A week ago I truly, honestly and madly believed I was back on the straight and narrow with this blogging gig. Seven short days later it seems not. I promised I would return with posts about the interesting places we visited on our three-month road trip. But no, here we are more than a week later … with a post that is interesting for all kinds of different reasons and mildly related to the places we visited, kind of.
I’m a sucker for a challenge. Once I have the bit between my teeth it stays there until the challenge has been subdued and I can stand flexing whatever muscles helped pull off the feat. This challenge drew on skills from a past life … when I was a bookkeeper, steered a desk and navigated paper-trails to pin down dollars and cents. Keeping tabs on our pennies was essential if we were going to get around the planned trip.
With the MOTH (Man Of The House) on a
stingy part-pension and my part-time earnings based on no reasonable income scale, getting the biggest bang for our buck was important. Not content with the challenge already to hand we pushed ourselves further and stretched eight weeks’ entitlement to thirteen.
So while our days were filled with travel, wine, adventure and photography there were quiet times in which to do our sums. Each week I gathered our receipts and tallied figures entering daily totals into a manual spreadsheet. Neatly drawn columns with meaningful headings and dates down the left hand side, handwritten of course. So while it was a labour of love, I enjoyed being able to scribble figures, total columns and balance across the rows, sharpen my pencil and enter the data. Not once did my pencil let me down. My ledger didn’t need charging and my brain spent less time spinning its wheel than my desktop PC . And the only time the system crashed was due to lack of motivation, or that last glass of wine, or maybe lack of wine.
We left home 15th July and returned 6th October, a total of eighty-four days. Our Holden Sportswagon covered 10, 517 kms
guzzling using an average of 20.148 litres/100kms (a fact the MOTH is particularly sensitive about). As for us, we spent $1, 300 on food, $198 eating out and just under $400 on alcoholic beverages (who would have thought). The average daily spend came in at $84.12 which included everything: fuel, food, entry fees, camping costs, clothing, gifts, and gas bottle refills
The total outlay for camping was $451.10 which we were able to do by free camping as our caravan has an en-suite. We carry our own water and the on-board battery runs LED lights while gas (LPG) takes care of cooking and refrigeration. Access to potable water was difficult in some parts so we carried at least enough to replenish the on-board tanks.
Along the way we spent five nights in unpowered campsites for which we paid, ten in powered sites, on three occasions we fronted up with a donation for unpowered sites and at Paringa, where we enjoyed three nights camping with power we made a donation. In total we spent sixty-two nights camping without cost. We made donations where suggested, and often voluntarily, to help maintain facilities. We shopped locally as much as we could although this was difficult in some places as grocery costs were prohibitive in the more remote locations. However, we supported as many town attractions as we could although it is not possible to see every town’s museum. Because there will be a next time, we still have plenty to enjoy when we pass through again.
Of the twenty-six posts written while we were away, eighteen were about our jolly jaunt around the central parts of Australia; the remaining eight were in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. I managed eighty-seven digital journal entries ensuring most day’s events are recorded for future reference. Not all entries were road-trippy as I am working my way through Stephanie Dowrick’s book entitled Creative Journal Writing. (Some years ago we found ourselves camped, hundreds of kilometers from home, next to a good friend from home, who recommended the book (Hi L).
Before leaving home I loaded the Kindle with a wide range of books, from soppy romances (Maeve Binchy, I love her writing) to novels with ethical dilemmas (Jodi Picoult) as well as murder mysteries and other genres. We watched television twice and learned to live without internet access which stretched me beyond where I thought it would. It seems I am an introvert who revels in quality connection which is not to say the MOTH is not a quality connection but girls just do it differently and I missed catch ups with girlfriends.
We’re simple people who don’t need to be entertained or be constantly on the go. We’re introverts so quiet time with each other was rejuvenating. There’s an intangible element about being with someone for forty years that obviates the necessity of constant chatter or checking in with each other. We often preempt the other’s thoughts and even more uncanny we regularly colour coordinate our wardrobes without consultation.
Until recently the home/work routine has been difficult to reestablish but we do have a fortnight in New Zealand to look forward to. However, we’re back into the swing of things. The MOTH has rediscovered the joys of being a domestic goddess while I am back in the community with clients.
When you leave home for any length of time do you keep tabs on expenses? What did you find was your biggest expense ?