I’ve been traveling a lot lately, which explains my silence, but has also made me think about the act of travel as well.
I grew up in a family that traveled progressively more the older I became. It started out with family road trips to visit relatives, all three kids packed in the back seat for 1000 miles. There were occasional trips to other places, like the Disney World trip at 6, but generally travel for the family was restricted to family vacation, once a year, to visit relatives. Then I joined a choir that went on tours, and suddenly began things like trips to Israel and Ireland. These became supplemented with long weekends in New York with my parents or trips to Denver to visit my college-aged sister. Travel wasn’t an everyday occurrence, but it was frequent enough from the age of 12 onwards. After graduating high school, travel got worse, with spending time in Spain, then choosing a college 1800 miles from home. Travel was a normal occurrence, I mean, it didn’t count if it was going home for Christmas or a quick bus trip to New York right? By the time I graduated college, I was a seasoned traveler, which only got worse with my new job in a new location. Now I had to go visit the significant other or college friends out of state. I had to go home for Christmas. I needed to go to headquarters for training. Suddenly, I look back and see that in the last 6 months I’ve done at least 7 trips.
I like to travel, but this is wreaking havoc on my ability to save money. I use travel as an excuse to splurge, go out for expensive meals or go to the bar. I don’t do those things when I’m home, so it must be o.k. to indulge a little while I’m gone. I’ll go back to my strict budget once I get back home. And I do manage to go back to my strict budget when I get back home, but it doesn’t help the fact that I spent $70 last Thursday and another $60 on Sunday. I can eat lentils and rice all week and it still won’t help. Travel is the danger lurking in my financial life.
Having tracked my expenses for the last six months, I see the truth that travel is not healthy for my budget. I love travel and consider it almost necessary considering where I live, but this cannot continue. I am deciding that the travel madness must stop. To that end, I’ve decided to move closer to my friends and significant other beginning in October, which should help. I will still be going home for Christmas and may go home for Thanksgiving, but aside from that I will be attempting to limit my travel. This is going to be a challenge, but I really need to be saving instead of indulging my wanderlust.