24 Hrs Until Departure, and I Failed at Saving for Travel.

It is now exactly 24hrs until I depart on the first leg of my upcoming adventure. A lot is on my mind. That nervousness is beginning to tickle my stomach. I guess this happens to all of us on the cusp of a great and risky endeavor.

My goal when I first began saving money for this trip was $10,000 over the course of 6 months. It seemed feasible enough. I cut out all expenses I didn’t need like pumpkin spice lattes (though I occasionally snuck one in), going out drinking with friends, and eating out at restaurants.

I began cooking at home. At the same time I also began a Paleo diet; no wheats, grains, or dairy. That helped keep some change in my piggy bank and helped me get back in shape for this backpacking adventure.

And, it was easy to average about $3,000-$4,000 a month at the restaurant I worked at. Except, something unexpected happened to make that attainable goal unreachable.

Fucking furlough. 

Pardon my potty mouth, but the United States Government has given me quite the headache.

August and September are notoriously slow months in the restaurant industry in DC, but it was all supposed to even out in October. Well, the each side of the United States government decided to huff and puff and defend their egos. The government was shut down. Nobody was getting paid. Nobody came out to eat at the restaurant.

To top it all off, because of this made it impossible to pick up extra shifts to work the really busy nights. So I was left begging people to work for them to no avail.

Which equaled me failing my savings goal.

Out of around $10,000, I did manage to save up around $8,500. I’ve never in my life saved up that much money, so I’m pretty damn proud of myself for making it that far.

So what does it mean that I failed my savings goal? Do I turn back? Do I take more time to save?

Hell no! I’ll keep on chuckin’ it to Thailand. This just means I will want to look for a teaching job in Thailand much sooner than later. And it will help drive me to come up with creative freelance methods of sustaining travel.

I will admit, I did splurge a tad bit towards the end of my time at work. But I label them as “dream expenses”. I picked up the latest GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition to help kickstart my travel video series. I bought every sort of accessory for said GoPro. I bought a polaroid camera so I can send rad people who signed up for my weekly newsletter a postcard each month.

But these are all things I feel like I will use all of the time, and that would definitely feed my creative hunger and create a new outlet for showing you these adventures.

What’s left to do?

Tonight, I pack!

Packing is definitely an exciting part of traveling.

Trying to fit your whole life in a bag, and realizing which items are most important to you. I sold my bed, though it is a sad day because it is my most prized possession.

I organized 20,000+ photos and videos on my computer and hard drive so I can attempt to be organized on this trip.

I got my dying iPhone 5 replaced and unlocked and all of the chargers as well that were frayed.

I knocked out notifying the banks and my phone company about my departure.

Pretty much all of those little things.

Want to know the most important thing I did before this trip recently? 

I finally reconciled with my brother and we have seen each other 3 times in the past week. That, my friends, is unheard of if you have followed along with that drama. We had a deep and raw brother to brother talk, and for once I feel like we both truly understand each other.

I also got to see family that may not be blood related, but they sure as hell helped raise little Ryan.

Previously, I never sought out people to say my goodbyes, I was consumed with myself and my escape and didn’t realize until recent just how amazing it is to have people in your life that love you. It felt great to see them.

I’m not always good, or even rarely good, at expressing gratitude and love for family and friends, but this time it was really important for me to see them before I go.

So, off to another adventure! One that will be transformational this time and not supplemental. One that will take me through thousands of miles of rugged USA. One that will take me thousands of miles by air to Southeast Asia, where I do not know what will happen.

Will I have enough money? Depends.

Will I find work? Hopefully.

Will I have a good time? Probably.

It’s all up in the air at this point, and that’s what makes travel so exciting. I am emotionally prepared this time and I feel more mentally driven than ever!

I don’t consider not reaching my goal a failure. Just another way to drive my ambitions.

Will you come along this gnarly adventure with me my friends? Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get my real personal travel stories, and I’ll be picking one person each month to send a polaroid photo and postcard to! 




    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author October 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Awesome Caroline, glad to have you tagging along!

  1. Kate October 31, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Congrats on saving, Ryan! You might not have met the ideal goal, but you’re still ahead $8.5k and as long as you keep an eye on your spending, you’ll e sweet! So stoked for your new adventure, enjoy the ride!

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author November 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Many thanks Kate! Most of you are putting any and all worry to ease with your re-assurance. Glad you are as excited as me!!!

  2. James Shannon November 1, 2013 at 12:30 am

    You’ll be fine, especially if you get a job …. costs here are so low, you could tighten your budget a little bit and be fine without the ESL job!

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author November 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Thanks James, I’ll definitely be looking sooner rather than later. I love teaching in general so I kinda’ want to start right off the landing pad!

  3. Fiona November 1, 2013 at 5:09 am

    I’m a teeny bit jealous. I’ll be following your adventures with envy! Enjoy every minute

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author November 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Glad to have you following along the adventure Fiona, can’t wait for you to go on one yourself!

  4. Adventurous Andrea November 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

    You’re in for quite an adventure, indeed! That stinks about the money part – but you made it so damn close and I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

    Your mention of organization of photos made me realize that I should really put some time into that… Yikes!


    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author November 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Ha, yes Andrea, organize the photos and videos as you go! It’s always been something I’ve ignored and something that was hair pulling when I finally did. Appreciate the well wishes 🙂

  5. Sam November 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    “I don’t consider not reaching my goal a failure. Just another way to drive my ambitions.” – Excellent!

    $8,500 in 6 months is pretty impressive, especially with that gear you splashed out on! My partner and I had a similar experience before leaving on our current travels, and we only had about half of what we’d originally planned to have saved. Oops. Didn’t stop us though, and I’m so glad it didn’t.

    Have a great time!

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author November 2, 2013 at 9:01 am

      I’m happy to read it didn’t stop you both as well Sam! Whatever failure is considered in normal society, it’s good to flip it on its head and use it as motivation. Then, failure can never truly be failure, just another challenge on the road to success and to your dreams. Cheers mate!

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  7. Megan November 3, 2013 at 2:27 am

    I also fell short of my savings target before my trip, but once I was on the road I just adjusted my budget and made it work. You’ll be fine. $8500 will go a long way in Thailand.
    Good luck 🙂

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author November 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      Megan, thank you for the re-assurance! Definitely needed all of it and I am now feeling pretty content 🙂

  8. Mary @ Green Global Travel November 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Given the challenges and the desire to spend on extras pre-trip, you did an amazing job saving toward your goal and I have faith that you will find work! I am excited for you and all that you have accomplished in recent months! What comes next will no doubt be amazing as well!


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