I've been watching the current economic meltdown in much the same way I watch the footy season - I'm not. I own stocks in exactly nothing, I have exactly no debt, I don't even own a car to be bothered by rising fuel prices, I'm not even enough of a consumer to be particularly fazed with the idea of rising prices, and so it has nothing to do with me. Yet despite having nothing to do with me, it still affects my life, and that puts me out a bit. I fail to see why I should suffer the consequences of decisions that, again, had nothing to do with me.
Due to the current state of the Australian dollar, that tour of Tibet I've been eying off has risen in price by ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. My heart, it bleeds. Why for must the company list their prices in euros?
I can still afford it, but...uh, not if the dollar gets any worse. My stomach did that hard little clench thing when I discovered this, which indicated to me that I'd already decided to go, I just hadn't realised it yet. Given I still harbour ideas of moving states and going back to uni, I'd rather spend less on travel than more in the long run.
Oh, doldrums. I contemplated my other destinations of choice, being Mongolia and Russia, and didn't even do any googling. I've already an idea of tour prices in those countries, and it would only cost more.
But then I got talking with a co-worker, and remembered that Jetstar, a budget airline here, fly to Osaka. And checked their prices. AND GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST RETURN TO OSAKA FOR $700? I could do the bottom half of Japan! Hell, at that price, I could spend a fortnight just futzing about Osaka and Kyoto and Tokyo again. It seems wasteful, returning to a country I've already visited when there's so much of the world to explore, but the thought of going back made me so excited. Something of a false glee, I know, wholly contaminated by the fact that I had such a good time last time. To know that I can get there on such a cheap airfare is...wow. My stomach is doing flip-flops now just thinking about it. I'm concentrating on not digging out my guide book again.
I'm incredibly fortunate that the only way the current crazy economy will truly affect me is in my travel plans. I'm never going to have trouble paying bills or feeding myself. I'll never own a home, but I resigned myself to that a while ago. But I've come to realise that, right now, I need travel rather the same way I need quiet time and laughing time and the odd bar of chocolate. I need something to look forward to, and I need something to remind me that the world is an amazing place, I need something so unexpected it will shake me out of my head. A future without something new and unknown and astonishing is a bleak future, for any definition of 'something'.