We have a vice! A money vice. A vice so large that it can add years onto our goal of retiring early. It is the complete opposite of saving money and growing a passive income, which hopefully one day might replace our salaries. Yet every few years, we continue to do it anyway.
Every two years or so, my partner and I go travelling. Not down the road, or even within the same country. But, we travel abroad. New Zealand is great and there is definitely more to see here, but we want to see some of the worlds.
Travelling in your own backyard usually gets shunted to a strange list. A list of places and things you would like to do, and know that you can go anytime. And because you know they are easily accessible you don’t seem to get around to going there. Life gets in the way.
Travelling abroad is different. There is a lot of planning. Especially if you are travelling from NZ. There are normally two long haul flights involved, travel times in the 30-40 hours.
But we love it!
I don’t need to go on about how travel opens your mind and exposes you to new ideas and cultures. Everyone who loves to travel knows this already. I just want to share with you how every time I go on one of these trips I feel like two strongly competing personas are in all mighty battle with each other.
The first is my passive income persona. Who wants to save every last dollar. Spends generous amounts of time going through every last transaction on a monthly basis. Plots and tracks spending, income, and investment returns. Heck, he will analyse and plot sets of data and call it a night out. Introverted.
And the other is my worldly traveller persona. The one who wants to travel to faraway lands. Explore famous landmarks, try new foods, interact with total strangers and make new friends. The one who has travel money which can be spent in an instant on new experiences. Extraverted.
Travel money isn’t the same as regular money!
This is the story of the first trip we took together. A trip to several places in Europe.
We started off with flying to London where we spend a week catching up with a friend and seeing the sights. Buckingham Palace, tower bridge, the London Eye. Sightseeing in the day, overindulging in food and beer at night. London brought it’s a game, including its famous weather.
We then took a short flight to the Netherlands. This was the backbone of this trip to visit my great-grandmother who has just turned 100! There was going to be a big family reunion. Catching up with grandparents, uncles and aunts, and cousins.
After the family celebrations, we flew to Helsinki for a few nights to experience a real winter. This was just the start though.
Once we had acclimatized to the Helsinki winter, we flew even further north. Past the arctic circle, to Saariselkä near Ivalo in Lapland, Northern Finland. We planned to do many exciting winter activities here. Skiing, snowmobiling, husky sledging, and chasing the Aurora Borealis. And In the evening sitting around the fire drinking Vodka.
Seeing the northern lights was a once in a lifetime trip for us and it was truly amazing. Sitting on the top of a mountain in the middle of the night staring up at the sky to see the green light dance around the sky. I would highly recommend everyone to go see the northern lights at least once, if not more.
After we had enough of the winter and cold we flew down to Rome. Rome is an amazing city full of history- the six days we spent there was not long enough. So much history to cover.
We then travelled up the country. Visiting Florence, Venice and Milan to round off our trip through Italy.
Travelling by train back to Zürich and our flight back home to New Zealand.
What did it all costs?
Now, with any trip from New Zealand, the flights are the most expensive part. The flights to Europe cost just under $2,000 each- which was quite a good special. On top of that were the internal flights and travel around Europe at around $1500.
Accommodation and food is the next biggest expense. We stayed with friends in London and family in the Netherlands. Finland and Italy we stayed in hotels using booking.com. Airbnb wasn’t around at this state. Our accommodation and food bill would have been north of $3000. (I can’t remember exactly- it was several years ago now)
Was it worth it?
Spending a total of more than $10,000 on a six-week holiday seems like a lot of money to throw down the gurgler. Having invested it instead would have seen the 10K grow close to $15K by now. But I don’t think that can ever replace the time I spend with my extended family and the experiences we had.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.
So you have a spending vice?
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