Welp. Today was a day. I checked my bank account to see $500 taken out at an ATM that I’ve never used or even seen in London, 3 days before I leave on my 18-day trip around Europe. I cried in CAPA, pulled it together for class, called my mom and cried again, where the professor offered up the choice to go home, where I spent the next 6 hours anxiously trying to figure out how I can 1) get the $500 back, 2) move my money from my account into an accessible form to use in London and on my trip BEFORE cancelling the debit card, and 3) considered dropping the trip and flying home this weekend. Between full-fledged anxiety attacks, a lot of public crying, lots of calls to my mom, and so many hugs from my roommates, it really was a DAY.
I was so torn about what to do. I’ve been feeling particularly homesick the last few days and the trip has been causing me a lot of anxiety, so the fact that this happened just days before leaving pushed me over edge. I couldn’t find a place to buy a pre-paid card with the rest of the money in my account. I couldn’t take it out as cash because I had a $500 withdrawal limit (which is why the skimmer stopped at $500). And I only had the rest of the day to figure it out if I wanted to shut down my card by the end of the day to ensure I get the $500 recovered as fraud from my bank. All I wanted was to be home and figure this out in person with my mom.
I’d messaged family members and friends to ask for advice about what I should do. Do I take this as a bad omen, listen to my overwhelmed & obviously stressed mind and body, and call it quits and fly home? Or do I figure out a way to make this work? My brain felt like it was exploding in trying to fathom a way to make it work. What if I went for it and got stranded without money? Or what if my mental health got really bad and I had to make it through the rest of the trip not fully taking it in?
Just as I was about to call it a night, I decided I should shower to clear my head. I recognized that I was overwhelmed and not in great headspace, so I wanted to just take some time away. And that’s when I saw some texts from my favorite old dance team coach (& life mentor), Erin, that literally changed the whole game. She reminded me that I don’t have to go to all 8 cities if it feels wrong and I decide I need to go home. She & my mom can wire me the money through Western Union so it’s okay that I don’t have a debit card. And that it makes for a really awesome story.
Let it be known that Erin has talked me down from almost every crisis, from freshman year breakup this moment. She helped me realize that this is a non-existent problem. Despite what my anxiety tells me, this is not an all-or-nothing issue. I always have an out if I need it, but it doesn’t make sense to not even try. So here’s the start of the story of when I traveled around Europe with no debit card and no money. We’ll see what happens.
Thank you so much to literally every family member & friend who helped calm me down, support me, and show me so much love. For the most part, I’ve had a really smooth semester abroad so for this to happen right at the very end was a shock and was very scary & uncomfortable. This reminded me of how much love & support I have in so many places (especially 4,000+ miles away). I’m really excited to see what the adventure brings. Next stop is Amsterdam