Travel A Lot. (And Do It On The Cheap)
As Brian and I approach our 10 year anniversary this fall we keep thinking about where we should go/what we should do to celebrate. But sadly the idea of leaving the country without our kids, since they are so young is giving us both anxiety. Are we being babies? I know they’ll be FINE with his parents but I don’t know, we get so sad every time we think about it, so I think we aren’t going to pull the trigger. With that said, we might go somewhere in the states we’ve never been without the kids – New Orleans maybe? Or even recreate our honeymoon in Montreal potentially.
All of this got me thinking about the importance of traveling while you are young, before you have money, kids, or real responsibility. We’ve traveled since we have had kids but it’s different. It’s certainly not carefree, it’s not relaxing, it’s “fun” and “adventuresome”, and definitely inspiring, but “vacation” it is not.
I long for the days when Brian and I would literally land and say “What should we do, where should stay tonight?” Ugh. We were so cool. For example – this was us in Laos, staying in $7 huts, eating fish from the river. Just being young and cool and carefree.
But, before that, straight out of college Nicole (one of my best friends) and I saved all summer and went to Europe for two months. We did the usual trip around all the major western European countries (+ Poland), before hostels were $80 a night and when you could stay in a dorm with 12 other strangers (do they still have those?).
We were two 22 year old girls who had never left the country, before cell phones and it was right after 9/11, but we knew we wanted to get out and travel. I’m sure that my parents were TERRIFIED, but we survived. Actually, we did get attacked and stabbed in Spain but we lived (don’t worry it wasn’t as horrific as it sounds …). Can you imagine getting that phone call either as my parents or Brian?
HA. We kept on trecking and had an amazing time:
2001 really was the year of oversized boot-cut slacks and sneakers … OH, WAIT SO IS 2016. We had $3k each for the two months and we STRETCHED it. I think that I had to get money wired (Western Union, of course) to us after a while because I didn’t have enough. It was so long ago that we actually brought all that money in cash or cashiers checks as the ATM’s weren’t all connected to the US yet and there was no other way for us to get money. Crazy! Any way, the point is that saving, leaving, and traveling when you are young, broke and have no idea what your future is going to be is so important. I personally think that paying for it yourself (or at least a portion of it) is important as well. I think that we’ll have a deal with our kids when they are ready and wanting to travel, that we’ll match whatever they make and save for traveling. I don’t really want them sleeping in some of the disgusting hostels (dirty sheets, trash everywhere) that we had to in order to not run out of money. But hell, we lived and Nicole and I are both successful people in spite of the trash, in part because of the travel.
Then Brian and I moved to New York and we took some time off traveling for a while because New York feels like traveling every day. We went to The Dominican Republic once, but mostly just went to Coney Island and the Bronx – we travelled a lot within New York.
But when we moved to LA we both got pretty severely depressed – the writers strike happened, neither of us had work or friends. We had been sooo happy in New York and the abrupt shift was jarring. So after 3 months of crying every day, we decided on a Thursday that we wanted to go to Southeast Asia, and left on the following Monday, for 2 months where it was actually cheaper to live everyday there than it was to live in LA. Brian’s uncle was a pilot so he got us buddy-passes (which is basically 75% off the price of airline tickets).
Needless to say it cured our depression and opened our eyes to the fact that our lives were so easy compared to others. I’m sure that things have changed rapidly but Vietnam and Laos are insanely fascinating, interesting and beautiful countries (as is Thailand).
We have such good memories, ones that make us feel both young and old now. I’m DYING for us to travel again, to go on an adventure just the two of us, to a country that maybe is harder to bring the kids, or maybe a country where’d we have so much more fun without them. We were going to go to Cuba for our 10 year anniversary but now that it’s approaching both of us feel nervous about leaving them.
Besides, the sad truth is that if we were to go now, with or without the kids, we wouldn’t stay in those huts. We wouldn’t leave it up to luck and availability where we stayed. We would plan, stay in nicer hotels and have less of a cultural experience. We would still eat street food, but not as much. Doing it on the cheap is so rewarding. We spent NOTHING in 2 months, like $2500. Crazy.
Man. I wish I had had my good iphone back then. We had a 2007 digital camera that barely took good photos – but seeing these makes me so nostalgic.
The point of all of this is that I wish I had travelled more. And I REALLY, REALLY regret not traveling abroad during college. I didn’t because I didn’t think I could afford it, but it’s something I really want our kids to do.
I think that people are intimidated by traveling thinking that it’s so expensive, but there are still so many countries that are so inexpensive to us and once you land you can live for so little, and experience so much.
So now that I’ve relived my past, and showed you my ethnic bell-bottoms (listen after you travel for a while you start wearing all this weird hippie stuff as if it’s your new wardrobe), where should we go for our anniversary?? And where would you guys want to travel or recommend pre-responsibility people to go? Maybe it doesn’t matter, JUST GO. If you have a sliver of wish in your head make it happen. We didn’t travel as much as I would have liked, but the trips we took shaped us as a couple and individually.
Is New Orleans too boring for our ten year???? Where else in the US feels culturally different that also has a fun nightlife in addition to beauty and plenty to see and do?? Any suggestions we need to know about?