Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The rant of a traveler stuck at home

We read several blogs about saving, debt reduction, and frugality, and the basic message of most of them seems to be, "Save more! Spend less! Don't buy stuff you don't need!"

In theory, I agree.

In reality, all I want to do is go to Expedia and purchase a two-week trip to Costa Rica.

See, everyone has his or her vice(s), and my vice is traveling. I'm not sure it would truly qualify as a vice except that international travel - which is what interests me - is extremely expensive (I don't care what people are saying about travel bargains - I don't see the concept reflected in international airfares). Trent and I both traveled a lot when we were younger, and I, especially, became addicted to it. I love it: I love meeting new people, trying new foods and activities, and immersing myself in a different culture. For some warped reason, I also like being out of my element, a fish out of water. It scares and thrills me. I thrive on these experiences.

Staying at home? It makes me feel all wilted inside. To me, a "staycation" is about as exciting as a plateful of Brussels sprouts.

This is supposed to be the year we put ourselves on a short leash, the year we save and reduce debt and work and work and work. So far, so good. Our efforts are paying off. I can SEE our debt decreasing and I can SEE an increase in our savings, but this just makes the impulsive part of my brain shout, "HEY LOOK! You have some money! Don't you think you deserve a reward? A reward like a trip to Australia...or New Zealand...or Japan...or or or" and on and on, listing possibilities that we can't even remotely afford, even if we swim to these places and sleep in roach motels.

I really do understand what people are saying about making sacrifices now in order to ensure a comfortable future. I get it. On the flip side, I don't think the "You're only young once" argument is totally moot, either. When you're young, you're more likely to be healthy, and when you're healthy, travel is more enjoyable. When you're young, you might be more flexible about the quality of your accommodations. When you're young, perhaps you're a little less fearful (because to be honest, I, personally, have become a little more wary about my travel destinations with every passing year, especially now that I am a parent).

I can tell you that a lot of our credit card debt - the debt we're still paying off - accumulated as a result of some pretty fun vacations and adventures. Do I hate the debt? Yes. Do I regret any of my travel experiences? Absolutely not. To tell you the truth - and I know this may not be a very popular thing to say - they were worth every penny...and the interest, too.

That said, I have no desire to relapse into deep debt, so at this point, I am holding back. We have come a very long way in the last year, and I'm not going to deplete our savings or turn to my credit cards to fund a little getaway. Not right now. I need to look at this from a more long-term perspective. However, I also need to be realistic. There is absolutely. no. way. that we're not going to do some fun stuff, even as we are saving to sail. So my plan is this: once we pay off the credit card, we will save up for some sort of vacation - maybe not a jet-setting tour of Europe or Australia, but maybe we can find a good deal on something a little closer to home (in reality, Costa Rica isn't that far away, and it's supposed to be fairly inexpensive). Not only is that an incentive to keep paying down debt, but just the thought of such a possibility on the horizon may be enough to keep me out of the loony bin.


  1. i truly can relate with you....i have this tremendous itch to travel...and here i am here at this keyboard writing this comment... :) ..what i do everyday is us my Vision Map Video to manifest travel and all other abundances in my life.... and each day i feel closer to my intention, and definitely feel more positive and joyful....enjoy!!!


  2. Hey, I too charged a bunch of trips back in the day (I was a travel agent then! How could I not take advantage of the deals?!?) and I also don't regret it. Touring Europe at 22? Spring Break in Cancun? As a mom and a working adult, those chances were once in a lifetime. Maybe it's not frugal for me to say either, but I have to agree with you!