So, there it is. Wedged between the maps, “rough guides” and travel diaries on the shelves of my favorite travel bookstore, Get Lost, is The Grown-Ups Guide to Running Away From Home. Now, normally, I am not one for whimsy. If you can tell anything from my previous posts, I love a healthy dose of reality. But something about this book was begging me to pick it up and flip through (this was, of course, before I stumbled upon The Practical Nomad). After a quick skim, it seemed like this book was pretty relevant, and the price was right, too. Why the hell not?
Now that I’ve actually read the thing, I can say wholeheartedly that I still hate whimsy, and that this book was not even remotely penned for anything like what Mia and I plan to do. The author, Rosanne Knorr, seems more interested in letting people know how to continue their yuppie lifestyle–just on a villa overlooking a Tuscan sunset.
While she does address some of the practicalities involved with living abroad, many are dusted over with nary a concern for the harsh and necessary details. The guiding principle of this book seems to be, “with enough money thrown at it, it will work out.” This is not for the budget traveler. Now, the title may seem clear enough to you–grown-ups. Although only 27, I consider myself a “grown-up,” but much of the myopic nature of this book confounded me. The intended audience seems to be those suffering from a midlife crisis with enough money to bankroll a getaway excursion. Hardly any practical travel tips are discussed, in fact, a lot of the things Knorr suggests seem really expensive. A quick scan through the book again yielded no mentions of hostels. At times, the book comes across as a condescending, xenophobic how-to guide for being a dick in another country (I think this is already second nature for enough people, do we need to teach it?)
Don’t even get me started on the anecdotes (that must have been sent in by readers of earlier editions?) and how corny they are. One woman laments(?) how that they hated to leave behind all their furniture in states, but how nice it was that their new Moroccan home came fully furnished. Well, save for her pesky husband Bob, and how he just HAD to have his darn rototiller. “He can’t live without it!” Gag.
If you’re a disgraced AIG exec with money to burn, you probably already have this in your Amazon checkout cart. For younger travelers looking for more in-depth travel and relocation advice, keep looking. There’s better stuff out there.
Enough with my foaming of the mouth. Yesterday was pay day, and also teabagging tax day (apparently), so it’s a milestone for the piggy bank. Given that our planning has gone into overdrive lately, this is the first chance for me to strike a raw budget (have mercy, no Excel) and set some serious cash aside. I was surprised after crunching the numbers that I was able to stash away about 7% of my final savings goal!
The middle of the month is always a better financial time for me, since most of my bills come due at the end of the month. In the past, this usual excess of cash was a false buffer, one that usually evaporated with enough time (a week?). Saving money is a habitual act (must.not.buy.beer.) Once you start doing it long enough, it becomes automatic. I’m not fully automatic yet, but it’s getting a lot easier.