2018 Travel

I started my next post on our trip to California and was suddenly all, “Crap. Should I do this chronologically or leave the latest update on our quest to reach the Griffith Observatory for the end of the post?” And I stopped there.

So instead of doing that, I’ll do this.*

My 16-year-old dog and 17-year-old cat are perking along, more or less. It’s expensive to keep animals this age going and that’s really eaten into my travel budget because my travel budget comes out of my allowance. I pay myself an allowance, and any money I have left in that budget at the end of the month used to go towards travel. Now half goes to vet bills and half goes to travel, which is nearly $1,000 that I’m short for my 2018 trip.

We’re going to end up doing the trip I outlined back in August driving into New Mexico for a couple of days, except even more scaled-back. We go to at least one branch of the National Park Service every year, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park is only about seven hours away by car. So that’s our first day in New Mexico. Our second day, we’ll visit White Sands National Monument and spend the night in Las Cruces. Then we’ll drive north up towards Taos. One of my friends has a hotel that she recommends up by Santa Fe, so we’ll probably stop there for the night. The Wild Earth Llama Adventures people recommend staying in Taos for a couple of days to get acclimated to the elevation before the camping trip. We don’t have the money for that, plus the camping trip would be $800+ for the two of us. I’m going to call the Wild Earth people and ask about their llama day trips. If they’re less strenuous and we could do it in a one-day Taos stop, I’ll shell out the $250 for us to do that. If not, we’ll just knock around Santa Fe and Taos for a day. Then our final day in New Mexico, I would like to drive into Colorado just to do it, because at this point, Colorado will be a lone unvisited island in the center of Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. In other words, I’ll’ve been to all of the states that surround Colorado, but never actually to Colorado itself. If not, well, we’ll do a Colorado trip some other time.  Our final stop will be Capulin Volcano National Monument (which will take care of our every-even-numbered-year volcano), and then we’ll head for home, stopping for the night in, probably, Lubbock.

I’ve passed the $500 mark on paying myself for my language studies, and with the final $200-ish, I’ve purchased my first share of stock. I was ready just as the bottom dropped out of the market this last couple of weeks, but it looked like that stock was about to rebound, so I bought. And then the price dropped farther. It doesn’t matter, though. I’m an investor, not a speculator, so just so long as I hold my current position, I should come out plenty of money ahead in the long run.

I want to go back to tutoring foreign languages this year (I was my junior college’s Spanish and German tutor back in the day) and get more experience so that I can get closer to my goal, which is to be able to work translating children’s books out of any of my assorted target languages into English. The money from that will be put in with the money I’m paying myself to study and all of that will go towards what I guess I’d call my “stretch goal,” which is to get a graduate degree in a modern language. By my calculations I only have $15,500 to go.

*I will get back to California eventually. Hopefully in the next day or two. Probably.

I have an elderly dog and an elderly cat and now they’re cutting hours at work (my boss is doing a great job giving me as many hours as he can, but my paycheck has still gone down by multiple tens of dollars per pay period), so I’m not sure how much traveling I can do in 2018. I still have a fair amount of my backlogged travel savings, but I don’t think it’ll pay for us to fly to Seattle, rent a car, and pay for a hotel room.

This might end up being the year we finally do the Wild Earth Llama Adventures overnight llama trip. Alex and I heard about it a couple of years ago and have wanted to go ever since. It’s in New Mexico, so we could drive there, and we could make Capulin Volcano National Monument our biennial volcano. The original plan was for our biennial volcano to be Mt. Hood or Mt. Rainier. But all three places will probably still be there in 2019 or 2020.

Also, apparently Capulin Volcano is pretty close to Taos, as well, so that’s good.

Since we’ve been taking shorter trips in August, we could continue that tradition and go to Louisiana for a long weekend. We could drive to Baton Rouge, stay overnight there for one night, then go on to New Orleans for another night or two, then drive back in one shot. We probably should go to New Orleans in one shot, then drive to Baton Rouge and back to San Antonio, but I think we should do the more exciting destination last.

Back in the 1990s, Thomas* and I drove to Louisiana just to get out of Texas for a while. We drove to near Lake Charles and then drove south from there. We then took a ferry across a bayou and drove back up. I made several failed attempts to photograph an alligator (if I recall correctly, we saw about eight of them that day), but I cannot find the pictures at all from that trip or from our stop in New Orleans when we went there on the way back from my mom’s funeral ten years ago. So this would give me a chance to take new pictures.

I’m going to start acting as though this is the plan, and then hope that I can get more work hours (or a new job (or that I can find a way to monetize this to earn some travel money)). Then, of course, once I can go back to the plan to go to Seattle, I’ll be disappointed that I cannot take the New Mexico trip. Maybe in that case, I’ll bump New Mexico up to long weekend trip.

*Notice my now-ex’s new pseudonym. I set up a spreadsheet to choose a random number between 1 and 100 and then chose the name from his birth year that had that rank. So Thomas it is.