“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
After coming home from my three month Europe trip to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, I had four months at home where I would literally have to work my ass off, cut my social life and completely limit the amount of things I was able to do. I was able to save $6,000 ($5,000 of that was from a generous tax return), pay off my visa of all flights, bookings, other visas and all other bookings. What I was completely unaware of was how expensive Africa would be. I told myself, “I will not spend more than $1000.” This was in fact a falsehood. I left Africa one month early and spent nearly three and a half times the amount I wanted to. Who would of thought that Africa would of burnt such a hole in my pocket…So, Australian working holiday requirements needed one of two things…either a return flight home once the year was done OR a minimum of $5000 in your bank account. I didn’t have either. Therefore, I had to swallow my pride and did what I told myself I would never do. Ask my Mum for $2500 (which needed to be sent right back after my arrival in Australia) to allow me to safely and legally enter the country in which I was going to live my life for a year.
Well, now that I am here. I don’t know what I was expecting. Its not like I was in Europe anymore, living like a queen on $10,000 for three months. I am currently at $1,800 in my bank account and in a $1000 rears with my friend Bryan. I am open to share my current bank situation because I know there are many travellers that are in the same predicament as me, some are even worse.
I have never been the one to owe people money nor have huge visa bills. I am typically debt free and quite stable with my money. I am able to save when I have a goal in mind which is far more than a lot of folks can say. I have always had the mentality of “if you want something enough in life, you just have to work harder and reach it”. I am living with a family that does not expect me to pay them money, just help set the table, cook dinner and clean up after myself which is where I consider myself lucky at this point in my life. Looking for jobs when under the stress of your bank account, and not wanting to be a dead weight in a family is more than hard-work. It’s stressful, and what’s even more hard-work is trying to have a good time and enjoy your life when you have all this weight on your shoulders. At home, I had a good job, a solid income. Where I was able to save money and do whatever I wanted with it. Very little of that money was going to bills, which made it easier to achieve the things I wanted to do. I was being given a free ride where I chose to put my money wherever I wanted. What did I chose to do? Travel. Even though I am living out many peoples dreams of travelling over seas for a year, its not all “fun in the sun.” It’s hard yet fun work, especially with the intention of working and wanting to have an income. I am alone and self-sufficient, yet loving the independence, freedom and the excitement of seeing new places. Hell, both lives need a lot of money and perhaps the only reason I was feeling nervous now was because it was hard work finding a job in a foreign country. Travelling, in my mind just seems to be the easierlife. Travelling without funds means instant noodles…three meals a day, saying “No” to the drink at the bar, saying “No” to going to the bar”, sleeping on a park bench, working double shifts, working two jobs and strict no buying clothes policy (not for the sake of money even, but the amount that can fit inside my backpack). Even after typing the last sentence out, it still sounds like so much fun to me! Perhaps a small binge is okay once in a while though. ALL about self control and ALL in moderation. “Work hard play hard” is what my Dad always said, and that’s exactly what I will do, for the next 11 months.
Bryan and I were each looking at our banking situations this morning. We were looking at travelling to a place called Bowen, a two hour drive south of Townsville to do some climbing. We learned how to tie knots this morning, how to fit a harness, proper techniques for belay devices…we were preping ourselves for what would be an awesome adventure filled day. The climbing day quickly seemed, not even possible, as we each took a brief moment to check up our current financial situations online. With visa bills we are both barely able to pay off and issues with both of our banking cards. It almost seemed impossible to achieve such a thing. It became clear to me that not everyday can be a holiday and not everyday can be spent doing something utterly great or even be classified as memorable. Priorities must be met and the priorities for each of us were to get a job…but why not have fun while looking and waiting for call backs? Well, after must talking and consideration, we are still planning on going. We can budget the gas, and the food and hey…we don’t need accomodation, all we need is a camp ground so we can pitch our tent. We could do this and for CHEAP, again, all about moderation. Its not a for sure yet that this mini road-trip will even happen or even if it’s smart that we go with the plan. This decision will be made in the next couple of hours.
Sometimes I would prefer to be one of those people who just sit at home, have no imagination, no motivation, no personality, no personal goals/achievements and no passion…for it would be easier perhaps, less fun, but far more cheap. Haha. I have been given the fortunate lifestyle though of wanting to try everything, having deep passions for many activities and wanting to do them, no matter the cost or physical repercussions. A lifestyle I am sure that will come back and hit my bank account, pretty hard. I have promised myself from here on in, I will not regret a thing. I only live once and if I go back home with a small debt where I can look back, not regret a thing and be able to say that some moments or activities were 100% worth participating in, why not…right? Maybe this is a naive thought of mine, but it will only be discovered later. I think it’s safe to say though, I am living the dream.
Song of the Day: Blind Faith by Liam Bailey