Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

To buy or not to buy, that is the question....

Whenever we have been on holiday usually, if we saw something that we liked, we probably could afford it, so as long as we could carry it back safely, we would probably buy it.  Not that we used to bring many things back, but we could if we wanted to.

Travelling now, things are quite different.  Firstly, we are on a reasonably tight budget.  We give ourselves a small 'pocket money' allowance for the year, which is intended for souvenirs or little extras, but beyond that, anything that we spend will mean we have to cut back on what we have allocated for those more essential things like accommodation and food.  So our approach to spending money is much more restrained.

But even if we decide we like something enough to spend the money, there is still the question of carrying it. When you are moving around a lot, you become very aware of the weight of your backpack, and the last thing you want to do is add a couple more kilos because you just couldn't resist that amazing bronze sculpture. And really, that piece of fine glassware, or that beautifully weird looking handmade thing with all the sticky out bits, is never going to make it through numerous bus loadings and unloadings, and get home in one piece is it?

And if it isn't too heavy or too fragile, it could well be too big.  We have a lot of stuff for travelling for a year, so the rucksacks are pretty full, and the last thing you want to be doing is carrying extra boxes or bags around.  If you did the chances are someone would pinch it, or you'd accidentally leave it on a bus or in that out of the way place you left it to keep it out of harm's way in some tiny hostel room. So the other option is to post it back to the UK.  We did post some stuff a few times, when we finished being on the truck and had to get rid of some of the accumulated bits, or when we left BsAs and no longer needed to carry  thermals, waterproofs and extra sleeping layers around with us.  But that costs money too, so you come back to the first point - is it worth it?

That isn't to say we haven't bought anything, but we have generally tried to keep it to a minimum and really weigh up having something versus the cost and hassle of buying it and bringing it home.  Sadly, there aren't that many small, lightweight, non fragile and cheap things that we like! Being into our final couple of months though, we have now succumbed to a piece of sculpture by a Montevidean artist.  Thankfully it is light, not too big and not overly fragile, so we have been able to pack it up and put it in the rucksack.  Hopefully it will make it home safely.

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