2013, I’m Ready!

It’s 2013 and I’m back! I took a brief hiatus from this instrument of obsession, which I really needed. But it is a now a new year, a really important year for me, and I’m ready to go! Here is why:

1. My Travel Savings Plan: I outlined a very specific plan early in Nov 2012 to help me reach my savings goal of $25,000 by Jan 1, 2014.  I calculated how much money I needed to save each and every day in order to meet my goal and then subtracted that amount from the amount of income I would get each month. The leftover is what I used to set my spending limits and budgets for the last two months in an effort to see how this method worked out for me. Well, good news: It has worked! I was able to save the amounts I needed in both November and December! I even threw a couple extra dollars on top of my goal, where I could, so I am actually (ever so) slightly ahead of schedule at this point! It hasn’t been easy and has definitely been a learning process, but I think I am getting the hang of this. I’ll talk more about what I have learned and tricks I have been using in my next post.

save

2. Adding A New Goal: Making this trip happen is obviously really important to me, a life’s dream of mine I would even go so far as to say. But, if the live your dreams part of me is focused on accruing travel funds, then the practical don’t forget about your real life responsibilities part of me dreams of getting rid of my student debt. Every time I think about the amount of money I really owe, I want to cry- it’s that much. I have accepted that this debt will be part of my life for a very long time, but I have also decided that it would be prudent of me to use some of the money I save up to pay down a piece of it. I have my eye on one high interest rate, unsubsidized (evil) portion in particular which I have been aggressively attacking with extra money, tax refunds and the like for the last 3 years. I have managed to get this (unfortunately very small) portion of my debt down to $5,800 and in 2013, I want to eliminate it! This may mean I have to shorten my trip by a month or two and work at saving a little more money than originally planned, but in the long run, I think it will be worth it! And I’m sure I can do it!

Raise That Money!

3. Just One Year Away!: Now that it is officially 2013, my SoleJourn is NEXT YEAR! Being able to say next year instead of in 2014 or in a year and  a half or in 14 months from now, makes a whole lot of mental difference. It is just, give or take, 365 days away! I have been thinking about this trip for so long, and actively planning for 6 months already, so it is easy to get discouraged at times because there is still so long to wait and so much saving and planning to do. But now, knowing that it is 1 year away has revitalized me a bit. Sure, it is still a long time, but it is shorter than ever before and something I can clearly break down into pieces. First I make it through the long winter, then it gets warmer and I enjoy the summer. By the time the fall comes back around I will be able to taste it, and once the holidays pass I would have made it to the finish (or starting) line!

startfinish

4. I Know Where I’m Going: Now that I have decided that I will focus my trip and spend the duration in Central America, South America and Italy I can start actively planning destinations, routes, etc. Because I am a dork, I actually enjoy the research phase of travel, and now I can dive into it head first! I can pass the winter discovering places I want to go and things I want to do just next year! This is where things start to become more real, and I need that to stay motivated and to continue to make this ridiculous daily commute without losing my mind.

2013

5. I Know My 2013 Resolution: I’m not really a big fan of New Year’s resolutions- I mean ANY day can be the first day of ANYTHING you want, right?  But this year, given my circumstances, I am going to make a commitment to myself that is uniquely applicable to 2013, and so I will call it a New Year’s resolution: I will not completely stop living my life just because I moved out of the city, can’t spend money, and am a good distance away from my friends! It almost sounds funny when I read it, because that is enough to keep anyone in the house, but I must get out! If I never go out to eat, don’t meet up with friends, and fail to miss out on any sleep at all, I am going to go insane and blow the whole bit. So, with the help of friends (please drag me out!) I will try hard to maintain some semblance of a life, even if it is watered down and on a pathetic budget. I will remember, that in 2013, I am still young!

So, here is to a year of saving and planning for dreams and practicalities alike! I definitely have my work cut out for me!

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6 responses to “2013, I’m Ready!

  1. Central and South America? We need to talk! Lots of ideas for you. Pretty sure the place I volunteered at in Ecuador through Earthwatch could always use volunteers- see http://www.yanayacu.org/ (the website sucks, but it’ll give you an idea). In Rio de Janeiro there’s a bunch of organizations that let you rent a studio for much cheaper than a hotel, and you can save on cooking food, etc. If you go through Oaxaca, there are some super-remote towns that I’d recommend you visit. And in Buenos Aires there’s a huge Italian community which would be fun for you to explore; might connect the two parts of your trip in a cool way. This is so exciting!!

  2. Okay, so you have basically given me carte blanche to drag you out for some (extremely cheap to zero-cost) fun! It’s on!

  3. Woo! Love this post! I thinks its so great that 1) you’ve gotten one of your loans down that far and 2) that you are making it a goal to pay it off entirely! I also love that you’ve decided to take care of yourself and get out despite your circumstances! You can always come to Philly 🙂 Free room and.. maybe board! haha. Anyway you are well on your way.

    • Why thank you! These loans are such a huge burden, in the end I will travel lighter knowing I ditched some of my debt even if I can’t stay out as long! And I was contemplating when would be a good time for a Philly weekend earlier today. Soon come.

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