see my sister, pretty much told me to buy my own ticket there if I wanted to join them, I tried to switch my mindset. Did I actually need that blue over the shoulder top? Did I need yet another thing of Chapstick?
No. I didn’t. What I needed was a flight ticket and some money for souvenirs. (And drinks with some old friends I got to see while I was there).
Funny thing is, what I thought was just a three month period of saving instead of spending actually opened my eyes to how much I’d gotten used to consuming what I didn’t need and forgetting the girl who first went away with only a couple bags. For a month and a half, I lived with only what I fit in a 50 pound suitcase – and honestly, I’ve never been happier repeating outfits and washing the same stuff over and over again. None of that really matters. Sure, looking good feels good, but that’s far from being the priority.
The freaking cute souvenirs I got and the cool places I got to see – that’s the best money I’ve ever spent. And now that I’m home to finish my last internship before graduating, still with the same one suitcase I packed almost 2 months ago now, I walk around the city center and feel almost no urge to go into the cute shops at all. Mostly, I go look at the travel agencies’ ads or go buy myself some ice cream. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, right?