Today I find myself in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil three days into my newfound life of job-less freedom and what the biggest change to me will obviously be no more paycheck. I make no money off this blog nor has anything I’ve ever done been comped and I have yet to set-up a sugar daddy “go fund me” to travel site, nor will I.
So yes, everything I do gets paid for with saved hard-earned cash as always. It’s no real secret that life in general is cheaper out of the US. For example… prescription drugs. I can buy name-brand month’s supply of prescription drugs for $7 in Thailand or $15 in Ecuador without insurance, however if I try to buy these in the US, for the generic version I have to pay at a least $30 with insurance, and if I can’t get an insurance override for several months at a time, the price skyrockets to $80.
That goes without saying, that although life and traveling overseas is still in general cheaper than being in America, obviously a skill I’m going to have to re-acquire after many years of having a REALLY good job is to quit traveling like an asshole and reprogram myself to travel cheaper so I can potentially do this for as long as my heart desires, or until I get bored with myself not being a constructive member of society and return to ‘Merica.
So what does not traveling like an asshole mean? It means favoring hostels instead of honeymoon resorts that I probably shouldn’t have stayed at in the first place (ok ok yes, they were all lovely) and renting rooms with local families from Air BNB instead of entire apartments. It means my ridiculous love of afternoon coffee and postre dates with myself which cost $8-$12 USD/day become treats and no longer daily occurrences. Which, my hips will also love me for as I’m pretty sure this morning I had to jump 4x and then do three squats to pull my jeans over their current “dulce de leche” full state.
That 18.5 hour bus ride I took from Bariloche to Mendoza, Argentina two weeks ago to save $500 instead of buying an airline ticket? That too is more the new norm. I used to travel and live under the premise that time is precious and I wasn’t going to spend my off-time in ridiculous transit times… but now time is endless and as almost everyone who travels knows, slow travel is definitely much cheaper.
It’s definitely going to be a process, as I’ve been blessed with a solid 8 years of luxury more often than not; a few business class flights a year, have grown a penchant for fine wining and dining, high tea at the Tokyo Hyatt and partaking in tasting menus at some of the world’s best restaurants. Beautiful experiences that I enjoyed to the fullest, but now jobless with no planned end in sight – unsustainable.
So now you’ll find me out in the world living more like a local and being one with the people. $16 a night hostel beds, shopping at the local fruit/veg market, eating street food (which I already love doing anyway) and cohab-ing with the locals, sign me up.
Luckily, I know it’s something I can do and that it will get easier over time and quite honestly, it will further enrich my traveling experience as well getting off the “gringo trail.”
So here we go, living more like a local and not traveling like an asshole. One thing is definite, I should end up with a plethora more of weird stories and misadventures along the way, and I’m kind of looking forward to that.