“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” –
J.R.R. Tolkien in the voice of Gandalf, “The Fellowship of the Ring”
Living by yourself, and supporting yourself in a foreign country especially, means making decisions for yourself. This is difficult for three reasons: money, energy, and satisfaction. I’m sure my fellow readers are getting a little sick of my exaggerated LoTR themes. But I only have a few more blogs left to do this!
So. Making decisions when studying abroad is much like making decisions with the One Ring. Frodo was at a constant battle with himself – to put on the ring or not put on the ring? To give it to Galadriel of Gandalf or no one? How does a little hobbit make a decision concerning the livelihood of Middle Earth?
Okay. That was a stretch. Nothing I do is as important as guarding the One Ring. But it does have to do with protecting the well-being of myself and my group. So let’s dive in. I’ve found that a good decision is one that takes into account the following three aspects.
Is it a reasonable amount to spend?
How much is the marginal cost? (i.e., If you’re at a fancy restaurant and already spending $29, why not spend $35 for a meal you’ll like a lot more? Conversely, do you
need to get that $6 ice cream that you don’t care too much for? Or would you rather ditch the restaurant and get 25-cent wings and ice cream?)
Do you have the physical energy to do this? Have you been busy every night, or have you been relatively relaxed?
Do you have the mental energy? How are you dealing with your friends on the trip? Do you need to do an activity alone or with others? How will you enjoy it the most? (This is super important because I’ve seen people try to do everything together and eventually get sick of each other because they’re living in such close quarters. Don’t do something that will let people get under your skin!)
How much do you want to do this?
If you don’t want to do this, is this something new you want to be exposed to?
This isn’t to say you can’t splurge on a few things, go out a couple times when you’re tired, or try something new you’re not sure you’ll like. But I’ve found that asking these questions helps make better decisions.
An example. On our second-to-last day earlier today, I decided to hike Rangitoto, a nearby volcano. It was about $33 for the ride and I wasn’t sure if I felt like going with a whole group. But I really wanted to see some beautiful views before leaving, $33 is nothing compared to plane tickets for being here, and I needed to get active before traveling. And it was a great decision!
#ViewsFromRangitoto #AlmostDiedHiking #Fitness #GetInShape #GoodExercise
So. Decide carefully what to do with your time. But do a few things on a whim, too. It’s good for you.