Friday, December 28, 2012

Opinion of Probable Trip Cost

Happy Winter Everyone!

We finally got our first blast of snow for the year, and it finally feels like winter here in WNY.  12" Overnight!  Yee haw!

Winter has Arrived!

So, Opinion of Probable Adventure Cost.  This is, as you may have guessed, another (lame?) allusion to a Landscape Architecture term.  This one however can apply to the majority of design and engineering disciplines.   When a project is designed a lot of clients, rightfully so, need to know how much money the proposed design will cost to be constructed.  In Lehman's terms they need a cost estimate for the project.  Due to reasons which are beyond me, we cannot legally call the document which provides estimated construction costs to the client a "Cost Estimate."  Rather we are required to call them an "Opinion of Probable Construction Cost."  Sound like legal jargon?  Yeah, it is.  Alas, I digress...
So, how does the title relate to the trip?  Well, a voyage of the this magnitude seems like it would require a lot of cheddar.  Maybe more than a Landscape Architect would make?  I needed a plan if this was ever going to get off the ground financially.  Could we still eat, sleep, and play prior to departure and still make this happen.  I needed a Cost Estim....rather an Opinion of Probable Trip Co$t.

It took a long time for me to get on board with this whole venture, we are talking years!  I am a realist, what can I say?  I was in to buying things, almighty stuff!  My vice...movies, DVD's and Blu-Ray hundreds of them.  May seem small but those 4 for $20 stops at Blockbuster add up.  I may also have a small addiction to the Apple product line.  That reallly adds up.  I also was in the 'we need full time employment, we need benefits' mindset.  This is obviously not a bad thing as these things help sustain us as viable human beings. 

So the first thing to change was my mentality about work and benefits.  We ended up pairing our initial investment of time and money into a 4 month world adventure as opposed to a year.  This sat well better with me, and as far as work went, I hoped that my request to leave for 4 months would be more easily received by my employer, and make me more viable for future opportunities.  This allowed the peace of mind I needed to begin to see this as a definite possibility!

**Side note: We also have basic health insurance built into our airline ticket price purchased through Airtreks.  Bonus!

Next we had to somewhat revamp our budget.  We cut out a lot of fluff, not eating out so often, fewer trips to Starbucks, and of course my movie collecting came to a sudden halt.  At first I couldn’t dare to think of not being able to buy what I wanted when I wanted it, but now I do not miss it one bit.  We shifted a lot of things around and began jamming as much extra income as possible into our Trip Fund.  In addition I picked up a couple of residential design jobs on the side, we had a garage sale netting us a cool $600 beans and my wife and I let go of several things on eBay and Craigslist for even more money!  It all adds up.

Finally we had to think what we need to cover:
-          Expenses at home while gone
-          Flights
-          Overland Travel
-          Visas
-          Places to stay
-          Food
-          Souvenirs
-          ALL THAT GEAR!

We created our budget, saw what we still needed and worked very hard to ensure that we would be able to have the required funds, prior to departure.  We have done very well on this goal and come February the sacrifices will be so so worth it. 

A trip like this may cause some to think we are rich, or spoiled or just lucky.  I disagree, anyone can do this.  It is a simple goal.  You want to be a doctor, go to school, do well, study hard, and become a doctor.  You would like to go to an Ivy League College, apply yourself in High School, work hard, study harder, and go to that Ivy League.  This adventure is no different.  We decided we wanted to do it, made up our minds that it was important and have now put all of the pieces together to make it happen!

In a future post I will highlight some of the extremely helpful entities that have helped us save money along the way to allow us to experience as much as possible while still exploring within our financial mean$!  Cheers!

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