Saturday, May 23, 2015

We’re starting to seriously panic about the price of entry to return to the US. Cell phone plans. Health insurance. A computer. A car?? Hair appointments. Dentist appointments. Clothes and shoes that haven’t been worn every day for ten months. Living in the US, California especially, is freaking EXPENSIVE!!

Our perspective on finances changes so much whenever we travel. We’ve grown accustomed to spending no more than $2 on a meal. To not having any bills. To paying someone $3 to do all of our laundry for us. I was reading the menu of a new restaurant I want to try in LA, and noticed that not a single glass of wine was under $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS!! That would pay for a hotel room in Vietnam. A nice one!

People often ask how we afford to travel like this. And the short answer is, we save aggressively and spend prudently. We travel to really affordable places where our monthly budget is a fraction of what it is at home. We think carefully about every purchase and make sure it’s meaningful and worth it before we splurge. We stick to our guns and don’t make exceptions for every special circumstance (cause trust me, there are lots of them!)

But somehow, within weeks of living in LA, I know that a $15 glass of wine will feel normal again. Phone bills will be paid without a second thought. Appointments and shopping trips just a swipe of a little piece of plastic.

As our arrival in the states grows closer, we are really hoping to carry a little more of this mindfulness home with us. That we’ll seek out and appreciate the cheap and free things to do in LA, just like we would if we were travelers there. That the line between wants and needs will be almost as clear as it is on the road. After I buy my new iPhone, that is.


  1. Re: " our arrival in the states grows closer"

    Do you have a departure/return date set? (Selfishly, I hope not!)

  2. I can relate to this on so many levels! I just returned back home from living in Thailand for 7 months. I'm finally getting used to paying for food that costs more than $2.00 but I haven't stepped foot in a mall or a clothing store. Sticker shock is painful! ;)

  3. So f'n true. We spent 4 years in Latin America, and I would balk at spending more than $400/mo on rent (either in an apartment or on campgrounds), $5 on a glass of wine, $20 on dinner--and those were splurges. We've been back in the States a year, and although I still look for the deals like only a nomadic gypsy can, I'm inured to paying the big bucks, just like you said. We're heading back to Latin America in one month where we'll be to the end of the year, and I can't wait! I'm gonna get my hair did and live like a queen ;) Love your blog!

    1. Thanks for reading Stevie!! Always love hearing from folks who can relate :-) I hope we can have a glass (or three) of wine before you go!

  4. P.S. I've found culture shock to at times be more painful that stick shock. I like living between worlds, in cultural ambiguity, as I like to say ;)