Saturday, March 10, 2012


So, we're going abroad again. In September.
While most of the people in my life have been incredibly supportive and excited for us, there are some out there who ask, "oh, did you win the lottery? Where do you get all this money? How can you complain about being broke the rest of the year when you go on trips like this?"

Lately, these comments have really started to bother me. Yes, we live pretty damn frugally throughout the year, which puts a cramp in my social life. In January, we moved and paid some tuition out of pocket, which meant we spent an entire month's salary EXTRA on things we normally wouldn't spend money on. That put us in a rough spot but, as we always do, we made it out just fine.

When somebody asks me where I get all this money from, I just say "a tax return." I shouldn't have to say anything else because frankly, it's nobody's business. I am not going in debt to go on these adventures. I am not begging, borrowing or stealing the money. This is my money I'm spending.

I was telling Jeff last night that these trips of ours are the only thing keeping me going right now. Just the thought of "hey, we're really going to do this again" keeps my spirits up. I have no idea what I'm going to do after I graduate. I have no idea if I'll ever find a job in my area of interest. I do know that I spent one depressing summer unemployed, the next working just one day a week and now I'm working  3 days a week while going to school. The time I spend at home, bored out of mind, is suffocating. I hear friends complain about "losers on funemployment" but it's not like that. It's not easy to get a job right now, and it is really, really depressing. I put out 60+ resumes during the summer of 2009 and only landed a job at a horrific small company thanks to a friend that worked there. The summer of 2010 was spent much in the same way, but with no job at the end.

When Jeff and I go on these trips, we live damn cheap. We sleep in sketchy hostels in red light districts to save a few bucks. We live off of bread and peanut butter from foreign grocery stores. We bring instant coffee and Larabars along to sustain us when we can't afford the breakfast not included at the hostel. We walk, everywhere, to save on transportation costs. We try our damnedest to stay under $100/day for both of us, which isn't always the easiest considering the exchange rates.

I grew up poor. This isn't something new to those that know me. I never, ever thought I would have the opportunity to see the world but now that I have, I can't give it up.

If I have to live dirt cheap all year long just to buy plane tickets, I will do it. If I have to live with a crappy cell phone plan in order to buy plane tickets, I will do it. If I have to volunteer for anything and everything under the sun to get free race entries, beer festival entries and vegan food, I will do it.

All I ask is you not question my finances, my responsibilities, my life. The way I see it, I'm doing just fine.


Faith McKay said...

I've had this happen! A lot. Robert even had someone he barely knew from high school message him for money because she, and a lot of other people, assume we have it. It's ridiculous.

I try to remember that people are jealous, and think they can't do things because they spend their money elsewhere... careful budgeting is an art.

But that's sort of the thing, though. When I turn around and try to explain that I'm just careful and make sure things work out this way, it ends up feeling like an attack on them to think that they COULD do it too, and they don't want to believe that at all.

I get really stuck on how disrespectful it is. How... I could easily let this go into a big rant all my own and you already said it. :) I've got the wanderlust, and I agree, it's hard but better to eat peanut butter on bread and see awesome things than eat at a restaurant and stay in one place.

Robert McKay said...

It's really annoying that people automatically assume you must be lying or something because you can afford a trip when you said you couldn't afford to go do something. People see travel as an extravagant thing until they get hooked, and then it's life.

My bet is that you wouldn't be getting this same sort of response nearly as much if you were saying "Oh, I'm buying a house this fall!" It would happen, but not nearly as much.

You shouldn't have to say this every time somebody asks you out to an expensive dinner or concert. "I'd love to go, but I'm saving all my money for x and y." A simple "I can't afford to do that." should suffice. Ugh! People are so annoying sometimes.

sgcorrie said...

You guys! You two are just so great and supportive.

EJ said...
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Sarah said...

Well said! Well said!