I promised previously that I’d do a post about my ‘future plans,’ so here it is. I hadn’t originally planned to dedicate a whole post to this, so am now slightly concerned that they’re not going to be exciting enough plans to have warranted this level of build-up… But hey, let’s find out…
Through a recent set of fortuitous circumstances, primarily relating to some previous employment, I have found myself in the unexpected position of having some money in the bank. By ‘some’, I mean enough to be worthy of the term ‘savings’ and even the magical term ‘deposit’. As someone who lives alone and rents privately, the notion of being able to buy my own property had been laughable. Despite what certain Estate Agents and media outlets suggest, it’s not actually as simple as cutting out fancy coffees and shop-bought sandwiches. To save for a 3 night city break takes me a good few months of restricted spending and limited social activity (and I’m not even that social to start with), so to save for a deposit? No chance. I therefore feel incredibly lucky, but also a little guilty on behalf of those not so fortunate. Not guilty enough to stop me spending the money, don’t get me wrong, but the unfairness of the system makes me angry. Years of lining the pockets and being at the whim of landlords and letting agents is not the greatest fun. Yes, there are advantages to renting in that you can choose to move on a whim (so long as you can pay the new deposit, first month’s rent, moving costs and ridiculous agency fees upfront, of course, so not too much of a whim), plus not having to pay for any repairs (other than in the time spent hassling letting agents / landlords to get things done, if they get done at all), plus of course there’s… um… paying more in rent than you would on a mortgage (oh no, that’s a disadvantage)… being restricted on any decorating you can do / pets you can have (oh, wait, disadvantage again)… potentially having people just let themselves into your home without giving the legally required notice? OK, no, the advantages are escaping me right now.
So yes, I’m quite thrilled at the notion of having my own place, though a little intimidated by the prospect too. The whole buying process seems a little daunting – I mean, I can spend months debating the commitment of a new computer, so an actual home? Eep. Not that I’m quite in the position to start looking yet – as I recently started a new job, I need to get through the 1 year probation period before I’m technically in permanent employment and can start doing grown-up things like applying for mortgages. I won’t reach that point until early October, so at the moment I’m in a kinda limbo where I’m mostly just daydreaming about it, checking Rightmove (slightly obsessively), and developing an interesting love of looking at furniture and homewares online (hello middle-age!). I’m sure there will be plenty more blogs on this topic once I actually start house hunting (well, flat hunting), so brace yourselves for that.
I’m obviously excited about owning my own place for a number of reasons, but one of the main benefits should be that it’s cheaper. It’s ridiculous that it should be cheaper to own than rent, but even factoring in likely costs of ground rent and service charges, I’ve calculated that I should realistically save a minimum of £100 per month, compared to what I’m spending now. I’m hoping it’ll be more than that, but even if it’s not, that’s more than a grand a year that I can spend on other things. This of course led to me thinking about what those other things could be – the obvious one of which was travelling. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve done a decent bit of travelling – particularly during the 2010-2013 period. However, since coming back to the UK at the end of 2013 and returning to Cardiff in 2014, I’ve done very little travelling. I’m not saying that to complain – you don’t need to break out the world’s smallest violin – it’s just statement of fact. I went to Prague for a few days in February last year, but that’s the only trip abroad that I’ve taken in the past 4 years. How 4 years have passed so quickly, I don’t really know, but that’s a whole other thing. The reasons have mostly been financial, of course, though I also felt like the huge amount of travelling in 2013 had tide me over for a while – like eating a huge lunch and then not wanting dinner. However, the hunger’s now started returning… Happily I’m already booked to go to Budapest for a few days this April, with my Mum, so that’ll keep me ticking along, but after that? The notion of potentially having more disposable income in the future has unsurprisingly sparked my excitement, imagination and desire to make long-term travel plans. Plus I like to have things to aim for and look forward to, even if they’re so far in the future that they’re likely to change or might never happen…
The place that I’ve most wanted to visit, for quite a few years now, is Japan. I really want to see Tokyo, particularly, but would also love to travel around a bit and see a decent amount of the country. Being single, my options are to either do this alone, try and convince a friend or family member to join me, or go as part of a tour group – potentially one aimed at solo travellers, though not necessarily. The third option is the one I’m leaning towards – partly for the balance between company and alone time, but also for taking the stress out of the whole experience. It’s not a cheap option, but I worked out that I should hopefully be able to save enough in time to do it for my 40th birthday, which seems like a perfect time to do it. I wouldn’t look to go for my birthday itself, but probably soon after (September 2020). Whether or not I can get the money together is largely dependent on how long it takes me to get my own place, plus how much money I do then actually save, so it’s an incredibly tentative plan, though I’ve started saving towards it now anyway.
Another place that I’ve wanted to go for a long time is Nashville. I totally blame/thank Cerys for this. I’d potentially look to tie it into visiting one or two other US cities (Memphis? Atlanta?), plus quite likely travelling via Toronto and spending a couple of days there, hopefully getting to meet up with some friends. I do also know a couple of people in Nashville, who I’d maybe get to meet up with there, so I’d most likely do this trip on my own. If I keep costs down and don’t get overly ambitious, it should be doable in September 2021.
One of my favourite places in the world, which I’m very keen to re-visit, is New Zealand. Although it would largely be going back to places I’ve already been, it’s places I miss and would love to see again. Plus I really like the thought of going back on my own (I was previously there with my ex) and doing it with a bit more luxury and style (no offence to the hostels we stayed in, they were generally ace). One thing that I’d love to get to experience, even if just once, is travelling Business Class (I’m not as fantastical as to suggest First Class!). And if you’re going to do it, it should surely be on a long enough flight to really appreciate it. Plus I love the notion of paying for Business Class flights and then travelling around New Zealand by Naked Bus (their Megabus type equivalent – not as kinky as it sounds). My estimated timeline of being able to save for this is Spring (well, Autumn in New Zealand) 2023. 2023!! That’s five years away. Although the last four years have gone ridiculously quickly, so maybe the next five will too. Plus, ooh, I’ll be 42 – I might discover the secret to life, the universe and everything (that’s not too grand an expectation to put on a holiday, right?).
You might think that that’s far enough ahead to have planned for, but no! I recently saw something about those glass igloo pod things you can stay in up in Lapland, where you get views of the night sky (and hopefully the Northern Lights) from your bed and was like, dammit, now I need to go there! So that’s an incredibly tentative plan for September 2024, hee hee. I’d also love to fit in a few smaller city breaks somewhere too, as really want to visit Dublin, Stockholm, Rome, Amsterdam, Inverness… for starters, plus would love to go back to Paris and Berlin and… agh, so many places!
Anyway, those are my current longer-term plans/fantasies. I’m very aware that they’re all made under the assumption that I’m going to be single for the next 7 years, but hey, I can’t exactly make plans under any other assumption! Plus I’m quite attached to these plans now – I almost want to be single for the next 7 years… Is that weird? I’m sure that the plans could adapt/mold around the right partner though, should that be a thing that happens. Right now I’m not particularly fussed about getting into another relationship, but maybe that’s a blog post for another time.