September 28, 2005
Wow. So it has been quite a while since I last journaled.

A lot of this is probably because I was spending a lot of my time getting ready for my
Africa trip and also going out of town for events for my friend’s wedding. But now I’m
back on the saddle…

Where my trip was first only going to be six months, it then grew to being about 6-9
months. Well, now it’s at being a year-long trip. And I’m even open to the idea of
having it go a bit longer than that, if necessary.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve admitted something to myself. I don’t need to rough
it to ‘experience’ these places. I’m not cheating if I happen to stay at a budget hotel vs.
hostel. Is there any more culture at a hostel? Not at all. If anything, mostly foreigners
run hostels and only foreigners stay in hostels. The only thing that will really be
affected by this way of thinking is my budget.

While I don’t want to rough it everyday of my trip, I still plan on doing lots of things
outside of the hotel comfort zone. I will camp. I will stay in people’s homes. I will stay
in places where a bathroom in my room won’t be an option. I will sleep on trains. And
planes. And probably buses. But there will also be the necessary times to splurge. And
where/when will those times be? Trips with my sister. The Seychelles. The Maldives.
And whenever I need a vacation from my trip.

Another thing I’m highly considering more right now is doing tours of certain
countries. It’s one thing to be traveling with someone else, especially if one of those
people is a male. But being a female traveling by myself, I need to be a bit smart about
how I go about certain things. I need to have common sense. This is something that I
tend to highly lack on other trips I take. So I’ve decided that I’m going to do adventure-
style tours in certain countries that are geared towards people on a budget. Many of
these incorporate home-stays and camping along the way.

The places I’m going to be doing this are: India, China, Africa and possibly the Middle

I have also since decided to make it out to Antarctica. They offer cruises that are
somewhat within reason and it just seems like a great opportunity since I’m already
planning on going to southern Chile. I heard penguins are smelly little things but I
think their cuteness will make up for it.

The one thing I haven’t solidly done yet is set a budget. I had one in my mind
($25,000) and it’s slowly starting to seem like less of a realistic number than I once
thought. It is just a matter of the choices I make along the way. So I know it’s going to
be my own fault if I go over. I keep telling myself this is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime trip’ so I’m
allowed to make some of my crazy ideas come true. And I’ve decided to use the
‘wedding money’ that my mom put aside for me. So, technically, the first $15,000
doesn’t really count in my book. Aside from airline costs, overland transportation
costs, tour costs, splurging-on-certain-hotels costs and cruise costs, I still need to
figure out the budget including all of my daily costs (food, entertainment and
accommodations). Tricky, tricky. But at least I decided to totally knock out Western
Europe. This will allow for cheaper rooms, cheaper food, cheaper entertainment, etc.

I just had a huge light bulb go off in my head!!! Maybe I should treat this ‘budget’ thing
like a game. If I stay within my budget, I win the game. If I go over, I lose. But what’s
the prize??? Hmmm…. Maybe I can treat myself to another trip if I stay within???
Okay, okay. I’m clearly losing it. I know! I’ll treat myself to a nice hotel at the very end
of my trip. If I lose the game, I guess it’s just my loss since I will have less money in my
bank account.