Re-Prioritising | The Gap Life Diaries
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Re-Prioritising

A large part of my life in Italy involves behaving like I have a lot more money than I actually do. Some call this living beyond your means; I prefer to look at it as an exercise in re-prioritizing.

I’ll put it another way: I have, for better or worse, chosen a life packed full of things I love (day trips, brunches and holidays, mostly) over having any hope of retiring, ever.

I’ve always been of the opinion that a bank full of cash and a house full of expensive stuff doesn’t make anyone happy, but living abroad has only intensified my feelings. This is somewhat down to a difference in mentality from the UK to mainland Europe, but is mostly due to the fact that “don’t put things off, you might get run over tomorrow” is less of a life motto and more of an inevitability here in Italy.

Last weekend, as we were driving to Milan for brunch, The Greek and I were chuckling to ourselves about how ridiculously fancy this sounded. Considering half the time I have to scrabble around to find €1.50 in coppers for a bus ticket to work, and the fact that we are constantly lending each other money when one of us is waiting to be paid, we’re hardly the most likely candidates for “popping for brunch in Milan”.

That said, most of the reason for the scrabbling around (other than the occasional incidence of people forgetting to pay me… grumble, grumble) is that we spend all our cash on more fun things.

Since I’ve been here I’ve been earning less than half the money than most of my UK friends do, but have been to the top of Mont Blanc and the Eiffel Tower, visited vineyards and drunk wine in piazzas, been snowboarding and sandboarding, eaten more brunches and aperitivi than I ever imagined possible, spent this August in 3 countries, saw in 2014 on a South African beach (ok, I did kinda sell my car for that one), and am counting down the weeks until we go to Barbados in December.

Of course I can’t afford to eat for the next 8 months, but I’m full of memories, and at least I’ll be lovely and tanned while I tuck into my plain pasta every evening until mid-2015.

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