January 8, 2009

a year ago today

Posted in home in hawaii tagged , , , at 2:49 pm by Malia Yoshioka

… was the day jess and i left hawaii, with the whole world ahead of us. we both got to the airport before the sun had even come up, got ourselves checked in for our china airlines flight and dragged ourselves to the gate where we fought to stay awake long enough not to miss our call for boarding. it was the beginning of an adventure, a year that definitely changed my life.

the reason i realized that today was january 8th was that today i started to use a checkbook register again. it seems like a small thing, but when i went to write down the date, i realized that (believe it or not) it’s actually been an entire year since i’ve even written down my bank balance.

in preparation for our trip last year, i transferred just about all that i had in savings into my checking account. it was the money i’d been saving for a downpayment on a home in hawaii, which was nowhere near enough to be able to really put a down payment on anything. i’d been saving for years, but it still wasn’t enough. so instead, i decided to get out and see the world, to think outside the box a little, to imagine other possibilities for my life instead of putting down roots back home.

because i wasn’t earning, just spending, for the next six months, i didn’t even take a checkbook register with me. i checked my bank balance pretty often on the road, but after awhile that got depressing as the number kept getting smaller and smaller.

was it a mistake not to pay attention to my dwindling balance?

some might argue that that was how i got into debt in the first place. but really, i had a pretty careful budget (ask jess!) for the trip, based on a certain amount per week (which varied depending on the country we were in) that i’d allowed myself to spend. i kept to it pretty religiously up until we got to new zealand (which was almost the end anyway) when the american dollar was weak, which drained my bank account even faster. by then, of course, i’d also decided to spend the last of the money i had in savings on the paris writing workshop which was coming up in july.

if i had the chance to do it over again, i doubt that i’d do anything differently. the choices i made, and the way i spent my savings were the best choices for me at that time. instead of spending all my money on clothes, on going out and drinking, on a nice car, etc, i spent that money on getting to see the world. and there’s no way to put a price tag on that – to me the past year has been priceless.

it’s a little bit of a rude awakening to come back home after spending a lot of time traveling. having to pay attention to my bank balance is one of the things that i took for granted on the road, one of the things i’m having to relearn now that i’m back in what some people call “the real world.”

but when i look back on the last year, it gives me nothing but joy. and this is a feeling i’m carrying with me into the months and years ahead as well. what a difference a year makes… here’s to 2009!

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1 Comment »

  1. Nomadic Matt said,

    when low on funds, just ask Mr. Visa. He’s always there to lend a hand.


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