Letter #162: Budgeting Vacation

March 11, 2011

Dear vacation,

You are a sweet, sweet word in our language. As kids, we look forward to you with anxious anticipation. Disney nailed it with their “I’m too excited to sleep” commercials. When I was a kid, we didn’t go on you often, but my sisters and I could’ve been a Disney commercial we were so excited. Sure, skiing, Hawaii and Disney were all fun and memories we’ll treasure forever, but I think I loved you so much then because I equated you to undivided attention. Jobs, household chores, ringing telephones and basketball practice didn’t interrupt our time together as a family.

Fast forward into my college years. You took on an entirely different meaning. You and family didn’t go hand in hand anymore. I looked forward to traveling with friends. You turned into constant laughter, college girls learning a hint of responsibility and quality time with the people we may never live in the same place as again. I will treasure the places I visited and the people I shared those moments with for a lifetime.

Then, we transition into the real world and want to do a ton of you, but we’re flat broke…my current category! This is where using holidays as leverage helps. My plane ticket to San Diego=Christmas present. We dream of backpacking Europe, sun bathing in Kona and applauding Broadway performances in NYC. Reality hits, we check our budget and realize gas and food prices are affecting our budget more than we hoped. So, we work. We settle down. We push our traveling dreams aside. We wait until we can afford it, then we’re too old to enjoy it. I’m frugal and will be cheap for the rest of my life, but I will not miss the opportunity to go while my health allows. So, I save. I’m smart with daily purchases so I can save in a way I budget in travel. I will never be frivolous in this, but I will be adventurous!

Let me quickly sum up the remaining categories. Get married=fun honeymoon, too poor to go anywhere else. Have kids=too poor, too big of a hassle. Empty nest=can afford, too set in routine to actually go. Empty nest on=health starts to go. Depressing, I know. These are definitely broad generalizations, but I see too many people squelch their traveling dreams for the above reasons. ***Clarification: do NOT blow your life savings to see the world. Be wise.***

So, here I am, nearly 24 years old, single and fully embracing a few of my traveling dreams. A good number of my peers have chosen to be married. Some even have kids. Pour your money into savings for college, a house, diapers, but I’m not there. I get to save while pouring my money into an adventure every once in awhile. Last semester, I invested in Israel. Today, San Diego.

Bracing myself for hilarious stories and exciting adventure on this family version of you,

California blogger!!



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