Lost Girl of the Week: Kayleigh Minicozzi

Lost Girl of the Week — By on August 31, 2011 at 6:00 am

This week’s Lost Girl, Kayleigh Minicozzi, graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Newspaper Journalism, Religion and Women’s Studies in 2008.  A native of upstate New York and current resident of New York City, Kayleigh likes to think of the world as her neighborhood. She got her first taste of travel while studying abroad in Italy as a high school student. Since then she’s seized every opportunity  to pack up and see different places and experience different cultures in countries abroad and right here in the United States. In her blog she shares her philosophy of being a “Lost Girl” and exploring the globe at any age and with any budget! (Because Spring Break doesn’t just have to be for college students!)

*****

Walking across the stage at graduation signaled the launch of new beginnings in my life. Like the millions of other graduates making the transition from coed to professional, I was moving forward to tackle new experiences and planning to lay my roots in different places. So many new things were starting but in the moment I couldn’t help but reflect on what was also coming to an end.

With the end of college there came the end of lengthy holiday breaks, pre-planned trips to study abroad and the rewards of summer vacations. With the end of college, in my mind, came the end of carefree long weekends and spring breaks. When I walked across that stage, something inside me knew things would be different, I would be different. But would it cause a stagnation to my sense of adventure or halt my exploration of the world?

Entering the kingdom of cubicles was definitely an adjustment. In my first summer at my new job I longed for the people of NYC to channel the mentality of the Italians or Greeks. Holiday and relaxation is woven into the fiber of their cultures. Taking one or two months off to explore the country side is normal and usually encouraged. Looking out my small window on 36th street I started fantasizing about sailing the Croatian coast or eating a pane chocolate in a coffee shop on the Champs-Elysées .

Luckily, what the New Yorker lacks in time, they make up with creativity. I realized that the only thing preventing me from taking a spring break was me. And if there was a will, there was a way! I started scheming with two of my girlfriends and within a few weeks we had made a plan to travel abroad to Spain, France and England despite our slim salaries and vacation time.

In many ways the need to get scrappy and make the most of what we had was part of the excitement. I first planned the trip during a time when there was a long weekend holiday and chose a late afternoon flight to prevent losing an additional day. I also spoke with my boss to come up with a plan for office work I could do on the flight home to prevent having to take that day off too. All in all, with taking weekends into account, I only had to take 5 and a half days off for a 12 day trip. Pricing out hostels ahead of time, taking trains instead of planes and crashing with friends we knew abroad also helped us cut costs.

My first “adult” spring break trip ended up having a very different feel but I loved the new experience. The typical 3 B’s on college spring break (booze, boys and boogieing) were replaced with a more relaxed, plan as you go adventure. We sunbathed at the base of the Del Prado museum, packed lunches for a sightseeing tour through the streets of Paris and drank ale at a pub in London with no rushed schedule or planned place to be next.

We obviously splurged on a few big events: flaminco dancing in Madrid, a fancy dinner in Paris and big red bus tours in London, but even in these instances we found the loop-holes to save dough. Using our just recently expired student IDs, we often got the student rate, which was usually a few pounds cheaper. We also spent the night in the airport in Madrid one evening when we had a 4:00am flight, as it seemed silly to waste money by spending the night in a hotel.

This first post-graduate vacation made me rethink the feelings I was originally having as I was handed that diploma. Carving out your own spring break time or long weekends is important once you have a full-time job. Your uncharted professional life isn’t your prison sentence to be chained to a desk, but is more of an opportunity to get creative and seize the moment.

Tags: , , ,

    5 Comments

  • Flavia says:

    Loved reading this – so inspirational and real! It really hits home and makes us stop and think how it’s something we can (and should!) all do – thanks, Kayleigh!

  • Jennifer says:

    This was such a great piece!The world is ours to explore and it is so easy to make excuses why we can’t or shouldn’t get out there. Thanks Kay you made my day with this one!!

  • jeff says:

    i agree very inspirational , it just reminded me that i am due for a trip ….

  • Sarah says:

    What a great reminder! You think if you like to travel, the opportunities to will eventually present themselves. But reality often comes at ya fast and it’s so true you have to actively and consciously seek out a way to make it happen. More power to ya!