The other day my husband was commenting about our trip to Temecula at work. A guy, who was overhearing the conversation from afar, approached him during break time.
“How can you afford to go to those places with the low salaries we make in here?” the guy asked with a puzzled face.
My husband explained how we didn’t spend a lot of money on our two day mini vacation. I am sure the guy didn’t buy the explanation and conclude we have other ways to make this possible. I don’t blame him. For some reason, a lot of people think short getaways and exciting activities are proportionally related to large sums of money.
Some time ago, I used to have a good job in the aerospace industry. During those times, we had the fortune to spend quite a bit of money traveling, doing weekend trips and eating out. More than a year ago, I lost my job and started living on less than a third of my salary. My husband was also unemployed for some time. You may think we have stopped our usual exploration and discovery trips. However, that is not the case. We have had to scale down but our desire to go out and enjoy life is still there. Therefore, we have found ways to do what we like. The point is that there are thing to do, places to visit and restaurant to try for every budget and situation.
Believe me, I have been on both sides of the coin. I know my economic situation and make realistic decisions of what I can afford and what not. I knew I was not going to be able to fly in a hot air balloon or visit a modern spa in Temecula. On the other hand, I knew cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting were within my budget. I didn’t spend a lot having breakfast at a local joint, chatting with residents and browsing antique stores. I managed to have a great time, have new experiences while staying away from debt.
Sure, I know I am not going to be able go on a trip like that every weekend so I supplement my desire of adventure with local activities. I go to the beach, explore farmer’s markets, walk in the park and eat fish tacos on Tuesdays (when they are on offer). There is also time to visit friends and to get out of my list places I have never visited (I keep finding more of those). I can say I go out at least two times a week.
Since I know where my heart is, I make sure I take the correct decisions on where to spend my money. I am not interested in certain services (cable, newspapers, Netflix), expensive gadgets (humongous flat TVs, changing cell phones every 6 months), gas chugging automobiles or high end brand clothing. With time, I am making an effort to invest on experiences and things I truly enjoy. I don’t want to be the caterpillar that never gets out of the cocoon because I am tied to possessions.
I would say this again, I have been able to enjoy the good things of life during good times but also during rough times. There is no reason to be trapped in a bubble or in the rat race. Get informed and creative. There is something out there for you.
Do you think it is possible to enjoy life even during hard times?