Not traveling as much
We used to go on vacations at least twice a year. But with the big trip coming up we’ve had to adjust the duration and location of our yearly vacations to save money. We stick to domestic destinations, and instead of 2-week-long travels, we do a week here and there.
We used to go on backpacking trips all over the states… Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska… but now we tend to stay within our state. Luckily, with our state’s proximity to the sierras, this has not been as tough as it could’ve been. But we can’t help but feeling a little cooped up at work.
A pair of pants vs 150 meals
On top of all the penny pinching and the saving, every purchase we make needs to be evaluated. A new Smartwool thermal for $90, hmm… that’s like 2 days of living cost for both of us in SE Asia. Or as Wandering Earl in “Currency of Pad Thai” would put it,
‘Should I buy those sneakers? They’re only $65. I don’t know. For that amount of money I could feast on 140 plates of my favorite pad thai in Bangkok!’
Even though we don’t care so much for pad thai’s (pad see ew is so much better), you get the gist. You keep comparing the things you want to the things you can get abroad for the same amount of money. And it sucks… because sometimes you really, really want a new pair of pants.
And if you give in, there’s the guilt: My only pants have a hole in the butt. I need a new pair of pants, dang it. Why am I feeling guilty over it?
Realizing the border-less world as seen in from above is an illusion
We can talk about globalization as much as we want, but the world is still heavily compartmentalized. You can be refused entry to certain countries because you have a certain stamp on your passport.
Or you could find yourself being interrogated simply by having been to the wrong country and flying out with the wrong person.
There’s so much distrust and bad blood that certain countries require a copy of your bank statements from the last 6 months to prove that you can afford your trip.
But only if you’re coming from the ‘wrong’ country.
It’s sad and disheartening to learn that even though you want to go and see the world, sometimes it feels like the world does not want to see YOU.
Dealing with broken foreign consulate/embassy websites
And phone numbers that go nowhere. I’m convinced that they actually hire people whose job is to make sure the phones go unanswered. I can just envision the scene: a ringing phone, cordoned off behind a velvet rope, and a guard whose job is to shoot anyone who tries to pick it up.
And what’s up with the ‘getting visa’ links that go to a 404 site?
The only exception I’ve encountered so far: the Swiss embassy. I got a reply within 1 hour of an email inquiry from a real person complete with a phone number to his direct line.
For that, the Swiss will forever have a special place in my heart. Even if they decided to pass that stupid anti-minaret law.
Being unable to answer friends’ and relatives’ questions
I feel like I should know the answer to these questions. But I just don’t…
– “Which countries are you going to?”
– “How long are you going to be on the road?”
– “Are you coming back here?”
– “Are you going to country X, Y, Z?”
After the 10th ‘We don’t know’ in a row I tend feel guilty and slightly awkward. I have a flashback of an image of myself standing in front of the rest of the 6th graders in my class unable to answer the teacher’s question.
I think the ultimate sacrifice we’ve had to make is the decision not to have pets.
We love animals. Both of use grew up with pets and can’t imagine a life without their companionship. But dogs, cats, rabbits, and birds live for a very long time and we are in no position to enter into a 10+ yr commitment that many pets require.
Even though we foster for local rescues and we love our fosters… they will eventually move on to their “forever” home and it’s always tough for us to say goodbye…
Anyway, that’s my official rant post of the year 🙂
As a side note: our foster kitty was just adopted 2 days ago — so it’s a little quiet here once again.
How about you? What part of planning a trip that you like the least?