I’m not a numbers girl, now if you knew me through school you’d simply say that’s not true, well oh contraire my friend, I spent most of those classes copying off the girl next to me and arguing with the teacher how the hell Pythagoras theorem was going to help me past the four walls of the exam hall.
I vowed to never touch anymore maths than was deemed necessary to survive, and, after a well-intentioned accountant receptionist job ended in a well… miscalculation, I renewed that vow and had instilled in me a fear of spreadsheet generating mathematical programmes.
So it’s safe to say when I started planning my round the world travels I was naive in my expectations of the amount of numbers which would be involved, now a normal day involves trailing through rough guide and lonely planet books not to mention the bazillion blogs out there which go so into detail it makes it seem like travel is possible!
It seems like my big dream had a little trick up it’s sleeve for me because…
HOLY EXCEL I’ve made a spreadsheet!
I’ve been told by travel agents, friends, ‘travelled people’ that I am going to need £1500 per month, I thought… ‘how are they getting this number, this isn’t enough, that is not an accurate working out!’, OCD took over (as did the overwhelming anxiety I battle with), I needed to list, I needed to budget, I needed cold hard figures!
I was pleasantly surprised to know that there are SO many OCD travellers out there sufficiently catering to all of my financial planning needs.
One girl, who I can only describe as my travel guru, has literally mastered the art of planning and budget organisation, her spreadsheets are out of this world!
But no I do not regret figuring out excel before finding her beautiful (is that an acceptable term for anything excel?) spreadsheets. Her spreadsheets are a great place to start and her honesty, passion and knowledge is enviable, she may be the best friend I never met! She’s ‘A Little Adrift’ and my name is Bekki and I may have a blog crush.
I think it’s really important to take responsibility for your budget and for your plan, it is after all what will carry you for however long you intend to travel, it’s the difference between being able to afford that trek you’ve always wanted to do and a phone call home to ask for plane fare!
I don’t expect everyone will want to trawl endless sites or even buy a lonely planet book, some people are more aloof about their travels but I have learnt so much about myself and this amazing world I want to explore, it doesn’t all start and end with a spreadseet!
I have learnt about history, culture, religion and I haven’t even stepped out of my door!
I have made some not so proud realisations about country location, apparently Cambodia and Vietnam are at the other side of Thailand (ok so maybe Geography wasn’t a strong point either) and among a host of things I’ve realised that travelling is not a holiday, it is a lifestyle and it can be hard work, you learn and adjust constantly.
What’s scary is without realising I have taken on this huge task of having to stare my survival abilities in the face! It won’t be all Microsoft and spreadsheets but culture shock and being present amidst others religions, facing places without guaranteed power and (god forbid) days without access to Facebook!
Sometimes we don’t realise the potential our dreams have I’m really pleased to know that travel isn’t just going to be beaches and beautiful sunsets but that I could come back with skills too, whether you want to make a spread sheet or just wing it you are bound to learn by the end of it whether you like it or not. Travel; it’s not just a tan and good memories.