I have previously written about my time in Granada, Nicaragua – my first real travel adventure after a long sojourn between 2011 and 2014. What I thoughtlessly left out of that post was the real reason I went to Nicaragua in the first place: To sun my buns on a fairy tale beach. Read more
There is a lot of talk in the travel blogger community that glorifies frugal travel. And I get it – the more cheaply one is able to travel, the more time one is able to spend on the road. Short term travel is more mainstream and often times more expensive. Cheaper travel also allows for slower travel – often times with accommodation getting cheaper the longer one stays in a single place. These strategies are great for the long term traveler. For many travel bloggers, whose bread and butter relies on traveling and writing about new places prolifically and in real time, frugality and finding ways to cut corners on costs is a great strategy for maintaining that lifestyle. I totally get it.
But that’s not for me. And, I would argue, the majority of people traveling in the world – especially those holding down 9-5’s. For my family and almost all of my peers, life only allows for short term travel – a fact that doesn’t have to be as reviled as it is in the travel blogging community today.
I hit a travel rut around 2012. In 2011 I had hit my peak stride in terms of travel – I went on a solo trip across Mongolia, led a trip of business students around Korea, and could afford all of it easily thanks to a high paying job in the tech sector. A series of unfortunate events (yet ultimately positive in the grand scheme of things) set my life into a rather sizeable slump that took me several years to recover from.
Needless to say, I travel when I want to celebrate freedom and independence – and I didn’t feel it from 2011-2013. The last thing I wanted to do was to celebrate myself, so I spent a lot of thos years wallowing, and figuring my shit out. Ultimately, I met my now fiance David, changed teams at work, and built a new group of peers whose interests are more aligned with my own – those events gave me a bit of a kickstart. 2014 rolled around, and I figured it was time to get my groove back.
I’ve been traveling in fairly offbeat/exotic places for a solid chunk of time now, and one thing I find myself talking to folks about over and over is how I choose a place to stay. Now keep in mind that, despite having closed the hostel chapter of my life (temporarily, at least), I don’t crinkle my nose at staying at places that wouldn’t be considered luxurious. Quite the opposite – as a story collector, I often find that a night or two at a grotty “hotel” in a random corner of the planet (I’m looking at you, Casa Iguana on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua) can yield some incredible memories that dazzle at cocktail parties. And while I admire the long term travelers who stay at such places without qualms (as being thrifty with accommodation is one prong of a strategy that allows those folks to stay on the road for so long), putting in my time at my 9-5 for 11 months a year financially allows me to spend a moderate amount of coin to ensure relative creature comforts while on the road.