Speaking of weird, I look like the mothership has just returned for me in that photo. Anyway…
I know it is unusual for a family to take a six-month trip anywhere, let alone to pack up and go to Europe.
I do; I know that. I am incredibly lucky to have a chance to do it, to have a boss who understood how important it was to me to do it now, to have friends at work who are the ones who are making it work.
But I don’t feel like I am able to take this trip because I am rich.
Again, I know that I am “rich” in many ways. We have two incomes and we are both healthy enough to work, for now. We have jobs and cars and a house and medical insurance. Many people don’t. We are undeniably rich in those things. But many other people who have all these things think they could never afford to travel like this.
The thing is, we are able to afford this trip because we have been saving for twenty years. Twenty years of used furniture and shopping at Goodwill and decorating in “Early Hand-Me-Down” style and rarely going out (except for way too many Dollar Menu hamburgers) and being as frugal as we know how, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When I hear “Oh, it must be nice!” I think, it IS nice, but we had a whole bunch of not-so-nice while other people lived it up in little ways that added up over the months and years. Heck, that’s even true about the trip itself! We are renting apartments wherever possible because its cheaper than even youth hostels in most cities, especially since – with a kitchen – we can cook for ourselves and save on eating out. We go to museums on the free days and eat in the cheaper tascas, and we aren’t paying for any tours or guides or even souvenirs, for the most part. Would it be fun to stay in a fancy hotel and eat at amazing restaurants and buy fabulous souvenirs and mail them home? You bet it would! I’d love it. But we could only stay two weeks at that rate of spending, instead of 24. This is better, for us.
Now that I’ve written this, I’m contemplating not posting it. It is sooo not meant to be a “Look what we did!” post, but a “Look what you can do!” one. I especially don’t want anyone to think that I was always happily frugal all those years; you can get David to verify that! But now, I must say, I am happy with the end result.
Daily Check In:
- I’m grateful! to everyone who helped make this trip a reality, and especially to David, for cracking the whip. (I’m kidding; I take care of the finances, but I have certainly learned how to be a cheapskate through his shining example.)
- I’m lighter! by about 4 hours of sleep… argh. I really need to get this sleeping problem under control. It’s just that I would so much rather blog than sleep…