“I saw your Instagram photo about your savings. You’re almost at the goal, are you excited?” a co-worker said to me tonight at the restaurant.
Suddenly butterflies filled my stomach, and I laughed out loud.
“What? What’s funny?” She asked.
“I’m sorry, I just suddenly got goosebumps all over my body and butterflies in my stomach when you asked that. I couldn’t help it.“
And then I proceeded to put two fists in the air and announce, “Hell yes, SO excited!“
The next adventure is coming, and it won’t be long now.
The days are falling away fast on the calendar, and I am counting down every second until I take off from California to Thailand where I would be landing on my birthday. Great present huh?
I can’t tell you how freakin’ excited I get with each passing day. I think über excited is fitting.
After my last update around 116 days out, I admitted I had done little to no preparation yet for the upcoming trip. But at that point I was just beginning to ramp up the savings effort in an attempt to put away around $10,000 by November. Being that I had only 4 months to do this at that moment, it was all about working my ass off — the fun facts and little details will be taken care of down the road.
It’s a bit further down that road, so have I taken care of all the pre-preparations, knowledge, and planning? And more importantly, have I reached that $10,000 savings goal?
Well, I’ll be honest…I have barely anything done for the trip to Thailand.
Okay, my position isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. I’ve said in the past that I would rather discover a place when I arrive, as opposed to knowing everything when I land, but I have made some progress!
Though I am at the midway point of my time for saving for Thailand, and though I haven’t even reached 50% yet, I am pretty confident I will hit the goal.
The past two months at the restaurant have been horribly slow because everyone has been on vacation, or there has been consecutive Holidays holding me back.
But, even with the setbacks, this weekend I will hit $5,000 in savings and 50% to the big goal. I am waiting for a few rounds of funds to transfer in, but technically I am already there!
Also, I’ve nearly cut out all excess spending when it comes to guilty pleasures like Starbucks, dining out, and going out for drinks. Things like these add up. Eliminating these and more from my everyday life will help me to save even more.
Though sometimes those damn pumpkin spice lattes call to me…
To reach another 5k, I have 50 days of work left. Though $100 a day average seems somewhat daunting, making $650-$700 a week at the restaurant is pretty easy. From Friday-Sunday, I average $500-$650m, so hopefully I can use weekdays to pad my budget even more.
In this area, in my own mind, I have very little to pre-prep for. Sure, I am going away for hopefully a year or more with the goal of teaching English and exploring Southeast Asia, but I’ve decided to take the let’s see what happens after I arrive approach.
After searching all over the web, and picking tons of traveler’s brains about Visas for Thailand, teaching English, and what to expect, I’ve decided to go ahead and wing it.
I was going to get the 60 day tourist visa and use that time to feel out Bangkok (not literally pervs), but if need be I can always leave and come back into Thailand within the 30 days to extend my time. I also want to research local schools hands on and find a great fit for me instead of accepting a TEFL job preemptively.
The consensus has been that stressing over extended Visas is nothing to worry about, and that finding an English teaching job should be relatively easy as long as I try, and that Thailand is an easy country to land and figure out from there.
For shots, which many are recommended by the U.S. before going to Southeast Asia, I’ve decided to forgo most. The main ones have always been required as a United States citizen growing up, but for the more exotic shots and pills that can be upwards of $500-$1,00, I am skipping these.
Why am I skipping shots? Most travelers I’ve chatted with never touched their expensive supply of malaria pills, and a few people I know who have been in various Southeastern countries for a couple of years never had their shots and have been fine.
It is typical for the United States, the most drugged country ever, to use scare tactics to pressure would be travelers to either not travel, or cough up hundreds of dollars for these things.
I am definitely going to watch out for what I eat and drink, and my health in general like I did in Haiti though.
Travel Health Insurance
For this category, I had a specific goal through SmartyPig set at $1,000 for travel health insurance. I’ve researched plenty of options and most are around $500-$1000 depending on the time you are traveling for.
But I’ve decided to hold off on acquiring this as well. Most TEFL schools I’ve been researching actually provide you with the Visas and also healthcare by completing their certification. If they’ll give it to me included, I think I’ll wait and see how that plays out.
Since I returned from New Zealand, I haven’t amassed much in terms of possessions. I can pretty much still fit my whole life into my backpack, but the work clothes, bed, and a few other items will still need to be taken care of. Shouldn’t be hard.
I’ve already begun taking care of things that are specific to the United States, like notifying my cell provider about my line suspension, and letting my bank know the tentative dates I will be abroad for.
Here is the hardest one. I have yet to tell my brother whom disowned me for moving to New Zealand the first time I traveled. The biggest feat for me upcoming will be revealing to my brother again that I am leaving, and to be honest, I am really nervous about it.
I have to tell him though, and I have to hope for the best.
I’ll be counting down the days until Thailand, and if you have ANY tips, tricks, or advice please share!