These Pay Our Bills
So here I am stabbing away at the keyboard in a sticky daze whilst the heavens opens up over the massive city of Bangkok. Over the past few weeks I’ve been to Jakarta, Osaka, Kuala Lumpur (twice) and now I’m in Thailand. In a couple of days I’ll fly out of Thailand to get my visas sorted out once and for all and then I’ll return to stay in Thailand for a few months (assuming they’ll let me back in).
I started this journey with a main goal to escape Australia and travel long term. I didn’t really have any main objectives other than that so I decided to draft up 5 simple goals to achieve over the next 12 months to put a little bit of focus on things.
Let’s see how I went over the first month (26/8/2014 – 26/9/2014):
Now this goal doesn’t include day-to-day travel (like walking), just major travel between cities/countries. I could add daily travel but I’d probably drown myself in confusing data.
In the above graph, the blue line represents my daily goal and the red line represents the actual distance traveled. So far I’m well over my goal and already over the half-way point. This graph doesn’t include my Bangkok & Penang trips so in month #2 it’ll jump further. Given that all further travel should be short 1-2 hour flights, I should pass my goal with plenty of wiggle room to spare. I have a feeling that I may impulse purchase a trip back to Bali when the sales return.
Haven’t done any hill climbing, let alone mountain climbing. The highest I’ve ever been is the 37th floor of an office building in Osaka. Looking at the calendar though, I’d say it is safe to assume that I’ll knock this goal out by the end of the year. There are 45 peaks in Thailand that are over 1,700m and over half of them are within a reasonable distance from towns that I have penciled-in to visit. A lot of those peaks are leisurely climbs and can even be achieved by bike so I may have to re-evaluate this goal at the end of the year.
I did this in September! To be honest, that goal was a given to start off with. I was originally going to bounce around asia for a few months and pop into Japan early next year. But after a bunch of impulse purchases and multiple flight changes, I ended up bumping my Japan visit to the start of my trip. There is a good chance that I’ll return as I’m dying to experience snow again, as well as climb Fuji. As well as buy more stationery. Urrgh.
I’ve amended this goal to be a bit more challenging – to travel only on $50 a day. This figure includes everything, from flights to accommodation. There are a bunch of reasons for this but I’m mainly doing it for both a challenge as well as a means to avoid spending like crazy when in countries like Thailand where everything is so darn cheap.
Keep in mind I’ll still need to have a positive flow of income sometime soon as my existing savings won’t cover me for the entire year and I’ve cut up my credit cards. My income for this month was just under $500 which was a late payment from a client for some work I did just before I left Australia. I haven’t done any work since then and don’t plan on doing any more till the end of October, maybe even November. Fingers crossed I get good Internet or people start donating to my Kickstarter. At the moment all the revenue from this website goes to the hosting and other site related costs.
So anyway, how did I do with my $50 a month goal? Well, strangely enough I did better than I had expected.
Since the majority of this month was spent in Japan I had pencilled in a goal of $80 a day. My future travels would have easily brought the average down but it was safe to assume that there was no way that I’d realistically exist on so little given that Japan isn’t exactly cheap.
Well, it seems that I was wrong. I managed to only spend an average of $66.92. Woo!
Now, this figure isn’t perfect – over the first few weeks I wasn’t used to recording my daily expenditure and had to ballpark things every so often when I had forgotten. Plus as I was living with Kacy, so there would be times where I would be buying things for the two of us and vice versa. I did attempt to even it out but this was a good enough estimate. Please note that a small portion of this timeframe was spent in Jakarta and in transit, which dragged the averages down.
My big purchases (aside from my flights and accommodation) were my new noise cancelling headphones, random bits of stationery ($122.70 – ouch), my day out at Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and eating out at various restaurants.
To be honest I thought the 4 million steps is probably a lot lower than I should have given myself – it’s barely over 11,000 steps a day so that should be a breeze to do, right?
Well, it seems I was wrong. In the above graph, the blue line represents my daily goal and the red line represents the accumulative number of steps taken. To achieve 4 million steps in a year, I would need to average 10,962 steps a day and I have been barely doing that. In Japan there were trains and subways that would take me vast distances so the amount of walking vs distance traveled was rather low. In Jakarta I barely left the hotel unless I was being chauffeured around by my driver as there really wasn’t much to do in the local area and now in Bangkok I’ve barely left my room thanks to the desperate need for some rest thanks to a horrid toothache that I developed on the fight over. On days where there was no need to drown myself in painkillers, it would be raining – no, not raining, it would be bucketing down on a monsoonal scale. I haven’t seen thunderstorms like these for years.
So I really need to step up my game when it comes to physical activity. Whilst in Bangkok it’ll be difficult to keep the step rate high as walking is a bit of a chore due to the weather and dangerous streets (there are no parks/running tracks in the area and I’ve almost been run over at least a dozen times even when on the sidewalk). I’m not too sure about my next stop of George Town, the last time I was in Penang it seemed like any other asian city but given that I’m less than a kilometer from the coast, it may be different.
In the end, I’m somewhat happy with what the first month has brought me. Yes, there is a constant nagging feeling in the back of my mind about money, especially for next month since I damaged my glasses, may need a lengthy visit at the dentist and have had to add an almost unnecessary trip to Malaysia.
Do I miss Australia? Not really. The only things I really miss is the sense of familiarity and the ability to communicate with the locals. The more I read the news, the more I grow distant of my own home country. The politicians seem hell broke on turning the country into a backwards, xenophobic, expensive, culture-less wasteland and I don’t really want to be around when society implodes. A bit dramatic, yes, but when you’re in a foreign country and only get to get a world-view on matters in the region, Australia really isn’t doing so well.
So what do you think? Want to join me? Think my goals are too big/small? I’d love your two cents in the comments below.
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