I decide to head for the first tourist attraction on my list, backpack in tow, after-all, I cannot check into my airbnb until 5pm. Who cares tho? $18 a night, how can I complain? Airbnb has really changed my life! Goodbye tents, and hello wifi, electricity, shower, and a real bed!
October 3rd 2015 – My first day traveling without my car.. just me, my backpack, and public transportation…
So I woke up in New Orleans, took my $44 flight and spent the day walking miles around Chicago with my backpack. It’s about 4pm, and I figure it’ll take me about an hour to get to the place I will be sleeping. Perfect timing since check in is at 5pm and all I really want to do is put this backpack down and get something to eat. I’ve seen several places but I want to be frugal. I can cook at the house, I’m sure there will be a grocery store somewhere near.
So here it is!!! This is the number one question that I get asked, and I finally have a day where I am not having a million adventures, and I can sit and write the financial side of everything I just did, as promised. This will blow your mind, and I’m not just saying that to keep you reading. Trust me, I did it, and it blows my mind!
New Orleans to Chicago – $220
Income from my Airbnb + $0
Chicago to NYC
NYC to DC
DC to New Orleans in $
It all started with an email. Southwest Airlines had a special going on and was kind enough to let me know about it. Usually I never open spam email, and in fact I have changed my email address to start over on the masses of spam email I would get in a day, and have to fish thru to retrieve personal emails… and yes.. I still use email. It’s my preferred method of contact with my therapist. It respects boundaries, isn’t time sensitive, but keeps the communication open. Since I am traveling, it is hard to maintain my therapy, but it has been a vital part of my recovery, and it feels safer the more doors I have open where I can be open, honest, and real about where I am at. It is too easy to get caught up in the adventures, and before I know it, none of my basic skills to manage my mental illness are in place, and I am once again spiraling out of control, heading for depressed and suicidal fast! Which reminds me, I should see her while I am in town.. I love how that works. BRB
ok email sent!
Soo.. cost breakdown.. Southwest Airlines email.. so I click on my departure airport; New Orleans, and ciew the flights. A list populates and I scroll down the results to find the cheapest flight, and where it is going. “Midway Intl. Chicago $83 one way”
I remember an article I read about finding cheaper flights after a flight is booked, and two days later I check out cheaper times to travel to Chicago, if there are any? Sure enough there’s a flight for $44!
At the airport, I am packed into one backpack that weighs about 60lbs. Three outfits, camping cooking equipment, camera, journal, chargers, and toiletries. Two bottles of water, couscous (just in case) and a determined mind to do this! First lesson… bottled water can not go through the security check if it is more than 3 oz, so there went my waters! I paid the $3 at Subway for a new bottle once I was on the other side. I have to drink all of the time. When I get dehydrated, my body panics and panic escalates quickly into an attack where I am unable to function to just get a drink.
Once at Midway, I pay $3 for a train ticket into the city. I have no idea what I want to do first, but time is ticking, so the city it is. Besides, that’s where I need to be to take the pink train to the general area of where I am staying. I later realize that if I had done more research on the metro payment system, I could’ve saved that $3 and just bought the weekly unlimited travel card for $28 (there is a $5 fee for a new card, but by filling out a form on their website, it is refunded… yes I am that frugal! $8 in savings is groceries, cereal and milk, or almost half a nights stay at another hostel, which means a whole new perfect day I can add to my travels. Trading time for savings gives me more time before I ever have to actually go to work. (Which has now been 10 months since I actually clocked into a job anywhere)
This blog is taking forever to write! I feel my concentration slipping, but I want to get it done because I have been wanting to write it, knowing that so many of you want to know.. so yea day one.. I find a list of things to do in Chicago for free, and I start doing them. $12 in groceries when I get to the airbnb. (Thank you Harrison!)
Unexpected expenses included filling prescriptions – $12 and I lost my transit card, so I had to pay another $28 for a weekly travel pass. I did treat myself to a nice formal dinner, and ate at cheaper dine in places a lot more than I anticipated. It is exhausting walking all over a city and seeing everything, not to mention I had pneumonia and didn’t know it, so it’s not surprising I didn’t have the energy to be conservative about food, and preparing my own meals. I also paid $21 for the 360 observation deck. It’s $19 for one visit, and was $21 for two visits within 48 hours. As a photographer, who doesn’t want a night and a day time experience?
After the two nights at Harrison’s place, I found another airbnb to keep me for a night at $35 – a little more than I’d like to spend, but it was a private room, and tho I attempted to find another traveler thru the nomad facebook groups, and various other travel friends groups I interact with, it was short notice, and I had the room to myself, which given I didn’t know I had pneumonia, was probably for the best. Over the counter meds and cough drops, thermometer etc $25 Two days in bed at a friends house (free lodging and amazing company, Thank you Annette!) An amazing free raindrop technique using Young Living oils, and I was up and running for another couple of days! Lincoln Park Zoo, skyline pictures, a free guided walking tour, and before I knew it, it was time to fly to NYC!
Total expenses for a week in Chicago, flight, lodging, food, attractions, and medicine = $220!
Stay tuned for an even cheaper week to and in NYC!!!
Me:”I wish flying within America was cheaper” – ✔️
The power of manifestation at work…
While traveling Europe, hopping from country to country for $10-$20 a plane ride, I wished it was Iike this in America. Then I started wondering.. Why isn’t it like this in America?
In Europe, has is about $6 a gallon.. Here in America it is now a buck fifty. What other excuses could there be but greed? I thought about a friend of mine that was training to become a flight attendant, and just how many times I’ve read about flight attendants lately. I wouldn’t mind being a flight attendant with the perks they get!
Today that wish came true! Go ahead .. Click the link.. Put your departure airport and see where you can go.. Chicago to Miami for $19 anyone? Christmas has come early!
Flights to San Fransisco, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and more .. Starting at $15
Don’t forget to follow my blog for all the latest frugal travel tips! If you’re departure city isn’t listed.. Check out skyscanner.net .. Frugal travels everyone!
November 8th I wrote about the high terrorist alerts in countries you wouldn’t expect. We are all aware of the events that took place in Paris a few days later. Since then MASS hysteria circulates about refugees in NOLA so the media writes an article stating there are only 14. If you believe that you’re a fool. Here is the breakdown of alleged refugees by state.
Syrians have been fleeing for their lives since civil war broke out in 2011. Here are the facts as of September 4th 2015.
- 7.6 million people are currently displaced internally in the country of Syria.
- 2 million refugees have fled to Turkey
- 250,000 refugees have fled to Iraq.. This one blows my mind. How many people do you know would prefer to be in Iraq than at home?
- 1.2 million refugees are displaced in Lebanon
- 800,000 refugees have fled to Jordan, and onto Iraq.
- More than half of the refugees are under the age of 18… That’s almost 7 million children… What would you do if this was your child?
- The lucky ones live inside camps. Tent camps with no electricity, no clean water
- The lucky ones make it to places with medical assistance
- Over a 1/4 million have already died.
- Fleeing the country is as dangerous as staying, the only difference is that fleeing has a ray of hope. That ray of hope is that somewhere out there, there is a world with a heart.
- 436,000 refugees have applied for assylum within Europe, according to the United Nations.
The neighboring countries cannot meet the needs of the masses. Meeting the basic survival needs of the refugees does not support corporate western countries. It’s simple mathematics. Some claim the ISIS beheadings were photoshopped. As a photographer who uses photoshop and Lightroom, I can believe that, and after looking closer at some of the footage, id have to say it was poorly done, but it was convincing enough to stir panic, and if there’s one thing that will cause an American or any person to back its military it’s panic, followed by revenge. This was clearly demonstrated following the September 11th attacks. Before the attacks, there was heavy pressure to bring our troops home after years of war in the Middle East. Immediately following the attacks there was a record number of people enlisting to fight for our country. Back to the refugees…
It was only ten years ago that New Orleans had 300,000 refugees of its own. Hurricane Katrina came thru, and survival of the fittest kicked in. Looting occurred. Food became scarce. People lined up for hours for a bag of ice, a box of MRE’s, military rations, that gave you the worst stomach aches. Water was unusable due to the flood and failure of water stations. Electricity was non existent for weeks and months in some cases. Military moved in and out home looked like a war zone of its own. People that stayed behind did whatever thy had to do to survive and protect themselves and their families. Assistance was limited if at all. Help didn’t come for days. Imagine if 4 years after Katrina, refugees were still walking and riding on top of whatever could float to get to a place of safety. Imagine if we were turned away because of the select few ignorant people that were looting TVs and non surivaval items. Imagine if those who made it Houston and acted an ass caused Houston to start bombing us on top of trying to survive.
The way I see it, if ISIS was responsible for the recent attacks and we turn on all refugees for it:
- 8 people continue to terrorize these people on our own soil as well as the countries that are housing them.
- They prove that we are heartless western greedy people, as their beliefs teach.. The very reason they believe we should be exterminated
- We enable their goal or fear and terror by spreading the fear via social media
- We ignorantly continue spreading more hate than ISIS ever could
- there will be an additional 436,000 people willing to fight against us pretty soon.
If you think your random share of ignorant posts and comments don’t make a difference, they DO! Think about the ice bucket challenge, and how fast that spread world wide. Fear spreads like wild fire. Fear of the unknown is the worst.
Smart move ISIS.
Today I change my profile picture to one of the 7 million faces that could’ve been mine. One of the 7 million faces that is living in worse conditions than any hurricane Katrina victim ever faced, because I remember, and I wanted the world to care about us, the people of New Orleans. Not just the black people, not just the white people, the PEOPLE, the humans, the beautiful individual lives of each and every one of us because we are one. I’ve never felt shitty after a random act of kindness, and it’s always come back ten fold.
How can you help? Post a comment of an accurate fact about the humans of Syria. Change your profile picture to one of the 7 million faces. Open your heart and mind. Pause before mindlessly passing on ignorant social media content. What would you want if it were your child? Your mom? Or grandma?