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Got back to Melbourne last night.  It’s so freaken cold here. 

I’m so broke but I start a new contract on Monday (ot all that sorted while overseas, go me) so should be okay once I start that.  Still I’m a bit annoyed – I had to loan money to my sister while we were away and she was going to pay me back when we got home but now she can’t for various reasons (that she’s done nothing about sorting out).  I’ve got to pay rent next week and I’m suddenly the one with the worries about not having the money.  It’s not really fair.

Tell me – what do you do when you are travelling with someone with money issues?  Like if your travelling companion is broke and you have carefully budgetted your own money – would you loan them $$$ and go without yourself or would you go out eating fancy dinners and leave them to fend for themselves?  It’s a hard one.

I don’t want to do a big “this is what I did on my hols” post because it would go on forever but, since my post holiday advice from last trip helped me this time, I’m going to try it again.

  • Staying in Shinjuku is great.  It’s so convenient and easy to get to everywhere around Tokyo and so much going on, but it gets tiring because it’s always busy.  Just walking home from the train station is an effort.
  • Next time I travel, I need to check out transport options.  We used a SUICA (automatic card that you just swipe over the thingo on trains, subway, buses etc – you don’t even have to take it out of your wallet, how awesome) but it cost $$$.  The first few days we caught the subway to the train station but got wise because there is a minimum ticket fare (around 160 yen) and it was only a 20 minute walk – all those short trips add up.  Plus I think there were some daily ticket deals we could have used.  Transport took up a huge chunk of our budgets.
  • Even though I packed light, I still took more than I needed. 
  • Only taking a carry on bag is a cheaper option when you fly budget airlines like Jetstar but it’s only saving around $20.  I reckon we spend that buying stuff we couldn’t take in our cabin bags like tweezers, nail file, decent sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner (we were there for 11 days, we need more than 100 mls).
  • If you go to an all-you-can-drink bar, it might seem like good value for money to drink shooters.  It’s not.  It’s really not.  Also if there is a language difficulty and the bar staff get butterscotch schnapps mixed up with scotch whiskey, drink something else.  Whisky and kahlua shooters – JUST SAY NO!
  • If you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it when you travel.
  • Paying 2,400 yen (around $AUD30) to go to the Yokohama port celebrations is a waste of money.  Even if they have giant robot spiders.  Well okay the robot spiders were cool.  But the rest was boring.
  • A 5 hour stopover in Cairns on the way home is just wrong!  Better to have gotten a room somewhere and flown home the next day.
  • Check and double check flight bookings.  If you book to have checked in luggage on the international flight (we did on the way home for all the shopping) make sure you do the same for your domestic flight or you’ll get stung a whopping $80 at the airport.  The girl did feel sorry for us and gave us the exit row seats for the flight home though… mmm leg room.
  • For some reason I can eat my own body weight several times over in chocolate and other sweet foods (yum, pudding) while on holidays and not gain weight.  I need to find out the secret of this and apply it at home.
  • Take laptop or stay somewhere without ultra-expensive internet charges.
  • Sort out work shit before leaving country.  I did a short (3 day) contract the week before I went overseas.  On the last day I couldn’t get access to input my timesheet.  Normally I’d stay around until it was sorted but I had a heap of errands to run and my supervisor promised me she’d sort it out for me.  I rang my agency on the Friday before we left to make sure they reminded her it needed to be in.  My agent said he’d already emailed her but he’d try again.  So, come Wednesday – payday – no pay in my bank.  I had to use the very expensive hotel internet to contact him (actually using the generic agency email addy cos I didn’t have his on me and hope for the best).  Found a cheaper internet place to email him a couple of days later.  Got word he’d sort it out but it would be this Tuesday (we were leaving Japan on Wednesday) at the earliest.  I not only DIDN’T have my pay, I had no guarantee I’d get it before I left.  I ended up getting in touch with my lovely son and he put some $$$ in my bank but seriously that still meant a lot of running around and money spent on internet just because some stupid bitch couldn’t do her job properly. 

Anyway it was an awesome holiday.  So very awesome.  Many precious memories.  I’ve started posting all my holiday photos on facebook.  I had major post-holiday blues yesterday (partly due to having spent 22 hours travelling home and no sleep).  Today I decided the only way to deal with this is to focus on the positive things about being home – my own bed, seeing friends, having internet access, getting back into a routine and playing with all my new toys I bought on hols (like my awesome bento box and cooking chopsticks).  Plus I got news just before I left – I will be working in Japan early next year!  Yahs!

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10 responses to “Home

  1. Welcome back! Go you, for having your next contract sorted out. Pretty impressive managing that while you’re on holiday, let alone overseas.

  2. Welcome back – I’ve loved seeing the photos and hearing your stories. Great news that you’re going to be working there next year! You’ve really inspired me to visit Japan soon.

    Luckily I’ve nearly always travelled on my own so haven’t had to worry about carrying anyone else financially! I agree it’s very unfair that you have to miss out or bear the brunt of the money worries because of someone else. I think you can help your companions out to a degree, but unless you agreed that the holiday was on you (!) they’ve got to start paying their own way eventually, or just go home! I personally wouldn’t go on a holiday if I knew I didn’t have enough money to keep myself going. I wouldn’t want to ruin anyone else’s fun because of my breadline status! 😛

    I am so impressed with the way you juggled everything while being overseas, it’s certainly not easy. And coming down off the holiday high sucks big time. Staying positive and focusing on what you love about home definitely helps!

    Next year will be here before you know it!

    x

  3. welcome back!!! sounds like a great trip but bloody annoying with the loan issues… grrr. re the not gaining weight on hols, i find sometimes all the walking is what made the difference. definitely more active than the usual office slugdom.
    Off to Fb to stickybeak at your pics 🙂

  4. PS just re-read last para, WOOHOO on the work next year… brilliant 🙂

  5. Welcome back, I’ve been looking at the photos on Facebook – very noice.

    Re the money thing, I don’t think you’ve got any choice but to help out, unfortunately.

  6. welcome back babe! The money thing is tricky – I guess you have to make sure you have the same budget before you leave! That way you will be able to do exactly the same stuff?!?

  7. It’s bloody cold alright and it looked so nice in Japan. Loving your photos.

    I hear you about being broke and not sure about the $$ thing because it’s your sister. I got burned once by a friend and I wouldn’t loan money again like that but then I wouldn’t go on a holiday with someone who didn’t have it, or myself for that matter. I’d feel really bad. It really is a tough one.

    Isn’t it funny just how little you really need to take with you when you travel and we always take too much. I don’t know. Our “just in case” fears kick in I guess.

    So glad you had an aweseom holiday! I was depressed for months when I came back from New York. At least you’re going back early next year so you have that to look forward to 🙂

  8. welcome back! and Yeeeee haaaa! about the job next year! Where will you be working?

  9. Welcome back! I will be mining you for information next March when we head over for two weeks. I like to plan another holiday to help get over the blues. Do NOT look at your bank statements just yet- it will only make you feel worse.

  10. Hi!
    Just discovered your site …. good stuff!
    I too had a friend travelling with me who suddenly announced he was out of cash in jp, it was such a drag! I ended up having to pay for almost everything (luckily hotels & JR Passes had already been payed for) & the worst thing was I had to curb my own spending!! Seeing all the gadgets & not being able to buy them was pure torture!! So Boo to those people who go on holidays without enough spending money!! Boooooo!!

    btw if u can do the jpn flight via Gold Coast its usually only a 2 hour wait for the connecting flight & if you’re lucky they’ll even bump you up to an earlier flight on the gc – melb leg.

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