$85 a day

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How much can $85 give you in one day?  A cart of groceries?  A fancy dinner and movie for 2?  An iPod?  These things sound good, even great.  But what if I told you that with $85 a day, you could travel the world?  Well…now I’m telling you!  $85 a day is plenty enough to see all of Machu Picchu, the Caribbean coast of Colombia, the nature filled Galapagos Islands, the ridge-lined Patagonian steppe, and much more.  All you need is an adventurous spirit, a little financial discipline, and desire to travel.  Not sure if you have the financial discipline?  Think again.  There are plenty of tools available out there to help you out.  Even as a CPA, I never would have been able to maintain my budget if I didn’t have the right tools.  Here are a few tips and tricks to use along the way.

Setting Expectations – Spending $85 a day traveling shouldn’t be a blind goal.  Setting realistic expectations while stretching for the experiences you travel for in the first place are both equally important.  If you’re traveling to London or Paris, $85 is unrealistic.  If you’re going to most places in South America or Southeast Asia, that’s very possible.  Researching costs where you plan to travel is key.

A Little Insurance – Give yourself a little wiggle room.  You never know what may come up and you don’t want to be strapped for cash when you just have to try that once in a lifetime…twice.  Budget an extra 10% for incidentals and emergencies.

Budget, Budget, Budget – Use a good budgeting tool.  Trail Wallet is a smartphone app that does the trick.  It allows you to budget with any currency and doesn’t require an internet connection.  Those are key functions for any travel budget app.  It also has some fun characters who keep you on the right track. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trail-wallet-travel-budget-app/id547171665?mt=8)

Beyond all of the effort that goes into a successful trip, make it that much better by living through it fully!  Just forget it all and smell the flowers.

Realization

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For those of you who have not worked in the professional services industry before, realization is the profitability of projects that a company is engaged to perform.  In more personal terms, realization is the point at which you are fully aware that something has become a fact or when you achieve something desired or anticipated.  Of course, you all knew that already, but I say that for a reason.  That reason is what my recent posts have been leading up to, which is this trip to South America.  Today, one of my goals will come to a realization point as I am flying to Peru and will not return from this southern continent until May 2017.  This trip is the realization of a long awaiting dream and as you can imagine, there are plenty of mixed emotions.  Anxiousness and pure excitement are just a few.

Just one week separates me from the day I quit my job but it also feels as thought it were just yesterday.  Stopping my life to make a trip like this hasn’t been easy, but it’s been much more manageable thanks to some special people in my life, including my girlfriend, family, and some close friends.  I’ve had some great moments with people I consider important in my life in the last week and it’s a fortunate feeling to have seen most of them.  To the rest I could not have one final hoorah with, I’m certain that these 6 months will pass ever so quickly!  But don’t forget that I will miss you all very much.  When I step on that plane in a few short hours, I know that it will be the beginning of something great and I appreciate all of those who have been a part of my story along the way.

Keep up for more tips and tricks on traveling abroad!

Taka

 

Quitting

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It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when a moment of eye-popping clarity comes about.  When it comes to my desire to travel, I could tell you that it was when I went to Haiti in 2012 to care for the most beautiful children.  I could also tell you it was when my parents came to the US to make a new life and sprouted the idea that home isn’t always just one place.  But perhaps more than any other reason, this idea to quit my job and travel started several years ago when I visited Thailand.  That was my first trip unassisted in a country that I did not know the language of.  It opened my eyes in ways that nothing else in this world could.

In a way, this idea to travel is a result of all these things and many more.  After all, quitting your job to travel isn’t the quickest and easiest decision to make, I can attest to that.  But then again, the best things in life are usually not easy and that theory is very applicable here.

While I was on that fateful trip in Thailand 2 years ago, a thought that was built up by my upbringing and by that trip to Haiti started to permeate my mind and I decided at that moment that someday I would quit my job.  While I wanted that day to be as soon as possible, I knew that it would take some time and planning to make it happen.  To be exact, it would take 2 years.

During those 2 years, I have savored the process of saving, positioning myself, and planning for this trip, and while most of this process is enjoyable and exciting, there is always that elephant in the room.  He’s just sitting way too close to you invading your space, but at some point you just need to face him.  That elephant I’m referring to is the prospect of quitting.  In my case, I work(ed) as a CPA in a public accounting firm.  I’d been there for over 4 years having started right out of school as a hungry staff accountant.  I’ve formed relationships with people throughout the firm whom I take great pride in calling my extended family.  While I am very thankful for these people, this also made the idea of quitting even more difficult.  How could I leave these people that I’d figuratively AND literally lived with for so long?  After all, I’d seen them more often than my own family during those years.

I knew that it would take some finesse to start down the path of my dreams while keeping strong relationships with these people.  I started by having a conversation with some of my closer co-workers while also keeping things hush so that rumors wouldn’t spread.  I spoke to them about the idea of traveling and what it would mean for my future career.  While I’m certain that many of them were disappointed, I felt that talking early and honestly helped make a smoother transition.

One of the difficult things to manage at this time was gossip.  It’s something that I can’t control so I didn’t concern myself with this too much, but I did want to be the first one to talk to 2 particular partners in charge of my office.  To do this, it took quite a bit of self-control to not blurt out my dream that had been building for 2 years to everyone in sight!  But I kindly asked each of the people that I spoke with to not go around talking about my plans, at least not until I had told those partners.  I’m once again very thankful to have good people that I work with because there were no leaks of my plans.

Admittedly, as much as it has been exciting to plan out this trip, the prospect of telling people that have employed me for 4 years that I will longer be working with them is still intimidating. When it finally came time to talk to those partners, something rather interesting happened.  Instead of fear and intimidation wrapping my mind, I instead had great clarity in what I was doing and where I was going.  That made it very easy to talk to each of them about my plans without fear of consequence.  Of course, I really had no reason to think that there would be a significant consequence to me reaching for my dreams, even if it did make their lives temporarily difficult.

I think that is the most important thing to consider, that people will never really be upset at one another for reaching for their dreams, as long as you do it professionally and properly.  And if you do find yourself in the position of trying to convince your boss of why you are choosing your dream over working endless hours, then I think it is quite clear where you should and shouldn’t be.  Thankfully, I have had the great fortune to work in a great environment and one in which I hope to be welcomed back to in the future.

It may not always be the best time or easiest time to quit, but when it comes to reaching for your dream, reach all day.  There’s no other way to find happiness that can truly match that of arriving at your goal.  But don’t let that moment of arrival come without setting your sights on the next mountain to climb!

More on that next mountain coming soon.  Til next time! 🙂

Turning a New Leaf

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Hey all!

I have a big announcement!  Some big changes are coming, and they’ve been approaching quietly for some time.  Starting in just a few short weeks, I’m going to be traveling for 6 months throughout South America!  Ever since I had the amazing trip to Thailand in 2014, it’s been my unwavering dream to travel for an extended period of time.  I wasn’t sure when or where, but those details are now coming into focus.

On November 11, me and a buddy of mine will take off for Peru to start the trip by scaling the Inca Trail on the way to Machu Picchu!  Throughout the rest of this trip I’ll be going through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile seeing mountains, rivers, beaches, and hopefully much much more.  The planning has been long and arduous, but certainly worthwhile.  It’s also been much easier with the support of many great people in my life including my family and friends.  And of course, the loving support of my girlfriend.  It wasn’t an easy decision but I am very thankful for her willingness to help me see through my dream to travel.

A big part of this planning has been notifying my coworkers. Maybe it’s corny, but they’ve come to be something of a second family to me.  Handling this announcement as well as possible with them has been very important to me and I appreciate all the patience they’ve all shown.

I’ll sorely miss all the people in my life during this trip but I know that we’ll be seeing each other sooner than we can imagine.  But with every new chapter, new challenges and experiences await and I’m looking forward to all that the road ahead has to offer!

While I’m away, follow my page to keep up with my travels and to get the latest tips on how to travel richly on a cheap budget!  You’ll be thankful you did!

Til next time 🙂

Taka

First Step – Thailand

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Hi all!

It’s been a while, hope you’ve all had a great holiday and new year!  I’d like to continue this time in our conversation about Thailand.  More specifically, I want to talk about first steps, fear, and reaching goals.  When I think about my fears, I tend to stop thinking about my fears shortly thereafter by avoiding the topic.  This is the same way I handled the thought of traveling alone, avoiding the thought.

I’ve had the desire to travel alone but never had enough motivation or passion to take the next step.  Why?  Because it was different and I didn’t know what the first step was.  I was afraid of the unknown.  This fear is the source of countless cases of procrastination, failed goals, and frightened children (and some particularly brave adults) worrying about what monsters are under their bed.

The best way to handle this is actually the simplest way, take one step.  Think about this example.  If you want to wake up earlier in the morning what do you do?  First set your alarm, second don’t hit snooze.  So what did I do to get past the fear of traveling?  Take the first step, buy a nonrefundable ticket.  I didn’t have any plans but I definitely made them after buying the ticket.

The point is it really can take just one step to make a huge difference in others and our own lives.  So take a chance, buy that ticket, and shine a flashlight on those pesky monsters under the bed once and for all.

Stay happy!

Taka

Thailand – Taking Chances

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So I began with some difficulty in finding the right way to tell the lessons and stories of Thailand, so I decided I won’t do it in this post. I’ll spread the love to a series of posts! That way we can all enjoy it over and over again! 😀 So without further ado, here is part one of Thailand.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  A wise man once said this and I strongly believe it.  When I made it up in my mind to travel to Thailand, I had many worried friends and family asking me if it was the best idea to go to a country half a world away without knowing the language or culture very well.  I’ll admit, it’s a good question.  I mean, it’s not every day that you just decide to up and go to Thailand.  But it’s a place I desperately wanted to see and I took a chance to take the trip.

And boy am I glad I did!  This gamble ended up being one of the most rewarding two weeks of my life and I can’t wait to do it again!  The sights, sounds, and smells of Thailand are now insatiable for me and I know that I’ll have to return.  Looking back on it now, the thought of questioning this trip seems so silly.  I could have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life because of fear.  It’s a common thing that we all face, but it can block us from reaching some of the best parts of our lives, and that’s why I’m telling you to take a chance.

I’m not saying you should book a ticket to Thailand right now.  Well, you should, but that’s not really the point.  The point is that taking chances can lead to some of the most exhilarating and satisfying chapters of your life if you have the courage to leap into them.

It all starts with small acts of taking a chance.  It may be talking to a cute guy/girl at the end of the bar, or taking a trip to a place you’ve never been to before, or learning a language you’ve always wanted to speak.  Taking chances and trying new things can open up the whole world to you and that’s where your life and really living your life meet.

As I traveled around Thailand for those two weeks learning to cook Thai food in Bangkok, lighting lanterns into the sky in Chiang Mai, riding motorbikes between waterfalls, canyons, and hot springs in Pai, living among elephants in Surin, and meeting amazing people all along the way, I realized that what I’ve just been mentioning couldn’t be more true.  Trying new things, although scary and sometimes overwhelming, can lead to the most amazing experiences of our lives.  And they can also remind us of our younger more innocent days when everything was new to us and every day was a new experience for us to conquer.

With that in mind I hope that you’ll conquer your own fears and take that new Spanish class, start a conversation with that cute guy or girl, or maybe, just maybe, you’ll even take a trip to Thailand and discover something incredible.

Cooking class

Cooking class

Loi Krathong - Chiang Mai

Loi Krathong – Chiang Mai

Lights, camera, lanterns!

Lights, camera, lanterns!

Motorbiking in the countryside

Motorbiking in the countryside

Elephants

Elephants

Elephants numero dos!

Elephants numero dos!

Mahout games

Mahout games

Building a swing

Building a swing

New Kid On The Block

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Hello there!

Welcome to the inaugural post on this somehow already world famous blog!  A little bit about myself, I’m a twenty something (24) stranger who loves people, new places, and doing things.  Ok, I’m a being a bit vague with that, this is my first go, give me a break!  I’m actually an accountant from New Jersey, which automatically makes my life shitty.  That’s a little something for those of you who’ve watched The Other Guys with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell.  But surprisingly, life isn’t that bad!  Other than being an accountant, I’m also an avid traveler who would love to see every continent thoroughly by the time I’ve called it quits.  Lastly, I’m also a foolish runner who thinks he can actually finish a marathon in less than 2 hours.  That may have a slightly lower chance of happening, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try!

So at this point, you’re probably wondering why you’re reading a blog from this runner, accountant, traveler from New Jersey.  While I’d love to think it’s because you just love hearing my voice, I’m no fool.  I’m actually here to share tips on running, traveling, and money savviness that I’ve learned in my days.  I may not be able to shape you into a champion marathoner, expert world traveler, or Warren Buffet, but I will try my very hardest to do each of these things, whether you have any interest in becoming Warren Buffet or not (if not, I would like a long and thorough explanation WHY NOT).

That’s all I have to start out on this lovely extended Thanksgiving weekend, but there’s lots more to come with the next post being about my most recent trip to Thailand for two weeks.  Don’t miss it!

Stay happy!

TK