April 3rd, 2006

Cost of Living: Part 2

Posted by natdavauer in Around the World

Back in the USA where we live in a location for more than one week at a time and all our belongings wouldn’t even fit into a backpack the size of a school bus, things are predictable. Not necessarily cheap, but being able to walk home from a bar in the dark and remember where home is exactly has its values. If you’re backpacking, you’ve heard somewhere that there are places in the world where the cost of living is drastically different. (Assuming you did not hear about backpacking in college while living 100% off mom and dad’s dime). “Different” being “cheap. Very, very cheap.”

“There are islands in Thailand where you can live for, like, two bucks a day dude!” I’ve heard this very sentence before, no wait… I’ve said this very sentence before. You could just find a dollar-a-day bungalow on the beach of some remote paradise island; throw in a couple of Coca-Colas and bam! There goes a year. A year that only costs $730 bucks or one month’s rent or 36 tanks of gas or half a root canal or a U2 ticket. I won’t even compare it to the amount of tuition that would get you an ILS degree at Madison.

Of course, like any student, a young backpacker’s mind is full of idealism, full of awe of those who came before him. Henry David Thoreau lived on Walden Pond for mere cents a day putting my paradise iIsland boast on “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Forget buying a Coke. Just grow your own sugarcane, molasses, carbonic acid, etc. The young idealistic Chris McCandless from “Into the Wild” saw Thoreau’s example and figured “why not?” Then he learned why not when he froze to death in a bus in Alaska. Which again leads me to bring up the paradise island offer: Couple bucks instead of free, but no freezing to death.

Alas, it is not to be. The legend of the year possible to be spent in paradise for cents on the dollar only exists in books and smoky dorm rooms. The first person to come back from the island $730 poorer lived the legend while his friends found it was four bucks a day when they got there. They of course quoted Nietzsche and said, “There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths [dude].” Then the proceeded to say that there were now chicks on the beach with no tops on and that’s worth, well, like two bucks anyway.

This cycle goes on until you justify your trip to a place that costs just as much or more than home by buying board shorts at a slight discount figuring you’ve saved some money there. Board shorts that you wouldn’t have bought at home and are prone to fall apart when you get them there.

What this post needs is some statistics to back up this completely off base comparison. Well, it’s not going to have any. However, The Cost of Living: Part 3 will, I promise, be based in some sort of numeric, statistical dataset.

“Dude, I’m tellin’ ya bro, you can’t put a value on topless women!”

Leave a reply

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: