That M Issue of a Traveller

Beginning of last year when I knew that I was ready for a change, I didn’t really know what it was that I wanted to do. I was pretty well traveled at that time so traveling itself wasn’t like an option that popped out immediately. It took me a good 6 months to think, analyze and evaluate what it was exactly that I wanted to do. I wanted to not work for sometime. I wanted to be somewhere so completely different that nothing was familiar and I wanted to be just free. And all that was available obviously at a cost. A cost which equaled to large amounts of disposable cash which I didn’t have.

And as to in life when you need some answers, I turned to Google. Believe it or not, it was Google that suggested that I could teach English and travel. Okay. So I did my research and decided to get a CELTA qualification and did my maths and no matter which ways I added the numbers, it still came in short. A good amount of short. So I decided to ask my father for loan. I’m not the kind to borrow money, actually I don’t like to borrow anything. So when I asked my father for the money, he was slightly taken back because I never ask for help but agreed. I had told him its for a short course and because I am the kind of person who’s always doing this or that, he didn’t really bother with the specifics. As they do, both my parents sat down just before they gave me the loan, my father handed the money to my mother who then passed it to me. (I don’t know why but my father never gives you anything direct, its always via my mother. Maybe she’s his good luck charm or something.) Deeply thankful, I promised to return it all within a year. Little did both of them know, they had just technically bid me farewell and I didn’t have the heart to tell them exactly what I was going to study and why. I think they felt a bit betrayed when I answered their ‘but you can’t teach??!!’. I told them I was taking an year off to teach with the a qualification that they loaned me to pay for!

So with most of  money spent on CELTA and air tickets, I didn’t really have a lot of money when I left. And it is still my biggest worry today. Apparently its a pretty common fear for travelers according this wonderful travel blogger I follow. I may have had a really great salary package with my corporate job but the moment I quit my job, a lot of the cushiony benefits went with it. Apart from the base salary, I also had a luxury accommodation, free use of company vehicles, my health insurance covered, travel benefits, cleaning & ironing ladies, a petty cash allowance for drinks and entertainment and corporate discounts cards. And all that just disappeared literally like those magician tricks that go *powwff* and everything just disappears. With my constant moving from place to another after university, I didn’t really have much physical possessions like fridges and couches etc. and anything else I had, I got rid of.

…the moment I quit my job, a lot of the cushiony benefits went with it…just disappeared literally like those magician tricks that go *powwff* and everything just disappears.

Teaching English has provided everything I wanted; lots of free time, not much responsibility and out of my comfort zone but it doesn’t pay well. I get paid once a month. Good chunk goes towards the rent and bills. I try and travel just after I get paid so that I have enough money to travel and get back to Istanbul. Whatever is left of that, I adjust for food and necessities. Traveling solo as a female is probably more expensive. Do you know exactly how much I spend on deodorant, sanitary pads and toilet paper a month? Ridiculous. I haven’t had a facial or pedicure in the last 4 months and little things I would just swipe out my debit card for in the past are now truly habits of the past.

Don’t get me wrong. Its not exactly I am starving or anything but things are just so hard to manage at times that it makes one wonder whats the point of all this again? My last trip to Cappadocia went horribly wrong with budget-wise. I should have flown instead of taking the bus and all for entire 11-hour duration of the bus ride, my brain just did the calculations over and over again at how much money I had wasted. I almost cried last month when my ipod earphones broke, not because they broke but because I was going to have buy new ones.

Its not cool suddenly how your each and every action is directly dependent on how much money you have allocated for it. I am constantly aware of my spendings. Which all in all is not a bad thing. I have made a few mistakes with budgeting but I am slowly learning how to manage it. My biggest saver – I don’t drink anymore.(Alcohol is expensive in Turkey) From 2-beers-a-night person to 2-beers-a month-person is not an easy transition, my friend!

From 2-beers-a-night person to 2-beers-a month-person is not an easy transition, my friend!

And just what will I do for a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc…hmmmm! I really look after myself well. Heaven forbid I get sick – it will be an expensive affair. I cook most of my meals. And above of all, I pray every night for strength and control!

I’m not going to pen off by saying that I’m happy. One, it would be so cliched and second its not true. But I am traveling. I am seeing places some people never would. Its at a pace which is not dictated by me alone but also my circumstance of the day. But most of all I’m learning. I’m learning how to rise above it and be happy. Because at the end of the day, there is no one else but you on the road. (and I can’t exactly call my father for some money – I still owe him that 5 grand!)

One thought on “That M Issue of a Traveller

  1. Oh how I can relate to you. Having finished my 3 month work stint, I’m in the middle of looking for fixed work here AND a new crib. Funnily enough, I’d also considered asking my Dad for a loan to do CELTA but I have a complex about owing people so am trying to slowly, slowly work it into my expenses and save for it. Being a grown up is hard! >_<


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