Tag Archives: budgeting

Half way to Asia

..is basically what Auckland is… Sushi everywhere, storefronts also in Japanese, the works…The fact that there’s currently a Lantern Festival on doesn’t help the cause. Additionally they’re celebrating the Chinese New Year on the wrong date which is driving me a bit mental…

Anyway, now that I’ve had Jaffa cookies, Scrumpy, Alcoholic Ginger beer, venison, mussels, rosemary mint lamb pies, and copious amounts of coffee and micro brewed cider…I think I’m okay with parting ways with the ‘Canada of the Southern Hemisphere’.

On a side [exciting] note…I got mistaken for being Australian twice and English once last night…my hodgepodge accent lives on! Otherwise the last night in Auckland was pretty sweet… went to heaps of pubs, had a Maori man buy way too many shots then get ragingly angry when I wouldn’t let him cuddle me, swayed to a live cover of Bob marley, Danced shopping cart styles with 40 year olds at some irish pub, found English boys to buy me drinks (the usual), fist pumped pauly-D styles at the 18 year old bar, and had a walk on the wharf with a guy from Ingercarvill (southern most point of south island)…PS I think (as everything else that is forever behind) fist pumping JUSt arrived in Nz…people were a littttttle to jacked up…and my arms are a litttttle too sore today. Ooooh also, we found a great little Mexican place…I think it’s just called Mexican Cafe? in Auckland CBD…west of Queen Street, a few blocks up from the Warf? Anyway, 7 dollar happy hour tacos with rice and salad…WAY better than a take away!

I’ve just booked my flight leaving Bali to Singapore for mid March, so HOPEFULLY I won’t have any troubles getting into the country. Also I got it on Air Asia for 70 dollars including bags/taxes/fees…the travel agent found “a GREAT fare’ for 140. Definitely do your research flying within Asia!

I’m in the process of booking a hotel for the night I arrive, as I get in around 10 pm…then possibly booking (to avoid homelessness) for the Balinese New Year (or something of that nature) on the 10th of March. I might point out that I think I have the best travel itinerary ever…I am chasing both summer and new years celebrations (also in Cambodia for their New Year).

If you have room in your thoughts, think happy NON malaria/denghi getting vibes my way…as much as some good travelleres diarrhea to lose a few lbs could be good, I’d really rather not acquire a relapsing ‘bone jarring flu’.

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Cairns 2.0

The last few days in Cairns have been great! I must admit, Thursday after Halloween I had no idea how I’d fill the time for the week I booked at the hostel, now that I leave tomorrow I feel like I could stay for weeks (which is what most people end up doing). The only thing pushing me to go is the fact that I have 87, yes EIGHTY SEVEN bug bites (I say bug because I haven’t got a clue what bugs they are) [ALSO, apparently sunscreen or baby oil stops sand flies and most mosquitos because they can’t get through the oil] (I was told this after bite 82), and it’s about to be 45 celcius with 100% humidity.
I have gone for runs in the morning the last few days…at ‘half six’ (6:30 am) because it gets too hot by 7:30. The Cairns promenade/esplanade is 6.5km from one end to the other and back, so it’s been slightly taxing on my previously sedentary limbs, but great for getting my mind back on track. I would probably have been wasted on ‘goon’ (10 dollar box wine…only sold past 4 pm because they don’t want aboriginals drinking it earlier…supposedly) nightly and extending my time in Cairns like the others. The downfalls: legs too sore to snorkel, sweat=premature laundry, BUG BITES, additional unneeded tan lines. I also played soccer for an hour in 35 degree, breezeless heat on Saturday which was royally terrible and contributed to bruises on my legs. So my legs are now unshaved (can’t get over the 27 bites on my right lower leg), bruised, and covered in bug bites…good thing I have my rumored boyfriend to love me anyway.
What does everybody around the world love? Gossip. My friend Simon (from England) …who has a girlfriend of almost 5 years…and I have been getting along well and hanging out quite a bit… Mostly because we both don’t smoke, like $1 cheeseburgers and 30c cones, need internet, don’t want to always be wasted, and are travelling alone starting in Cairns. If Simon were a girl it would be ‘so sweet you found somebody to travel with’ but instead it’s become ‘so you too ;)’. The good part is that we both find it quite entertaining because as Brits or Aussies would say, we’re just mates. So to milk it, we enjoy cooking meals together and being back sunscreen partners. Ahhh the comfortsof home. Oh, he’s also been teaching me ‘English’…instead of ‘Canadian’.
On that note, I’ve realized the only way I can tell Americans and Canadians apart is manners and the sound of the ‘a’ in the word Pasta. Unless of course they’re from the East, Mid West, or South USA. So really, I’ve gotten less mad at people thinking I’m American based on accent…it’s when they’ve known me for a week and ask where in the states that I’m from that feelings get hurt.
Even further tangent…I don’t know anybody’s name unless I’ve spent over 5 hours with them sober…until then they are their country. So really half my friends are Holland, the other are Germany…The only people I’ve really liked have been Aussies and Brits….and I know their names. Also, if you feel awkward, just think of me on a Barrier Reef trip with people I’ve been with for the last week asking ‘what’s your name again?’ The good part about backpacking is that there is a common understanding that nobody knows names…also that laundry sucks…also that eating carrots, apples, and crackers for dinner is part of a balanced diet. Also, when you electrocute yourself trying to unplug your cellphone from the adapter in the bathroom, people have also done it (2outlets in 8bed dorms).
I’ve also met a lovely girl named (or ‘called’) Ashley from England. I only spent a few hours hanging out with her but she may have been the most influential person on the mindset of my trip thus far. She has travelled New Zealand by herself for a year, then Oz for a couple months and has now set off to South east Asia. She is the one that inspired me to get over my hangover and go for a run (she has done 2/3 of her trip dry), and also made me feel okay about being overwhelmed by travelling alone. Pretty much the entire week in Sydney (besides while having fun with people) I was contemplating when I could come home that would be the least embarrassing (seeing as how I set out for a year+. I didn’t think my TFN would ever come, I didn’t think a non-creepy job offer would make its way through, and I didn’t think I’d meet any other travellers. Since meeting her and being in Cairns with loads of others who are fruit picking, not because they’re desperate but because they want a 2nd visa, has been a great shift of mindset for me. I definitely don’t want to (at this stage) stay for a second year…but it’s making me realize a year isn’t really all that long , and that the 3 months I was considering staying is way too short. I’ve also realized that while I have a good amount of cash but wanted more, most people here came with a quarter the funds I did…so I’m feeling much better about things. I’ve also met some hard to understand and frequently wasted individuals that have had sweet jobs, so by comparison I think I’ll be fine.
Done with the deep—ish thoughts…promise. Yesterday I headed off to the Great Barrier reef with another Canadian, Simon, and 2 Dutch from our hostel. A guy approached us at the public pool in Cairns and offered us a trip out for $50 bucks…so less than half price. The reason I’m writing now is so you know I didn’t die. Basically he (Steve) is sailing around the world, currently Australia, and stops at tourist points to transport travellers for a day for extra cash. He has 6 other travellers living in the boat as he makes 6 week trips from point to point along the coast. It was very bush league, but very fun. The sail to and from Green Island was gorgeous and the food was great. The barrier reef sucked where we were as did the snorkelling equipment, although I wasn’t really that disappointed. Most people actually didn’t see great reef in Cairns so I may try from another point…or just buy a postcard. I do really need to figure out how to swim properly though…when my mask filled I thought I was going to die.
Today we’re off on a free rainforest walk and BBQ organized by Nomads (our hostel) which should be fun….then off to plan the next leg of the trip…and maybe do laundry.

The Traveller’s Diet

Really it’s not a diet…it’s a budget. I’d say I’ve dropped 5 ish pounds while being in Sydney which is the opposite of what happened in Mexico, Vegas, or Vancouver this year.
Mexico: Buffets and liquor (sugary purple drink) that are unlimited. Not a thought crosses your mind about calories, simply getting your moneys worth, and refilling your bubba thermo-mug. That week wasn’t pretty…good thing we were at a geriatric resort that didn’t take much to impress. Oh, and the ‘lazy river’ didn’t help much either i.e.: Should we visit the Mayan ruins? Nah, let’s do 5 more laps…
Vegas: As soon as you pay $20 for a beverage at the pool your entire perspective of saving money is shot. In addition, always being tipsy in 5 inch heels doesn’t result in walking very far, and let’s be honest any calorie burned dancing is replaced 10 fold in liquor and In-n-out burger.
Vancouver: Family. Doesn’t that explain enough? Read A Taste of Vancouver and you might get full just from reading. The thing is, is when you’re with our family it’s all about the food which has great short term satisfaction and terrible long term regret.

So what’s the difference here? Not necessarily Sydney…but the mindset I have knowing I’ll be travelling for a while. The thought that the $3.50 bus ride will feed me for an extra day in Asia, or that I probably don’t need to pay $4 for a coffee smaller than a Starbucks tall, is saving me not only money, but calories. Instead of paying for the bus, walking 10km really isn’t that brutal when you’ve got a whole day free of other commitments, plus you get to see more of wherever you are. In addition I’m sticking to running or walking because they are free instead of paying $20 every time I hit up hot yoga. Never mind the fact that I’m about to be in a bikini for probably a solid 6 months straight, which is motivation enough. As I’m well aware of back home, shopping in grocery stores is way cheaper than eating out. Luckily with Australia most of the great restaurants are Asian, and knowing I’ll be there eventually is really helping me not over indulge. All that to say, saving cash is resulting in eating less, better, and walking more: which never hurt anybody.