How a €30 one-way ticket gave me a summer to remember and friends for life!


I love to travel; now that I have my own international company, I am fortunate to travel very often, either nationally or abroad every week.

During my student years though, I didn't have a whole lot of funds to see the world, but that didn't stop me!

I decided that I was going to try out a summer abroad after my first year at NUI Galway and had absolutely no idea whatsoever about how I was going to do it.

First, I booked a one-way flight to Edinburgh for about €30 and a few weeks later, I reserved a bed for a week in a hostel. Bear in mind, I didn't have anything else. I didn't know anybody. I didn't have a job and I hadn't a clue of what to do when I got there. The sense of adventure and freedom was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time!

I had enough money to last about three weeks if I didn't make anything at all, and Edinburgh was only an hour away on a flight, so if it all went pear-shaped, I could just come home.Aeroplane Travel That was really the worst that could happen - and actually, asking "What's the worst that can happen?" is one of the best strategies I have come up with, when thinking of doing something new I haven't done before. (That works for a new business, taking a course in a new topic, applying for a job, everything!)

Thinking of doing something you've never done before can be scary, but asking that question and answering it in earnest is very freeing: very often, the honest answer to "What's the worst that can happen" is "Nothing much", so there's virtually no downside to trying out new things and being audacious. If the answer is "A, B and C could go wrong", now you can come up with a game plan to deal with A, B and C effectively: you have now a much better idea of what pitfalls to avoid and you have failproofed your exciting project!

When I settled down, I came to learn that the hostel where I stayed actually exchanged accommodation for cleaning or making beds, etc. So I would spend about three hours working in the hostel in the morning and then I could get a free night.

This slowed down how quickly I was spending money, but it didn't bring any in. My next step was to look at the notice board in the hostel as there were various jobs advertised. The board also had the contact numbers of some recruitment agencies. These companies place people in jobs and get paid to do so: the employer doesn't need to spend time going through resumes as applicants are prescreened, and applicants have an ally in the recruiter, since the recruiter is keen to find a suitable candidate quickly because that is how they earn money.

Going to a recruiter was an extremely useful learning experience. I went for two interviews and my communication skills sharpened quite a lot! The interviewers asked me questions about what type of job I would like, the environment I would enjoy and how I would most like to spend my day, so I had to come up with clear answers.

Soon afterwards, I was offered a position as a receptionist at MS Society Scotland. That was one of the best summers of my life, filled with memories and learning! I moved in with two Australians who I originally met in the hostel and we have been friends ever since. When I tearfully left them and wonderful Edinburgh to go back to college, I dreamed that one day I would visit them in Melbourne.

At the time I had no idea how I would do that, but I did!

I was looking at the internet one night and I spotted USIT looking for a campus rep. I put my name down and subsequently got the job: I collected posters from their office, put them up all over the place in college and submitted a report. I got paid with €500 of travel vouchers and I did so for two years, so I went to Australia during my last Summer and USIT paid for the flights! My trip to Melbourne was amazing ... and would be the first of many. My most recent trip was to see one of them get married (to the guy she met that Summer by the way!)

So as you look towards your Summer ahead, remember that you only have a few of them ahead of you. Take calculated risks (€30 for a flight an hour away in my case), think who could help you along the way (i.e. recruitment agencies), be open-minded to new people and international experiences. Make some memories !!

Susan HayesCulleton, The Positive Economist

For more articles, ideas and inspiration, check out Susan's FaceBook page at


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