Friday’s Recommended Reads – September 9th

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This Friday dawns with me being just a little bit more excited about what the future holds. The week started with me being a little down in the dumps. The enormity of saving up for a RTW trip got to me and I realized that it would take me forever.

I contemplated a lot of things. Maybe I’d need to move back in with the family to cut back on rent costs. Maybe I needed to look for a new job. Maybe I needed to start selling things.

But I read through some entries on budgeting (one of which features in this week’s recommended reads) and I found a certain kind of zen. I could do this. I didn’t need to save thousands of dollars in a single pay check.

I could do it in baby steps.

Today I started working to a budget.

The Budget

I don’t make a lot of money. In fact, in an average week (excluding sales bonuses) I pull in about $1150.

My $5 ice cream was the only extravagence I allowed myself on my visit to Manly this past Monday

Of that, $460 goes to my rent. My monthly bills include $49.95 for internet, $60 for cable TV, and $60 for gym membership. I’m locked into contracts with all of those, so they won’t be changing anytime soon. I also need to pay about $48 a fortnight for bus tickets.

Then, sadly, there’s the small matter of my credit card bill. Each fortnight I’ll be putting $75 towards that particular elephant in the room.

What’s left needs to cover food and go towards travel.

But enough about my financial wrangling. On with this week’s Recommended Reads, and it’s another bumper crop this week.

The Reads

The Most Memorable Moments of a Year of Travel by No Place to Be

If you needed any inspiration at all to get out there and experience the world, this entry should do the trick. Reading over the many fantastic experiences that Poi and Kirsty have had over the last year just made me all the more eager to get out there and see the world.

The entry also doubles as a bit of a mini itinerary for anybody heading to South East Asia. There’s plenty of suggestions for places to see and things to do while you’re trekking through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Another welcome addition to my weekly reads.

5 Things to do in Dubai by A Dangerous Business

I usually shy away from sponsored posts (which is hypocritical of me, since I sometimes write them) but I couldn’t turn away from this one. Dubai as a location absolutely fascinates me.

There’s this decadence in the face of extremely hostile surrounds that just makes me think of Sodom. Theme parks and indoor ski fields and giant man made islands all in the middle of the desert? Take that, Mother Nature!

This entry lists five more pretty fascinating reasons to visit Dubai. I was particularly intrigued by the aforementioned indoor ski field. The contrast from going from snow-field to scorching desert heat is just too irresistible to say no to.

How I Saved $10,000 in 10 Months at an Entry Level Job by Vagabondish

There’s a bit of a theme with this entry and two others on this week’s list. I originally got the link to this older entry from my friend Nicole’s post about Stingy September.

It’s pretty inspiring to a guy also at an entry level job to read about saving $10,000 in less than a year. Especially since that’s the exact target budget I set myself for next year’s backpacking adventure.

Some of the tips are obvious and others less so. It’s certainly got me re-examining my priorities when it comes to what I need and what I think I need. I daresay that gym membership is in serious danger…

What To Do When People Won’t Support Your Dreams by Fearful Traveler

I first came across Torre’s blog when she kindly offered to design the super sexy banner that now adorns the top of each page here, and I’ve come to enjoy reading her new entries.

Just like me, Torre isn’t currently on the road. Her entries of late tend more towards the philosophical and intellectual sides of travel.

This week, Torre focuses on dealing with those who try to force their own negative viewpoint onto us when we chase our dreams. In Torre’s case (for this post) it’s about her dream of publishing a novel. I can relate. I’d love to somebody get a few of my novels out there.

But it also hit home for me because my dream to travel the world and write about it is met with skepticism by a lot of my friends.

“Get a career” they tell me.

“It’s not realistic. You can’t just travel for the rest of your life”.

What I love most about being part of this global online community of travelers is that I’m never made to feel weird for wanting a life of travel. It was good to read that, albeit in different circumstances, I’m not alone in having my ambition met with skepticism and scorn.

The Sad Truth About the Killing Fields of Cambodia by Man on the Lam

Usually when I include the Man on the Lam in my Recommended Reads, it’s for some tongue in cheek article that had me stifling snickers at my desk.

This week’s offering is far from funny. Raymond talks about his very sobering experience exploring the infamous Killing Fields alongside a guide whose own family was touched by the tragedy.

While we’re all too aware of the horrors that took place during the Holocaust or the immense loss of life experienced in Hiroshima – I feel that all too often the events that occur in places like Cambodia go completely overlooked. Not while they’re happening obviously, but once they’re done.

Thanks to Raymond for reminding me not only of a truly tragic event in human history – but also of a place I will definitely try and see when I travel through SE Asia next year.

How I Make Money to Afford Travel by Nomadic Matt

You might have noticed the spiffy little travel insurance ad in the side bar of my site recently. That tiny ad was my first step towards monetizing Aussie on the Road and achieving my goal of someday being able to travel and write about it as a living. Not necessarily a lucrative one – but a living all the same.

Reading Matt’s entry addressing the questions and criticisms he’s drawn for monetizing his own site made me feel just a little better about fielding those offers for sponsored posts.

It also gave me some great insight into how I could better organize my blog. I’m sure others thinking of monetizing their blogs will find something helpful here too.

New Zealand: Massive Mountains, Tiny Towns by The Life That Broke

I wrote at length about my own travels through New Zealand late last year. It’s with a mixture of envy and nostalgia that I read about Lauren’s own adventures in the land of the long white cloud.

In this particular post she talks about the feeling of awe that New Zealand inspires, but also the way it’s almost scary as well. It’s a country full of vast mountains and glaciers and expansive plains, but it’s also so sparsely populated. It’s not hard to stand on a mountain in Queenstown and be completely overwhelmed by just how alone you are.

If you’ve never been to New Zealand, or even if you have, this entry does a really good job of putting you there.

The Best Travel Movies by Runaway Guide

Leif’s blog is a new one on my reading list and I can already tell it’s going to be a new favourite. Not one or two, but three of his entries made my short list this week. I eventually chose this entry over his search for hamburgers and his piece on Japanese fetishism – but both are worth a read.

There aren’t as many good travel movies out there as there should be, but Leif comes up with nine of the best here. I’m ashamed to say I’ve only seen Lost in Translation from the list. I’m very pleased by the absence of Eat, Pray, Love though.


What’s Going On?

In addition to the budgeting I’ve been doing lately, I’m excited to say I’ve paid off a little more of my upcoming Queensland trip. My flight to Brisbane and my return flight from the Gold Coast are paid for, and I’ve already locked in my hostel for two nights in Brisbane as well.

I’ve picked out my Halloween costume for Fright Night at Movie World as well as buying my ticket for the event as well. From here all of my savings will go towards the week I’ll be spending at beautiful Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island. Can’t wait!

Next Friday also sees me off on the Great Nomad Chase and then a few weeks later it’s back to Travel Massive for more networking and hanging out with fellow vagabonds and world nomads.

In Case You Missed Them…

Don’t See Your Entry Above?

If you’d like to see your link (or just a link you really liked) here next week don’t hesitate to leave a comment here, hit me up on Facebook, or send me a Tweet. I’ll feature the post on Facebook as well as Tweeting it to the Twitterverse and Stumbling it to the Stumbleverse. That’s free publicity!

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