DH = dear husband
For the second time since our journey out of debt began in June of 2012, I stepped onto a plane! Yes, I’m traveling!
One of my nieces moved to Washington DC with her husband in March of this year for a 9-month posting that he had been offered. As the summer approached, my sister – another aunt – asked if I’d be interested in taking a trip with her to visit Maddie and Mike. I was, and here we are for the week!
Frugal elements of our visit
Brian from Debt Discipline wrote an Ugh! post this week about his family’s high spending in the last couple of months. With all of the hype and celebration surrounding his twins’ graduation from high school, the money was flying. I could relate. “I think that especially for those of us trying to correct old bad habits,” I commented, “a different scenario means facing new challenges that we’re not necessarily aware of … It’s not enough to have better regular financial habits – there have to be better financial habits when things are irregular too.”
Travel is irregular for me, so nothing too stellar here, but let me acknowledge the frugal elements of this trip:
- We booked with Porter Airlines well enough in advance that our bill was just over $300 CAD ($235 USD). A quick search tells me that the cost for the flight with a more traditional airline would have been at least $200 more expensive.
- We brought egg sandwiches and muffins to the airport to avoid the expense of buying breakfast.
- We are staying at my niece’s apartment instead of paying for a hotel.
- We have not spent a cent on public transit, Uber, or cabs. Instead, we’re walking everywhere. (And I have the blister to prove it).
- The museums in Washington are FREE, and so we’re visiting LOTS of museums.
- We are choosing very inexpensive to moderately priced restaurants, and while it would be easy to eat all meals out, we are doing some cooking too.
That last point probably comes off as unimpressive. The fact is, we’d be hard-pressed to prepare all of our meals in advance of going out for the day. Food would go bad, and it would be difficult to carry it for the distances we’re walking. The other fact is, we did treat Maddie and Mike to one not-so-moderate dinner as a highly deserved “Thank you.” A badass would have been more frugally impressive in this category, but Fruclassity by definition champions the not-so-badass.
What I love about Washington DC
Travel is one of the things we have “sacrificed” in our efforts to get out of debt, and I haven’t been pining for it. I’ve leaned into a greater appreciation for the local scene – which I’ve genuinely developed. So I’ve been a bit surprised at how absolutely THRILLED I am to be exploring another part of the world! Much as I’ve been content not to travel, I really to do love it.
And here’s why:
- Maddie and Mike have rented in an ideal location. We can walk to the White House within 20 minutes, and to Georgetown within 30. For anyone living in urban DC, everything is SO accessible.
- I am gobsmacked by the architecture I see at every turn. The majesty of the buildings and monuments surrounding the National Mall; the sheer variety of buildings on any given street; the charm of the housing – even when it’s very dense – perhaps especially in Georgetown … It is a truly beautiful place. (And, I’m aware, very wealthy.)
- It’s been sunny and warm (unlike my own national capital city, which has been cool and soaking wet this summer).
- I am charmed by the variety of American accents I hear in Washington. (Canada and the US are similar in many ways, but I’m struck by the cultural differences between our two countries.)
- There are some very talented buskers in the tourist hot spots.
Memorable moments of our trip so far
- The museums we’ve visited so far have been fabulous: The American History Museum, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, and The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I immersed myself in the Civil War at the History Museum, gaining an increased respect for Abraham Lincoln, as well as an increased disgust with humanity for the pain we inflict on each other. (And a stronger conviction that if more women sat in the assemblies of power, the madness would diminish.)
- My sister and I took part in the unfolding of a huge American flag in the History Museum. Once it was completely unfolded, everyone was invited to sing the American National Anthem. About half of us, foreigners from different countries, remained silent, but those who sang did so with their whole hearts. I was moved to see and hear them.
- We have had the best visit with our niece and her husband. Our extended family gatherings are usually large and loud. It’s such a bonus to be with this small group, and really get to know Maddie and Mike.
Tomorrow, we hope to go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and then to the National Air and Space Museum. (I promised DH that I would take a photo of the Starship Enterprise – which is housed there.)
A taste of things to come
This trip is making me more eager for the day when travel will be common for us. The future is looking bright!
What is it that you love best about travel? Your comments are welcome.