So. Peace Corps handed me a little over a grand for my flight home. Add in my readjustment allowance, which is, minus taxes, probably just about $6500 (I’m guessing here). That gives me some $7500 or so to play or work with, and I haven’t yet decided how to go about spending that money. I am scheduled for my stamping out, my “completion of service” on November 8, 2012. (Yay for missing voting season in America). That means November 9th or 10th, I am free to do whatever I want to do, wherever I want to do it, and I have a ton of money to do that with, whatever that is.
I could be fiscally responsible and go cheap. Keep in mind though, as one volunteer – a 63 year-old volunteer I greatly respect – pointed out, I’ve been fiscally responsible for two years living off $250 a month. I’m ready to spend some money. When else in my life will I have the opportunity to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it with a wad of cash at my helm? So, my three options seem torn between either going cheap, going big, or going somewhere in the middle. I’ve laid out four detailed options here, and I’d like your feedback. If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Do you like these options? Which would you choose? Would you go somewhere completely different?
Get back to me now and let me know! I need to buy tickets sometime in the next few weeks.
Option 1: Operation “Around the World and Back”
This option has long been my first choice. I would fly on a cheap flight to Paris on the 9th or 10th of November and then fly to Tokyo or Okinawa for only about 500 bucks, where I would either hang out by myself in Tokyo or visit Gabe Hackman, my old fraternity brother who is currently stationed in Japan. After a week or so there, I would fly to California, somewhere along the coast, where I would rent a car for a slow cross-country two-week drive, visiting friends and national Parks I’ve always wanted to see all across the nation. Estimated cost (minus the money Peace Corps offers for flight): $2500
Option 2: Trans-Atlantic Trip
There are multiple cruise options from multiple cities. On the 9th or 10th of November, I would make my way toward a certain port city to find a cruise liner that would make a trans-Atlantic trip. Once I’m stateside, I would fly home from the port city. This option is, by far, the cheapest. If I played my cards right, I could even net money. Originally, this option was my first choice, because it’s the same way my grandfather returned to America after the War (by boat), and we all know I love mimicking everything he did. Estimated cost: $500-$1000, depending on ticket costs to the port city and to home.
Option 3: Combo Extravaganza
The third option is some combination of the first two, essentially. I could boat home and then rent a car and do some driving. The disadvantage here is the part of the United States I want to see is in the West, not the East, so driving home isn’t that appealing to me. However, I could fly to California once I hit the states and then drive home from there. Another version of this option would be to fly to Japan and then fly to Tennessee, skipping the drive altogether. Estimated cost: $1000-$2000
Option 4: Operation Mom’s Favorite Option
This option has actually been increasingly favorable as I get closer to home. It’s simple. I buy a ticket directly from Casablanca to Memphis or Nashville. Or, I visit somewhere in Europe briefly (Hungary, Romania, Sweden, somewhere like that) for a couple of days and then return to America, straight home. It’s the cheapest option and leaves me with money I could put toward loans, clothes, an iPhone, etc. Technically, all of the options leave me with enough money to do all of these things. But this option leaves me with a few thousand more when it’s all said and done. So, that’s both fiscally responsible, smart, etc., but it lacks the adventure the other options bring to the table. Cost: $0-$500
So. There you have it. You decide my fate.