Halfway Gone and Halfway To Go
Today marks the halfway mark of my 6-7 (originally 6-12) month journey. So let’s go through some of the highlights and statistics of my trip.
First, let’s start with the most important one, how much money have I spent? It’s kind of a complicated answer but in short, I’ve spent approximately $950 (AUD) a month excluding initial flight ($200) and travel insurance ($400 for 7 months). The way I’ve calculated this number is quite inaccurate as I haven’t been diligent enough to keep a spreadsheet. I started by calculating $12000 minus the remaining balance in my Asia 10k Target account and then I added the $800 I have in cash and added $1000 from my ING Everyday Account (good for transactions inside and outside Australia). I took that number and divided it by 3.5 months.
That number doesn’t include the $5000 in baht that I have in my wallet and the amount also doesn’t include any other money in other accounts that I may have used for various reasons but on the whole, I’d say it’s a pretty fair representation of what I have spent (this includes my credit card).
Why is the number so low?
Yes, I was budgeting for $1500 per month so why is it a third of my already small budget? A few reasons, namely Indonesia, Couchsurfing and mode of transport.
So out of the 3.5 months, I’ve spent 2 months in Indonesia where you can get fed well for $2 (yes, it’s a noticeable difference when you pay $4 to get fed well in Bangkok). I had a whole day tour in Lombok and Bali for $20 plus entrance fees.
In Malaysia, I had the ever-so-gracious Nuraini host me for six weeks in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. Not only was this a huge cost saving it also meant that there were days where I didn’t even use public transport just my old legs to get around which again cut costs.
In Indonesia, when I went to Jogjakarta for the Couchsurfing Indonesia Festival I didn’t pay for accommodation for over a week. It also meant that I had contacts all over Indonesia and a place to stay when I needed it most in Tegal (thanks, Norma!).
Mode of Transport
Motorbikes are the best in Indonesia with short trips costing less than $1. That’s less than most public transport around the world. Also, when you use Grab there are often codes you can use where you can get discounts off your trip which often means you get your short trip for free. If you want to go across the city say if you’re in Kuta and want to get to Sanur in Bali it’ll cost you no more than $5. Bargain!
I tried to limit the number of planes I used when getting around saving them only for international travel. Domestically I traveled by bus, train and shuttle bus. You can often get a cheaper price by buying early but it’s easier just to book a day or two before as the price doesn’t get that much more expensive as it does when flying.
I must note that when flying there are hidden costs that you may not be aware of and that is transfer costs and expensive airport prices. Even though your flight might be an hour or less it isn’t uncommon to take over an hour just to get to the airport. Then you need to be there 2 hours before for your flight. So your one-hour flight has taken over five hours door to door. That’s exactly what happened when I went from London to Edinburgh two years ago. It turned out to be a similar price as the train too as the commute costs are similar and airport food is exorbitant.
Whilst, I love talking about finances and you certainly love reading about money (my highest post was How I Got On Who Want’s To Be A Millionaire) lets talk about some of the other milestones I’ve hit since travelling.
According to my Dashboard, Monday’s post was my 100th post! Which makes this post 101. That is huge. I haven’t committed to something this much in a long time. Especially, when writing a post usually takes between 1 hour and 5 hours, which usually means giving up a morning or a day. Which is why it’s been quite hard to post whilst traveling. On the flip side, my Instagram usually gets a boost in activity.
I certainly have felt the love from all of you. So far this blog has had 8,318 views and 60 odd comments and far more comments on Facebook. The whole reason why I started a blog instead of Youtube account was that the readership/viewership to work ratio was heavily skewed to the amount of work I was putting in. Typically it’d take me over two days editing videos not to mention the time it took to actually record said videos. It’s just easier, content-wise to put out blogs instead of vlogs. If you want to check out my videos you can check out my channel here and I suggest you start with the “Jason Goes To France” videos. Having looked at the stats on Youtube I definitely have more views on Youtube but for videos that aren’t even good. And I haven’t had the same feedback as I have had from the blog, so, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Places I’ve Seen
So far I’ve been to four countries: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. I got to see crazy waterfalls and cool rooftop bars. I was even lucky enough to stay at a resort on Sibu Island in Malaysia (thanks, Nuraini). I saw what a bleached reef looks like and what a healthy one looks like, I even saw a turtle! I have clubbed to death and partied in exotic locals. I have seen temple, after temple, after temple. I have hustled my way into a few mosques and even prayed in one. My favourite place of worship that I’ve seen is Borobudur. Absolutely amazing! But by far, the best experience I’ve had is meeting the people.
The People I’ve Met Along The Way
I’ve met an environmentalist inside a petrochemical company, a producer for Television Commercials, danced with supermodels, dated a Urologist (can you imagine the conversation?). It hasn’t been all glamour and rooftop bars. I’ve also gone the other way. I met Ruslan, Oky and Ojiq from a village in central Lombok. A village so poor and so humble it made me realise where my lower limit is. Despite this, Oky and Ojiq are some positive and happy people.
I’ve been too many dates and hangouts to remember, some great, some bad and some…. weird (story up soon).
I’ve gotten ideas for potential jobs from expats working there. I could be a journalist in Malaysia or I could work as an English teacher for a corporation and then move laterally into marketing/writing copy. I could join STA in Bangkok and start selling tour packages.
Whilst in Indonesia, I realised how crazy-fucked-up human society and poverty-stricken desperation can be. I know that I have the ability to go to some village and pick a girl and bring her back to Australia if I wanted. I don’t do it but if I were in these societies long enough it would be remiss of me if I didn’t think I could be influenced. I have talked to people on both sides of the equation and understand the reasons why they’re doing what they do. I empathise with them and see their point of view and it’s getting harder and harder to keep my own morals.
Which brings me to…
What I have learnt On My Trip
People mostly do you no harm unless they are selling you something. Be vigilant these guys are professional and if you are in a tourist area you are a prime target to get exploited. Don’t think in your currency, think in the local currency and if it’s too much or too good to be true then walk away.
If you’re going to be talking about money openly be prepared to pay. It is no good saying how much money you make in front of someone who earns a tenth of what you make. It’s humiliating. Having said that, I usually bring it up when people talk about working in Australia.
It doesn’t matter if I don’t get a job. Ultimately, I can always come back to Australia and work. I am fortunate enough to live in a country where there are plenty of jobs. If I stop having fun I can always go home but that won’t be for some time yet.
And on that note, I am going to finish the post! Thanks for all the comments and people I’ve spoken to, had an impact on, have impacted me, and you lovely readers. Keep reading, commenting and helping me out. It really does make a difference. If you have any suggestions please let me know.
When was the last time you reflected? Do you think reflecting puts perspective in your life? Are there benefits/disadvantages of looking back? How do you travel? How much do you normally spend? Are there any jobs you think I’d be great at? Let me know down in the comments, on Facebook or on Instagram.