Ramble #82

Ramble #82
StableDiffusion Prompt: "Small pleasures of meditating turtles saving for their escape. Ethereal. Dreamscape."

Hi Team,

Welcome to the latest edition of Ramble, a compilation of what I have been pondering, learning and enjoying for the past few weeks.

Now, grab a beverage and let’s begin.


What I am Reading:

A perfectly lovely little book with chapters like:

  • Being Up Late at Night
  • A Book That Understands You
  • Pleasant Exhaustion After a Productive Day
  • Whispering in Bed in the Dark
  • Midnight Walks
  • Flirtation

Another excellent, quick holiday read.

I am really starting to like Robotham's characters. The 'damaged and pained psychologist assisting police with investigations' trope can get a little old but these characters are sharp. And the relationships between characters are messy and interesting and realistic - which is a refreshing change from some other recent reads.

"The remains of a woman found hidden in a wall at a Brisbane apartment block a month ago are yet to be identified.

Cleaners discovered the skeletal remains tightly wrapped and partially buried in a locked area behind a wall in the building at Alderley on 7 December."

I used to live about 200m from this building...

"Because of course everybody in the royal family, and everyone associated with them, could do what Harry has done. They could all moan about their lot and make fake and not very plausible appeals to public pity. But they don’t. They get on with things. And most crucially, the best among them – such as the late Duke – decide to do something to improve the lives of other people."

"Alcohol is a toxic, psychoactive, and dependence-producing substance and has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer decades ago – this is the highest risk group, which also includes asbestos, radiation and tobacco."


What I am Writing:

I sent out the summary from my time on Heron Island over Christmas HERE.

What I Made:

And I made a couple of videos in preparation for some travel, with the intention of keeping a bit of a video diary. They are just a couple of summary videos from our Heron Island trip.

  • Heron Island - Expedition Denouement Episode #1
  • Meditations with Turtles - An Addendum


(I have added this to the original growing document HERE.)

We are now at the exciting next step. I have arbitrarily moved us from "How to Quit Your Job" to "How to Escape for a Year".

Keen readers will note that we haven't actually quit our job yet in the story. I hope I have been making it clear that the 'quitting' part of things is actually an active process of shoring up your role and your career before you pull the trigger and put in your notice. The actual act of 'quitting' is otherwise fairly simple if you have followed all the steps in Part 1.

So now we embark down the path of 'How to Escape' of which quitting your job is just a stop along the way.

But, we left the last edition on a high with 'How to Save', so we might as well work out how much we should save before quitting.

Note: I have emphasised this point and will continue to here - you still have not told anybody of your plans. Everything so far has been occurring in the background, within your own mind, in a private notebook.

And we continue to tick along quietly...for just a little longer.

So, for the next instalment of -

"How to Quit Your Job and Escape for a Year (and Why You Should...)"

  • Part 2 - How to Escape for a Year; Section a) - How Much to Save

This step is both very easy and impossible to get right. In fact, lets just settle on the fact that you will not be able to save the right amount of money. Once we accept that, we can start to predict how much we would like to save.

This will be an exercise in historic trends, nerdy spreadsheets and crowdsourced cost of living data.

Along with a fair amount of reading tea leaves, the entrails of slaughtered goats, flight patterns of crows and just plain old guessing.

An easy little start with planning would just be to save as much as you can for a few years. Aim for a huge number. Aim for $150,000 just for your escape year. Make it a huge, disgusting goal. Firstly because you will probably reach it if you are playing by these rules. Secondly, because if you miss, then you are probably still grossly overfunded for a year away. Thirdly because you might even have some money left over for when you come back.

But, we like to plan. So lets look at some numbers.

As a certified nerd (and young person) I kept track of my spending on some previous overseas trips.

For example, a month in Argentina in 2017 - with Absolute Daily Expense of $178.96:

I mapped this as expenses for an individual, but naturally accomodation sleeps more than one person...

About four weeks in Cuba in 2018 - with Absolute Daily Expenses of $251.63:

About 11 days in Jordan in 2018 - with Absolute Daily Expenses of $210.31:

About a month in USA, France, Austria in 2019 - with Absolute Daily Expenses of $398.14:

By 'Absolute Daily Expenses' (ADE), I mean literally just the total cost of a trip divided by total days of the trip.

This means that shorter trips are skewed to be more expensive given international flights from Australia are a massive portion of the total. And trips with multiple international transit flights within a short holiday would reflect the same.

So with this I have some data from South America, Europe, and a smidge of The Middle East as well.

And then COVID happened... so there were no more numbers to track...

Ok, so then there is Numbeo, which is an excellent site that uses crowdsourced data to compare cost of living in cities, and can be useful for planning things like this.

For example - Brisbane v Paris:

Rent is just one index that is tracked. There are heaps more, like 'Cappuccino', 'Eggs', 'One Way Train Ticket' etc

So If I was looking to spend a month in Paris, I could pretty easily work out my expected costs by simply noting my living expenses for a month in Brisbane, applying whatever increase or decrease based on the Numbeo's comparison and saving accordingly.

(Note: It looks like it is cheaper to live in Paris than Brisbane. Wut...?)

In my case, Numbeo might be useful for planning some time in Asia, since I don't have much in the way of nerdy old spreadsheets to go off.

So let's say I want to spend 3 months in South America, 3 months in Europe, then 3 months coming back through Eastern Europe and Asia with the other 3 months spread across a bit of North America and Northern Africa along the way.

Well lets run the numbers:

  • 3 Months South America - 90 days x $178.96 ADE= $16,106.4 - but this has to inflate up from 2017 numbers so is more like $18.442.15
  • 3 Months Europe - 90 days x $398.14 ADE = 35,832.6 - but this has to inflate from 2019 numbers - so more like $39,622.06
  • 3 Months Asia - Dunno, if I spend about $1000ish per week in Brisbane, Australia on stuff, then compare this to, oh I don't know, Ho Chi Minh City on Numbeo which is about 50-80% cheaper across the board, then lets say $500AUD per week in Ho Chi Minh City = $6000 for the three months; but then lets put some safety margin in there and say $10,000)
  • 3 Months Miscellaneous - Let's meet in the middle of South America and Europe and say about $30,000

So my rough total would be: $98,064.21

Obvious limitations:

  • I am extrapolating continent costs from country data. Naturally, I could plan every day of spending in any country I like across 365 days by comparing cost of living data of each respective location to my current spending. But that sounds boring.
  • Unfortunately, I am married (Relax, just a joke...). So I need to save enough for two people.
  • Fortunately, the marginal cost of adding a second traveller to a trip does not simply double the required savings. Naturally, you each need your own plane ticket, but you do not need your own hotel room etc.
  • Also fortunately, my Absolute Daily Expenses from previous trips were calculated from door-to-door. From and to Australia - the most isolated (read: expensive) part of the world with respect to international flights. So I am very confident that I have over-exaggerated the required funds needed since the marginal cost of transiting from one South American town to the next, or one French village to another is not comparable to the cost of an international flight to and from Australia.

But, just to be 'safe', why not aim for $120,000 for two people to escape for a year. To go forth and travel like we travel.

Also, remember, if you run out of money, you can just come home...

In the next edition:

  • Part 2 - How to Escape For A Year; Section b) - Plan your Finish Date

Thing I am Trying:

I recently tried a Neuron Scooter in Brisbane after having stayed away from the whole "scan a scooter with your iPhone and ride" scene because I thought it was dorky and stupid.

I was wrong. It was great. Fairly cheap. And it was very fun just cruising around the Botanic Gardens and over the bridge to Southbank.

Closing Thoughts:

Thank you once again for reading along with me.

If you found something you liked, let me know.

If you think I can do something a little smoother, please let me know.

Talk soon.