Making travel plans (Or; how to spend money instead of save)

So I have this crazy plan for travel going in my head but before I get to that lets check out my goals and progress for 2011 (Read more here)

1. To complete at least 4 more courses for my degree. -> On track! 3 passed, registered for 3 more in September
2. To have a total combined savings balance of $2,500 or more – > Way off! $0 saved
3. To make a trip overseas to visit family and friends. -> Booked & planned & ticket paid
4. To have a student loan balance below $5,000  – > On track! Currently sitting at $5,689.90
5. To keep making one extra mortgage payment of $100 per month. -> On track! $810 prepaid this year
6. Have a net worth above $22,000 -> On track! Hit $22,513 on August 9

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At this point I’m on track for 5 out of 6 goals; saving isn’t going well- at all really – because I’ve shifted my focus to paying off debt. I think dealing with my debt is more important  so I can get to the point of debt-free sooner. I know some of you will disagree but this is the way that’s working best for me: Living within my means, becoming debt-free and achieving my dreams.

The thing I am very passionate about after getting rid of my debt is travelling. (and saving and investing, of course)

This summer I had a great camping trip to Isles des La Madeleine and in two short weeks I’m heading overseas to Europe to visit some friends and family.  I’m wishing very much that I could’ve gone back sooner and more often but because of my finances I haven’t been able to do that.

Aside from already planning to take another trip back next year to do some possible job hunting, I’ve been thinking about my life and my priorities and one of the things that keeps coming up is travel and going places so next year, in addition to the job-hunting trip I’m toying with, I’m going to try to do something I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS:

Some people (*cough* friends *cough*) have suggested this is a little crazy so I map-quested it out for you (going from the Canadian/American border) This is what I want to do:

2012 Eastcoast roadtrip

Yeah! What do you think?

I didn’t just come up with this over the weekend, it’s been a dream for years. I’ve been wanting to do a road-trip down the East-coast since I got my car in 2006. I hope to graduate next April so taking off to do this crazy road-trip sometime in May or June would be the perfect conclusion on both becoming debt-free and finally getting my degree.  While heading down there anyway I thought it would be really awesome to detour a little and head to Dave Ramsey’s financial peace plaza in Brentwood, TN to let them know I’M DEBT FREE! (Except for the mortgage) (then, not now… obviously ;p)

I’m thinking of crossing the border either through Nova Scotia or New Brunswick and then visiting Portland, Boston, New York, Washington, Richmond, Atlanta, Brentwood, Nashville, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before making my way back to Canada. It’ll be about 6000 km’s which will run me about 540 liters of fuel, an oilchange in between and I plan to crash as cheap as possible wherever I go. (Any of you out there wanna open up their couch for a night? you know you wanna! – any tips on where to stay- what to do? – I plan on bringing a tent as well)

The whole thing will take about 3 weeks or so and I hope to spend about $3,000 for the whole trip. By that time I’ll be rid of my student loan for a few months already, freeing up quite a bit of cash so this is all very doable. (I use the word ‘doable’ almost as much as the word ‘interesting’)

As of right now, I’m planning to go by myself but who knows though by that time I may have found another soul to tag along with me. It’s just a crazy idea swirling in my head right now and I really do plan to make this a reality!

I realized a short while ago that to do the things I desire I need to take charge of my life and just do it. I need to stop waiting for other people. To quote Chris Guillebeau;

“Sometimes the right thing doesn’t make sense to other people, which is why there’s no need to ask them about it. You know — you just KNOW — what it is. The next step is to do it, not take out a survey. Lesson: never let anyone talk you out of (or into) anything. Chances are, you already know how to do the right thing. “

Have you ever gone on a long road trip, or dreamed of one? What was it like, would you do it again? Where would you go if you had the chance and the cash to do it?

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11 Comments

  1. I’m from Massachusetts, live in Atlanta, and I’ve thought a few times about doing a slow road trip up to Massachusetts. I just never had a good chunk of time, and now with work, it doesn’t make sense to spend my vacation days on driving.

    I would be happy to share a couch, but depends on where I’m living in April! We have people stay on our couch all the time here, but there are 3 humans and 3 dogs and not much room, so I never want to invite my own guests over to stay.

    It’s pretty exciting to look ahead to debt-freeness in the foreseeeable future

    • Well, it’s like 80something hours of driving in total i think. I don’t mind it so much because it means get to go places and I enjoy looking around me at the houses and places. I’ll keep you in mind for next year 😉

  2. I think the trips (road and otherwise) sound like a lot of fun. We’ve talked about doing a random road trip around the country sometime, and I think we really will do it. We’ll just drive with no destination in mind, and stop whenever and where ever we feel like stopping 🙂

  3. Looks like quite a cool trip. I think you will have a blast. We like to travel overseas as much as we can. We went to South East Asia this year and we are planning of seeing more of it next year.

  4. I don’t think there is anything wrong with paying off your debt before saving, as long as you have credit in case of an emergency.

    • Hmmm I don’t like using credit as an emergency fund, but I guess I do sort of have that in the back of my head still…. that it’s there might I need it.

  5. That looks like a great road trip! I’ve only been to Boston, but I would love to visit some of those other cities (hello, Washington) on your itinerary. The last couple summers, I’ve been dreaming about doing a northern USA or Maritime road trip. Maybe next summer when things settle down.

    • yes, you’ve just bought a house! plenty to keep busy, if you hit the maritimes let me know I’d be happy to give you some tips 🙂

  6. It sounds like it will be a fun trip. I’ve never even been to the East Coast but I’ve been on 2 road trips. The first was from Chicago to Portland, OR and was pretty boring (either that or it was the company). The 2nd was from Portland, OR to Las Vegas and back. The Vegas trip was awesome mostly due to the anticipation of finally going to Vegas (as an adult) and the fact that my honey and I were finally getting married, after being engaged for like 7 years.

    I think you should do what will make you happy, who cares what other people say, it’s not their life. 🙂

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