See you in Rome?

Jul 13, 2014 by

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


          “I spoke with [my cousin], and it sounds like she doesn’t have the house to herself, so I don’t think you’d be able to stay [at her place in Rome],” my friend texted me, “but in Calabria, you’re more than welcome.”

          “Thanks!” I responded with a heart, but I was already sure of my choice to keep my feet on the ground. “I think it’s best I stay home and keep saving, but I’ll let you know if anything changes,” I told him.

          “Okay,” he replied with a sad face.

          “Don’t put a sad face. Now I’m sad about it all over again,” I said.

          “Well, you could come . . .” he taunted.

          “Lmao! Stop it! #tempted #traveleasy”


Saturday, July 5, 2014


          “At the beginning of June, I almost bought a ticket to meet them in Italy,” I told my Europe-bound friend’s girlfriend, “but I’m not very impulsive. I think things through. I ended up talking myself out of it.”

          “Sometimes those are the best decisions,” she said in reference to the impulsive ones.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


          “Have the most amazing European adventure! Remember, you don’t have to come home if you don’t want to!” I texted my friend before his departure. “You shall be missed! Have a safe flight tonight. xoxo”

          “Thanks Tree! I’ll see you in Rome?” he made one last effort to tempt me.

          “Why must you do this to me?” I asked rhetorically. “Keep an eye on your Facebook,” I joked.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


          “Hi missy! How are you?” my friend said when I walked into work.

          I turned to her with an uncontrollable smile on my face and let out an exaggerated happy sigh before responding, “I’m good, girl!”

          “What’s wrong?” she said in an excited tone, clearly able to tell that something amazing either had happened or was about to.

          “I’ll tell you later,” I said with a mischievous grin before turning to my desk to leave her in suspense. I didn’t want to say anything until it was real.

          “You tell me now!” she demanded. “Your face – I can’t wait! What is this about? The guy from Niagara? Did he text you again?”

          I burst into laughter. “He’s not happening, girl,” I said with an I-could-not-care-less-about-him-at-this-moment wave of my hand.

          “Trip to Italy?” she persisted.

          I gave her a wishy-washy answer that neither confirmed nor denied it.

          “Karma’s going to come!” she warned me with her finger in my face, prompting more laughter. “You’re not ready to tell me? Okay,” she shrugged, “karma’s going to come.”


Friday, July 11, 2014


          “Let’s book this flight before I lose the balls to do it,” I said to one of the travel agents at work with my credit card in hand.


Sunday, July 13, 2014


          I think I’m going to Italy. I somewhat recall booking a flight on Friday morning, and I’m pretty sure that’s $1,122.86 owing on my credit card in place of the usual zero, but it hasn’t registered as real yet. I can’t believe I actually spent money that I don’t already have in the bank to spend. I love spontaneity, and I have my moments, but I typically suck at it. Overanalysis is my area of expertise, and overanalysis led me to what I thought was my final decision not to go to Europe this summer. How did I go from that to Rome-bound?

          My friends left.

          My friends left, and it took them leaving for me to realize how badly I wanted to meet them there. Saying no to Italy wouldn’t be like saying no to Vegas or any other unaffordable destination I’ve been invited to this year. Saying no to Italy is something I knew I’d regret years down the road.

          “What happened to ‘I’m not going back to Europe until my big trip’?” my little sister threw my own words at me.

          “Fuck it!” I said.

          I had sworn off Europe until my dream trip because it’s expensive to cross that goddamn ocean. I figured any money that went toward short trips to Europe before the biggie would prolong the dream. Therefore, when I was asked to join my friends in Italy this summer, I framed the decision so that my only options were to either take my dream trip now or not go at all (I exist in an all-or-nothing state of mind #workingonit), and I’m not ready to take my dream trip now. Yes, when I get paid this upcoming Friday, I’ll have the minimum amount of money I told myself I’d be willing to leave with (holla!), but I prefer to save more. Plus, I wasn’t expecting to embark on a months-long European adventure this summer. Other than Italy and France, I don’t even know which countries I’ll visit – never mind whether I’ll be staying in apartments or hostels, whether I’ll have peanut butter shipped or attempt to survive without it (Jesus Christ, Italy, there is more to spreads than Nutella!), or whether I’m going to use broken language or resort to bodily assets to communicate with guys of various tongues (pun intended). Such decisions can’t be rushed. My dream Euro trip will not be this summer, I decided, thinking I was ruling Italy out too.

          On Tuesday night, the night that my friends departed and that tempting “I’ll see you in Rome?” appeared on my phone, I broadened my mind to consider all my options. It didn’t really have to be my dream trip to Europe or no Europe at all, I rationalized. I was on the fast track to convincing myself to Italy, and I knew it. The arguments in its favour were piling in my mind: I’d have free accommodations in Calabria, I’ll regret not going when I’m 80, wine is cheaper than water . . . The decision was clear: I had to meet my friends in Rome to save on wine!

          One week in Italy would not set back my dream; it would only set back my freedom from student debt. Pfft! I’ve been in student debt for years and will continue to be for years more. What’s an extra few months? The fact that I was thinking this way demonstrated how much I really wanted to go, which somehow provided further support for booking a flight, while simultaneously scaring the shit out of me. (What would you do if you weren’t afraid, right?) What if this started a cycle of frivolous spending?

          “You’re not going to spiral into a spending bender,” my best friend laughed a little too hysterically. “You have way too much self-control when it comes to money to start charging crap to your credit card all the time.”

          Really, I didn’t need to be convinced of my financial sense. I had already lost care for it and decided I was going – but under the conditions (you’re damn right my financial spontaneity comes with stipulations) that I pay off the trip in full by my credit card statement’s due date to avoid interest payments (I absolutely refuse to carry a balance), my retirement savings and dream fund remain untouched, and upcoming income that has already been allocated to my retirement savings and dream fund is also off limits. Everything else is fair game, meaning the National Student Loan Service Centre is taking the hit. I started putting extra money down on my student loan in April. This summer, I just won’t. Poof! No-money-for-Italy problem solved! Could there be a better fuck-you to university than boarding a flight to Roma instead of paying any more than my student loan’s minimum? (Yeah, I know they win in the end, because I’ll consequently pay more interest. Just let me have it, okay? Fuck you, uni!)

          In all seriousness, my decision came down to what future me would regret most: a few additional months of paying off OSAP or the time I said no to a couple high school friends when they asked me to join them in Italy. It was no question. I’d regret the latter, and I choose adventure over regret and Italy over OSAP. Most importantly, the mere thought of being on a plane to Rome made me unquestionably happy. I’ve been anxious for so many weeks (months?) that I’m losing count. Just picturing myself on that plane made everything melt away. Stress? Gone. Gym? Hating it less! That problem of mine that feels the need to continuously reappear every time I think it’s disappeared? That’s staying home. [Insert smug smirk here.] Any choice that makes me feel this high on life can’t possibly be the wrong one.

          About an hour after I booked, one of my girlfriends came by my desk for insight into how I went from anti-flying-to-Italy to pro-pizza-in-piazzas. Knowing that I pay off everything I charge to my credit card on the same day that I swipe it (to build credit and to get cash back at the end of the year #duh), she figured, “You must be freaking out that you haven’t paid this off yet.”

          Surprisingly, I wasn’t. Rather, I was in I’m-going-to-Italy, who-gives-a-fuck-how-I’m-doing-it mode, a.k.a. the best mode! Admittedly though, there was one brief moment on Friday night in which I questioned what the hell I was doing by throwing off my debt repayment plan for one week in Italy. As if on cue, I received a video via iMessage from my friend in Europe. I clicked play to see a London club. Clean Bandit’s Rather Be was playing. That’s my jam (and, FYI, was my jam before it recently hit the radio) from the house CDs we listen to in his car. It’s also the song that helped solidify my decision to go to Italy when I heard it come on the radio on Tuesday night as I was contemplating booking a flight. (I hate when my songs go mainstream, but I took its timing as a sign, choosing to momentarily ignore my disbelief in signs.) Fuck financial sense, I thought. I def made the right decision. If only the Arctic Monkeys would make the right decision to postpone their July Italy gigs to when I’m there in August, because clearly they haven’t seen my tweet politely requesting (basically begging) that they come back to Toronto. #groupieprobs #505liftsskirts #lovethem

          Italy, bella, I’m coming back! I’m over the fact that you won’t grant me citizenship to your country by descent. I have a proposition though: I promise not to drunk pee in the ospedale again if you promise not to fracture my ankle – the ultimate karma for urinating in emerg – again, deal? #alwaysanadeventure!

          “See you in Rome!” I confirmed to my friend over Facebook.

Happiness Tip: Do something fabulously foolish with your money!

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