A Few Words on Having Little Money

It only makes sense to write about this after I have finally finished “updating” (…after more than a month of my actual trip) everybody on my Laos adventures. It makes sense because I was completely broke when I came back. But for my school’s reimbursements (visa fees, etc.), I would have spent my weekends doing absolutely nothing for the whole month after coming back. Yet I was saved by my school’s administration, I did not starve to death, and thus I feel the need to write this entry because of that. It is my duty now.

I will begin with a sentence that may make you wonder whether this blog post is indeed about what its title promises:

I was biking to a 7-11 a couple of days ago when an interesting parallel was formed in my mind.

You see, I do like to ride a bike, and I was wondering whether I would still cycle instead of quickly jumping onto a motorbike if I had one. I mean, surely, motorbike would take me to that 7-11 in a matter of minutes and even in a case of rain it wouldn’t be too bad. Yeah, knowing myself, I’m almost sure I would be tempted to use a scooter and leave my bike to rest.

Yet because I simply don’t own a motorbike, I am sort of forced to use a bicycle. (I could see the latter sentence turning into some cool proverb: “if you want to go, use a bicycle” – imagine this being said rather slowly in a semi-deep voice of an older guy. I guess anything pronounced in this manner would sound like a wise saying. Just try it: say some nonsense slowly and see how it works.)

But so biking! It’s great, as I can listen to a couple of more songs as I go, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the fact that if I cycle slowly the local dogs don’t try to chase me, and I can even race some local kids on the way (it starts with me shouting “c’mon, c’mon, it’s a race!” and ends with “it’s not fair, my bike’s really bad!”). There is no doubt that in my specific situation a bicycle is way more fun.

And the brilliant idea that crossed my mind that evening was that not having money is like having a bicycle (now you might start wondering if a parallel that weird came to my head because of the extreme hunger I was suffering from that evening. Perhaps, perhaps, my answer would be).

Having enough money to do what you want – I’m improvising now because for the past five years at least it hasn’t been the case with me – or, in other words, not worrying about your financial situation, is like riding a motorbike:

Everything’s quick and comfortable, you don’t need to be concerned about anything, you don’t need to get too creative as every possible plan of your journey is affordable.

However, not having enough money for comfortable living – riding a bike – can be, maybe surprisingly to some of you, simply more fun.

You find the cheapest combination of various means of transport to get you from place to place (hitchhiking + a bus + a train +…. Instead of one flight). You either stay at cheap hostels where you meet people who are almost suspiciously like-minded or you do couchsurfing and just have an awesome time in general. You have the most engaging conversations with people who are also drinking beers from 7-11 rather than buying them in a pub. You find yourself dancing with a group of fun-loving backpackers in a reggae club that has no cover charge. You…

Certainly, from time to time taking that flight instead of spending 18 hours on a bus seems just wonderful. Because it is. In general, worrying about money isn’t the greatest feeling, I won’t argue for that. However, what I have and will argue for is that living a life that is not financially comfortable can also produce a truly cool side effect: it can be way more exciting. Just like biking, it keeps you fit in that respect.

—         —           —

In case you want to know what other brilliant ideas were spinning in my head that evening, I will let you know: how many yogurts to buy; what the price difference is between fat-free yogurt and the normal one; how to transport that wine bottle carefully in my bike basket; if it is possible to buy one KinderBueno and not eat it on the way home.

Now you know that no matter how irrelevant some of my post might be, I do impose some self-censorship here.

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