25 Goals for Turning 25: First Quarter Update

Things have been quiet on The 9 to 5 Wanderer lately…I’m afraid the last month has been A LOT of 9 to 5 and a little wandering. A massive work project that dragged on for about a month and a half finally wrapped up today, and now I have a bit of room to breath, aka write. Between work absolutely slamming me on a daily basis and French class proving to be the hardest (but also most fulfilling) semester yet, I haven’t had much energy, or time, for anything else.

I’ve been meaning to write an update on my 25 Goals for Turning 25 for many weeks now. Since The 9 to 5 Wanderer is about travel and work, I thought it would be only appropriate to do a quarterly progress check-in to see how I’m doing with achieving my 25 for 25 goals. My office’s fiscal year starts in July, so here’s my first quarter roundup. I don’t think I did too badly! *pats self on the back*

1. Really get The 9 to 5 Wanderer up and running as a full blown travel blog with lots of great content on a regular basis. This blog has been such a cathartic outlet for me, and I hope you all have enjoyed reading it so far too!

I started out the quarter really strong on this….but then work took over. With a particularly crazy work schedule and French starting back up in September, I unfortunately have had to put the blog a little bit on the back-burner. Ok, completely on the back-burner. Hoping to get back on the roll I was on at the end of the summer!

2. Finally get the quantities of travel toiletries right. I’m always double what I need or way under-equipped. True nirvana where you’ve got just enough shampoo to make it through your last day? Never achieved it.

I’m getting better. My recent weekend getaway to New York was a major success in the toiletry department. I had everything I needed and nothing I didn’t need. Progress? I think yes! My upcoming trip to Istanbul and Cairo will be a bit annoying and tricky…because I’m going to my cousin’s wedding, I don’t think I can get away with my usual tinted Vaseline, mascara, eyebrow pencil, pared down makeup routine. Got to bring the works. 

3. Solve the travel shoes dilemma. This is always my light packing downfall, I’ve got the rest nearly right, but then I go and throw 5 pairs of shoes in there for 7 days of travel. Sigh.

This trip to Istanbul and Cairo will be the true test. At present I’m planning on bringing three pairs of shoes for 10 days: black flats, silver sandals, and the pair of heels that goes with the dress I will be wearing to the wedding. It will be a very fancy affair so unfortunately the dress/shoes will have zero crossover with the rest of my trip wardrobe. So that really means I kind of only am bringing two pairs of shoes, right?

4. Travel somewhere entirely new, either in the US or overseas.

Check. I’m headed to Istanbul tomorrow! I also went to the Hamptons this summer, which was a new place in the US, so I completed this goal double over already! Let’s see how many more times I can do this before the end of the year. 

5. Buy a travel towel. I’ve never had one but I’m convinced it will be a GAME CHANGER.

Nope, haven’t done this one yet.

6. Go to at least one of my three cousins’ weddings in Cairo this year (yes, three in one year). More on why I’m not going to the one in August in a different post.

Headed there in tomorrow!

7. Go to Istanbul and Marrakesh, my top two travel dream destinations, some time in the next four years, if not sooner.

See above. TOMORROW. Can’t wait to get the heck out of Dodge. 

8. In the spirit of remembering that there is lots of global exploration to do here at home, eat at least one different cuisine from around the world here in Boston each month.

Meh, I haven’t really been keeping track of this to be honest, but I did have Moroccan food at a really authentic Moroccan restaurant run by a sweet old Moroccan lady just a few weeks ago. Will have to make more of a concerted effort in Q2.

9.Successfully negotiate a raise/promotion at work.

Ughhhhh nope. Apparently the papers are going through this week, but given the process it has been so far, I’m not holding my breath. Feeling pretty down about it, but that’s a story for another day.

10. Having acquired said promotion (fingers majorly crossed), don’t immediately blow money on random stuff/immediately elevate standard of living. Make small changes, top up the #travelfund, and put some in savings and towards student loans.

See above, haven’t managed this one yet either :/

11. Maximize my credit card flight rewards scheme. I opened one up, but I haven’t really used it to its full potential yet. There are lots of purchases I could be making with the card to gain points, but I still don’t trust myself enough to live fully on credit cards.

I now have a full trip to Europe available in points! I’m contemplating opening another card. The only thing I am kicking myself on is missing a 10,000 point opportunity with AA through signing up for a new energy company paying system. It would have saved us 10% on our first three billing cycles and given me lots of points. Work just got so crazy that I didn’t even have a second to think about it, and the deadline to enroll was September 30th . Gah. 

12. Stay in a hostel at least once. I’ve been lucky that a lot of my travel recently has come with a friend’s place to crash at, aka no accommodation expenses, but I do love a good hostel experience.

Not yet. I was originally thinking I would hostel it in Istanbul, but then my parents decided to tag along, and we are all staying in a hotel. Can’t complain.

13. Finally get How to Travel the World on $50 a Day on loan from the library. I have been on the waitlist 5EVER and I have a feeling it is going to change my life forever.

I did get on a 6 person waitlist at the library for this book, buttttt when it was my turn I got super busy and didn’t pick it up on time and forfeited my spot in the line. FAIL.

14. On that note, start really getting serious about travel hacking. Does anyone have experience with this? I’m hoping the book in #12 will help, but so far I’ve only opened up a flight rewards credit card.

Haven’t really had a chance to do that, but I have learned a few valuable travel tricks in the past couple months, which I will hopefully be sharing with you all on the blog shortly.

15. Go on a girly reunion trip with my two best friends from college. One lives in Philadelphia, the other in NYC, we are all poor, and our only rule is it has to be accessible by bus for all three of us.

We haven’t been on a girly reunion trip yet, but we did have a reunion weekend at my friend’s house in NYC a few weekends ago. It was the first time we have all been in the same place since 2012! They are coming to visit me in October, so it looks like we’ve finally got the regular reunion ball rolling.

16. Keep up the French classes. Hopefully reach the point where I can have full conversations with native speakers.

Currently kicking my butt. 

17. Enjoy home home, Cape Cod, to the fullest. I grew up in a beach travel destination that people all over the world die to go to, and there’s a lot of awesome fun stuff I should be taking advantage of this summer (not to mention quality time with the good old fam!)

I got super busy every weekend towards the end of the summer, so I didn’t get home for the second half of July and all of August, which was a major bummer. However, I got a lot of good Cape Cod summer in during the first half of the summer, and had a really nice four-day weekend home over Labor Day.

18. Have a healthier balance between my emergency fund and my travel fund (aka have separate funds and stop eyeing the emergency money to book your next flight, Amani).

Something I did do, and will write about more later, is open an online savings account a few weeks ago. Not only does it keep my emergency fund wayyyy out of sight, out of mind, and just that little bit more inaccessible, but it’s also earning me a 1% interest rate, instead of like .05% which is the rate of my main bank account. I’ve had the online account open about 3 weeks and have already earned $2.55 in interest. Not much, but it’s money I didn’t have before! And although the money is technically really easy to access, mentally it’s very far away, so there’s little risk of me tapping into it and depositing over to my checking.

19. Once that is settled, start building a “when the price is right” travel fund. Over the last few months I’ve come across more than one flight flash sale, where if I had a liiiiiittle more financial flexibility (assuming #taxpocalypse didn’t happen) I would have been able to get some crazy steals. Australia for $600, Istanbul for $400? YES PLEASE.

Not quite there yet. But I think the separate online savings account is a super important step in the right direction.

20. Go to Cartagena, Columbia this winter with my girls from grad school. Not only are they the best and also fellow wanderlusters, but one of them has an uncle with a house there!

If we do this, we’re looking at going potentially in the winter time, so this one is still TBD.

21. Figure out more of a focused career trajectory, aka stop applying to jobs in Paris and/or Brussels and/or Geneva every month or so when you get unhappy or frustrated with your current role. Or do. Just pick one. Or more. No pressure.

HAHAHA. A girl can dream.

22. Go back to London with enough money to buy all the tea, treats, and snacks and face creams I want, rather than accidentally run out of money on the last day like I did this time.

Nope not yet, but I have that free flight earmarked for a return to London. I’d love to stay two weeks this time, because one week never seems enough to see everyone I want to.

23. Be smart about vacation days and use them to their fullest potential.

This trip to Istanbul will be the first I use since I went to London last May. I’ve been really good at using my three-day summer weekends to the fullest, so I made it through the summer without using any vacation days. I’m still mentally scarred from last year’s winter in Boston, so I’m saving up some vacation days in case my mental sanity requires a mid-winter get away

24. Be more laid back about travel and life in general. I can’t do it all, even if I want to.

Welllllll, let’s just say that we may have to push that goal back to Q2. Work has made that one pretty much impossible this quarter. So. Much. Stress.

25. That’s really all I’ve got to be honest, 24 is close enough, right?

No changes to report here. Maybe I’ll go wild and add another goal in my second quarter round up.

How do you think I did?

Happy Wandering

-xo

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