By Chelsea Pyne
Before I reach my 26th birthday I will have explored most of Europe, driven the East and West coasts of America, sailed the Caribbean Sea, and climbed the Hallelujah Mountains of China. To think, this English major was told to go into other studies–ones that would ensure a “successful” career. (I always blamed my poor math skills due to dyslexia with numbers.)
Since, I have defined success on my own terms. I knew from a young age I needed to do something where I was actively learning and actively moving. The thought of owning shiny things never meant much to me; I was very much okay with second-hand. Perhaps being the youngest child, it felt natural. After completing my studies, my life took a turn towards the nomadic. I am often asked how it is possible to afford exploring so much; so I have compiled a little guide that may help others get to where they want to go.
For a start, I have no car, I live on a boat, and I do not buy things without purpose. Not all of my tricks for travel will apply to everyone, but tweaking daily routines could enable more people to free up time, space, and money to do their own traveling. Inevitably, this makes us more knowledgeable and interesting people with an expanded view of the world.
Here are some steps to take to get that next ticket booked. Even if your desire for travel is a simple trip to Triad Park, these tips will help save money and declutter your life.
Coffee. We all need it, but not from Starbucks. What seems like a small, yet semi-luxurious purchase will add up to devastating bills overtime (the same goes for smoothies, put your own blender to work!). A $5 caramel mocha frappe a few times a week costs $780 a year. Think about that. Make it at home, take it to go, and skip the sugary syrups. You have just saved a nice stack of cash and your blood sugar remains level.
Water. Plastic bottles from the gas station or grocery store must end. Purchasing a $2 bottle of water every day will add up to around $60 a month. That is $720 a year that could be spent on airfare to see the Red Rocks of Sedona. Have you been to Sedona? It is only one of the coolest places on earth. A nice, $10 reusable water bottle will spare our landfills, spare your wallet, and get you climbing to the top of Bell Rock.
Alcohol. Either go without or cut back on drinking out. A full alcohol detox will benefit your budget and health. Try it for a week and see that it is not so hard. If you go out with friends, keep it simple and order a beer, or make your own at home. Brewing ginger beer is actually considered a health drink. One that is simple to make, taking about 13 days to produce. Probiotics from the fermenting ginger help digestion, decrease nausea, and it has no preservatives or additives–since you make it at home! Being on a budget does not render you lame, if anything it brings out creativity.
Stuff. Go without and live simply. As mentioned earlier, I do not have a whole lot that I own. No car, house, or television–which cuts out a lot of bills. Streaming Netflix on my computer feels a whole lot better than paying a hefty cable bill each month, even including internet service. I also got rid of my landline phone and my current cell phone is pay-as-you-go. I spend under $20 a month on credit and use wifi when I am out. No big data plans, no big bills.
There are many ways to fulfill your dream vacation to Bali. Cutting back is key, but remember to protect the money you save. Downgrading your life is also upgrading it. Weigh the pros and cons by asking yourself how important each object is. Do I need to buy it or can I go without? Is this item benefiting my life or can I sell it? These are thoughts that should go into each purchase as well as when it comes to simplifying your space.
Ridding yourself of clutter and unimportant things helps de-stress your mind and makes room for the things that really matter. The money saved will fuel travels around the world, make you a smarter person, and fulfill your life in ways that material things cannot. So start spring cleaning any trivial activities in your life and start preparing for a Euro trip next fall. Godspeed and safe travels!