A Cheap Vacation
I had two weeks of time off in June. The first big vacation after I have started tracking my expenses. As I wrote about in my last update, this posed a challenge: How much would I spend on this vacation?
Turns out not a lot. But I’m a bit disappointed with how things played out.
I saved 50% of my income in June.
Transportation was the outlier this month. Some of it went to my vacation and some went to car rental for a weekend with friends. Both expenses I’m happy to make.
|Percentage of expenses
I ended up staying home for my two weeks off. I my last update I wrote about how I want to live differently instead of downgrading. How I don’t want to downgrade my vacations, but instead spend my time off in a different way.
I did that. Sort of.
I spent my time differently. I did not travel outside the country. And most of the time I didn’t even travel outside my city.
But I did not fully enjoy my vacation and at times I whish I had planned something better. I longed for the mountains. So this was not just different. It felt like a downgrade too.
I spent a few days hiking a 140 km cost-to-coast trail here in Denmark. And that was a good adventure. But after the trail I went back to my apartment and passed the days doing nothing particular.
At least I have learned that I’m not good at spending my summer vacation at home with no plans. Not when I have also considered going south to enjoy summits.
After some reflection I believe my failure is twofold:
- I did not plan ahead
- I was a bit too strict with spending
I’m not good at planning ahead. I’m working on it. But most of the time I need some urgency before I get going.
And that’s what happened here too. I booked my vacation time late and so I ended up in an unfortunate situation where I already had things in my calendar. Things I had said yes to.
So when I searched for a slot for my travel I was already on the back foot. I didn’t even have a full two weeks. Instead I had to make it fit the schedule I had already committed myself to.
And the issue quickly became apparent when I started looking at flights and other transportation options. Because of my self-imposed constraints my options were limited.
I found some possible trips but then I started considering the expenses.
Too strict with spending
Not planning ahead was my first mistake. If I had done that I believe I would have been able to find a better spot for my vacation. And with that I would also have had more options for my travels. Options that would have felt worth their expenses.
I did not plan ahead. And so when I found a trip it was not ideal. It was shorter than what I wanted. And more expensive than what I hoped for.
The big issue was the constraints I had put on myself. First were the time constraints as I was late to the party and already had other commitments. On top of that the financial constraints. And then constraints as to where I would like to travel.
In the end I simply gave up.
I found it impossible to find anything. My self-imposed constraints had boxed me in and I was now trapped. I closed down the search for any travel and in my desperation decided to simply take the two weeks one day at a time.
Hopefully I have learned a lesson or two.
I had a decent vacation but I clearly longed for travel.
I could have handled the situation much better in many different ways. I could have traveled closer to home instead of literally staying at home. I could seek out more adventures than just the one I did. I’m even confused as to why I did not manage to enjoy spending time a home. I usually feel just fine doing that.1
Regarding money and financial freedom: I hope to plan ahead a bit better next time. With fewer constraints I believe it easier to find something that suits me. I also hope to be less strict with my expenses when it comes to travel and experiences.
Travel is not free. The cheapest vacation may be one spent at home. But I’m building up financial freedom to be able to do things I want. Not to stay at home and do nothing.
I believe the reason I did not enjoy spending time at home is again twofold: 1) High expectations. I had expected to go travel and I felt disappointed when I didn’t go. If I had managed my expectations better I would likely have felt a lot happier. When I was studying I used to spend most of my summer vacation at home. And I did not mind that at all. Shows how expectations are really what determines our happiness. 2) At home discipline. When I was at home I spent some of the time doing chores. Cleaning, catching up on my todo-list, etc. If I instead had given myself the time off I believe I would have enjoyed my vacation more. Instead of being a vacation it became a mixed bag of work and relaxation. And that is almost always worse than clearly separating the two. ↩