As long term travellers on a very tight budget, this happens often and we’ve learned to cope with it and adapt. Pasta is your friend!
This month was different though.
Let’s look at the variables that will affect any given month of expenses:
Pretty straight forward.
Now let’s look at some of the ‘events’ of this particular month:
3 weeks in Belize
Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Trip
Mexican border crossing including vehicle permit
Whale Shark Adventure
Alternator demise on our van
Let’s take these apart:
3 weeks in Belize: We were blessed to have a friend from Canada visit who treated us to ‘real’ hotels and another who lives there and treated us to some ‘real’ restaurants; however, the cost of our portion of meals for the 3 weeks in Belize was more than a month’s grocery bill in Mexico! Unbelievably expensive little country!
We had a real treat when Randy took us on a fishing trip where we caught 39 massive fish in 2 hours! More on that later! The only other activity we did was the Shark Ray Alley Snorkel trip because I just couldn’t be in Belize and not have Sam experience snorkelling with sting rays and sharks. Good thing this only required snorkelling as opposed to diving as we would probably have had to give it a miss. Did I mention how expensive Belize is for the average traveller? $18B (equivalent to US$9) for a cocktail – seriously – I would have to quit drinking if I moved there. But the fryjacks…delicious!!!!
Mexican Border Crossing: My bad! Not sure where my head was at, but had not planned for the US$400 vehicle permit…I know….duh! I really have no defence for that over sight, other than…it was an over sight!
Holbox Whale Shark Adventure: This had been a priority for us from the beginning and we were not disappointed – absolutely amazing creatures! What I hadn’t bargained for was the crazy expensive hostel we stayed in! Highly recommended and extremely awesome – but because I hadn’t booked ahead (because I hate booking ahead) they only had space in a 6 bed dorm room, with a/c (which was heavenly) but at CDN$18/night per person – we couldn’t stay more than two nights.
Then the fun part – our van died about 25 minutes outside of Chiquila (port town for Holbox departures). It was literally as if we’d driven into the Bermuda Triangle. Suffice to say 9 hours and the equivalence of two weeks worth of groceries, we were leaving the area and headed to our new home in Valladolid.
So there we sat, in a beautiful hostal in Vallodolid, a city that could definitely be a contender for retirement destination for me – beautiful, peaceful and close to everything!
First of all I swallowed my pride and asked for help – Moms and Ex-husbands are never to be undervalued or underestimated! Thanks to both of you!
But I needed to know what I could produce in this situation!
What to do? What to do? What skills do I have that I can leverage? What can Sam do? What could this beautiful, fully staffed, family run hostal possibly need from me.
Don’t ask, don’t get…so I asked.
Turns out, they are in the midst of migrating to a new software program and need help with some data input.
Turns out, they have been wanting someone to create and initiate some evening activities for guests.
Turns out, they need more updated movies for their TV room.
Turns out, they are having some problems with their workaway host profile and volunteer scheduling.
So we have jumped right in! We hosted a grand potluck barbeque last night which was a great success. Sam has shared an entire library of new movies and is hosting a movie night tonight complete with popcorn and a deal on cold beers. I’m spending my afternoon with one of the owners working on their workaway site, and tomorrow we’re working on business and cash management processes!
How fun is that!?
Note to self: Plan better, be better prepared, have a ‘rainy day’ vehicle fund, but in the end, never be too proud to ask for help or too shy to ask for work! The opportunities are endless and waiting!!