Deciding What to Do This Summer

April 11, 2017
What to do, what to do? This summer is rapidly approaching. As I have mentioned before on here, last summer was NOT the best for me. However, it's true that (thankfully!) I am in a much, much better place now. Seeing as how things have slowly started turning around for me, I am able to do a bit of traveling and wanted to head back to the States for a month and a half. Since my back is still healing from a surgery I had, I was planning on just paying a lot for a Business Class ticket. By "a lot", I meant I was willing to fork over almost $3,000 for a roundtrip ticket. That's about how much tickets were when I first looked months ago. Unfortunately, when I looked recently and was ready to purchase my ticket, most tickets were around $5,000! After a lot of searching, I found some for cheaper, but not by much. The price of the tickets is making me rethink my decision to go home.

Here are my options, but I can't say that I particularly like any of them.

Option 1: Pay almost $5,000 for a Business Class ticket and go home to the States.

Pros:
* I haven't been home in almost two years. 
* It would be nice to see my parents after such a traumatic event in my life. (Read this post if you are curious.)
* I could stock up on clothes and toiletries that I cannot get in China. I really need shoes and pants since I can't find any that fit me here!
* There is just something comforting about being home.
* I'd be able to visit some of my close friends in Cleveland and Columbus.

Cons:
* That is almost two months wages for me.
* It will mess up my debt repayment plan from my surgery.
* It's only to go home for a month and a half, and I don't have too many friends in the town where my parents live. Therefore, if I wanted to see many of my relatives and close friends, I'd have to fly out to see them and that would cost even more money.
* My best friend is marrying his partner in October, and I'd like to be able to go, but there's no way I could afford to go to the States twice in such a short time period buying a Business Class ticket. (Honestly, as much as I hate to say it, I don't know how I'm going to be able to make this one work period.)
* Well, this is truly awful to admit, but I have to say that I do hold it against certain people for not coming to help me when I couldn't take care of myself for months. Some of my very close friends from home didn't even message me. A small and horrible part of me thinks, "Why should I go through all the trouble and expense of going home to see people when they left me to the wolves?" I try to dismiss that negativity by thinking that people didn't know how bad it really was for me. Of course I do not feel this way about everyone at home, but just feel that some people could have been more caring and empathetic. On the bright side of this, I did have good support here and my dad helped me out financially. Still, there is that part of me that is hesitant to go back.   
* I'm scared to buy all those expensive flights since I wasted thousands of dollars on airline tickets and then couldn't use them because of my surgery. I even had travel insurance, but my friend Scott called and wrote so many people over it and we never heard anything back. I just couldn't be bothered to fight it because I was stuck in the hospital for so long.

Option 2: Stay in Shanghai for the summer.

Pros:
* I would save SO much money because I wouldn't be buying any airfare at all. In addition, my school will let me stay in my apartment for free if I want.
* I could pay off a large chunk of what I owe my dad for this surgery.
* It's peaceful here in the summer, the air is typically better, and I could try to meet other expats in Shanghai.
* It could be a really relaxing time for me.

Cons:
* Staying in Shanghai this summer reminds me too much of last summer when I was alone and helpless.
* All of my friends would be going home.
* I'm scared it would "catch up to me" later, like I'd be fine in the early fall and by the time late fall hits, I'd really be missing my friends and family from home.

Option 3: Buy an economy ticket and fly home.

Pros:
* I'd get to go home and do it at a much cheaper cost.
* This would ideally be the solution to my problem if I could handle it.
* I asked about long-haul international flights in my spinal fusion support group, and many people are saying they did it, but that they were just uncomfortable. If they can do it, maybe I could do it, too?

Cons:
* What if I can't take the pain halfway through the flight and I'm stuck in economy? That freaks me out! Flights from Shanghai to Chicago are about 14 hours.
* My back is still healing, and what if I mess something up? I've been okay for awhile, and I'd hate to regress with something I could have avoided.

Option 4: Travel in Europe instead.

Pros:
*Business Class flights to Rome are about $2,100 right now.
* I'd be flying Business Class, so I wouldn't be harming my back AND I'd get to travel in Europe.
* There is still a lot of traveling I'd like to do in Europe. I was thinking of maybe going back to Italy, to Croatia, and then to parts of Northern Europe.
* I have some contacts in Europe that I could meet up with. I can speak some Italian, so I'd feel more relaxed in Italy and that's where I'd probably spend the majority of my time.

Cons:
* Well, the flight is way cheaper, but I'd need to pay for accommodation within Europe for a month and a half. Also, I'd have to buy my meals. That can get costly.
* I'd be traveling by myself for at least part of the time. I realized before my big injury that I prefer a travel buddy, but I realized after my surgery that traveling with someone puts me much more at ease. If I'm alone, I'm constantly worrying about falling or getting hurt and not being able to help myself. Part of this stems from the fact that when my back first gave out, I was traveling in another city in China and was alone for my first few days in the hospital.
* I still wouldn't be able to see my closest friends and family members.

As you can see, I have a lot to think about! What would you do in this situation? I'm going to keep searching for cheaper fares and try different dates/city combinations. However, I do need to make a decision fairly soon. Eek! I just hope it's the right one.
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