Unexpected Expenses: Travel Edition

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I’ve been on a week long hiatus from blogging, as I was on a quick sojourn to Iceland (I prefer to travel and completely unplug). IcelandAir had a crazy deal and I couldn’t resist. I knew Iceland was expensive, but with $600 round trip flight, hotel, breakfast and bus the temptation was high.

I budgeted for food, a rental car and some drinks. I went slightly over budget, because damn, Iceland IS expensive. A meal of fish and chips, plus a beer for my partner and I set us back $50. $50 in our small part of the universe would be an extravagant meal! After we realized how much we were really spending, we ravenously devoured the free breakfast and saved our next meal to dinner.  The cheapest dinner we found, which happens to be an Icelandic delicacy (especially for the post-bar inebriated crowd) was a lamb hotdog. That was a very reasonable $4.

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We spent our short getaway exploring Reykjavik, which happens to be a delightfully hip, socially progressive, artistically inclined city.  Iceland is home to roughly 300,000 denizens –the number is remarkably small, but it still feels larger and there is no shortage of things to see or do. I am amazed and thrilled to know they are so progressive and support a wide range of arts and culture. I think of the small towns in the states that have the same number of people and it is a completely different story.

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The blue lagoon, although a tourist haven, was completely worth it. It was heaven.  Geothermal volcanic hot springs? Massage waterfall? Bar in the water? Yes, please! Overall, we had a blast and it was difficult coming back.  I thought I did a good job with my budget, but of course, there are things you don’t anticipate for or simply neglect to think about. I didn’t think we’d have to buy toothpaste at the local convenience store, after realizing we didn’t have the appropriate travel size. Although I budgeted for the rental car (which we used to see the most epic landscapes!), I didn’t budget for the gas that we’d have to buy to refill it. Even though we ate before our flight, I didn’t realize how hungry I would be on the 7-hour plane ride, and ended up buying overpriced plane food. I was bummed that I went over budget and now I realize that budgeting for a vacation is more complex than I originally thought.

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More than that, I didn’t budget for any mental or emotional expenses upon my return.  I only thought of the physical toll of jet lag and all the work I had to do when I got back. I thought, I’m still young, I can handle it. So I went to work the next day, catching up with emails, a looming deadline and more.  I got a Brand Ambassador gig promoting a new store over the weekend. I hadn’t really rested, I had no clean clothes, and no food in the house. Also, on my second full day of being back I got three rejections for jobs I thought I’d be perfect for, one of which I had an interview for.  I started feeling so low and depressed. I spent more money on going out.

I missed the carefree notion of being on vacation and was not happy to be back, embroiled with boring life stuff and more rejections.  I started feeling hopeless about my debt and job situation. I had the worst of nihilistic thoughts, “Well my budget for this month is already fucked”, “I’ll be in debt forever anyways” and the worst, most selfish and stupid excuses to spend money, “Who cares, we’re all going to die anyway”.

Yes, I know I have a flare for the dramatic and a penchant towards depression. 🙂

I hadn’t budgeted for all the extra travel items. Moreso, I thought my vacation would be re-invigorating and that I would be walking on a cloud when I got back. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I came back, slapped by reality and rejection and realized more than ever I need to really focus on how to make myself happy- how to make myself happy internally, without the need for external success.

What does true happiness look like?

And more importantly, how can I live a more balanced life, doing what I love, so that I don’t have such stark reactions to the good times and bad?

How can I stay on budget when my depression creeps up and I just want to forget everything?

I am not perfect and I still have so much to learn. I should take my own advice and know that this is temporary and while this is a chapter in my book, it’s not the whole story and it’s nowhere near the end.

This week, I start again.  I am going to work hard, practice self-care, hustle and remember why I want to get out debt. And stay focused.

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4 responses to “Unexpected Expenses: Travel Edition

  1. Wow, Iceland looks and sounds amazing – it’s definitely on my bucket list! Bummer to hear that things were not ideal when you returned home, though… I do agree that it helps that situations like these are temporary, and that everything in life is transient, you know? May the focus forces be with you.

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