A few months ago I wrote an article called something like ‘“I can’t afford to travel” Shut up. Yes you can’. It was, as the name suggests, a tongue in cheek little post about how if you really want it, you can always scrape the money together to get yourself out into the world. Well, that was months ago, and since then I’ve discovered whole new depths of scrimping and saving to travel. I got dressed for work today, and was busy rummaging through my wardrobe for something that wasn’t either decrepit beyond salvaging, grossly miss-sized, or simply in spectacularly bad taste. As I rifled, I realised just how bad my clothes have got, in the wake of all my scrounging. Can’t afford nice clothes. Must travel.
Let’s run through my current wardrobe, and take a look at the long term effect of desperate penny pinching. Don’t worry, despite the poverty it’s not going to be a bleak read, because I have played fast and loose with the similes, spraying them over my copy like a rogue manure spreader careening through the village fete.
My once-smart Levi’s have holes in both knees, a hole in the seat and a hole in the back pocket. I also own one pair of chinos. They have a hole at the knee and in both pockets, which I always forget about and put my change in, which means I drip coins from the bottom of my trousers when I walk like some fat sultan with bulging harem pants spewing gold around his palace. The only difference is I’m a knackered looking content writer with desert boots that are worn through on both soles as well as frayed at the laces, loopholes and literally everywhere else. My left shoe is stained from where I spilled a can of tuna over myself about 3 months ago, the sunflower oil has permanently dyed half of the shoe a darker shade which now looks like I have an eternally wet left foot.
My T-shirts are off-white, roughly the colour of prison porridge. My toes peer out of my threadbare socks, bidding good day to each other like old Victorian gentlemen. My boxer shorts, even my favourite pair of Calvins that were once so sexy and clung to me like a needy girlfriend, now flap loose around my modesty. Instead of the sensual bulge sported by David Beckham and an oiled up Ronaldo, my manhood looks like a disappointed trick-or-treater under an old bedsheet. And my wallet creaks open and closed with the slam of a coffin lid.
But, if that’s the cost of following a dream, meh, so be it. Yes, I will admit that sometimes on a Saturday night I will see some flash guy with perfectly quaffed hair and designer stubble and jeans that aren’t shapeless and billowing, and I will feel a stab of envy. When I see someone get their round in for their friends without immediately fleeing to the toilets to frantically check their bank balance on their phone, I am jealous. When I budget myself £1 a day for lunch, with £2 on Friday for a treat, I can feel a little bitter.
However. If this article (which is admittedly a little skewwhiff in terms of narrative, theme and general coherence) has highlighted anything, it is that physical things break, and fade. Or, in the case of my left shoe, get fucking fishy juice all over them. Memories don’t break. You can’t accidentally drop a half-opened can of John West all over your recollections of sunsets on tropical beaches. You can’t bend over a little sharply and have your arse burst through the gusset of your treasured memoirs of your adventures in South East Asia.
Now, to end this absolute blimp-crash of an article, I would like to summarise:
If you’re in a similar position and have a long road ahead of you, don’t fret at the thought of a little hardship. Short term discomfort for long term fulfillment. It’ll be worth it.