Just over four months ago, we left the dingy shores of the green and pleasant land. In doing so, we also left behind the British Pound, and adopted currencies such as the Rupee, Kip, Kyat, Riel, Ringit, Dollar and Baht, and their associated exchange rates.
I’m sure if you were asked to give the price of a loaf of bread in your local supermarket, most people would be pretty accurate. Now, what if I asked you the price of a loaf of bread in Thailand, and in the local currency of Baht? Or maybe in the dual currency Kingdom of Cambodia, where Riel and Dollars are used interchangeably?
The point of all this currency chat is that, after 4 months on the road, we have lost track of the value of money. We don’t know how much we’re supposed to pay for a bus journey, or for dinner. And when we have to use three currencies at once, it all becomes a bit confusing.
Recently, 2 of our friends successfully completed a “live below the line” challenge, where one tries to eat for less than £1 a day each for a week. Congrats by the way James and Mariana. Donate here if you wish.
I think that James and Mariana would agree that watching absolutely everything you spend down to meticulous detail is pretty exhausting.
Lucy and I will regularly eat a cheaper option on the menu in order to save money. Whether it be 10p or 50p (it’s never much more than this!) and we eat street food regularly to save the same amount again.
Confusingly, this box of Alpen in Siem Reap didn’t actually cost £2
Why is it, that we’re so worried about saving pennies, where 6 months ago, we’d get a large glass of wine in the pub without even thinking about it? Or we would go out to dinner in London and order whatever we wanted with only a cursory glance at the price?
I think travelling does that to people. Almost everyone we chat to has something to say on how much money they’re spending or saving, and how expensive this place is compared with that place.
One of the main reasons, I think, that we’ve lost the value of money is that people are constantly trying to rip us off. It’s just a part of the cycle now. Whether it’s Tuk Tuk drivers (often it is!), touts, fruit sellers, market stall owners, or hotel managers, everyone wants a piece of our money.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, it’s still cheaper for us to be out here without jobs, than it is in London, with jobs! And because of our financial situation, we will come back to the UK in July with more money than we had when we left in January.
In spite of this, we have lost the value of money, and every time we move to a new country, we have to get used to new prices, new exchange rates and new money.
Quite frankly, it’s exhausting and I am almost looking forward to returning to the UK where I know I will be charged five of the Queen’s English Pounds Sterling for my first beer. Almost.