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Debt v. Travel

Chadoh and I have been blessed with parents who lovingly believed that we needed to learn responsibility by paying for our own college. It was hard to be at a super-expensive school with lots of kids from the suburbs (“Where are you from?” “Oh, just outside of Philly.” Every. Single. Time.) whose parents felt responsible for paying for everything. But ultimately, we’re both grateful for our school debt, in an odd way. Our educations were earned. Not just by studying, but, at least for me, by working from the time I was old enough to carry a bucket, feeding calves, milking cows, working in a plastic bag factory, living at home for a short time before we got married, and then living in a super gross basement apartment with super cheap rent.

With my recent acquisition of a JOB!, we have a plan for our debt. We had been paying on it a bit aggressively before now, but we now have an even more aggressive plan. We should be finished paying for our undergrad debt by the end of 2012, and my teaching certification debt in early 2013.

This is a rather ballsy goal, but it’s totally attainable. (If I stay out of the sale rack at the Gap when they have 40% off clearance sales.)

However.

Today I found my passport. I don’t recall seeing it since we went to Montreal two summers ago. Throw a move across town in there, and it’s a small miracle that I found it at all.

A passport is possibility. Mobility. Potential. Freedom.

Add to that one friend in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso (who desperately wants us to visit her), a student teaching co-op who spent winter break in Madrid, reading missionary blogs (ok, really just one), another friend who has talked about how she just wants to GO, an acquaintance who has “GO” tattooed on the back of her neck (see: The Great Commission), a history of missions trips and study abroad experience, a decent command of a second language, and almost two and a half years of not leaving the country, and I am itching to fly across borders.

But. Buying plane tickets is not congruent with our plan to get out from under our student loan debt in record time. Hopefully I can reconcile this by remembering how much interest we’ll save by paying loans back early, and that we’ll have more money when we don’t have these payments. Delayed gratification of international travel will be hard for me, for sure, but maybe we’ll appreciate it more. That way, our travel, our experience, our mobility, like our education, will be appreciated more. Earned.