Somehow, January whizzed by. I was really busy at work and was flying high off of the fact that it was finally 2013, the year before my trip. But February, despite being a short month, is not moving in that same manner! The number of days until we finally hit March and some light is restored (literally and figuratively) seem to be increasing with each 24 hour cycle, instead of the opposite. Just planning and saving and waiting all of the time (especially in perpetual darkness) can be so discouraging.
To feel better I need to DO something- to remind myself that I determine my path and that I can meet (or at least come close) to my savings goals. Theorizing and daydreaming are great, but forward motion is better. So, this weekend, I took two giant steps forward! Numero uno:
I have officially begun the process of paying off the portion of my student debt I was aiming for!
I was going to wait longer; I had all of these things I told myself I should do first. But why? The longer I wait, the more likely I am to drop this idea altogether, in favor of keeping the money and traveling longer. As much as I would love to do that, this is important too. And I have the money now! It will take a few days for the transfer to hit my checking account and then to be processed by my lender, but by the middle of next week, that small piece of my debt will be no more! And it will feel so good to log in to my account and see one fewer line reminding me of all the future income that isn’t actually mine.
Feeling inspired, I decided to take my doing a little further. Step forward numero dos:
I booked a one-way flight to Belize City!!
I used AAdvantage miles, which I have been accumulating for about 8 or 9 months now with an AAdvantage Platinum Visa (which comes with a 30,000 mile bonus) for just this purpose. It cost me 17,500 miles and $5 in taxes!!
This far out, availability was great and I got my pick of dates, airports and seats! The dates are changeable at no extra cost as long as the level of the award, departure and arrival airports remain the same, so if something comes up closer to D(eparture)-Day, I am not locked in. Also, with my AAdvantage card, I get 10% of my redeemed miles back, so it will only cost me 15,750 miles in the end!
Even though January 16 is the start of off-peak award travel for Central America, and booking on or after this date would mean the ticket costs me 2,500 fewer miles, I decided it wasn’t worth wasting 10 days of beautiful weather in Belize. So,
My SoleJourn officially begins on January 7, 2014!
Though it is still a LONG way off, I now have a date to look forward to and I can finally create accurate countdowns. But, the biggest benefit of all: I can’t back down now! It is happening!! Having a tangible date, flight number, seat number even, makes this whole dream a little bit more of a reality and that is exactly what I needed to push through these last days of the dark dreary wintry months.
From now on, my lucky number is 7.