Our Monthly Country itinerary is set! We’ve mentioned this a few times over the past couple months, but now we’ve made the adventure official: We have paid for our monthly homes for the rest of 2015!
Just for fun, here’s a little visual tour of where we’ll be traveling, displayed in weather…
I’m over the hill; I turned the ripe old age of 26 on Friday. The celebratory activities added up to the best non-honeymoon day I’ve had in Thailand.
Brunch at Blue Diamond
Blue Diamond Breakfast Club (located here) is one of our favorite breakfast/brunch spots in Chiang Mai. The menu consists of a wide range of American breakfast options as well as Thai food. We both got pancakes — chocolate banana for me and coconut for Alexis — and split scrambled eggs. Yum!
Massages and Herbal Steam Bath
Barclaycard sent me my 2014 spending summary yesterday and I found it very illuminating. 41% of everything we spent on that card in 2014 was for travel. That includes flights, hotels, apartment rentals, airport shuttle buses, etc.
Now, this is only one credit card of many so it’s not like 40% of everything we spent in 2014 was on travel, but still, this card is pretty representative of our spending and reveals our not-so-secret strategy for long-term travel: we prioritize it.
We could afford to move to London, the most expensive place I’ve ever lived in, while we were planning our wedding half a world away because we prioritized it. And for the sake of full disclosure, we weren’t rich at all. Alexis quit her job at National Geographic so we could move and we both lived off my $44K (USD!) salary.
We could even afford to take a trip to Switzerland for my birthday during that time to snowboard… because we prioritized it.
We could afford to get married in Hawaii… because we prioritized it.
We could afford for me to quit my job as well, move to Thailand and start afresh… because we prioritized it.
Now, in less than two months, we will be able to afford living in one country every month because, surprise, surprise, we will prioritize the travel.
The truth is, there is no secret to this. We want this life, so we do what we have to do to make it happen.
To prove this point, that same year-end summary showed that our collective spending on restaurants, entertainment, and merchandise totaled a meager 13%.
We don’t eat out all the time, we don’t go to concerts or events, and we don’t shop for new clothes. That may sound like a deprived life to some people, but we choose to live this way because it enables us to travel.
And sure, sometimes we wish we could do those kind of things more often, but ultimately, it’s not worth it to us.
The bottom line is that anything you want is attainable if you make it a priority.
Bonus Tips to Travel Long-Term
1. Get this credit card. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is a great introductory card for those looking to start collecting airline miles. Just a couple months ago, we used it to save $300 on our trip to Borneo, Bali, and Ko Lanta.
2. Realize that, in a general sense, traveling isn’t as expensive as you think. Consider our example: When we were living in Washington, D.C., our one-bedroom apartment cost $1,700 a month. In September, we’ll be living in Tuscany and paying less than $700 in rent.
Where would you rather live?
I have been using Clean & Clear facewash for nearly a decade, but when we moved to Thailand I knew that I’d run out of it eventually. When that day finally came recently, I was desperate for a replacement. I couldn’t find my exact wash anywhere in Chiang Mai, and decided to look for a different brand at this random beauty shop that’s on my way home from work.
Since I am completely indecisive, I went back multiple times and sat there, staring at the dozens of options, trying to decide which one I should go with. I was wondering:
A) Which of these won’t make me break out?
B) Which ones can I find back in the States if I like it?
C) Which ones don’t cost an arm and a leg?
All of these questions were compounded by the fact that I do not speak Thai and therefore couldn’t read anything about the items in the store. The store employees also don’t speak English, so I just had to make a blind decision.
Finally, I settled on a little, yellow, trial-size package of Pond’s cream. I took it home, tried it out, and liked the way it made my skin feel. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, but when I started looking around for a full-size version, I couldn’t find it in the facewash section of any store. I looked around online and still couldn’t find it.
Then, a couple days ago, I took a closer look at the packaging and noticed something strange.
There is a picture of a tanned face turning into a white face, which I attributed to the whitening agents that are in a lot of Thai beauty products. And then on the side, I noticed there’s a little “10” followed by three Thai symbols. Could that be…SPF?
Suddenly, it clicked…
I went back to Google and instead of searching for “facewash” as I had been, I typed “Pond’s yellow sunscreen Thailand.” And there it was, confirming my suspicions.
I had been washing my face with sunscreen for weeks.
Luckily, it actually has been an okay facewash! It really has made my skin soft, haha! But, um, I don’t think I should continue using sunscreen for facewash for very long. So now I’m on the hunt again for a new facewash.
Oh, the silly things you deal with when you’re an expat…
In 2014, we lived in England, Hawaii, and Thailand, and we visited Switzerland, Malaysia, Laos, and Indonesia. For 2015, we’ve got even bigger travel plans. We have just officially BOOKED the first 5 months of travel! Eep! 😀
So here’s where the first half of 2015 will take us… Continue reading
Traveling around the world is definitely glamorous on paper, but it ain’t so glamorous in person. And I mean that in the literal sense of the word…it’s hard to look chic and beautiful when you’ve been living out a backpack, wearing the same worn out jeans, and stomping around dirty southeast Asian streets in a pair of old Nikes for weeks on end.
But here’s my secret to feeling pretty while living on the road… Continue reading
February 22, 2010. That was the day I met Alexis.
March 4, 2010. Our first date. The result of a loser-buys-dinner bet I conveniently lost.
August 19, 2010. Less than six months later, we’re moving into our first apartment together. Sounds crazy, right?! Those two will never last, you say?
Ha! Well, the joke’s on you ’cause now we’re married!
Not only did Alexis and I move in together less than six months after meeting one another, she flew across an ocean to do it.
We met at the University of Utah where I was a visiting student for one semester. Alexis used the same student exchange program (UH Hilo NSE shout out!) to come back to the University of Hawaii-Hilo with me the following semester.
Yes, I’m a pretty lucky guy.
I thought I would be coming back to Hawaii and moving back into my filthy college dude house with my buddies (read what Alexis wrote about that house here), but instead found myself looking for cute one-bedroom apartments that were just slightly cleaner and more respectable.
We made our first home at 50 Maile Street, Hilo, HI 96720. Quick aside: Years later, we would discuss naming our first daughter Maile in memory of our first home. But… Miley Cyrus.
Still, the Waiakea Lagoon View Apartments were perfect. We were young, we were in love, we were building a life together.
It was completely furnished and move-in-ready so there wasn’t much in the way of fixer-up or DIY projects except for one very odd thing we did: Continue reading
Alexis and I went on an unexpected adventure Saturday night.
We were in a songthaew heading down to the Saturday night market on Wulai Road when we started chatting with this other foreigner in the truck.
Now, if you haven’t heard the chatter about this movie, surely you’ve been living under a rock. Or maybe you’re actually just out living a fun life and don’t have time for internet nonsense. Continue reading