Apr 30, 2014

What happens when you run out of money?

It's March. I am in Thailand, and my 30 day visa is almost up. I am trying to decide if I want to go back to Canada and work, or go to Italy first then back to Canada. It's not an easy decision... I have managed to save an extra 500$ for my traveling just by staying indoors and not doing anything exciting, but at this point my funds are dwindling down the the bottom of the barrel, something I'm not used to.

I check the cost of flights. To go back to Canada (or the USA) would cost me over 1000$, to Italy only 500$. I guess I'll save that cash and go to Italy!
I spent my time in Thailand applying for jobs on cruise ships and abroad. I was either looking for travel opportunities, or for a static position, something that paid 3-5k per month. I was of course, either ignored or rejected due to lack of education or qualifications. Damn, it's getting harder to lie on resume's these days.

I found a few amazing and high paying jobs teaching EFL in Europe, and a couple awesome cruise jobs, but they required a language which I do not speak... German.
So for some reason I decided to look up German language courses. I found a reputable school in Germany and started to enquire... I applied for a 2 week intensive language and culture course, with a request for a homestay (rather than stay in a dorm with a bunch of English speakers!) Only 800€ not bad! I picked the smallest possible city to take the course, because my style of learning is immersion. I need to go out and speak with locals, and stay as far away from English as possible.
I happily took this out of my monthly funds, but little did I know the exchange rate had changed. Drastically. I got to Italy and withdrew 150 right off the bat, spent that in the first week on things like my phone, groceries and a few glasses of prosecco with friends. I treated a couple of my friends to dinner one night. That was gone, took out 150 more. by day 10 I had spent it all but no big deal, I had enough food to last a long time I just needed another 100-150 to stretch out for my apperitivo with friends. Went to the ATM and no such luck, I was OUT OF MONEY.. WTF??? How was this possible?
I went online to check my accounts and saw that the exchange rate ATE my planned funds for the rest of the month! NOOOOOO! I paid 1200+ for the course, 230$ per withdrawl, and that was all my money. GONE!! I had 5 euro left to my name... so I stayed indoors for a week doing nothing but workout and eat and watch shows I downloaded to my laptop.

Thankfully food isn't expensive and I filled the fridge so I could eat whatever... salad, pasta, eggs for breakfast, tea with milk. No worries there... but being a smoker I panicked because it's 4.60 for a pack and that usually would only last a day or two... I managed to stretch each pack about 3 days but then when money and that was gone I got scared. I found someone to buy 2000฿ off me, raking in 45 more euros. I was good another week. Borrowed 50 from a friend, spent 10 on my phone, 15 on groceries and 10 on smokes. One glass of prosecco and that was gone too...
it was getting grim.
In Italy, people go out just to see their friends and drink a coffee or enjoy a glass of wine before having dinner with family, but how can I partake when I am living with only a pocket of change?!? it was pretty grim... I hate being a mooch. Scrocone they say, in Italian... I always accept a prosecco that someone offers, but not unless I know I can get the next round!
Thus, I stayed indoors.
I managed to get the internet working at it's peak and download a few more things.
Got my WoW account to allow me entry from another country and FINALLY got my Rogue to level 90! My first toon to max and it only took me... 8 years?
I forgot how much I love playing video games. Really enjoyed that for a week!
My buddies have a "gym" set up for boxing, they go every night. I joined them most of the time, working out and punching stuff was great and relieving. Also helped me work off the pasta that I ate almost nightly...
I would sleep as much as humanly possible, because sleep is free. And then I am not smoking, or bored.
I get up, make tea (which I brought from Canada, enough to last a few months) and get myself wired on caffeine for another day of gaming.

I finished watching Dexter, season 8. Made me cry. I watched the last 3 seasons of South Park.
I managed to get a ton of movies on youtube, put myself to sleep from a variety of horror flicks and comedies.
I watched Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution. Saving Hope. (I love Michael Shanks...)
A little bit of Trailer Park boys, although it's not my favourite I was trying to be Canadian...

I perfected my spaghetti and meatless meatballs recipe.
Baked cornbread.
Got used to French Toast and was happy that I brought a jar of maple syrup ... whipped up a few shakes with my Shakeology usually wild berry but I figured out a delicious peanut butter and jam milkshake recipe! Add a little maca and chia to thicken, WOW!
I ate some ice cream on occasion, but most of my food cravings went un satiated. Thanks, broke ass. At least I wasn't getting TOO fat.
Hell, I lost a couple lbs!

Almost every day I filled up the tub with some LUSH and threw the jacuzzi on and enjoyed a HOT bubble bath! Love it.

I honestly don't feel like I wasted any time, although many of my friends couldn't grasp the idea of staying indoors for a MONTH. Yes, a MONTH.
I am now on the train on my way to Milan so I can fly to Germany for my course, only 20 Euros in my pocket, and thank GOD it's the end of the month because I get my money for my house in May, and all is well.

I even have a credit on my AMEX cuz I overpaid it!!! Looks like I'll have fun in Germany :)

But would I recommend traveling broke? Definitely not. It's a struggle, and having a guilty conscience or being a total mooch will not make too many friends. I would rather not go out, keep my friends, and splurge on everyone next time I'm in town with more cash in my pocket! Can't wait.