Monday, July 11, 2005

Staying Alive and at what cost?

The goal was:
To drive around the world with my husband (TH) two other people, in two old Land Rovers, for one year and arrive home in New Zealand, on time, on budget and alive.

All planning starts with “the idea” and then the goal. Anyone can have an idea. Sadly not many turn it into a goal, and still fewer into an action plan. I suppose because takes a bit of work and most people would rather not do that. I guess they’d rather worry about someone’s retirement for them, or go to the shopping mall.

Good planning is in the hard yakka of making it happen. But, I reckon it’s a lot easier than shopping to buy more things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like.

So, how do you drive around the world, and get home again? Preferably alive.

Scores of questions flooded my brain. How far was it? Could you get petrol? What would it cost? How would we stay healthy? Where would we stay? What about food? The last one was a “biggie” for me. My whole world revolved around food. I was often planning the next meal, not long after I had finished the last. I paused on the food question for some time, while I had a “Homer Simpson” type drool at the thought of dinner.

Finally, I got back to the “what about money?” questions.

What about money, indeed? It was one of those classic “chicken and egg” dilemmas. The dollars would depend on what things cost. And, I didn’t know what anything cost right then. Let alone what direction we would take to start spending on this adventure. It would have been easy at that point to “throw it in the ‘too hard basket”. Even the mall was starting to look attractive. But, having a goal is a great motivator. With a goal, you are inspired to make it happen, ‘cos you really want to do it.

I decided to start by finding out the circumference of the world. Remember, at this stage in the planning (mid 1990’s) the Internet was not what it is today. So, I finally got to make use of my high school geometry lessons. The answer was 25,000 miles. (As it write this, in 2005, the Internet confirms the circumference at 24901.55 miles at the equator).

Pretty damn good education I had in the 1970’s - thank you Spotswood College in New Plymouth

I’m using miles, as that’s what these old Land Rovers operate in. (40,000 km if you’re driving in something belonging to the 21st Century) I calculated that, if we drove just that distance, including the wet bits then, at each Land Rover’s rate of consumption, and at the price we paid for petrol in New Zealand, we’d need to spend around $NZ12, 000 dollars on petrol.

OK, we’re rolling on this budget thing. (All figures are in New Zealand dollars)

Then, I added in what we currently spent on food for a year, multiplied by 2, for a total of 4 people, and I added that to the above.

Estimates were added for accommodation, airfares and insurances. Wild guesses were made for shipping costs, tourist activities, and unplanned-for events. Eventually, the huge sum of $72,000 was totted up. It sounded astronomical. How were we going to find that sum of money?

I added a new goal to the first: “I am not selling the house to fund this trip.”

In that practical way of his, TH suggested it was only $0.75 cents per mile per person. Now, that didn’t sound so bad. When you’re planning anything, it’s good to have someone like this who can put issues into realistic terms.

TH and I divided the tasks between us on finding out more information on the “wild guesses”, and also the estimates. Naturally, food came into my list of “things to confirm”.

Over time the total sum rose and rose, as a more accurate budget was assembled. I can tell you that this wasn’t all because of food. Eventually, it reached its final peak of $91,000. It was a bit of a “gulp” moment. I consoled myself with the thought it was only $0.95 per person, per mile.
Not too much at all, if you say it quickly or if you just drove 10 miles and come home again.

Trouble is, it wasn’t going to be much of an expedition at 10 miles length. My thoughts turned to how get my hands on this amount of loot.

What I needed was a “lonely pocket guide”.

© Eventful Woman, 2005

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