In 2016 I told Manny (my husband): “next year we are going to Europe, I want to go to Santorini & to France” Our plan was to go in May 2017, but this year started slow of work for us. We are filmmakers and don’t earn the same amount of money every month. We couldn’t save nothing for the first 4 months of the year so I thought to myself “We are not going to be able to save up about US$6000 (we have to pay loans to the bank, and live) from now till the end of summer, and I don’t want to go if its cold already” , plus, our friend Gaëlle sent us a formal invitation for the Embassy of France as it was a requirement for Manny to get his visa. I don’t need a Schengen visa since I was born in Colombia and with Colombian passport you get up to 90 days to travel. This invitation never arrived (the postal office service in Dominican Republic sucks), so I just forgot about the trip and thought “well, maybe next year”. From the time I told Manny I wanted to go to Europe, he said something like.. “its an expensive trip, and we a’int going surfing.. maybe we could go to Costa Rica, its cheaper and we will surf all days blabla..” I ignored him and thought “I just know you are going to love Europe”.
About the first of July I was at my mom’s house, in her room, and she told me “Me & your stepdad are going to Europe in October.. We are going to Venice, Rumania, Spain…”.
At this same date my friend Melyorie just finished school in Madrid, and went to Santorini as a goodbye trip of the other side of the world. She had me going nuts with all of her Instagram stories and photos. I asked her to put even more stories so I could enjoy more of her trip with her. Seeing how beautiful Santorini was, I got even more motivated. Manny was getting excited about this trip too. So when my mom told me she was traveling to Europe I said “whatever, im going too, i have no money but im going” … so, then you see how when you make a choice, when you decide what you truly want and stay positive about your goals, the world will help you achieve your mission. I immediately started doing research for Manny’s Visa paperwork and airline tickets price. The next day I started the process of all legal documents for Manny’s Visa.
As soon as I made up my mind about making this trip real, we started working in a lot of projects. We worked really hard, no break, from Mondays to Sundays, almost no surfing, from July to Oct 15 when we took our flight to Europe. We were able to save 5000 dollars and pay our monthly rate of life, thank God.
When I called to scheduled Manny’s Visa appointment in July, they gave me the appointment for September 6. This was terrible for me because I wanted to already buy the tickets so I could pay everything with a little bit more time, but we couldn’t do anything about that so we just had to wait. Finally, the day arrived, he went to his Visa appointment, but unfortunatly we had to wait 15 more days to pick up his passport and know if his visa was approved. Ok, so finally, he obviously got his Visa, but only for 20 days. This was fine since out budget was for 15 days only. We bought all airline tickets & Santorini Hotel from home 10 days before traveling, and paid our credit card before the trip.
My stepfather, Angel, told me as an advice to try and pay everything with credit card, since its the best exchange rate you are going to get. But of course, you always have to take cash. We took $900 euro cash, and came back with $500 euro cash.
So the next step was to decide exactly where we wanted to go, and how many days we wanted to stay en each place.
When we finally decided: Venice, Florence, Santorini, Bordeaux, Hossegor, Biarritz, Paris we had to find airline tickets for the exact dates we planned. This was not possible (but almost), we ended up staying one more day in Venice than we wanted, and one day less in Santorini.