The Last Real Winter Break

I bought a plane ticket about a week ago. Destination: San Francisco, the home of the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and the oldest Chinatown in the county. A city where the weather is a solid 60˚F, a welcome change from the upstate New York chill. 

 My loose itinerary includes visiting with family in Vallejo and spending the remaining time in and around Palo Alto, home to Facebook headquarters and Stanford University. I’ll have the chance to meet up with a couple of friends including Hallie, one of my freshmen year roommates and an incredible water polo player. I’ll also get to see my friend Doug, a current law student and friend from my DC internship two summers ago. The city is new, the ocean is near and I couldn’t be more excited.

People: “Why are you going to San Francisco?”

Me: “I’ve never been there before.”

 People: (polite giggle.) “Well that’s a reason.”

And it is.

 My trip will complete a time fondly referred to as “college winter break”. A year from now, I won’t have the luxury of five weeks off without any responsibilities except for an occasional load of laundry and marathons of How I Met Your Mother. The working world not does feel it necessary to provide you with a long restful December/January break. I’ll miss you dear winter hiatus.

Here’s the travel Catch-22. Now, when I am young and ready to see the world, my wallet is empty and there is a great need to prove (to my parents) that four years of expensive college tuition was well worth the time and money. Many of my friends and soon-to-be college graduates are finding jobs and figuring out their daily work schedules in the real world. But after years of hard work and growing salaries, will any of us have the vacation days or personal freedom to dedicate to days or weeks of adventurous travel?

In my mind, waiting until I have loads of money before planning any new trip is futile. For one, I will probably never have loads of money. But more importantly, I can afford to plan cheap and save up if it means I’m seeing the world and having fun. Is holding a job important? Absolutely. But it’s far too easy to fall into a routine where the next travel opportunity is like the horizon–always there but out of reach.

 So long New York. San Francisco, here I come!