In the search for an apartment in Santiago, Chile for the month of March, it hit me that there is no particular reason that we are planning to spend a whole month there, other than to have a base for a while, for Zab to work easily, and for me to perhaps get started on some projects that have been milling around in my head.
People have told me good things about Santiago, like “it's a nice place, but it takes a while to get to know it”, “it's very livable”, “it always has good weather”. Those things are all very well, but there's just one problem.
The whole of Chile is expensive, in fact. Much more expensive than we anticipated. It feels like travelling in the more expensive parts of Western Europe, where even though we spend our days staying in dorm rooms in hostels, cooking for ourselves more than half the time and walking most places, we still end up reaching and often exceeding the daily budget we've set for ourselves. I'm pretty sure I've travelled more cheaply in, say, Spain.
Now, the problem isn't just that Chile is more expensive than we thought, but rather that this is where we chose to begin our indefinite adventure. At this rate, it ain't going to be so indefinite.
We have savings, which we are spending, and that's what they were for, so that's OK. Zab is slowly getting work that he can do remotely and will (fingers crossed!) get paid for soon, and I am looking into a couple of different things with my skill set that could give us some income.
But, I've started to wonder if we began our trip in the wrong place. There are many other places in the world where we could be spending a lot less and getting much more for it. I recently found another travel blogger couple who spent just over £200 per month on a one-bedroom apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand, including internet and utilities. That's roughly what we're currently spending on accommodation in a week. And it's in a cold, uncomfortable bed in a room with two or more other people we don't know, no breakfast and spotty wifi.
Maybe I'm exaggerating. Maybe I'm spoiled, ungrateful and entitled. After all, I've seen beautiful glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls, spotted penguins in the wild, eaten some gorgeous food, met oodles of cool people and visited two entirely new countries in just over a month.
And perhaps it's better this way; getting the more expensive places out of the way (for want of a better expression) at the beginning of our trip when we still have savings to spend and aren't living hand-to-mouth on what we can earn as we travel, so that later, we'll be glad of all those cheaper places and their £200 a month apartments.