Today Jess and I officially announced our 2016 USA trip.
Three months and counting until we’ll be roaming the desert in her cowboy boots and my circle skirts, searching for a cowboy or two to love; or maybe just a really good burger.
Now I am no stranger to the concept of saving money, nor am I a stranger to the concept of spending it it. I am what some may call a shopaholic. I’m not proud of the label, I prefer the term fashion enthusiast, however I recognise the reason I’ve gained it and understand that perhaps my actual NYR should be to simply stop buying clothes.
In all seriousness it is my full intention to not spend a single dollar on clothes for the next three months. Mainly because I spent up in the Boxing Day sales. Sh.
Returning to what I intended to discuss in this post… Money vs travel.
I’ve got a lot of beautiful friends all over the world and we have all made very different choices in the directions of our lives. I know some who are incredibly well set up with their gorgeous homes and partners, babies or engagement rings. I really couldn’t be happier for them. If things had turned out differently I may have been one of them (perish the thought).
I, on the other hand, realised at the ripe old age of 20 that the only thing that I want to do with my life, with absolute certainty, is travel.
It all started while planning my first time venturing out of Western Australia after we had emigrated there six years previously. I nanny’d damn hard that summer and between the dirty nappies and spit sandwiches (let’s not go there) I felt the fire in my belly. I read and reread the Europe travel guide gifted to us by our lovely friends Shaniel, and created what was soon to be known as ‘the Bible’. Coined by my brilliant travel agent Tom, the Bible was my day by day, hostel by hostel, activity by activity, dollar by dollar folder that documented every last inch of our two month European galavant.
There was no going back after we sat excitedly in that Flight Centre store and he uttered the words ‘have you ever thought about being a travel agent?’ – thanks for recognising my calling old mate!
We saved desperately for six months, which honestly wasn’t too hard for a couple of video game loving hermits, and come April 2012 we were on our way.
Ever since that first trip, my entire life has revolved around travel. When I’m not spending my days planning it for other people I’m documenting and researching the places on my own bucket list.
I realise I must sound like a bit of an organisation freak at this point, but I think we’d all have a good laugh if you saw the state of my bedroom.
I have made decisions along the way that have enabled me to literally live my passion without too much financial hardship. I didn’t move out until last year, I didn’t get a credit card until last year (what was necessary at the time is now the devil’s temptation living in my purse), I don’t own a car nor have I ever, I don’t have a house deposit or any animals either (unless we count Jess).
I know I’ve been ridiculously lucky in that my family really are my best friends, and moving away from them was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I’m definitely not saying that this is a lifestyle anyone could afford with the right priorities. Some of us don’t have the option. We all have to make choices. We all have our own path. I thought I was on one and got very abruptly thrown off it, but that’s what I love about life. Just when you start to get off track, she’ll pull you right back again.
I just have lots of lovely people ask me regularly how I do it, and my honest answer is:
- I’m very single
- I’m very financial commitment free
- I have access to cheap deals and the knowledge of the best time to book (which I’ll gladly pass on to anyone interested!)
- I spend every penny of the savings I manage to accumulate on my next trip
My long term goal is to see as much of this planet as possible, and meet loads of amazing people. I’m not worried about a house deposit or buying a car because future Leigh will take care of the grown up stuff when she is ready, provided I don’t get her in to too much debt.
You only live once, and who knows how long for? If you’re as passionate as me and you’ve got that rainy day money just sitting there… What the hell are you waiting for? Trust me, like a work out, travel is one thing you will never regret. You do not need someone to go with. Grow a vagina and find a tour itinerary you like and just be yourself for a while with a bunch of strangers. You’ll love each other by the end of it.
Well that’s it for my very first blog post! Sorry for the tangents, you’ll get used to it.
Lots of love