December Travel Plans
The end of the year is creeping up and December is quickly moving along. It’s time to declare plans for travel and to set myself some goals. Traveling for as long as I have I found not having goals quickly leads to a feeling of ambivalence and lethargy. While doing nothing has its appeal it soon starts grinding on the soul. So for the last few months i’ve been trying to give myself things to work for and stick to it. With this blog post i’m going to make my December travel plans public. The point is to be accountable to everyone, not just myself. Thats right, in future blog posts i’ll be reporting on how well i’m keeping up with my goals. Yes, i’m nervous about this.
My plans and goals for this month include the following;
- Travel plans
- Learning Spanish
- Writing and blogging goals
- Mentor and Network building
- Some theme updating for this blog
I’ve now been in Germany on the coast of the Baltic Sea for about two weeks. Its been a great chance to wind down and relax after the rush of travel that I did in the UK. It also allowed me to focus more on getting organized. I opened a few t-shirt online stores, wrote several blog posts, and I am starting to implement marketing and sales tasks.
Im looking forward to the next month. For the rest of December I plan to do some fast travel through parts of northern Europe. Then I am off to the south of Spain to try and avoid the worst of the winter.
I found a super cheap Airbnb just south of the harbour in Hamburg. I plan to spend three nights in the Airbnb. This is my second visit to Hamburg and I plan to make the most of it. Along with taking photos of some cool places I plan to get at least two blog articles written and ready to post.
For Amsterdam I was looking at a few dorm rooms in hostels. But after spending so much time in dorm rooms in the UK i’m really not feeling like sharing a room with anyone. So I started looking into Airbnb again. It’s a bit more expensive but not outrageously so. And I found the coolest place in Amsterdam. I’m going to be spending 4 nights on an old wooden sail boat. I basically chose it for the cool factor, and the host has perfect feedback. The one sacrifice i’m making for this accommodation is there is no Internet available. Typically this is a deal breaker for me, but i’m willing to make the sacrifice because I GET TO STAY ON A BOAT!! I figure i’ll use the extra non-connected time to get actual work done without distractions. What a strange concept…
Originally I thought I would just stay in Germany before heading to Spain, but Paris is so close to Amsterdam. And it’s kind of on the way to Southern Germany where i’m going for Christmas. I found a shared space in the Montmartre area. It looks super cozy, and there are lots of great places for photography and hanging out in the neighborhood.
Previous plans cancelled. I have two nights to go anywhere between Paris and Freiburg. Whatever shall I do?
This is where my cousin lives. We only met for the first time two years ago and haven’t seen each other since. I’m looking forward to 5 nights there. From what I heard it’s the warmest place in Germany during the winter time. This is just one more reason why i’m looking forward to being there. I’ll be in Freiburg till around the 27th or 28th. It all depends on how I end up booking transportation to Spain. Between Christmas and New Years seems to be a super expensive time to fly. But then getting there by bus will cost the same, and a train is even more expensive. So a flight is what may happen.
My final destination for the month of December. I found what looks to be a super good deal in Granada. It’s a flat share for a whole month. This really has been the month of Airbnb for me. Never before will I have stayed 5 different Airbnb houses with a three week period. The best thing about the Granada place is that the whole month is only costing me $305 USD. This is the kind of deals available when traveling in the off season.
I’m finding that both flying and trains are a super expensive way to get around Europe. The common advice given by baby boomers is to buy a “Euro-rail” pass and travel all of europe for practically nothing. I’m afraid those days are long gone. If I book months in advance then the prices get cheaper. However I don’t plan months in advance. I hate locking myself into that kind of a schedule. I would rather have the option to change my plans on a moments notice. So rail is out. And I will only fly if I it’s the difference between a few hour flight and a several day bus ride.
Fortunately I have found a couple of options. BlaBlaCar.com and Flixbus.com. BlaBlaCar is a ride share website that allows me to book rides with local drivers. This is an awesome idea. From what I have seen its much cheaper than trains, and even cheaper than busses.
For instance, to get from Timmendorfer Strand to Hamburg a cheap train ride is about 30 Euro. I booked a BlaBlaCar for only 5 Euro! I’ll get dropped off a few blocks from the main train station downtown Hamburg where I can get local transit to my Airbnb. Sweet!
I checked into getting a BlaBlaCar from Amsterdam to Paris. This is where I actually found that getting a bus with Flixbus.com is a few Euro cheaper. So Its the bus for me on that segment. This is a longer drive at about 8 hours or so. The bus will end up costing me 25 Euro. Great deal!!
I have a few goals and milestones I want to hit this month. There are so many ways i’m trying to improve myself that its hard to limit myself to just a few. However I also don’t want to overload myself. A few of my goals will be ongoing but i’m going to list them anyway.
There are a few reasons why I decided to go to Spain. Number one is it’s going to be a lot warmer and cheaper in the south of Spain than in Germany. The other main reason is because I want to learn how to speak Spanish. Actually I started when I was in Cuba a couple months ago. I always I was not capable of learning a second language. Its been something i’ve been ashamed of my whole life. But the Spanish lessons I took in Cuba made me think I actually had a chance of learning if I put some effort into it. So here I go. Off to Spain. Sink or swim. I’ll be happy to just not drown.
I’m taking a three pronged approach to learning Spanish. I already started with Duolingo and I plan to keep that going at a steady rate. I’m still working on the simple levels and things are going good. The next step is using a great website called italki.com. On this site I am able to find language instructors and community educators and have actual conversations with them on Skype.
The last step is immersing myself by living in a country where I have to speak Spanish. This is the one thing I haven’t done with any other language I tried to learn. So my goal is to be able to have at least a rudimentary conversation with a Spanish speaking person by the end of January. Thats only 7 weeks away. I really have my work cut out for me on this one.
This month i’ve set myself a few writing goals. I have two articles on how to buy a sim card. One for Germany and one for France. I already wrote the article for how to buy a sim card in India for a great travel/technology blog called TooManyAdapters.com. Head over there and check it out. They have super useful information on all your questions on dealing with technology while traveling.
Along with the articles i’m selling I’ll be keeping up to date on the EarthtoKeir blog posts. Writing about what’s going on and the things I am doing to become financially independent.
On top of that I will continue to post regularly on Pixelbip.com. I may even post a couple more videos if I get super ambitious.
Mentors and Networks
All the research I have done for the last two years on being a successful digital nomad had talked about finding mentors and building networks. Those are super easy concepts to write down, but actually doing them is much harder. I’ve had some success with this so far. I plan to put time aside this month to work towards extending my network.
This is the big black hole. How do I market what I have, and what exactly do I have? Yes i’m spending time working on both these issues.
The more I use my current theme on this blog the more I think it needs some updating and simplifying. Initially I thought i’d be posting a lot of photos so I chose a theme that was supposed to highlight that aspect. But I find I wound up with a theme that doesn’t have a very good looking blog page, and also does a crap job of showing off my images. Time to make some changes.
After going over everything I plan to do this month i’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. But some advice I’ve gotten from several sources encourages creating goals that seem too ambitious. I may be surprised what I can accomplish if I put my effort into it. Right now i’m feeling driven to get things done. I want to see what I can do in the next month.
Feel like declaring your monthly goals to the world? Do it in the Comments section below.