Friday, May 13, 2011

Stupid And Crazy


I am going to confess to you one of my greatest fears in life:


I fear that my passport will go unused.


I got one years ago when I was offered a position on a professional softball team in Sweden. Long story short, life happened and I chose not to go. I still have my passport though, always ready at a moment’s notice, just in case I’m called on for a secret government operation. Right now it’s in the living room on the little desk that sits between my keyboard and my vintage record player, just waiting for me.

So here’s what I propose. Earlier I posted this emphasizing the importance of spending money on experiences instead of things. It’s a lesson I don’t think I am applying to its greatest potential. Therefore, I have decided I am going on a trip. To another country.
Now I know I’m not going to be able to afford any kind of vacation package or guided tour, so here’s what I’ve come up with: a plane ticket. Roundtrip. That’s all. I’ll pack a small backpack of some extra clothes and essentials (toothbrush, camera, journal), $100 (I've heard that's the going rate for bungee jumping in most countries, and I'm not passing up an opportunity to go bungee jumping in a foreign land), and maybe $50 for food. No hotel, I'm essentially planning on being homeless for the duration of my stay. I’m shooting for mid-late July/early August, since my last day for summer school is July 15. I want to go for roughly 8 days, depending on what combination of arrivals and departures will result in the lowest possible fare.
I have no idea where to go, and I have no idea what I am doing. I'm basing my decision completely on ticket prices. The lowest I have found so far have been (rountrip):
Trinidad: $970
Belgium: $1052

Ireland: $1206
To budget for it I will literally be spending my money only on things that are absolutely needed (school, bills, feminine products) and nothing else. More about that later.

So what do you all think? Any seasoned travelers out there who would be so kind to fill me in on any secrets? Please let me know! I’ve never done this before and I’ve got a serious case of cabin fever.

Also, on the sidebar on the right (under the "about me" section) I've made a list of possible countries to travel to. Please vote! If you have a better suggestion, comment about it and I'll add it to the poll (update: I won't be able to add it to the poll but I will absolutely keep it in mind). If you have any tips about where to go (or where not to go), please comment or email me (marleeindebt@yahoo.com). Any information is greatly appreciated!!

74 comments:

  1. This is the coolest thing I've ever heard of! Can't wait to see what you decide!

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  2. Completely agree. Experiences over things... absolutely!
    Go with your heart... where do you feel like you would love to go? DO a little research and go for it!
    Can not wait to see what you decide.
    Have a pretty day!
    Kristin

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  3. Something I have always wanted to do, but I've so far stuck with traveling with a "safety net" (otherwise known as an organization).

    I'm excited to see waht you decide and how it all turns out. :)

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  4. I would think about traveling to Turkey. I spent about 3 weeks in Istanbul and some small wine towns around Turkey a few years ago and I was by far my favorite travel destination.

    I am sure you will have a great time no matter where you go!

    Epic Tales Of a Professional Freakshow in Heels
    Freakshowinheals.blogspot.com

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  5. Sounds exciting! I say go for it! I finally got a passport a few years ago and went to the Bahamas...so much fun!

    Thanks for stopping by yesterday. Had to wait until blogger was back up before I could make any comments! Have a great weekend.

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  6. Thanks for all the encouragement! And if any of you voted please vote again, I made a new poll to add Turkey, but then found out that I had to delete the old one if people already voted. Oh well, lesson learned!!

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  7. It will definitely be worth the experience. My friends and I went to Europe right after we graduated from college. We didn't have much money and mainly stayed at hostiles because they were the cheapest place to stay on our budget. The trip was definitely worth it. I just stopped by from the Voiceboks blog hop. I am now following your blog.

    Lisa
    http://savingcentbycent.blogspot.com/

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  8. Of those three and Turkey, mentioned in one of the comments above I'd go to Belgium.

    Trinidad is a very small island, which I'm sure is fabulous but won't offer a vast variety of things to do which seems to be what you are after. Also they speak English so you won't get the true 'abroad' feeling.

    Ireland, again nice enough but not dissimilar to many places in the US also, English speaking, see above.

    Turkey, I've not been to but would offer you either beaches or exotic cities with markets and mosques and great food. Drawbacks here are that in some places women can be intimidated and unduly harassed. I wouldn't go here as a single female traveler.

    Ultimately anywhere in mainland Europe would provide you with a genuinely 'foreign' experience. Belgium is a small country right in the middle bordering Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands so could be a good place to start a short European tour. All these countries use the Euro so you wont need to faff around with different currencies.

    I'd look at sites like Crashpadder.com and couchsurfers sites to get super cheap/free accomodation in ppl's homes and hostels (not hostiles, which just sound scary) are generally cheap, clean and well maintained. Sites like hostelworld search several places to find you the cheapest/most suitable.

    I live in London and am the expert on low cost travel in my friend group, feel free to send me a message if I can help.

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  9. Southeast Asia is a lot cheaper than Europe, so you might want to consider Thailand. I've been doing some traveling research myself and have heard people really love it. I found this blog:

    http://eurosatemydollars.com/

    This couple traveled 8 months and went to a bunch of neat places. They give some really good advice on where to go and how to survive on a budget. Hope that helps you!

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  10. That's a fun idea!

    Have you considered "couchsurfing"? There are online communities with people who offer a place to sleep and may even be willing to give you a sightseeing tour of their town, no costs. Some of my friends do this, and they have never said anything negative about it.

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  11. Well, I've been in Australia since February and I absolutely love it. I'm in Perth, which is on the west coast. If you come in July/August, it will be winter here. It'll probably be too cold to go to the beach unless you go somewhere up north.

    Anyway, Australia is AMAZING.

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  12. Stopping by from www.nightowlsperch.com

    I followed you on GFC as Night Owls Perch


    My facebook fan page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Night-Owls-Perch/181452858544307

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  13. Thanks for following my blog! I am returning the favor! Have a great day!

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  14. Thank you so much for following and for your kind comment. I'm now following you back!

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  15. Why not try going to the PHILIPPINES?! There are lots of beautiful places to see like Palawan & Boracay! :)
    Btw, tnx for dropping by & following Pinay In Texas Cooking Corner!
    Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

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  16. All those places sound wonderful! Italy is great! I've been there. My husband was born there. I voted for Australia because you don't have to worry about a language barrier!

    Thanks so much for hopping by my blog! I am happily following you now! Great blog!
    So nice meeting you!
    nancy

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  17. Following back from the hop! Thanks for stopping by my page!! Loooking forward to following your blog. http://delcodealdiva.blogspot.com/

    Kelly

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  18. Hey Marlee! Found you through the Saturday blog hop!

    I'm a traveler, and a single mom...so if you want any ideas that I haven't yet posted on my site, I could totally help you out to utilize your passport to its maximum potential on your budget.

    Would love a follow back:
    www.kindertravels.net

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  19. PS- following you on Twitter, too

    @Kindertravels

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  20. Hi! Just returning the follow!
    thanks 4 stopping by!:0)

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  21. Hello, Marlee! I've been reading your post since last week but I was just too intimidated to follow a blogger as good as you compare to me whose not a native English speaker (I just learned English from my class and through reading). By the way, I'm planning to visit Vietnam this August. I've heard that it's the cheapest place you could ever be. You may want to include it in your options.^^

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  22. Feminine products should be close to free. Learn to love the coupon, dear. You can eat for next to nothing, and have a great trip!

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  23. I am returning the follow from the hop. I think it would be great to travel to all of those places. Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate it.
    Renee
    http://thecryptocapersseries.blogspot.com
    www.reneeahand.com

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  24. Where are you currently Marlee? I can give you some budget travel ideas if I knew the closest major airport you'd be able to leave from.

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  25. I can't seem to vote :(

    But this sounds like an awesome idea!

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  26. First, thank you for commenting on my blog. :) Second off. I would do as much planning ahead as possible. Because that seem like a big leap. Make sure you plan your budget out carefully. But it's important that you enjoy yourself on this trip. :)

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  27. Wow thanks for all the help everyone!

    First off, a big thanks to Diandra, I found the CouchSurfer website (which I added on the sidebar under "Links I Love"). It's fantastic. It has statistics of people who are vouched for and verified as having an actual address, as well as reviews from fellow travelers. Absolutely awesome, I will definitely be utilizing this!

    Second of all, I live in Billings, MT, so I basically have access to 1 airport. Not super exciting, but driving to Salt Lake (as I did a week ago) cost's about $150 down and back, so the ticket price would have to be considerably cheaper.

    Keep the suggestions coming!! You are all extremely helpful!

    And sorry to JinxyPinxy...I'm not sure what goin on there?

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  28. What ever you decide.... It will be a blast!!!

    When I seen your name, Marlee, and spelled that way. I had to stop by and follow you.

    My mothers name was Marlee and my daughters middle name is Marlee.... Very beautiful name!!!

    Hope you stop by and visit my blog. My Journey With Candida.

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  29. Hi! Following you from the Finding
    New Friends blog hop! Hope you visit
    my Cajun blog and return the follow!
    -Jessica @ http://cajunlicious.com

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  30. Hey there! Thanks for following my blog! I'm now happily following you back! You should talk to my sister -- she has pretty much backpacked around the world with nothing but what she could carry. I'm amazed at her guts! She knows pretty much everything there is to know about traveling, and I'm sure she'd be happy to fill you in on some secrets! She's stayed in hostels to keep costs down, carried her own toilet paper with her, and had many glorious adventures... and misadventures (on her most recent trip, just a couple of weeks ago, she got terribly sick in a foreign country and ended up having to get antibiotic shots in her bum, administered daily by one of her fellow travelers.) I am AMAZED at all she's done, and I'm sure she'd be happy to fill you in on some secrets! If you'd like me to pass on your info to her, just email me through my profile or leave a comment on my blog and I will send her your info!
    Smiles and best of luck!
    -Jenn
    http://www.misadventuresinmotherhood.com

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  31. Trinidad & Ireland are great places (been to both places). Never been to Belgium but I heard it is nice there. What I see when I travel, especially with the three places you are looking into is that of course the prices are a tad bit higher because of the time you are looking for (summer time). Where ever you go I hope you enjoy & have fun.

    BTW- Thanks for the comment on my blog & we have a lot in common (reading your bio b/c I REFUSE to take out a loan again but I'm on my very last straw with my grants).

    Tammy
    http://afendibagandabadattitude.blogspot.com/

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  32. I should think the least expensive thing would be to drive to Canada!

    P.S. I seem to recall reading that Central America is relatively safe and inexpensive.

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  33. Thanks for following, I'm following back! I've always wanted to travel but alas I am to poor!

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  34. I love that idea. It's so spontaneously single. The best I can come up with for my family is Disneyland, (which my oldest is 12 and never been, and I've only been once - waiting for a great deal, can never find one, get another baby, gets put on hold, etc. etc.) Anyway, enough about me! Look at you. I voted for Ireland but have ALWAYS wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand. Africa sounds awesome - I'd go on a safari. I guess I'm no help. Anything would be such an adventure. Anxious to hear where you're going!

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  35. Sounds like a brilliant adventure! One thing I will say is that $150 won't go very far at all in Europe, prices are sky high.

    Places like Thailand and Goa would be far cheaper. Following you back ... :0)

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  36. I'm sure you will pick a great place to go. Besides looking at price also which one will be safe to go too. I look fwd to see which place you will pick.
    Thanks for following. I'm following back.

    http://pacifierspumpstheworld.com/

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  37. Thanks for stopping by from the Weekend Blog Hop! I'm following back.

    Donna
    Pot of Gold Giveaways

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  38. What a great idea!!! You definitely have to do it before you have kids, if that's ever in your plans, because then you have to buy tickets for everyone! LOL I wish I would have done something like that. And I absolutely agree with your "experiences, not things" idea. I hope you decide and have a wonderful time! Thanks for stopping by the S&R weekend hop and for posting the button!

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  39. Thanks so much for visiting Jessica, The Mom!

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  40. What a great idea! Most countries have great youth hostels at affordable prices for just this type of thing! Have fun! Can't wait to read about it. Thanks for following Mommy Time Out.

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  41. I live in Belgium, so I think it's obviously a good choice and I could tell you about the best places ;-) Also, when you're staying in Belgium it's VERY easy and cheap to go to surrounding countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands. By the way, thanks for following. I've added you to my list of blogs to follow.

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  42. Hey! Thanks for the follow and comment! I'm following you back and so excited to read more of your blog!!

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  43. Hi, I'm here from relax and surf and I'm a new follower. Hope you have time to visit sometime between making all your travel plans!

    I have a friend from Trinidad.... she goes every year. It may be less adventurous, but maybe it is a good idea to stick closer to our own hemisphere :)

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  44. Hard to decide where to go, I'm sure. All sound great. But whatever you decide, be safe!

    Thanks for coming by and giving me a follow! I'm following back now

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  45. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am your newest follower!

    Nancy

    http://thatsoundslikecrazy.blogspot.com

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  46. Marlee,

    You have such a kind soul! Thanks so much for following my blog, I am following you back. I voted for you to go to Germany. I have been there and I loved it. You can always stay at you hostels, that is where I stayed. I was a student studying in France and my friends all hitch hiked to Germany for the Octoberfest. I appreciate the kind comment you left on my blog.

    Nicole Weaver
    Trilingual Children's Author
    http://mysisterismybestfriend.blogspot.com

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  47. Hi Marlee! I stopped over to check you out after your visit with me. Boy am I glad I did! I LOVE, LOVE LOVE your BLOG! I'll be here reading for awhile if you need me. HA!

    As you can see by most of my shenanigans over on The Bee Hive Times, I am about as frugal as they come....until I cave and end up in a carton of ice cream over buyers remorse! It took me a long time to get out of "growing up debt" , as I like to refer to it. But I did. It hurt but I am one of the lucky few of my friends who is out of debt because I buckled down and sucked it up while they traveled and spent. GOOD FOR YOU! You will gain so much from this! I swear on it!

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  48. Awesome idea! I'd never be able to do this kind of trip. I'm way too high maintenance about certain things to be able to do something like this and my organizational OCD would kick in big time!

    Whatever you choose, be sure to check out the safety aspect of the country you will be visiting. Check out the latest news in the region to see whether some inane political strife or cultural prejudices (as mentioned above by Sara about Turkey) could affect your experience.

    SE Asia (especially Thailand) would be a wonderful trip... if you can stand the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and plane fare. But again, be careful of the security aspect. Kidnap of young foreign females isn't as uncommon as some would have you believe.

    You should also be careful in terms of personal safety and security when going to anywhere in the Caribbean. Though it may seem safe and touristy from what people say, it's a long way from the airport to the "safe" zones for foreigners.

    If you don't speak the language, expect to get taken for a financial ride. This is true for any 3rd World Country.

    Also, I'd like to disagree with someone above when they say that going somewhere that speaks English doesn't give you a "true abroad feel". That strikes me as something rather jaded to say about travel. I grew up in Southern California and decided to go to NYC before heading off to college in Michigan. I can fell you that those three regions are as dissimilar as the US is from Ireland. Yes, there may be some similarities, but it's a different place with new experiences for you.

    Oh, and I had my first passport when I was 13 and never used it. I got my second passport stamped once to go to the Dominican Republic. And I'm on my third one now, which I've only used to go into Canada (only to cross back into Buffalo for a ski trip).

    Have fun with your trip, and be safe!
    I have a PDF on personal safety and security somewhere that I want you to read before you travel. I'll dig it up from wherever I stuffed it and forward it on to you!

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  49. I love this post.


    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    I really appreciate your comment.

    Lioness- Your newest follower

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  50. I am absolutely crap at budgeting, especially for a trip. So I couldn't really help. I do wanna wish you the best of luck though and safe travels! And you are absolutely right. I have always had the same thoughts about spending on experiences rather than things, because after I realized how crazy I was to have spent all the money I've spent in the past, I just want to kick myself. I always think that knowledge and experiences will always be with you. Material things will get old, used, uninteresting, and wasted after a while.

    Take care and good luck!

    Sincerely,

    Lexie
    www.voiceboks.com

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  51. Following you back from the blog hop, thanks for the follow.

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  52. yes, it sounds fascniating, and yes, experience over 'things' is more important...my final say, please oh please oh PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSE be careful! I know I sound like a fuddy-duddy, I assure you I'm not, just a momma, and as one I worry so much about others when it comes to plans that remotely mention hitch hiking, sleeping where ever, being homeless and such...so enjoy yourself to the nines, YES! but always watch your back and BE CAREFUL!! But, you sound like you're very mature and smart, so I'm sure you will!

    Thanks for stopping by and following my blog! I’m now following yours too! Thrifty and Frugal by Debbie and Lavender Cove and on Twitter @thrftyandfrugal

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  53. Travel--especially international travel--have never been high on my wish list. But, I had to fly all the way across the country recently to deal with a family emergency. I got an amazing price on a round trip air fare and 9 days for a rental car on hotwire.com. Maybe you can get a good price through them??

    I'm following back from http://malindawinkle.blogspot.com where my blog offers lots of free information on money matters of all sorts. Thanks for your visit!

    Malinda

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  54. Good Luck, and have a great trip Marlee! I can't give any suggestions as my travels have all been within the US, Canada or Mexico. Some day I hope to travel abroad. I look forward to hearing about your adventure.

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  55. Hi! Just stopping by. Your blog is interesting. Following you from the Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop Blogger Blackout Edition! Would love it if you LIKE my facebook page: www.facebook.com/flightlessgoose or follow my blog: blog.writerslairbooks.com

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  56. I love this blog, thanks for commenting or I wouldn't have found you. I went to Rome on my only ever trip abroad but it was the best ever. I would go back but there are loads of places to go, will keep an eye on how you go. England is not so bad you could go camping in the hills!

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  57. Have you thought about a cruise instead? The only reason I say that is because it includes the room and continuous food, no need for a car either. Of course there are campsites all over Europe too. The trains through Italy were great.
    Campsites in Europe
    Campsites in Italy
    Campsites in Germany
    Have fun, life is the adventure you make it! Enjoy!!

    Following you from VoiceBoks!~Lisa
    I am all a twitter about life

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  58. Following you back. If you like chocolate, waffles and french fries, then Belgium is the place to be. And you could come and meet me: Avalon Lion :-)

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  59. Hey! I gave your blog and award. Check it out here - http://abookagirlajourney.blogspot.com/

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  60. Great blog, I'm your newest follower!

    I voted Trinidad, but all of those would be great destinations.

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  61. Sounds fun! I can't wait to see what you end up doing. :) I'd choose Ireland.

    Thanks for dropping by A Helicopter Mom. I'd love it if you'd swing back through and enter our brand new Alexa Hop to help you get a better Alexa Rating!

    Have a great week!

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  62. Haha. I had that fear too, but I guess I am more content now. Thanks for stopping by, and the follow. Following you back.

    Thursday Two Questions

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  63. Sounds like an interesting plan. I would say go to Trinidad because it's the cheapest plane ticket you've found so far. The exchange rate is 2.50 Trinidadian dollars to 1 US dollar. I found out the rate when I went to St. Vincent a few days ago and a Trinidadian who was also there for the pastor's wives conference told me.

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  64. I have a shiny, new *unused* passport as well - while my husband's has more stamps than the post office! I voted Thailand on your poll :) Following from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop - hope you'll come by and say hello! http://www.thecaffeinecoquette.com

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  65. You are all fantastic! Thank you so so SO MUCH for all the helpful emails and comments! I've gotten such valuable feedback! I'm grateful for all the help you all have been, and I'm getting very excited for my trip! It looks like it might be closer to early August (new summer class is available that would make my life much easier in the fall if I took it this summer) and that one ends August 3rd. So maybe I'll just take my final early and blow town!

    Thanks again and keep it coming! There's no piece of advice too small to help me!

    Love you all!!

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  66. Hi! Found you off VB! My greatest fear? I'll never have a use for a passport. If I were to even get one right now, my husband would laugh at me and ask why. I've nominated you for the Stylish Blogger award. Check out more info at http://confessionsfromboystown.blogspot.com/2011/05/stylish-blogger-award.html
    I can't wait to read more of your stuff- I'm following you now, btw.
    Talk to you soon!
    ~Amber
    http://confessionsfromboystown.blogspot.com/

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  67. You are very fantastic in what you are always opened here in your blog. I like you... I always read your blog and I read something different... I love it.

    See the amazing all season destination Thunderbird Casino

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  68. How adventurous. There are travel book out there for how to live on 10 dollars a day in some areas. Have a great trip and be sure to post about it. Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

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  69. Wow! I don't even have a passport haha So your way ahead of me! I'm going to vote Ireland I've always wanted to go there!

    I've heard of many people that have traveled the way you plan on it! Seems like they've always enjoyed it! For me I'd be a bit nervous but it's an experience thats for sure!

    Thanks for stopping by our blog by the way! =) I'm definitely going to follow your blog happily because I want to see where you go now!! haha

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  70. Australia would be my second vote! =)

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  71. I pick Germany, but I've been thinking lately that Iceland might be kind of neat, and maybe very affordable.
    ~Courtney
    http://www.mommyladyclub.blogspot.com

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  72. I apologize in advance: I didn't read through every bit of every comment (although they seem to all be preaching good advice!) so some of mine may be repetitive. I see you already discovered CSing, it's amazing! I've been participating actively and even wrote a paper on it during my last semester of undergrad. I can tell you that the CSing community in Ireland is AMAZING. Specifically speaking, the Dubliners are full of energy and love for their homeland. I went to a massive CSing party while there and had an absolute blast. Also, Ireland is just a great country to visit. I've been there twice in the past year and am returning again in November because I am just absolutely in love with the people and culture. Well I am also a big fan of Italy, New Zealand and Australia, there's just something about Ireland that keeps pulling me back. (Also, for your money concerns, many things in Ireland, and in Italy-specifically Rome-are free.)

    Kudos to you for planning this trip! Last year my parents joked that I would never go backpacking...five months later I was on a plane with a girl I hardly knew on our way to Europe for three weeks. We had nothing but the bags on our backs and spontaneously visited five countries and nine cities in three weeks. There were no plans, we were only armed with a roundtrip ticket from London and everything else was planned the day before. I promise you it is worth every moment!

    I look forward to seeing where you end up choosing! Good luck regardless and remember...great things happen when you meet strangers :)

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