Personal finance never takes a vacation

I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life this summer. I rode a train to the West Coast, hopped a ferry to Haida Gwaii and connected with my daughter and partner (funny how being with her 24/7 and being away from him for 12 days strengthened both relationships for me).

I learned three important things whilst on this Canadian adventure.

1) Haida Gwaii and the Queen Charlotte Islands are the same thing. For some reason, I didn’t know this before. I feel pretty stupid, and this realization has inspired me to travel my country: one province/territory, one summer at a time. (Totally writing a book about it too. And I triple-locked that idea, so don’t even think about it.)

2) Nature is like porn. It’s mind-blowing at first…gazing upon this mystical sight. And then…after you look at it for awhile, it becomes…well, ho-hum. Here, look at these photos from my vacation and try not to fall asleep:

View from Mt. Hays’ look-out point, Prince Rupert, BC

Mt. Robson (highest peak in the Canadian Rockies) on one of only 11 cloud-free days a year

Sunset on the Columbia Icefield

Super. Boring. Am I right?

3) Personal finance never takes a vacation. I had my budget, and all the money I needed. In the first few days, I was like “whoopeee!!! I’m free from thinking about money for 12 whole days!” Except then I realized my food budget was way too scant,* and how was I going to keep it in check if I wasn’t even tracking it? I started writing down every cent I spent, and figured out how to make up the difference. I ended up being way over on my food budget (something I will correct in the future), but I managed to save in other areas, such as transportation and activities.

Because you’re out of your element and you only live once,** you can easily convince yourself that watching your spending on vacation means you aren’t having fun. You might think “I’ll live it up now, and pay for it later. I don’t want to miss out.”

But I disagree. For the first time in my life, I’m coming home from a vacation without a credit card bill to pay off. This feat was achieved through careful planning and careful planned-spending.

After all, YOLO.***

~HS

* FYI: a woman and a child can only eat on $30 a day if you’re going somewhere that’s in the middle of a major famine, and everybody eats bugs for three squirmy meals a day.
**That’s YOLO, for all of you under 23.
***That’s “you only live once” for those of you who still honour and respect the English language.

Photos: Heather Setka

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