I'm Depressed!!

Old Mar 7th, 2007, 04:17 PM
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I'm Depressed!!

Ok, you all remember me...Ms LionQueen who couldn't decide on a Bots itinerary, and then when I did, it was going to cost an arm, a leg, and my firstborn (~ $20K for 5 & 6-paw camps in high season as a single traveler in 2008). Well, I'm having an 'adult' moment where I trying to decide on the responsible, 'right' thing to do in relation to that trip. Bear with me as I lay out my dilemma.

You will recall that my car is 9-yo, 150K miles, and it seems time to put it out to pasture (last Nov, it needed a new radiator, timing belt, and I broke a piston, thus, a rebuilt engine too). However, even though its fixed & running now, I no longer feel comfortable with it (and it is older in age), so I think it's time for a new one. Additionally, I have always relocated every 2 to 3 years for my job (VA, CA, TX, LA, etc.), but I'm 37, and think it's time to purchase a home, which I feel is an important part of any long-term plan for financial well-being.

Let's face it, even if I drop the quality of my safari camps, go in the green season, etc., I still have the single supplement (which can be costly), and I still have to weigh a Bots aafari against the needed task of getting a new car, and the responsible task of buying a home. The Bots safari expense would make a good downpayment on either the house or the car, there's just no denying that.

So therein lies my dilemma, and the mere thought that I should do the responsible thing, and put off the Bots itinerary (already in 2008!) almost breaks my heart! I never thought I'd still feel the 'pull' of being on safari 2 years after returning, but I do! It's like nowhere else in the world even compares to being in Africa on safari! But I just don't see how I can do a Bots safari (even a downsized one), buy a new car, and purchase a new home (and deal with all the new expenses of that) in a single 18-month period.

So has anyone had a similar dilemma - safari planned, you can feel it in your heart, and you're ready to book it, yet you have to weigh the expense of the safari vacation against other, more needed, more responsible purchases? What did you do? And if you did do the responsible thing, how the hell do you get the idea of the safari out of system then? And what the heck do you think I should do?!?!

Sorry for the long post, but I knew you guys were the only ones who could possibly understand my dilemma...because you know the magic & draw of being on safari in Africa!
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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LionQueen,

I know exactly how you feel...often I have had to choose between a safari and other things. Just last year I was convinced that it was not the wisest thing to do to follow through on a $20K Tanzanian high season safari...I attempted to cancel, but then changed my mind after I saw that I was going to be responsible for a 25% cancellation fee. Only through a fate's magical way was I in a position to finally pay for my safari without dipping into savings or borrowing money and that was when someone ran a red light and I smashed my Porsche into them, a total loss on my car and about a $20K payout!

Fortunately, however, in my case, it was not my primary vehicle, but, still, I made the choice to go on the safari with the money rather than to go out and put a down payment on another Porsche and I still miss that car and likely won't get another one anytime soon.

I would say that you can have the best of both worlds if you just move your safari up to shoulder season, thus saving possibly 30%, or about $6700, more than enough for a down payment on a respectable vehicle or double the amount and possibly your first six payments on a leased vehicle.

Don't know what to say about buying property...given that you have moved around so much, maybe you should make sure that you are settling in just the right place. You would regret buying a property only to turn around and sell it within a year or two, paying out much of your gain to the realtor.

Alternately, if it is high season you want, you should also strongly consider Zambia which is about 30% less in high season than Botswana. There are truly some fabulous camps to visit in Zambia including the following:

www.chiawa.com
www.kaingo.com
www.bushcampcompany.com
www.remoteafrica.com
www.luangwariverlodge.com
www.kasakariverlodge.com
www.chongwe-river.com
www.luangwa.com

Best of luck and I totally empathize with you!
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Well, you can always wait till next year and get the next tour by the following agency, that is if you don't mind a few Mormons. $2900
www.funforlesstours.com/africaSouth031807.html

heh heh
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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How about a mobile in Botswana?
The green season idea is good. So is Zambia.

Since you asked what you should do, here is my suggestion.
1) Replace the car with a late model used car with a warranty, doing a background check on it and everything.

2)Don't buy a house at this time given your frequent moving. It is also easier to travel without the commitment of a house.

3) Go to Zambia during those approximate dates in 2008. Maybe I'll see you in North or South Luangwa if you go in late July.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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LionQueen:
Ditto the other advice:

a) it does not have to be a 20K trip to go back;

b) buying a house is not necessarily good financial planning if you are moving around that much.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 04:34 AM
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Buy a decent used car, because you move so much I wouldn't buy a home, go with a less expensive trip, but GO GO GO!!!!! There are plenty of less expensive options. If you truly love Africa then 5-6 paw camps aren't necessary. If you can't find someone to travel with use a company's package. You'll be with other people who love Africa as much as you do. Life is too short to do things you "should" do. There may not be anyone in your day to day life that understands why you would do something so "irresponsible." But everyone here understands! I can't imagine you will ever regret your decision to go back to Africa. Someone on another board had some wise words..."you can always make more money...you can never make more time."
Lily
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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The only real estate I own is my cemetary plot. No vehicle. No kids. Being able to travel anywhere is way more important. And, Africa is on the top of that list.

Thankfully and surprisingly, living in NYC, I don't need a car and my rent is so ridiculously low, it's actually embassing.

If you keep moving, pass on owning something till it's really time to do so and for many it never is. And, as to wheels, there are so many lux (and nt so lux) used vehicles to choose from, that should be an easy decision.
 
Old Mar 8th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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Owning a home is overrated in my opinion. I hate spending on maintenance what we could be spending on travel, so we plan to sell soon. I miss calling the super!
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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<<Owning a home is overrated in my opinion. I hate spending on maintenance what we could be spending on travel, so we plan to sell soon. I miss calling the super!>>

I don't agree with the above statement; the house I bought six years ago has more than doubled in value, maintenance has been minimal and my payment is considerably less than rent in my neighborhood. However, that would not have been the case if I had to sell in two years.

Heed the advice of previous posters, take a less expensive trip, buy a good used car and don't buy a house if you'll be moving in less than five years.

Do all tours charge a single supplement? Can you find a roommate (tent mate)?

Good luck with your predicament but I have a feeling you'll be traveling.




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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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I agree with Luisah.
regards - tom
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Hello LionQueen,
Even i will like to go 3 weeks,i am going "only" ten days to Botswana in November (Kwando and Selinda properties) for 5.700$ with international flights.No single supplement.
Last year i went 10 days to Tanzania for 4.000$ and there are countries less expensive.
Every time i come home after safaris, the very next day i feel i have to go back .África is calling me again ,but is not the luxury lodges ,no. Is the scenario,the landscape,the wildlife,the trees,the birds,the people,the silence,the sounds...and so many more emotions i can not get in Europe(here i can go to luxury hotels and restaurants very easy)
Of course is nice to stay at wonderful luxury top lodges,but when you have to buy a car,a house and a trip and don't have in of money for so many things ,why Mombo ,King Pool and camps like that if you have other camps half price that will give you "almost" the same pleasure..i think.
3 days at Little Kwara in shoulder season cost the same than 1 day at Mombo.
There are other options than just "don't by the house".
Try to find another solo traveller(the most difficult part)and go ...let say to Tanzania in the green season(i know is not Botswana but..) .
I am sure you will enjoy it.Take a look at Bill and Carolyn Tanzania 2007 reports and pictures,JUST AMAZING!!.

By the way,i love África,this will be my 8th trip to this continent,is definitely more important than my car,is on top of my list....but my kids are a little bit higher.


Good luck.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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Ok, I have made up my mind. I don't know how I could have even thought it was a dilemma! OF COURSE, I HAVE TO GO ON SAFARI! I went to Kenya & Tanzania in 2005, and I always said Botswana would be next on my list. Well it's time to do it, and do it right!

I will be going to my next job position at the beginning of 2008. It could be here in Houston, but I will also be open to relocation to another state or country, and I will seek that if the place is good, and the position is right, and the growth & challenge (& pay!) is there. Given that, I do not think I will seek to buy a house this year. I will at least wait until I see where my next job position will take me.

Now regarding the car, that is a must. Have to have reliable transportation to even go to work & make money to support vacation travel! I will be more open about the type of car I get (i.e. doesn't have to be that Caddy Escalade I wanted, right)?

Now regarding the Bots itinerary, I am checking with the travel agent on some more cost-effective lodges, but don't be surprised if I come back and say I kept my itinerary exactly like it was! I've been thinking about this for several days now, and goshdarnit, I work hard for my money! I deserve a sweet vacation getaway every now & then! You only live once, and I said a long time ago that I was going to stop putting things off ...until I was married, until I had purchased a home, until I had more money, until I had fewer financial responsibilities, etc., etc. You can ALWAYS rationalize that there will be a better time at some point in the future to do something! But we have to learn to stop living for tomorrow, and start living for today!

Also, I had breakfast with one of my friends this morning, and she said that I HAVE to go to Botswana, that my face just lights up every time I talk about it. We have to learn to follow our passions, to do the things that give us joy & happiness, to do the things that give our lives meaning & that make our lives worth living. For me, at this point in my life, that means booking my 2008 safari vacation to Botswana! Dilemma solved!
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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CONGRATULATIONS on your decision! Though I knew what you would do when you first posted...the pull of Africa is too strong!
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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LOL Dennis, I think LionQueen just needed to convince herself. We all knew she was going back.

Once bitten by the Africa bug, you're a goner! Welcome to our world, LionQueen! >
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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"work hard for the money . . ."

Great decision.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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Botswana is back on!
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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Congratulations! I knew you'd "see the light!"
Lily
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Old Mar 31st, 2007, 05:49 PM
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LionQueen

What's shaking with your trip? Just wondering.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 03:43 PM
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In many areas the housing market is correcting, so you can stand to wait a few years on the house. Then buy, use the tax return to go back to Africa!
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