I’ve been writing this blog for an awful long time and one thing I have not discussed yet is money. I don’t like talking about money (Does anyone?), but you can’t really think about travel and not think about budgets, costs and personal finance.
I think the best way to tackle this discussion is to talk about how I financed my travels before Husband J. Honestly, with two incomes to pull from and another person’s considerations and tastes to contend with, it has changed the way I travel. Also, with both of our salaries, it is/was easier to stay at nicer places and do certain types of activities that I probably wouldn’t do myself. Husband J and even me, at certain points, have done well for ourselves financially through our jobs. I’m not going to lie to you about that. That being said, during my early travels, I had to learn how to work the little I did have and that taught me a lot about my priorities and how I wanted to handle parts of my finances.
In Rio de Janeiro, on my last self-funded trip
Before I talk about financial strategies both practical and mental that I used to figure out how to find the money to travel, I thought I would let you know that it wasn’t always easy. I have had circumstances that didn’t make it easy to fund traveling anywhere but to the grocery store and to my job much less to the places I’ve been.
Let me give you a picture of what my financial life was like in the past:
1. I had/have student loans. I still have outstanding student loans. I went to what many people consider a very good (well, I liked it) private university for my undergraduate degree as well as law school afterwards. Law school should actually be called “Loan school” because that’s how most people finance their legal education. In the U.S. if we choose certain educational paths, we have to pay for it somehow, plain and simple.
Leblon Beach in Rio
2. I don’t come from a family that is well off or even close. My mother is the bomb, and I don’t know how she raised me by herself. She came to the U.S.A. without any immediate family and was the sole breadwinner of my small family unit. (Love you, Mom!!!) I tell people that I’m a poor girl that has lived a rich girl’s life (without the nice clothes). It’s true. Neither my mother nor has my family ever funded any of the trips I’ve taken. My travels have been because I found a way to do it on my own somehow.
At Maracana Stadium in Rio for a great soccer game. Read about it here.
3. I have had credit card debt (in the past). Lots of it. When you spend three years of your twenties trying to live on nothing, it’s hard not to rack it up (See #1). I have no qualms saying that I used to have credit card debt, especially now that it’s been paid off for years. At the same time, I didn’t let it stop me from doing what I wanted to do.
I’m not writing all of these things for travel street cred, but to let you know that even not so great finances or lack of an inheritance should keep you from travelling. I also tell you these things because I hate reading travel blogs that don’t mention any of these issues.
In the next post in this series, I’ll let you know some of the strategies, opportunities and mental outlooks that I used to find a way to see the world. It’s not necessarily rocket science, but I hope it shatters the idea that travel is only for some people. It’s for you, too.