Archive for ‘planning’

April 20, 2012

So what am I getting up to this summer?

by Robyn

With summer upon us, I’ve been busy making plans. Beyond my love for travel, I’m usually a real homebody. I like tv, internet and air conditioning. I really like my bed and sleeping in until the middle of the afternoon. When I go out to my cottage, I sit in the shade reading a book. I don’t really get up to much. Hopefully, this summer things will change.

Ever since joining the gym, and for a few months taking a twice weekly class, I’ve seen drastic improvements in my physical abilities and overall stamina. I can run for almost 20 minutes staight! I couldn’t do that 6 months ago. I was lucky if I could go 5 minutes without huffing and puffing. This summer I’m going to get off my ass, get out of the house and enjoy the weather.

Starting in July, I’m taking weekends off. Working full-time and serving on the side during the winter months, I’m lucky if I get 2 days off in the span of a month. It’s unheard of if I get two days off in a row. It’s the nature of working two jobs, and I accept that. It’s the sacrafic I make to save as much money as I do and still live comfortably. That being said, my summers are for me enjoy.

Starting on June 30th, I’m flying out to Vancouver for just over a week. I’ll be visiting my friend Scot in New West Minster (just south of Vancouver) for approximately 4 days. During that time I’ll be painting the town red (and white) celebrating Canada Day in style, challenging myself to do the Grouse Grind, and eating copious amounts of sushi. Then I’ll be taking the ferry to Vancouver Island to visit my friend Robin in Victoria. While there I’ll be taking in the sights of a new city I’ve yet to explore, hiking Mt. Finlayson and hanging out with her kick ass dog.

 

On August 18th, I’ll be competing in the Dirty Donkey 5K Mud run. I’ve never done anything competative in my life and attempting to run a marathon just doesn’t appeal to me in the least. This on the otherhand, I know that even if I do suck ass and quit, I’ll still have had a lot of fun. Plus, unlike boring marathons, at the end of the race I get to be hosed down followed by gorging myself on beer and food.

I’ll be capping off my summer by participating in the Terry Fox Run on September 16th. Again, this is something that I’ve never done, and for years I have wanted to do it, but for whatever lame excuse it just never happened. This year, it’s going to happen, no excuses.

As for the rest of the summer and all those weekends I’ll have off. I’m going to be at my cottage. Sometime in the next few months I’m getting my boating license. I plan on doing a lot of boating, a lot of swiming, and a hell of a lot more hiking. Up until last year it had probably been well over 5 years since I’d done a decent hike of anykind through the bushes at my cottage. I loved it and it made me realize how much I miss my cottage. I plan on catching up on a lot of lost time this summer, revisiting the old stomping grounds of my childhood and discovering new ones.

 

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March 27, 2012

10,000 things to do before I die

by Robyn

In a few days, I will have $13,000 saved towards my upcoming RTW trip, 65% of the way to my final goal of $20,000! I’ve been keeping up with my “inspirational readings” and have been scouring the internet daily for new travel blogs to follow. Some recent posts have inspired me to start making note. When I’m FINALLY gone on my trip, what do I want to do?

A few months ago, Kieron from donteverlookback.com spent a week doing Muay Thai Kickboxing Training at Rawai Muay Thai. Roy from roymarvelous.com is just completed his 3rd week at the same camp. Jennifer, Holly and Amanda from lostgirlsworld.com documented their time in an Ashram on their round-the-world trip, just like Elizabeth Gilbert did in her best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love. These are things that I really want to do! I would love to do something like this in the city now, but working two jobs with conflicting hours just makes it extremely hard to commit to something so intense.

I probably read at least 10-15 different blog posts every day, if not more. This makes for a lot of day dreaming, wanderlust, and moments of “I want to do that!” So I’ve borrowed an idea from Caroline, from the Caroline in the City blog.  She has a Bucket List, or as she’s termed it, a Life List. I decided to add another TAB to my blog, with my bucket list. My ‘to do’s’ before I die, or at least my to do’s while I’m traveling the world.

What have you crossed off on your bucket list?

April 30, 2011

Income Tax Return

by Robyn

I received my income tax return in the mail the other day. It was $1000 less than what I was expecting. I’m upset but I am very very close to having my car paid off in full, so I really couldn’t be happier. I have $1201.51 remaining to be paid off on my Pontiac G6 that I bought in Nov 2010.

I have been letting my last few pay cheques sit in my bank account until my credit card statements come in the mail in a few days. Once I pay those off the remaining will go towards my car. It will be tight but I’m still predicting that I have the car paid off by the end of May, then I can put everything towards savings for my big trip.

April 27, 2011

Drowning in Accommodations

by Robyn

Who knew that planning a trip to get tattooed would be so much work? And I haven’t even gotten to the details yet of the actual tattoo. For the past 2 days I’ve been mulling over my options for where to stay on my upcoming trip to Toronto. With my slim budget and my few odd accommodation specifications, it’s been a tiring process and I’ve been repeatedly looking over my top choices again and again, trying to weigh out the pros and the cons.

Do they have 24 hr reception? is breakfast included? is the bathroom private or at least semi-private? are they downtown or have easy access to transit?

I’ve set my budget at under $200 for 3 nights. A reasonable budget and one I can see myself staying within. Now it’s just a matter is deciding where I want to stay. I’ve been looking at hostels, bed & breakfasts, couchsurfing and airbnb (which is a cross between a B&B and couchsurfing), not sure if I’m entirely sold on this idea yet.

Clearly I’m obsessing over this a little and I should probably just phone somewhere and book a room already. But when it comes to the potential discomfort I’ll be experiencing with having my entire back tattooed, I think I have a right to be a little bit anal. It’s unlikely that I’ll couchsurf given that I’ll be sore and tired from having been tattooed for several hours. I know I’ll really want some privacy.

I have sent out one couch request to someone I hosted in the past but I’m not expecting anything, other than maybe an invitation for coffee.

Anyways, these are my top choices thus far, the first 3 places I will only be staying in for the night of my arrival, then I will be moving into cozier accommodations for Friday and Saturday night.

Global Village Backpackers – ($22.00 – 24.50) Breakfast included, 24hr reception

The Only Backpackers Inn – ($23.00 – 24.00) Breakfast included, can negotiate a late check-in

Neill-Wycik Summer Hostel – ($24.00 – 38.00) Breakfast included, 24 hr reception

Cozy Toronto BnB – ($55.00 – 70.00) Continental Breakfast included, 24hr hot showers, tv in room

Downtown Home Inn BnB – ($71.00 – 85.00) Open Buffet Breakfast, tv in room

I’ll probably sit on these options for a few days before I book anything. In the mean time, I’ll finish mapping out my routes to/from the airport and scouting for cheap eats, and something relaxing that I can do on Saturday afternoon to keep me occupied if I’m not able to meet up with anyone.

April 6, 2011

365+ days, when will the saving end?

by Robyn

So we shall see if this on and off dream ever comes into fruition. I have 436 days until my tentative departure date. June 15th, 2012. That date sounds pretty darn good to me. That gives me 1 year, 2 months and 9 days to work, save, and sell my belongings. And maybe attending a wedding before I leave…. well see…it’s complicated.

So this my plan. Granted it’s been my “plan” on more than one occasion. Clearly I’ve failed in the past. I think this is attempt #3. Third times the charm right? Things are looking up. This time I’m not fresh out of school, working part-time, in between jobs, or doing a summer term position while trying to pay off debts from spur of the moment trips that I hadn’t adequatly saved or planned for. I’m in one place, working full-time, (working two jobs in fact) with no chance of upcoming vacation time to blow my money on a week long trip to Mexico which I’ve done more than once while working as a part-time server.

Oh the flexibility of working as a server, when you can trade shifts, drop shifts, pick up shifts, and you have loads of tax free cash at your fingertips. It can get you into messy financial situations. Like $4000 worth of debt in a mere 3 months.

One thing that I find frustrating, understandable, however still frustrating is that many travel bloggers are hush hush on what their financial standings are. I want to know HOW you saved up $xxxxx.xx. And not in terms of, instead of going to the movies you watched an old VHS at home. That saved you $20, which will amount 1 meal and a 1 night stay in Thailand. Or the fact that you pinched and saved and scrounged for a year and bingo, you have $23,000 saved at the end of a year. I want to know that along with your full time day job, you worked 15hrs serving over the weekend. You made $100 in tips and it went straight into your trip jar. Play by play! I love that shit. It makes it feel real, and that I can do it too….

Because, this weekend, I did serve for 15 hrs, and I think I made something in the range of $140. All of which has gone into my “money jar.” It will likely pay for my expenses when I fly to Toronto in a few weeks to get tattooed. 60% of of the flight which will be paid for with my RBC points that I’ve collect over the years. Budget travel….only to go and spend probably $1000 on a tattoo I’ve been saving for and waiting to get for over year.

I hope that in my blog, however it may evolve, will give people true insight into how I’ve done it. Friends and co-workers are always blown away by how I do it. Like how have I financed 5, (yes count it) 1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE, WEEK long vacations to destinations like Mexico (twice), New Jersey, Cuba & Montreal working 20 – 30 hours a week as a server at a pizza place. I hope to break it down so that you can do it too.

My current debt amounts to just over $3,000. That’s amazing considering I purchased a previously-loved $10,000 car in November. But with diligence, hard work and the sale of my old Nissan, since making the purchase a mere 5 months ago, I’ve somehow mananged to pay off $7000. With a fat income tax cheque expected in my mail box in the next few weeks, and a $400 autopac cheque enroute, I can expect to be putting money to savings in just over a month.

Having been able to consistantly put $500 – $700 away monthly to pay off my car, I can expect to be able to continue that into savings. Take that times 1 year, 2 months and 9 days, makes for $7000-$9000 put into savings. Add that to my existing $4000 saved in my high interest esavings chequing account fittingly nicknamed “RTW TRIP” and I’ll have somewhere in the range of $11,000 – $13,000 to buy a one way ticket westbound to SE Asia or Australia to live, work and play until I’m broke or dead. Which ever comes first.

Until then, I will feed my obsession with books, blogs, forums and the like. As the date gets closer I’ll be forced to explore details of the trip that can no longer be approached in theory. Like where is the best place to purchase traveller insurance, what are my most affordable banking options, what vaccines to get for the regions I hope to visit, and what I’ll need to pack. I’ll pull out a map and examine where I want to go, what I want to see, and overall, how much a really want to plan. A part of me wants to get the necessary vaccines, buy the longest insurance I can get my hands on GO. It probably won’t happen that way, but until then, I shall BLOG and DREAM.