I started following The Parallel Life a few weeks ago through a chain of Versatile Blogger posts. They are living one of my secret dreams – a thirty-something couple who quit their jobs, saved their money, and are traveling the world for an indefinite amount of time. There blog shares their adventures and great tips if you want to recreate their journey. I was able to catch up with the bloggers, Ashley and Justin, for a virtual drink in Mumbai. Cheers!
Where are you now and what was your last meal?
We are in Mumbai, India at the moment. Honestly, I have no idea what our last meal was. No, really, I have no idea. We don’t have much experience with Indian food, though we’ve eaten it a number of times back home with friends, we just are never in charge of the ordering so we never remember what the dishes are called. We stopped in a random restaurant for lunch and, not surprisingly, didn’t have a clue what anything on the menu was. We ended up just going roulette style and picked two dishes at random. We know they were vegetarian, rice on the side, one was definitely a curry of some kind, and they were delicious!
What are the best and most challenging aspects of traveling with your spouse?
The best thing is that we get to spend so much time experiencing all these new places together. It’s hard to believe now, but there were weeks when we were living in New York where we were so busy that we barely saw each other except for a few minutes of overlapping schedules either late at night or early in the morning. Now we get to hang out all the time! That’s sort of the most challenging thing also…we have to hang out all the time. We both had a great set of friends back home and we spent lots of time being social, sometimes together but often with our own separate groups of friends. Now, it’s just us. Sure, we meet loads of people along the way in hostels and whatnot (and we’ve met some truly great people that we know we’ll be friends with for years to come), but on a day to day basis it’s only the two of us. We have nowhere to turn on days when we are really grating on each other’s nerves, so that’s taught us a lot about being patient with each other and learning how to avoid big meltdowns.
What tips would you give on saving money for a trip like yours?
For us, the first thing we had to do was get a realistic grasp of what was coming in and out, budget wise, each month. Once we sat down and really looked at our financial situation we were able to get an idea of what we might be able to set aside each month with a few changes to our spending habits. Set a goal for yourself, and really commit to it. I think that’s the hardest part – the commitment. If you want to save big and you don’t make a lot of money, you are going to have to sacrifice some things, but keep in mind that there’s a bigger picture and that small sacrifices add up to huge rewards in the end. We changed little things, like making coffee at home instead of buying it on the way to work, that saved more that you might expect. We also changed some big things, like that I got a second job once night a week, that helped boost our income. I wrote a whole post about this before we left (back when my mom was our only reader) and you can find it here:http://theparallellife.com/2011/09/20/how-we-saved-for-our-rtw-trip-part-i-trimming-the-fat/ It says part 1 because I always meant to write another post on how to actually make a budget in the first place…I should probably get on that!
Of all the places you’ve visited so far, if you could go back to just one spot, where would it be and why?
Gah! This is like the “If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life…” question! There are so many places that we have loved visiting, it’s practically impossible to pick one. At this moment though, I’d pick the southern coast of Turkey. It’s got fantastically beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean, great food, nice people and ancient ruins all over the place. Justin would like to chime in that while he also loved the coast of Turkey, he might pick Buenos Aires, Argentina. He liked the European feel of the city, the nightlife and of course, the steaks.