Tag Archives: 2013

March On…

With a departure date in early January, I still have quite a way to go. I’m not even to the halfway point yet; I still have more time to wait than I have waited thus far. Ugh. Some days and weeks have flown by while others have felt double their actual length. At 1 or 2 points I even considered just biting the bullet and leaving immediately, because I could. But I didn’t.

The ideal version of changing my life required me to wait so that I could take full advantage of the time to prepare and really make sure I was doing the right things for myself and my plan. And I knew that if I made it through January, February and March, that the other 9 months would be a breeze. Why? I hate January, February and March. The winter days are so short that time feels long. I despise the cold- my body just wasn’t built to effectively insulate itself. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything but hang out in my bed and read or watch shows on Hulu. My preferred form of exercise is running outdoors, which is really difficult during these months, so instead I opt for very little exercise at all, which just leads to more lying around. If it weren’t for the necessity of getting up and going to work everyday, I might be mistaken for a hibernating chipmunk (I’m way too small to compare to a bear).

eastern-chipmunk-hibernating

But, come April, the days are full of more light and slightly warmer temperatures that will allow me to go back outside to run. I get more done and want to do more. April and May are also busy months at work, and when im busy all day, time moves more quickly. Plus, the temperatures will have risen enough so that I no longer have to go outside 5-10 minutes before I leave in the morning to brush the snow or ice off of the car. I cannot explain how much I am looking forward to that moment!

Then comes summer, and I don’t even need to rush the summer away. Those are my months; the point in the year when it is light on my way to work and on my way home from work. In June, July and August, just sitting outside somewhere is an actual activity. Plus, by then, it will be time for me to kick a lot of things into gear and begin a lot of preparations for my trip! The summer is also a fairly relaxed time at work so I get to fully enjoy the anticipation of it all.

summer-in-the-city

Come September, I celebrate my birthday and then I’m off to visit Seattle and Vancouver to spend some time with a bunch of friends. Once I return, October will be the following week! In October, I travel for work for a few weeks, which I really enjoy and makes the time pass. By then, I will be so close to departure that I will be full speed ahead visiting doctors while I still have health insurance, getting clothes and gear that I will take with me and getting rid of possessions that I won’t need anymore.

By the time we reach November, my SoleJourn will be so close I can taste it. Thanksgiving will come and go and I will feel like I need MORE time to get everything done (Isn’t that always how it works?). December, another busy month at work always flies. With preparations for the holidays and last minute things for my trip, Christmas comes and then one day very soon after that I wake up and its TIME.

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So basically what I’m trying to say is, once we hit April, I’m as good as gone! I will no longer need to laboriously cross days off of the calendar one by one because they will escape me all on their own. The worst of the waiting is over and the best yet to come!

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.

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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!

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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!