When In Doubt, Spend Money

Today is the final day of 2013.  I am not usually the sentimental type when it comes to New Year’s Eve and I can honestly say I won’t be sad to see this year go, however there are some things floating about in my mind that I am looking forward to taking on in the hopes 2014 goes slightly better for me.  While on one hand today is a day just like any other, I tend to fall into the same trap as so many others and I start to look ahead to the new year as an opportunity to make changes in my life, or at the very least, reflect upon the things I haven’t done throughout the previous year.  I have often said I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but it seems year after year I find myself making lists of the things I want to do, wish I could do, or just feel I should do.  I’ve been working on a few ideas in my head over the last few weeks, but tonight I started taking steps into actually making this crazy idea of mine a reality.  I’ve given myself two years to complete my task, and while many may say that is simply too much time to give myself and it will just lead to failure, I feel two years is the exact amount of time I need to get my shit together and do this right.

So what is it I want to do?  Well, I suppose I should mention the basic resolutions I have made first, just like everyone else.  Of course I have the health goals; lose some weight, gain some muscle, all that.  Actually, my plan is to get to the gym six days a week.  This would be a great goal were it not for the fact it was already my planned workout routine anyway.  I guess my resolution is to actually stick to the plan.  I’d like to drink more water, which I think will help me along in my health goals.  I think if I can replace soda with water I will be much healthier.  I don’t drink much soda as it is, but lately I have been drinking more than I should and I think it best to stop while I still can.  Speaking of beverages, I should probably try to cut back a little on coffee as well.  I used to never drink more than half a cup a day, but now it seems like I drink it constantly.  I am not going to give it up, but I am going to try to cut back.

Another silly goal of mine is to drive into the city more often.  I know that sounds pretty basic, but I haven’t spent much time there in a while.  When I first had a license, my friends and I drove into the city all the time and we even ha a favorite coffee shop we would go to almost every night.  I can’t even remember the last time I was there, but I realized part of my reason for avoiding going there was to avoid driving in a crowded city, trying to find parking, and then wandering around the streets.  There was a time I enjoyed these things and I’d like to enjoy them again, even if only sporadically, like once a month or so.  My paranoia over, well, anything, is ridiculous and I need to find a way to make myself comfortable in normal adult situations, like being in a crowded city once in a while.

Being healthy and being more comfortable in social settings are ways that will lead me to my ultimate goal which is what I am planning to pull off in May of 2016.  By then, I will be 35 years old and if I haven’t done anything considerable in my life by then, I feel I never will.  I would like, if possible, to spend the month of May, 2016 living in Valencia, Spain.  Yes, I know, I’m the guy who couldn’t handle living at college 45 minutes from home.  I’m the guy who won’t travel to see friends if it involves a plane ride as I am terrified of dying in a fiery crash.  So, you ask, how will I handle a trip across an ocean to a foreign country for an entire month?  Well, the first step I have taken is to spend money.  Right, probably not the best first step, but it all sort of works into my plan.

Obviously, a huge barrier to this goal of mine is money.  It is not cheap to travel to a foreign country and I will certainly need quite a bit of money to live off of in my time there.  Also, I will be away from my job for all that time, and I certainly won’t get paid to be away for an entire month.  I may be able to swing a couple weeks, but certainly not an entire month.  When I began concocting this plan of mine, I decided I had to determine what I could do to put the money aside and not sacrifice my current living situation.  I do have a saving account, but it rarely sees much growth thanks to my need to steal from it every few months.  I’ve been playing with some figures and I am hoping I can get through this year and the next without taking anything out.  This will give me the chance to save between $4000-$6000.  I know there will be bumps in the road and I will probably be forced to draw some out, but I am hoping along with a few other savings ideas I have I can manage to put aside what I need to make a trip like this.  I have to get a passport, some luggage, and of course the plane tickets.  I think if I can manage to space out when I buy these things instead of trying to do it all at once, I’ll be ok.  None of these items are cheap but I think all are manageable.

Of course anyone who knows me knows I can be a man of much talk and little action.  I have often conjured up grand plans of the things I want to do in my life, only to back out either at the last minute or before I even attempt anything.  I realize I do this all the time which is why this time I want it to be different.  I know taking a trip to Spain is not something I can do without a little help from others, or at least some strong motivation.  My first step is to talk with my boss’s wife, who has offered to help me with my “bucket list” in the hopes she can, at the very least, offer me some advice as to the most economical way to travel.  She is the type of person who once she knows my goal she will certainly push me to keep up with it.  I plan on talking with her at some point in the next week or so which will really kick things off.  In the meantime, how have I spent money in an effort to motivate me?  Well, one of my ideas was to document my entire trip, and the weeks leading up to it, with a camcorder.  I talked about a year ago about buying a camera to attempt to make a documentary but obviously that never happened.  Well, tonight, I went ahead and ordered a camcorder which should arrive sometime in the next week and my plan now is to start video recording my early attempts at speaking in Spanish as often as I can.  Giving myself two years to prepare for this trip as well as an expensive new toy to monitor my progress should offer me at least some motivation to keep up with this goal.  I feel I really need to get back on track with speaking Spanish and this should at least get me going.  Once it arrives, I am going to work on 1) getting over my shyness when it comes to being on camera and 2) practicing talking in a conversational way to really improve my Spanish before embarking on a trip to the country.

My plan is not to simply go to Spain as a tourist, I want to really live among the native Spanish speakers and not use English the entire time I am there.  Obviously I won’t be able to go an entire month without using English at all, but that’s my intention.  My best friend offered to go with me, which at first seemed like a comforting idea, but the whole idea of this trip is to be uncomfortable, or more accurately, outside of my comfort zone.  I am constantly reading about how in order to succeed you have to go outside of your comfort zone, something I simply have never been able to do.  Well, this whole grand plan of mine is going to determine whether I can finally do it or not.  I know it is going to be difficult, but if I can pull this off, I can do anything.

So that’s my plan, or at least, the early parts of it.  I’ll keep you posted as I develop it further.  Until then…

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~ by James on December 31, 2013.

One Response to “When In Doubt, Spend Money”

  1. […] I talked quite a bit about my goals in my last entry, so I’ll spare you the repetitive details, however it should be noted that I have stumbled out of the gates to say the least.  I went for coffee with my best friend this afternoon and we were both in agreement that I am well known for talking a big talk but never truly walking the big walk.  I did take a big step this morning and I finally sent my boss’s wife the details of my plan.  She responded tonight that she is excited to help me, she thinks it’s a great idea, and she wants to meet for drinks to discuss it.  I knew bringing this to her attention would be a huge step for me, as I know she is the type to really push people to follow their dreams and aspirations.  My one concern is that she may try to push me to go through with it before I am entirely prepared.  I made my timeline specifically so I could prepare myself both mentally and more importantly financially before jumping on a plane.  The last thing I want to do is put myself deeper in debt by taking this trip.  My plan right from the beginning was to save the money I needed so that I would not have to bring credit cards or other such nonsense into the fold. […]

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