, ,

[I hope to look back on this part of my journal one day with fondness and a giggle. One day in the not-so-far future when we have much more to spend. To remember this time in my life when I felt like I was living like a true princess for only a few dollars a day]

When we first started to think of travelling full time the only thing I was worried about was money, can we actually afford this?! We can’t even afford a family vacation! I scoured the internet trying to find costs for doing such a thing and the only thing I came up with was how much it costs for a backpacker travelling solo. I would just guesstimate from that, but really I had no idea.

having Christmas dinner in 2011 in Maui on a little picnic table and lawn chairs (hehe) since we had sold all of our belongings in order to pursue our dream of travel

The main thing that has come as a surprise since we started travelling is we are not as spartan as we had hoped. We like to take taxis and rent mopeds over walking, we don’t always feel like eating food on the street, and we sometimes like our hotel to come with a bath tub and it definately has to come with A/C and hot water (not always a given). All of these little extras add up, not very much by American standards, but a lot when you are watching every dollar.

paying $16 a night in Vang Vieng, Laos for a hotel with hot water, A/C and a daily breakfast. We could have stayed somewhere for $5-$10 a night with fan only, cold showers, and no breakfast.

The last 6 months that we were travelling with Trek were not a very good indicator of how much it would normally cost us to travel. The last 6 months were a celebration!! It was the longest and best family vacation ever in history! We had saved some money before we found out Trek was sick in order to start our journey and we recently sold our van to fund our time here in Thailand now, but most of the money that we used to travel the last 6 months was from you! All of our amazing friends and family that held fundraisers and sent us donations and bought Trek’s cool stuff. It was the best gift we have and ever will be given, we are so thankful for the memories we made with Trek and the amazing adventures he got to go on in his short life. We can never say thank you enough.

Trek on the Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland-3 weeks after we found out he had NPA. A donated timeshare for the week and our friends Becky and Jason bought 2 of our 6 day Park Hopper tickets

Now we are back to our original plan (which I wrote about here in November 2011 before we found out Trek was sick): Enough money to live for a couple of months in a cheap country while Jarrett finishes up his books and if we need some extra money Jarrett can teach English as a local school. It is a good plan and this past week determined that it will work. Our original hopes were to live on $1000-$1500 a month or about $30-50 a day. When we were travelling with Trek and our main goal was focusing on making memories, not watching the budget we were spending about $2500-$3000 a month. Even at that amount it was way less than we spent a month in America. I imagine if you were able to have $4000-$5000 a month and travel you could live like a king, considering we were living pretty high on way less than that!!

me and the 3 boys on a private island in the Carribean ocean. We were living on the island of Utila, Honduras for $3000 a month, we could have done it much cheaper if we had ate more local food/cooked at home and not rented a golf cart for our transportation for the month (only a couple of cars on this unique island!)

So after 1 week in Pai we see that we are definately going to be able to stay within our budget of about $1200 a month or $40 a day! It is soo exciting! That is only $15,000 a year and we are living in an exotic beautiful country and eating out every meal and live in the Swiss Family Robinson house:)

Here is the break down:

$500/month ($17 a day)-Rent includes all bills and internet

$67/month ($2.25 a day)-Chelsea and Peyton’s Moped Rental

$67/month ($2.25 a day)-Jarrett and Conner’s Moped Rental

$40-Gas for both mopeds for the month

$500/month ($17 a day)-Food: breakfast at home, lunch and dinner from street vendors. This is the amount we strive for. Sometimes we spend more if we eat at a restaurant more than 1-2 times a week.

Total-$1174 a month or $1200-$1400 if we spend more on food or need clothing items, or a special fancy coffee drink:)

This total does not include the airfare to get here or the $500 we spent on travel/health insurance to cover our family for 3 months. We will not renew this. We did this for Trek to cover our plane tickets or any medical bills if he got sick and we needed to have emergency transport back to America. Since medical care is very affordable in most foreign countries we have opted to pay for it out of pocket.

We are able to stick to this budget since we are stationary for a season. When we move from one city/country to another the prices will go up. For instance, our moped rental is so cheap ($2 a day) because we got a monthly rate. Normally we pay $3-$4 a day when we rent it by the week. Also we will have to add the bus or plane fare to go long distances. Even though it is very cheap to travel around SE Asia it still adds up when you have to buy 4 fares. Our bus travel of 12 hours from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani was $120 total for all of us. We could keep our food budget no matter where we went if we always ate like the locals. But when we are tired from travelling or just getting to know a new town we tend to stick to restaurants and more familiar foods and spend a lot more on food.

All in all, we feel so fortunate and like we are living the life of a millionaire right now for so little!

We feel so empowered that we are living our dreams and making a beautiful life for Peyton and Conner and ourselves. We wish everyday that Trek was here with us. He was the one that inspired all of this to happen that beautiful day he came to us in our driveway.

Peyton and Conner meeting Trek just seconds after Jarrett delivered him in the driveway. A couple days after his birth Jarrett and I started formulating a plan for our family to travel and 6 months later we had saved and bought 1-way tickets to Thailand!

Thank you so much beautiful boy