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.
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!
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!
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.
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!