What I Got Up To:
If there’s a single theme that connects all the places I visited in July, it would be reconnecting. After ten years living on the east coast, I planned my trips around spending significant time visiting friends and family that I haven’t seen enough in really fun places. I got to hang out with my parents, both of my sisters and my brother, out-of-state cousins, and friends from college.
The first half of the month was dominated with a two country, eleven state roadtrip from Philadelphia to Oklahoma. The second half was split between visiting my parents in Oklahoma and two smaller roadtrips to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas and visiting my sister in St. Louis.
Pic of the Month:
My most popular Instagram pic in July. Hard to beat a giant shuttlecock. Taken with my Nikon D80/35MM/f1.8. It was hot as hell and about ten minutes later I thought I was going to pass out on the sidewalk.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
- Binghamton, New York, USA
- Niagara Falls & Burlington, Ontario, Canada
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
- Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
- Lawrence & Stull, Kansas, USA
- St. Louis & Kansas City, Missouri, USA
- Collinsville, Illinois, USA
- Oklahoma City, Edmond, Davis, & Medicine Park, Oklahoma, USA
- Port Aransas & Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Other than quitting my job to live my dream, which is kind of one big highlight, July was full of awesome moments.
To start, I have a lot of baby animal-related highlights this month (though that will not come as a shock). I got to play with my friends corgi puppy in Minneapolis, saw two longhorn calves fighting in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, and spotted a baby dolphin with its mother while on my Uncle’s boat in Port Aransas.
My brother saw baby deer playing on the edge of the woods at Cahokia Mounds, but I only saw (a truly magnificent) buck with gorgeous antlers running through the field in front of us. And while touring the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, we got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales at home.
I ended up having to fork over a $100 cleaning fee on my Ontario AirBnB rental on what was a stupid mistake on my part/extortion on the owner’s part. My blood is still boiling. One day, I’ll write up what the mistake was, but for now I’m both embarrassed and full of rage.
In Port Aransas, my sister hit a curb and we ended up waiting for AAA for two hours while we were less than a mile from the seafood restaurant I’d been dreaming about for a week. At least I did get some oysters the next day.
Oh, and throwing up my very first night on the road. Yuck.
July By the Numbers:
- Driving Hours: 75 hrs 33 min
- US States: 12
- Beds: 9
- Alcoholic Beverages: 8
- Mexican Restaurants: 6
- Swimming Days: 5
- Art Museums: 5
- Uber Rides: 4
- Waterfalls: 3
- Countries: 2
- Ferries: 1
July was full of budget learning experiences (i.e. I spent more than I wanted to, but I feel confident about being able to make adjustments going forward to get back on track).
My goal is to use Nomadic Matt’s rule of thumb and travel on $50 dollars a day. However, my actual budget I set for myself is $1613 per month because I have a cell phone contract and car insurance in addition to travel expenses. That would give me a target of $52.03 per day for July.
As you can see, coming in at $77.42 is about $25 per day over budget. Beyond the $106 cleaning fee, I also ended up arranging some of my trips that were going to be in August and moving them to July, which would have cut $300 out of this month. If I’m extra conscious in August, I should be able to make up a big chunk of the overage and be close to back on track.
In addition, I didn’t pay close enough attention to expenses the first week, and I can’t let that happen going forward. By the middle of July, I was getting down to the bare bones of what I need to enjoy my travels versus what’s a waste. I’m looking forward to continuing to monitor progress and get down to where I want to be. Practice makes progress and such.
My Favorite Pic:
My big trip for August is going to be spending 9 days in Belize with my girlfriends. Last year we hit up Rio, and Belize should be even more epic.
The rest of the month will be spent soaking up more family time before I leave in September for the rest of the year. While I’m here, I’m going to spend more time exploring Oklahoma City (which I haven’t lived in since 2002) and going back to the Wichita Mountains to get (fingers crossed) some pics of the bison (they didn’t appear on my first trip down).
For my fall plans, check out my travel schedule which is updated frequently.