I’m a little obsessed. Traveling seems like it’s one of those things that everyone (okay, maybe not everyone but a lot of people) wants to do, but just don’t get around to it. I feel pretty fortunate that my current lifestyle has allowed me to travel as much as I have.
I’ve been pondering why I love travel so much and the fact that I’ve just recently been added to the facebook group for my high school 10 year reunion has helped shed some light by bringing up people I hadn’t seen much less thought of in almost as long (ugh! reminding me of those olden’ times). When I was really little – think about 8 or 9, the only real difference I could discern between my peers and myself was that my parents took me places. Like, a lot of places. Not overseas, but we did a lot of traveling around the US. Camping, Disneyworld, Washington D.C., Hawaii, California, Texas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming… Now that I think back, I suspect that early introduction to travel, and continued travel through high school has affected how I prioritize travel in my adult life. Also, all of my older sibs did a year abroad right after high school, so again, traveling overseas was just a natural part of life.
And now, I’M ADDICTED to travel! Haha… Okay, but honestly living on a comparatively teeny little island (albeit, one of the most beautiful in the world) makes one think about travel all the time. I’m signed up to all of airnewzealand’s newsletters. Finding cheap (the cheapest and bestest) flights and thinking about prospective trips is a bit of a hobby (god bless the internet).
So yes, I’m looking forward to bf and my long weekend in Auckland at the end of march (yes, grabaseats!). Despite being our nation’s largest city, and a requirement to fly out via to the USA, I’ve never actually seen anything in Auckland aside from the airport. I mean, honestly what is the point of living in a country for years and years (it will be 4 years on Saturday, FYI) and not seeing all of it?
We’re also going to Melbourne at the end of May for bf’s friend’s wedding (we visited/stayed with them on our trip in ’09). I scored us some tickets for less than $400 return each from Dunedin, which as far as we can tell is a pretty darn good price. We’ll be flying pacific blue and virgin blue. And we thought, if we’re spending $400 on flights, might as well go for a week and make a holiday of it. So that is what we’ve done!
The only downside to these cheap as tickets to Melbourne is that we can’t bring any luggage. Yeah. Becca, 1 week, no luggage??? How will I survive?! I’ve actually decided that it will be a fun challenge to be limited to a carry-on for a week. Especially since we’ll be needing outfits to wear to a wedding! I didn’t actually own a carry-on so I decided I needed to get one. Big, stylish and cheap!
Have you ever searched for a carry-on? It’s impossible. They are either black and boring, or heavy, or expensive, or too small… Then there are things like this. E-bags had lots of offerings (most boring, black and expensive as above), but then there is the part where I’m in New Zealand… Then I found this bag on trademe. I thought it would be perfect… Sadly, the bidding escalated and I was feeling poor and thought – “Stuff this. There will be another bag.” I finally went to etsy, thinking some sort of vintagey looking bag thing could help me out. I had the maximum measurements of carry-ons from Air NZ (43″ or 118cm), although Pacific Blue is slightly smaller (105cm). The weight limit is 7kg. After searching vintage luggage on etsy, I found this gem:
Real leather? Yes! Lightweight? Yes (I didn’t want a ‘suitcase’ looking thing – all those handles and wheels are just excess weight)! Nice shape? Yes! Nice colour? Yes (I love brown)! Less than $20USD? Yes (okay, not with shipping but hey, I’ve come to terms with that)! I’m totally stoked to try this bag out! I received it just on Tuesday and it’s everything I hoped for! It’s not lined (I could fix that if I really wanted), but I’m still stoked – and it smells like apples! Weird, since most vintage items have that weird old musty smell. I know, I know, it’s a leather duffel bag, but it’s functional and as stylish as a carry-on can get. I can’t wait to see how much stuff I can fit inside!!!
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Now in case you are wondering, how can she afford to travel so often? She’s a student with almost zero money. I live off “the sniff of an oily rag” (<— one of my fave expressions from my co-worker Mary). I am really trying to cut down my spending (as I mentioned back in Jan). I don’t have a car. We don’t even have a tv. I use the public library like it’s going out of style. We have a strict grocery budget, and almost everything we buy at the supermarket is on sale (not on sale? Probably we can go without). We don’t eat much meat. We don’t eat out very often anymore. Bf drives a manual 4 cylinder car that is almost as old as I am. It’s probably worth about $500, but we can fill the gas tank for about $50. My point being, we live modestly so that we can travel. As I said, travel is one of our priorities, so I guess it really comes down to what you want out of life, and what you want to spend money on (I am trying to look at it as things vs. experiences). And we don’t have kids, which of course changes everything. : D
Of course, this financial strategy will probably change soon as our house needs stuff to be done to it. Mostly, we need almost an entirely a new bathroom (new shower and floor, primarily)…
However, sadly I think we’ve decided we can’t afford a big travel home to MN for xmas this year. : ( It’s $2500 each just to LA, versus about $1800 if we went in June, July or August. Hello holiday price gauging by air new zealand. Tentatively we will save up and hopefully make a trip in July 2012 instead (we also want to do a big post-PhD Europe trip sometime in 2013 so we need to start saving for that too!). We shall see (especially if I’m supposed to be finishing the thesis in October 2012, taking a month off 2 months before is probably less than wise)… Until then – stinginess and Skype! Oh, and buy some lotto tickets!
p.s. In case there was any question, no, I will not be attending my 10 year high school reunion (ha! a special trip back just for that… LOL). Apparently they don’t really get fun until about 20 years anyways. And besides, with facebook, what’s the point?