Money Diary - Refinery 29 Style

Refinery 29, my favourite online platform for binge reading has inspired today`s post. Each month, the site releases a randomly selected reader`s money diary (I`ve linked it here).

In combination with job title and salary, here they list every minute detail of what the chosen reader spends their money on - rent, food, dates... I swear to you, I`ve even seen someone write about the cost of their cocain habit. You name it - it`s on there. And it`s the perfect lazy read if you`re nosey  curious, like me.

Besides being a fun peice, I think the taboo we hold over money in the UK is a little obscene and something  to be addressed. I don`t care if people know how much I earn. I think it`s important that we share this information as young people (and perhaps even more so as women when the gender pay gap comes into consideration). It`s not cool to be clueless about the pay check you deserve and we shouldn`t be underselling ourselves. Even though I don`t currently have a `proper` job, hopefully this post will help someone who is interested in teaching or living abroad.



Industry: English as a Foreign Language Teacher
Age: 23
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Salary: VERY varied. This week I`m working overtime and earning 250 pounds
Hours worked: 25

Expenses (In GBP):
Rent:  £79.25 per week (Room in an apartment with 3 other flatmates)
Bills£5.62 per week
Phone£3.75
Travel: Roughly £12.00
Beer: Roughly £20.00
Food: Roughly £30.00 
Portuguese Lessons£15.00


Saturday: 
Total spent: $104 RS (Roughly  £25)


Dancing Samba under archways in the rain - I`m so in love


Wake up at 7.15am and eyes still half closed, hobble into the living room. Try to find the hideous bright blue T-Shirt I have to wear as uniform to teach chinese students online. I teach for 3 hours (including one awful rendition of Happy Birthday to a 3 year old chinese boy and his parents). Quickly shut laptop and run to my Portuguese lesson next door. The lady is 80 and writes all of my lessons on a type writer (it is SO sweet). I pay her 70 reais for an hour (Normally it`s 60 but I owed her from the last week). Proceed to spend the afternoon moping and complaining that I miss London.


Finish my 2018 Goals blog post and curl up in a tiny ball on the sofa, proceed to watch 5 episodes of End of the F*cking world on Netflix. Realise that I`ve spent so much time claiming to be lonely that I am actually late to meet my friends (lol) - put on the bodysuit Ive been saving to wear until I feel like a need a pick me up (you know those clothes that make you feel fancy), a denim mini skirt and a retro fanny pack I wear across body. (Im heading to downtown Rio and its not the place to bring a handbag - unless you want to be robbed). 


Stop by a bakery and grab a pastry repeatedly check with the guy that it is `Sem Carne`. Once absence of carne is confirmed, I run to the Metro and realise I`ve not topped up my Metro card. I pay 10r (Around 2.20) and jump on the next train. 


f*ck f*ck I`m half an hour late.  I get there and thankfully, they`re still there. We leave the Metro and realise its peeing it down with rain (tropical rain storms are so common here). We jump in an Uber (my friend pays) and head to the party. It`s a Samba bloco that is prepping for Carnival. 


Despite it absolutely pissing it down we dance for hours in a courtyard between worn collenial style buildings that tower above us. Enclosed by street venders that sell questionable beer and meat. My feet quickly become so dirty from the combination of grimy streets, rain water and flip flops. I buy a round of drinks (12r) and am SO happy. 

Head a little fuzzy from the beer we decide to go into Lapa (another party area). As we leave a Brasilian guy grabs me and asks me where I`m from. He tells me that I samba really well (believe me this is not true.. I was shuffling my feet like the penguins from happy feet and occasionally moving my arms in the hope that it would remotely look like I know what I am doing.) He tells me he`s an artist and wants to paint me. To which I laugh because I find it incredibly cliche and say what like Titanic? (So smooth Holly, SO smooth). 


At this point I can feel my friends staring at me and mouthing `HE`S HOT, HE`S HOT`. I let him put his Instagram in my phone (everyone asks for Instagrams here?) and run off. To which I then spend the next taxi ride explaining every detail of the conversation to my friends in the Uber. We arrive in Lapa (anyone who`s reading this and been to Rio will know this neighbourhood). I cant even begin to explain - basically it`s a huge street party area that is as weird as it is a fun night out. Huddled round a bowl of pasta (5r), I share my second carb fix of the night and discuss the plan of action. Someone plants the seed of going home and everyone agrees. We grab the last metro and head home. One of the girls, Eira, is staying at mine and we stop off to buy sweets before going to my apartment (2r). We spend the next hour analysing the Artist Guy`s instragram and have a deep chat about how we have no idea what we are doing with our lives. 


Sunday

Total spent: $20r (Roughly £5)

As per, I wake up early compared to my friend and lay there for a while. Curse of an early riser - I always wake up at 7am and feel pressured to wait for my friends to wake up. I scroll through my phone for half an hour whilst trying to decide my level of hangover - I`d say a 6. Winning. 


Eira finally wakes up and we form a plan of action - snacks and Netflix. We head to the supermarket and buy breakfast. They say never do a supermarket shop when you`re hungry, but I think this is emphasised by 1000x when youre hungover. Ability to make good purchasing decisions? 0. I come out with fake brasilian pringles, watermelon, eggs, tomatoes, bread and cake (10r). 


Returning to my apartment, we attempt to make Turkish Eggs (Recipe here) and salvage a snack nest on the sofa. We start to watch A typical (really good TV show)... again watch 5 episodes (oops). 


After Eira leaves I facetime one of my closest friends, Abbi and discuss her trip to Rio in March (yaay), straight after I facetime my South African friend and realise I`m running late for my lesson. Later, I wolf down half a banana I`ve had laying in the fridge and take a brisk walk to the Metro. Realising I need to top up AGAIN (10r), I arrive 5 minutes late but thankfully this is normal by Brazilian standards - I finish teaching my student and take the Metro home. I curl up with a Tofu stirfry for dinner and make a pityful attempt at understanding my flatmates conversation in Portuguese about Star Signs ... I learn a new word Caraca (wtf!). Aaaand also agree to go for a drink with Brasilian Artist guy on the Monday....



Monday

Total Spent: $48r (Roughly £12)



The beach infront of my apartment 




Wake up at 7.15am and wolf down breakfast - coffee and banana + oats. I panic because I realise I have left the ugly blue top in the wash and sign in to teach. I stare at the computer screen. Sh*t. I don`t even teach on Mondays. 


Decide to be productive and sign-up for more overtime for later in the week. Start writing this blog post. After, I head down to the beach for an hour to read my book - a murder novel given to me by a friend`s mum. I head to the supermarket and buy some vegetables for the meals I want to make in the week (Ratalloui and Curry) (30r) - food is super expensive here (London Prices). 


I also grab an acai to eat while I plan my lessons for the evening (8r). I make a Thai salad (cucumber rice carrot and tofu) and set down to work. 5pm quickly rolls on and I have a Skype lesson. I make an attempt to make myself look presentable (I have the date later, remember?) - This entails a fringe wash and some concealer on the spot that has decided to take residence on my chin (I thought blemishes were supposed to stop at 18?)  and run out to meet another student. An hours teaching over and I am actually on time for my date at 8.15. 


I meet him outside the metro station of Botafogo, a really artsy neighbourhood and Rio`s equilivilent to Shoreditch. He looks very cool and has a great sense of style (he later told me that this was he only T-shirt not covered in paint... why is that attractive?!). We sat outside one of the bars, chatted and drank beer for a few hours. Brasilians are really touchy feely and at one point he grabs both of my cheeks (on my face...) and squeezes them like you would a baby. I almost jump out of my skin because of the sudden intrusion into my personal space ha, #ColdAsIce) And he tells me I`m fofa (cute). There`s a bit of a language barrier but the conversation is still good. Good enough for midnight to quickly roll around and me realise I need to get the last tube (Cinderella style). He needs to head in that direction too and so we ask for the bill. Despite my protests, he insists on paying - I can get it next time. After topping up my Metro card agaaain (ugh - 10reais), we get the metro. He gets off at my Metro stop (he is definitely going the longest route home just to walk me back) and walks me to my door. I get home and quickly make an egg sandwich ... burn the pan. Crawl into bed.


Tuesday
Total Spent: $42r (Roughly £10)




Canastra Tuesdays - A must if you ever go to Rio


6 hours later I wake up and make the preparations to start work... Aka donning the hideous blue t-shirt, making an attempt to tie up my (still) unwashed hair and wolfing down coffee/banana oats. I start teaching at 8am. Roughly 10 renditions of the ABC later and I am free for the afternoon. A friends brother is visiting and I agreed to help keep up appearances by going to the beach with them and demonstrating that she has at least one friend here in Rio (what are friends for hey?). I buy an acai for myself and my friend (20r) and head home to teach a lesson. Student cancels - fab.u.lous.


Later I head to our friendship group`s wateringhole - a huge street party called Canastra. 2 Pao de Queijo later (12r) and a caiprihina (10r) and I make the tipsy journey home.


Wednesday
Total Spent: $40r (£10)

Wake up hangover free and start teaching China. Draw up a to do list for the day. I have lessons`s until 8.30pm -It`ll be a long one. I run from lesson to lesson, picking up a quick bite of pao de quiejo as I go (5r) and inbetween manage to squeeze in a free class at the local language school to brush up on my Portuguese. I also agree to meet Artist guy at the end of the day. As the evening comes around I go for my final lesson of the day which is super chilled - we just have conversation over beer. I meet artist guy straight after and head back to the same bar I had my lesson (god I pray the barman doesn`t think I`m back to back dating or something like this). We chat for a couple of hours. It gets late and I insist on paying the bill this time (35r). He insists on paying my Uber.



Thursday
Total Spent: $19r (Roughly £5)





8am and I am back online teaching China. I have little to no plans for today other than reading and doing a language swap. I sit on the beach reading for a few hours with a break to rest at a beach bar where I buy a beer (8r). Before leaving, I meet my friend who hands over and order of clothes I made from England. Including THE greatest item of clothing to ever exist (see pic) #AmIRight? A little later on I take a trip to an organic store and pick up a few hundred grams of oats, tapioca flour and some sundried tomatoes (11r). I make the 40 minute walk down to the other end of Copacabana and meet Angela, a lady who I do a language swap with. We talk in English over acai and then swap to fragmented Portugues (she insists on paying). Although I craved an early night, I somehow managed to go to bed at 1am, with an alarm set for 6.30am... joy.


Friday
Total spent: $5r (Roughly £1.25)

Friday mornings are always a rush. I quickly put together a bag and get ready (nowadays this consists of showering, concealing any spots and brushing my eyebrows. Having a tan is SO liberating for your face! I take the Metro to my students flat where he greats me with a coffee (thank god). I spend a few hours teaching him (8am to 10am) and upon leaving, grab some pineapple from the fruit man outside of his flat (5r). I head back home and plan a lesson for the afternoon, it`s on Skype so I have a relaxed few hours - Go to the beach for an hour (finish my book) and later make a huge batch of curry. A really relaxed night follows. It feels good to have a tame Friday. 



❤ 

NB: I think this post must have a few typos. I`m using a Portuguese computer so it doesn`t pick up spelling errors in English - oops!


8 GOALS FOR 2018


REFLECTION FOR 2018 


With my last post being a reflection on 2017, it feels only right to follow things up with a round up of goals for 2018. Im blessed with the fact that my schedule here in Brazil leaves so much time for reflection. With that, I`ve thought long and hard about what I want to achieve over the next year and how I want to spend my free time.

For me, January marks Chapter 1 of a new book.That feeling when you were young at school with an untouched crisp white page in front of you . An opportunity to start afresh with a newly rejuvinated mindset. Exciting, motivating and (if I'm honest, a little daunting).

This year, I`ve made a pact to myself to do something small to work towards these goals everyday. The way I see it, I will be making progress everyday; slowly chipping away at the bigger picture - whether that`s listening to a podcast, taking a lesson or reaching out to someone I admire. 

So here goes, although almost two weeks late (better late than never, eh?), my goals for 2018:






To study towards something
Constantly curious, I love learning for the sake of learning. Those who know me well will forever find me with my nose buried in a book or demanding that we pause conversation to Google something. So, it just makes sense to take advantage of my free time here and begin an online course. The only thing is that I'm torn by doing something I have personal interest in, like International Relations or instead, going down the more practical path of learning to code (#DigitalNomadLifeComeAtMe). I`m spending time over the next few weeks researching a few courses and will hopefully make my mind up soon. Any advice welcome! 


An obvious one... Become fluent(ish) in a second language
I can only guess the amount of time I will be in Brazil and with that,how fluent I will be upon my departure (uh it pains me to even think about leaving). But whilst I am here I want to try my hardest to pick up as much Portuguese as I can. It's such a beautiful language and I so badly want to interact with people on a deeper level. 

To speak up when something isn`t ok 
Grow a thicker skin, toughen up, no more Mr Nice Guy... whatever you want to call it. As I mentioned in my reflecting on 2017 post, this year I`m hoping to be a little truer to myself and voice when something doesn`t sit right with me.I need to stop being afraid of conflict and tell people if I think they`re being a little shitty. This includes being upfront and asking the questions I`m scared of - there`s been a few instances over the past year where I`ve replayed scenarios or wondered for ages what someone else is thinking (you know how it is). Now, I am going to pluck up the courage to ask. 


Look into creating a community or charity project
I discussed the idea of so many different projects with friends in 2017. From language swaps to coffee bean bag programmes and I`m kicking myself for just having the conversation and not actually looking into the feasibility of setting them up. The ´share economy` is ever present and this year, I owe it to myself to take my ideas a little more seriously and explore the idea of creating something that can make other people`s lives better. 


Conduct a wardrobe refresh
Something a little more materialistic, but nevertheless true. This year I want to streamline my wardrobe to contain only clothes I actually wear. So, in 2018 I will be saying  bye to the 2014 topshop sale dress that I *might* wear again and those badly fitted All Saints jeans I don`t wear but keep because they were a bargain. Not only will I be saying goodbye to many pieces (expect a monster Depop sale when I return to the UK), but I`ll be boycotting fastfashion and making a promise to only buy good quality pieces that will last a long time - either second hand or in store. 


To read everyday (even for 30 minutes)
Easily said and easily done but taking a small amount of time out of your day to read is such a valuable thing to do. For that precious half an hour you`re offline and training your mind to be present and focused on a singular thing - something that I (like most millennials) really struggle with. Not only this, but the amount of information available in books is so incredibly vast - you can find a career mentor, life coach or friend between the pages. For those who think I`m talking a load of rubbish, pleaaase watch this TEDTalk (Link here) - Tai Lopez puts his point across in a way 1000x better than me and it makes So. Much. Sense. 

To use my creativity more
Creativity is ingrained in my nature. When I was younger I would sketch, paint, write and loved making videos. Yet over the past few years, I think a combination of my degree, choice of jobs (and if I`m honest to myself, laziness), left me feeling like I couldn`t take time out of my day to do these things anymore. When I`m creating I feel at my happiest and most myself, so this year I`m going to be writing every day, reuniting with my watercolours and may even try to make some videos (there`s so many elements of Brazilian culture that I`d love to capture). I think this resolution even extends itself to becoming more involved with modeling. It`s something I love - becoming the character of clothes you`re wearing and working with a photographer to create a particular vision (more shoots please!) 

And finally, to write an article somewhere... 
Rewind 12 years and you would find a 12 year old Holly, like clockwork exchanging every shred of her weekly pocket money for Teen Vogue from the town centre WH Smiths. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and looking at the journalist´s name at the end of the page and wondering what it would be like if I was to ever write an article. Although my choice of outlet has grown, I still do the same thing. I read articles from The Guardian to Refinery 29 and wonder what it would be like if I was to write about the same topic and how I would structure it. Whilst I don`t anticipate to see my name on Conde Nast traveller any time soon (although that would be a dream), I`m going to be submitting articles to online outlets. Eventually, I hope something will be published. 



A note: Reading over these goals again, it`s so apparent that 2018 will be a year of words for me. Absorbing new words in the form of researching new opportunities and more importantly, expressing words - whether thats language related, speaking my mind or putting pen to paper. And with 2017 still fresh in mind, I can`t help but think that it will be a year of words for the rest of the world also.  2017 brought us all so much change - political earthquakes and more people using their voices than ever. It`s so important that we carry this on in 2018 and continue to collectively use our voices to evolve so that the future is brighter and fairer - not just for ourselves but for others who haven`t been gifted the same platform as us, too.


So, here`s to 2018. Let`s see where the year takes us. 

Holly x 

A Reflection on 2017



Wow, 2017. I can´t argue with you. You´ve been an incredible, full-on, whirl wind. 

When I first sat to write this post, I was overwhelmed. How do you even begin to dissect a year of laughter, tears (yes communal crying sessions in the uni library toilets were a thing in final year), and quite obviously, change?

I even Googled `How to reflect on a year` and was faced with a load of psychoanalysis techniques that I don´t have the patience or brain power to digest (the post-lunch slump has hit me hard). So, I´m just going to freestyle and hope for the best. 




I guess, as a whole, this year hasn´t brought a huge epiphiny moment (and in reality I don´t think something like this exists). I´ve not had a wave of self discovery, and to be honest - I still don´t know what the F* I´m doing (as evidenced by my quarter life, moving to Brazil crisis). 

Instead, this year has been made up of tiny ´ah-hah´moments, where I´ve come to realise something small about myself and surroundings; likes, dislikes, limitations, ambitions - even becoming comfortable with my personality. 

Achievements.

2017 brought a pretty incredible cocktail of major life landmarks as well as tiny fear-facing moments, all of which I'm so so proud of. 

Incessant hard work paid off and in June I graduated university with a first class degree in Marketing. After a 3 day break between my final university deadline, I skipped back to East London (the best city in the world) and worked for 6 months in a grad job at a film studio before setting my sights on Brazil and embarking on the biggest adventure I've had to date. 

Most importantly, this year, I've made the move to do something I have always dreamed of and left comforts (my flat, job, friends) for something unknown on the other side of the world. I've independently set myself up in a new country with an income, a growing ability to speak Portuguese, a flat and the most hilarious group of friends. An achievement that is so reassuring and has brought new confidence - No matter what happens I know I can rely on myself. 

And as for those tiny, fear facing moments - This year I've stood up for what I believe in and voiced my opinion on a subject close to my heart. 

I worked with an incredible community project in Nottingham, IEN (Immigration Education Nottingham), ran by a girl-crush and now friend, Shannon. With them, I helped organise protests on behalf of child refugees effected by the revoke of the Dubbs ammendment. Expressing an opinion publicly is a daunting thing but I am so glad I did it. I've learnt that it's important to use your voice for people less priviledged and not to accept something simply because ít's an issue 'bigger than yourself'. 

Health.

Although I got a first in my degree, rewind to January, and I was half way through my final year and fast headed towards burnout. I was  (stupidly) taking Spanish, a Google marketing course, working as a waitess, student ambassador, volunteering, and trying to maintain a social life *and breathe*

I´d become so stressed working all day that I fell into a cycle of doing a waitressing shift until 12am and then going straight for a night out with friends to release the pressure. 

It was really short sighted of me and ended up impacting my health. By April I was totally exhausted from being pulled in so many directions and not taking time to rest, I was overcome with chest infection after chest infection and had lost so much weight. 

At the time I was frustrated that I couldn´t keep up with it all but now I see that burn out is a real problem (even in your early 20s).  And on the contrary to Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls, the limit really does exist. 


Relationships.

Above all, I think this is the first year that I feel secure in my adult friendships. What I mean by this is that 2017 has built the most incredible bonds with friends - all of which different in their own way. I can safely say I´m surrounded by a group of people who I admire greatly for different reasons (albeit metaphorically now I´m in Brazil). 

My friends are so encouraging and inspiring - they´re breathing advocates of ´If you can think it, you can do it´ and it is something pushing me to set my ambitions even further afield for 2018. (U guys r da bomb xox). 


Regrets.

Ugh a tough one to write. 

Looking back on those close relationships I've built with friends has emphasised to me how important it is to walk away from enironments that are negative or uncomfortable. 

But, I guess, as part of my personality I'm very soft natured and avoidant of conflict. With that in mind, I think theres been a few times where people have said or done something hurtful/unfair and I haven´t had the courage to say ´Hey that´s not ok with me´. Something I´m so aware of now and although I dread the thought of causing any form of tension, will be working on in 2018. 

   
                                                                                                                                    



So, that's it. 

2018, I have a very good feeling about you. 

Wishing you the very best for next year and that you go after everything you dream of. Happy New Year!!

E para minha amigas Brasileiros, Felizidades - espero o ano novu trago coisas boas!!!


Holly x 

HOW I AFFORD TO TRAVEL THE WORLD




Aside from rent, I have no doubt that I spend the majority of my money on travel.

In 2014, after coming home from a summer school at a university in Strasbourg, I had met people from every stretch of the world; Lebanon, South Africa, Columbia... It's no surprise that the plethora of stories I had heard - Kruger Park in South Africa, the countryside of Columbia and the streets of Washington, had planted a seed in my mind and the idea of being able to physically see all of the places quickly became romantisised to me.

Later that summer, with the ideas of travelling to new countries fresh in my mind, I went for a drink with a mutual friend. Over pints of Guinness (yes my pint of choice then was Guinness - you can blame years of going to the pub with my Dad for that) we both mentioned that our friends had dropped out of travelling Europe. I think we both had the same amount of spontenaeity in our personalities, because a few days later we had a booked a month long trip to travel around Europe together.

Whilst the majority of people would think that spending a month travelling with someone you don't really know is crazy/odd/reckless (pick your choice of adjective), it's one of the best things I've ever done. I still laugh when I think about the accidental hungarian haircut, the dodgy croatian nightclubs and those German guys in Berlin. References which are completely contextless to you, but I promise are hilarious (stories for another time perhaps).

Fastforward 3 years and I've made countless trips to Europe, backpacked through Asia and have now hatched a semi-permanent home in Rio De Janeiro, spending my weekends travelling to new cities in Brazil. Lottery Winner? Money from parents? Heiress to Russian fortune? Living off plain rice and water? I hear you ask... Nope. The reality is far from riveting.

I am just really good at making my savings work hard for me.

So, here's my commandements for affording to travel the world. From a someone who still loves to be able to afford a few too many nights out and shop impulsively 😜


1) Travel commandment number 1: Tho shalt NEVER believe the first flight price they see.

Repeat after me: "The incognito tab is your friend."

I feel so bad for people who simply book the first flight price they see. Don't do it!! There's always a cheaper way. Always look on flight comparison sites like Skyscanner and use the first price you see as a bench mark. Following that, delete all of the cookies on your browser and open up a new incognito tab. From here, go back to SkyScanner and search for your flights across a wider bredth of dates (Sky Scanner has a month option). With this you can compare flight dates across a month without the price being hiked up because of your previous browsing history. The cost of my Bangkok flight halved when I followed these tips.

2) Commandment number 2: Thou shalt be flexible

If you want to save money you need to be flexible. Be flexible with dates, the modes of transport you're willing to take and the journey times. You can save a lot travelling mid week rather than at the weekend or taking a bus rather than a flight. Aaand even if do decide to take a flight bc the journey is longhall, take a  look at the non-direct options - you will likely save and may even be able to extend your stopover in a layover city for a few days (2 locations in the cost of one ticket!). Through doing this, my friend just spent a night in Miami on the way back from Rio to Denmark.


3) Commandment 3: Thou shalt use separate bank accounts and make one of them Monzo

If it is there, I will spend it.

Frustratingly, I have to baby myself and give myself spending money every week. When I was saving for South America, All of my wages would go directly into my saving account. I would take out a set amount of spending every week and credit it to my Monzo bank account/debit card. This way, I knew that I could spend the amount on my Monzo on whatever I wanted, whilst the rest of the money was for saving and rent.

P.s If you've not heard of Monzo, check them out. Their bank account tracks your spending realtime via an app and tells you which vendors/forms of entertainment you spend your money on. This way you can see how much nights out etc really total up to.

P.p.s It's also a great way to keep your savings safe whilst travelling.  I only ever top up my card by 30 pounds, so if someone steals it, I will just have to deal with wounded pride rather than a wounded bank account.


4) Commandment Numero 4: Thou shalt use night buses to travel

A night bus is a scary thought for some but honestly, it's fine. It's not comfortable - expect to have the person infront recline their seat so far back that they're basically laying on your lap. And then be trapped in an internal debate whether you recline yours equally as much and irritate the person behind you.

Buut it's cheap. I paid 100 reais to travel from Rio to São Paulo  (£22) and was able to sleep for the 6 hour journey.

I'd also recommend using hitch hiking app, Blabla Car. I've not used it yet myself (but intend to soon) but all of my friends swear by it. Just be cautious - only grab a ride with people who have Facebook connected to their profile and have reviews.


5) Commandment 5: Thou shalt avoid hotels and stay in hostels or use house swaps

A few years ago, the thought of sharing a dorm with strangers would have seemed totally gross and to be honest, a little unsafe. Today, I'm sharing a dorm with 8 guys and am nursing a hangover with free coffee from the hostel kitchen. We went out last night and are all exploring the city of São Paulo together today.

Staying in a  hostel is always the cheaper route and such a great way to meet people. I've never had a bad experience and would recommend to anyone... just be prepared to shower in flip flops and fear for your life if you have to climb down a top bunk ladder.

For the fearful, doing a house swap is a great way to gain free accommodation. I know someone who swaps their flat in the Netherlands with friends in Europe for cheap getaways. Super easy!

6) The 6th and Final Commandment: Want a longer trip? Thou shalt work abroad

Australia, Europe, South America, China... the opportunities are endless. Working abroad enables you the to exchange your skills and time, for an experience to really soak up a country's culture. I know people who teach, work in bars/hostels/farms or even do work remotely online (things like Web design).

So, for example, right now I work 3 or 4 days a week through teaching English. I have long weekends to explore Brazil and can finance a flat and a social life whilst doing so. It's perfect for people who want a more realistic experience of a country and not to be uprooted every few days like when you're back packing.

I'd also recommend volunteering abroad. When I volunteered in Greece, the volunteer apartment was something like 5 Euros a week.  A lot of projects also give free accomodation and food to volunteers too and you get to do something really great for other human beings 🙌💕

NB - I want to add a new recommendation for working abroad here; I've recently heard a lot about a site called World Packers. You sign up to the site and can work for hostels in exchange for food/accomodation. You can read more on their site here -www.worldpackers.com . I would definitely recommend for those who have a smaller budget and want to go away for a longer period of time!



OK, so they are my 6 commandments for affording to travel the world. Bottom line is that what you sacrifice in comfort, you gain in experiences and savings...

 If you have any tips, write them below - would love to hear!


Bye for now.
Holly x