May Summary

Sunset in Heidelberg

Culture:

There was bucket loads of culture this month, given I spent two weeks in four other countries!  I won’t reiterate what’s in countless posts (you can click on the travel category on the right to get them all in one place, or select a country).

Films on the plane

  • Passengers
  • Fences
  • Collateral Beauty

Wanted to watch

  • Loving
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • Jackie
  • Lion
  • Split

Romance:

With the travel, the meeting of new people slowed *right* down, but that isn’t to say I didn’t keep in contact with a few new people and a few people from previous months.

Work:

My role was backfilled by someone of my choosing, and he did a GREAT job.  We were in email contact from time to time, as I like a daily check and file of emails whilst travelling.  I find that this keeps ‘on top of things’ rather than having a whole day back at work just sorting emails out.

I continue to ponder the future of my company, and my place within it.  I feel like I’m no longer growing and learning, as much as I’m otherwise enjoying things.  I’m not sure how or what would challenge me.  Food for thought!

Health:

My fitness has dropped right off, with travelling.  It might be nice to assume I did a lot of walking, but I think more days than not were largely sedentary.  I did hike a glacier, and ride 7km in Heidelberg between the wedding and the reception.  I had initiated contact prior to coming home from holidays with a F45 studio, and hoped to go my first weekend back, but have been knocked over with a cold.

Bought:

Gifts

  • mints for Mum in a tin with Modrian’s famous block painting from the Netherlands
  • a skein of Icelandic teal wool for a cousin
  • my favourite children’s book as a gift for a pregnant friend

Clothing etc

  • two black long sleeved tops from Lululemon for my trip (one is about to be eBayed as it served it’s purpose whilst away, and I know I won’t chose to wear it day to day)
  • eight pairs of knickers for the imminent trip
  • two second hand clutches – to store and corral items whilst travelling.  One is blush pink pleather, the other is dark purple silk.  Both served their purpose exceedingly well!
  • a secondhand backpack for the travels

Other things

  • a picnic blanket/bag secondhand
  • two second hand novels for my trip – one was great, the other I intentionally left on a plane!
  • deodorant – in a cardboard ‘push’ tube – yay for no plastic
  • charging cable for my iPhone (it’s great, there’s LED lights to know when the item’s fully charged vs charging! No light means it’s not charging)

Read:

As I alluded to in the bought section, I had two books, one was great, and listed below, the other was a let down, and promptly forgotten!.  I also picked up a great book at a book swap, and am pleased to find the author has a number of other titles, which I’ve promptly added to my library ‘to read’ list.

  • Identical – Scott Turow – a great crime fiction, based loosely around an ancient Greek myth!
  • A Treacherous Paradise – Henning Mankell – bought second hand as a ‘Nordic’ fiction.  In the end, the female Swede spends most of her time in Mozambique, so a misdirect on the planned setting I’d hoped for, but still incredibly interesting commentary on race relations in the early 1900s

 

Post Euro trip expenses

For my recent trip, I had a spreadsheet running in advance of departure, and it had pre trip expenditure.  As my trip unfolded, I was curious to see how my spending went, and so added things to the spreadsheet.

Glacial lagoon

I prepaid all my tours in Iceland, with Extreme Iceland, which was

The above cost just shy of 90,000ISK which converted to about $1,100 AUD.  I would say it was money incredibly well spent, if not a little pricey when I was paying.  For every tour, I had door to door transfers/collections in great vehicles with wifi. I really couldn’t have asked for much more.  Meals weren’t included, but many stops were provided and advice (ie buy now, pricier or less choice later).  When I combine the Iceland activities to the other holiday activities, such as the tulip gardens entry fee as well as the entry to Oradour-sur-Glane,  activities end up being 17% of the money spent.

Little twingo – my first car hiring experience solo

Travel costs include the flights to Europe, which were the cheapest I have ever seen them at $1,300 return.  They was Sydney > Doha > Amsterdam then Paris > Doha > Sydney in May.  As I mentioned in another post, I took the opportunity to upgrade the Doha > Sydney leg, and even still, the total flight cost was below what I have come to expect for this journey.  When I include the costs of two days of car hire, tolls and petrol, as well as a few ICE/TGV trains in Germany and France, my total for travel comes in at 50% of my costs.

Chic Icelandic hostel

Accommodation varied between countries

  • Netherlands: AirBnB  ~$75 per night
  • Iceland: Hostels ~$70 per night
  • Germany: AirBnB ~$70 per night
  • France: chain budget hotels & private room in hostel ~$85/$55

Without this blog, I’d not have noticed that I cam in around $70-75 AUD most nights.  I can say that my AirBnB experiences were all great! The locations were wonderful, the hosts helpful and in most cases, breakfast happened to be covered, which I LOVE!  The last night in Paris was in a hostel that I knew well and was well located for an early departure.  I’m sad I missed their breakfast, as it’s worth every cent.  Accommodation came in at 15% of my spend.

Then one has two cheeses with two meats in a square pizza

All that’s left is cash purchases and meals, and for what I can itemise and best guess, feeding myself was 13% of costs.  That leaves only about 5% either unaccounted for or not in these broad categories.

I didn’t set a budget for this holiday, so I can’t comment on how my spend compared to that!  What I can say is that I think I am content with what I spent, for what I saw and experienced.  What I’ve really noticed is the shift away from ‘shopping’ styled holidays, where I replenish my wardrobe with stores that aren’t in Australia, to a greater focus on seeing the things I’ve longed to see.  This also helps with luggage and transit 🙂