How would you spend $9 today? 9 ways to spend $9 around the world. (Part 1)

 

In a world filled with bills, mortgages and credit card debt, we often forget how far our money can go. I’m often asked how I am able to save and fund my travels and the truth is seeing the world is not stereotypically expensive. In many cases, I’ve been able to spend less than I would at home, per day, in an exotic overseas location.

How much do you spend daily?

It might surprise you but I encourage you to work out how much you spend on an average day, just to cover basic expenses. Include subway and bus fares, parking, petrol, coffees, lunch (cost of buying ingredients if you make your lunch) and the cost of your dinner (whether you cook or get takeaway). Remember these costs are just your basic costs to survive. Don’t worry about adding your bills, rent and mortgages as these will most likely still cost you while you travel abroad.

Depending on where you live and your daily habits this could range from $20 to $100 for most people. For myself, the biggest cost for me, surprisingly, is my coffee (I have a caffeine addiction and need a few a day!).

Whatever amount you came up with I’m pretty sure you could stretch it pretty far in some cool exotic locations. Granted, you will need to find a cheap airline ticket first to get there but in some cases, the cost of travelling is so cheap it works out better even if you were to include the ticket price. This is especially true for longer holidays away.

I’ve always been passionate in sharing with others that travelling and seeing the world does not need to be expensive. I’ve travelled on a budget of $25 a day in Thailand and loved every part of it. This included accommodation, food and the occasional Thai massage! Of course, this is on the extreme side of things and a budget of $30-$50 is a bit more comfortable.

All it takes is a reminder that you can do so much in many places of the world with less money. More importantly, it’s the memories you will bring back.

How would you spend $9 today?

Here is a list of some of my favourite experiences (and favourite dishes) from my travels all adding up to a total of $9:

 

Cambodia:

$2 – Bed and private shower. While travelling in Phnom Penh, I found a hotel that had cheap rooms advertised for $3. It was after midnight when I arrived and the owner offered me to stay at $2!
$2 – All-you-can-eat-Curry
$5 – Tuk-Tuk motorbike ride to visit the temple of Angkor Wat during Sunset. $5 to see one of the coolest ancient temples in the world?

tuk tuk angkortemples of angkor
(Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia)

 

Germany:

$5 – Bratwurst and Sauerkraut – Berlin
$3.80 – Currywurst – I just love my curried sausages and bun!

$0.20 – Yoghurt – YES 20c for fresh yoghurt in a Frankfurt supermarket.

currywurst berlin
(Photo Credit: http://www.top10berlin.de)

 

Philippines:

$9 – a 2-hour boat ride in Boracay, Philippines. First of all, you’re on Boracay Island. It is paradise. Next, you’re on a boat island hopping between islands and snorkelling near coral reefs. Find me a better way to spend $9!

boat island hopping boracay

snorkelling boracay

(Photos: Boracay Island, Philippines.).

 

Thailand:

 

$8 – An hour long massage in Thailand. No trip to Thailand is complete without a traditional Thai massage.
$1 – Banana and Nutella Pancake! A staple in every backpacker’s journey and found on almost every corner in a touristy Thai town.

 

nutella pancake
(Photo: http://www.heatherandscott.ca)

 

Japan:

$7 – All day metro ticket in Tokyo. I spent a whole day just exploring by monorail and taking in this out-of-this-planet city.
$1.20 – Onigiri from 7-eleven! The cute triangle rice and seaweed wraps, found in all 7-Elevens, on every corner of Tokyo.
$0.80 – Tempura dish in an alleyway restaurant. Tempura is usually an expensive delicacy outside of Japan.
tokyo train ladies
onigiri tokyo

(Photos: Train Station and Onigiri, Tokyo.)

 

Indonesia:

$9 – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a Beer! Bali, Indonesia. All your meals sorted for a day. I sometimes pay $9 just for a beer in Australia.

 

Estonia:

$9 – 5 x Beers in Tallinn, Estonia. I just remember the medieval ceramic beer steins. There was beer; and roasted rabbit.

old hansa estonia

(Photo: With my Estonian friends at Olde Hansa, Tallinn, Estonia)

 

Vietnam:

$2 – Pho in Vietnam. The delicious rice noodle soup, found on every street corner.
$6 – Water Puppet Show in Hanoi. A must-see in Hanoi.
$1 – Banh Mi – The famous French-Vietnamese meat and salad baguette. Spend $1 to have the original banh mi while you the enjoy the madness of Ho Chi Minh’s traffic.

 

water puppet hanoi

(Photo: Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre http://www.hanoilocalguide.com)

 

Australia:

$9 – The cost of two coffees. Last but not least, how could I not mention the overpriced coffee that I can’t keep away from at home in Perth, Australia. The problem is, I don’t stop at two.

All the exciting experiences and food I’ve shared above costing $9 or less should hopefully inspire you to consider that next trip overseas. Find that bargain airline ticket and go see how far you can stretch your $9!

 

Your Friend,

Peter Paxx

6 reasons why getting lost is good for you, especially when you travel.

When was the last time you got lost?

It is harder these days to actually get lost. Smartphones, GPS navigation, and the abundance of WiFi hotspots means that we are only mere seconds away from finding our current exact location. Even those who are bad at reading maps can rely on turn by turn navigation. Those of us who can’t read a compass can rely on Google Maps to find north. Some of us even have portable cameras that can tell us where we are the moment we take a photo. I think it’s great what technology has done for us, but I am still such a fan of a fold-out map. Not only does it allow me to mentally work out my coordinates, but physically holding up a new map of a new city is like being lost for the very first time again, and it’s a good feeling. Here are 6 reasons why getting lost is good for you:

1) You are forced to talk to more people:

When we travel we are naturally forced to talk to more strangers to get recommendations on a good place to eat, or get a chance to learn a few words in a new language. When we are lost, unless our wizardry gadgets can help us, we are forced to ask for directions. That conversation can sometimes lead to getting to know a stranger on a more personal level, something we are often too busy to do during our daily grind. You become more humble when you are lost in a new environment and more willing to allow others to help.

hmong tribe sapa vietnam

(Trusting the guidance of the Hmong tribe, Sapa, Vietnam.)

2) Your senses become more alert:

I know when I’ve been lost overseas, all of a sudden the street signs become brighter and the subway station names leap off the billboards. The adverts on the buildings become more colourful and the smell of your surroundings all of a sudden exist. You can hear the train approaching from a mile away and feel like everything around you is intensified. Your brain has a primal need to decipher everything around you to help find direction and for a short period your senses have a superhuman effect. If you’re away from the city streets then like magic the grass is greener and vibrant, and the flowers have a stronger scent. You notice the small changes in the wind and the colour of the sky. Being lost awakens our senses and reminds us that we’re alive.

3) It forces you to live in the current moment:

The feeling of being lost takes you deeply and truly into that moment. It is the feeling of uncertainty – the “Where am I?” and this feeling is tenfold when you are abroad and in a never before visited city. Being in this foreign and unrecognisable place forces your brain to take in all the minor details. In your usual daily routine you are occupied with daily habits. Reading the newspaper, updating your status, checking your RSS feeds and adding to your calendar and planning around events. Our minds are often occupied with what’s next, tomorrow, yesterday and we are sucked into the stories of the lives of others. Being lost brings yourself into the current moment and gives you ‘me’ time, and in that moment everything else is less important.

green grass poland

(Me in someplace, Poland.)

4) It opens up possibilities:

If you embrace the feeling of the unknown then it will open up possibilities. Rather than not knowing which path to take, it is now “Which path do I choose?” Down one street could lead you to a hip little reggae bar where they serve $3 cocktails until morning, down another alley could lead you to a temple where the monks are peacefully meditating. The train station that you end up at could lead you home, or to a whole new place. On the flip side, it could also lead you to absolutely nothing, but that is the beauty and fun of open possibilities. The feeling that anything can happen and the spontaneity of it all is a refreshing sensation. Being lost reminds us that it is okay to accept that anything can happen and encourages us to embrace that.

5) You discover new places:

Your friends always share with you the newest coffee shop they’ve discovered, or the latest clothes store to open, the latest cuisine craze to hit restaurants or the latest underground bar. It is always fun to treat ourselves to something new and to find and share new experiences. Travelling and getting lost allows you to discover new places where you least intended. Being lost means you’ve taken the path less travelled and it will allow your curiosity to find that new special place.

6) You create memories that last a lifetime:

Through all of the above, you create memories that will never fade. Trust me on this. You will always remember the time you got lost. Your whole surrounding becomes important and vivid. It is like a dream that felt real, except it was real. You are either scared and want to get home, or are excited at what could be around the next corner. You will always remember the places that you discovered and the decisions that you made. We are so used to daily routines that the feeling of being lost gets forgotten. For many of us we are often glued down to our gadgets, confined to our desks and in most cases have adapted to routine. Create memories that will add chapters to your book of life.

finding white sand langkawi

(Finding paradise, on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia. 2010)

hakone japan

(Finding a little udon restaurant, while wandering through Hakone, Japan. 2013)

So here’s a challenge for you all:

Go and literally get lost; leave your phone at home, book that ticket to a random city, or hop in the car and just drive; and enjoy the sensation and feeling of the unknown. You’d either get lost and never come back, or come back with stories to share.

Come and Find Me,

Peter Paxx

What projects am I currently working on?

Aside from my own blog as I capture the adventures of magic and travel here at https://peterpaxx.wordpress.com, I’ve also started two side projects:

http://www.peterpaxx.com will be my Official Page as an Illusionist and will feature official content and booking information.

http://www.passportpete.com will be my latest project where I will share with you tips in travel and guides for exploring the continent!

gamla stan sweden stock

(Walking through Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden. 2013)

Chat soon,

Peter Paxx

How travel helped me connect more with others and made me a better learner.

Travel allows me to open up to the world and forces me to learn new things. In a world that is so diverse and with so many experiences to immerse myself in, travel has reminded me time and time again that there are many creative people out there.

Amongst everything that I’ve learnt so far, it has taught me an important skill:

The willingness to share my own stories and in return the eagerness to listen and learn from the stories of others.

I’m passionate about seeing the world and performing magic, and I enjoy talking about it and sharing it with like-minded people. By meeting different people around the world, I’m reminded that although the world is a big place, we are more connected that you think. Email, Skype, iPhones, iPads allow us to connect with people who are further away and in many more ways. I can stay in contact with fellow travellers that I’ve met on my journeys and it is even easier now to bond with others even before meeting them for the first time. Visualise for a second that it is 1857, when commercial flight didn’t exist. We had the railroads and it took over a month to get from New York to California. Nowadays, I can google search someone who is on the other side of the world and start a conversation over email in a heartbeat.

So if travel has taught me to connect with others, who have I connected with recently?

In the past 3 months, in order to fine tune my magic act I’ve connected with a fashion stylist in London, a fitness coach in Melbourne (I need to be fitter and more agile to vanish quicker!) and a magic consultant in Singapore (yes, magic consultants do exist. Think of the movies ‘The Prestige’ starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale and ‘Now you See Me’ – they used magic consultants to come up with the illusions that are displayed in the films.)

The fashion stylist, Emma Pulbrook (www.emmapulbrook.com), who I will interview for a future blog post (and has travelled alongside me) has helped me with my image and styling to define my look. In order to be a magician, I first must look like one!

koh phan ngan full moon party bucket redbull vodka

(Here’s Emma and me on the island of Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand celebrating the Full Moon Party, one of the biggest beach parties in the world! Those buckets are filled with RedBull syrup and Vodka.)

My fitness coach Paulo has guided me through a weight loss programme and helped me invent the Magician’s Diet. I needed to become more agile in order to execute my illusions with lightning speed. Through this learning process I was able to devise a diet that I hope to share with you soon. How does losing 14kg (30 pounds) while eating ice cream, Oreos and hot dogs sound? More on this later!

Lastly, to ensure that I have the right guidance to perfect my illusions, I reached out to a magic consultant who has worked with international illusionists on both National TV shows and live tours across the globe. I also connected with two world class illusionists to discuss some of their own personal creations.

The world is a big place, but through travelling, it has taught me to continue to learn from others and not be bounded by borders. It has also reminded me that there will always be so much more to learn if we open ourselves up to the world.

What is your passion or hobby and who could you learn from today by connecting with them?

We sometimes have to remove our ego, be willing to learn in order to progress forward. Please share with me any stories that you have and I hope we all continue to be better learners and listeners.

Yours Magically,

Peter Paxx

Would you pay $27 for a Bacon and Egg breakfast (and a free hotel room)?

I find that many little things inspire me to travel and see more of the world around us. On the other hand my friends think I give in too easily to find any excuse to pack my bags and explore a little.

I recently asked my colleagues how much they would pay for a bacon and egg breakfast, with coffee and juice and a serve of fruit, and to make it a little harder I stipulated that the venue needed to have a nice view. If you know me I like playing “What If’s…”

The most common answer was around $20 (AUD). The highest bid I got was $27 but the friend said it “better be a good damn bacon and egg!” I also agreed on the price point of $27 and so came about the next idea.

I used that figure as a challenge and asked myself, “where in the world could I find a nice place to stay that provided a bacon and egg breakfast?” In other words, I was thinking “if I’m willing to pay $27 for a breakfast meal, what if I found a hotel that cost $27 a night (and the bacon and egg came free). Or the optimist in me twisted the words and said:

“What if I paid $27 for the breakfast and the ROOM came FREE.”

A quick google search found a place that I could visit over a weekend. I feel fortunate that Indonesia is only a 3 hour flight from Perth, Australia. The first place I found locked in the deal.

uluwatu_bali

That’s the view from my bungalow balcony. It’s in an isolated part of Uluwatu, popular spot for surfers on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

Of course to get to Bali meant paying for a flight but I was so curious as to what $27 could get me that the flight cost didn’t bother me. I booked and stayed there the next weekend. Being realistic I didn’t expect 5 Stars, a butler or 10,000 thread count silk. I do love luxury but at the same time I’m always up for a challenge and a chance to wander to some place different. In this case, it ticked the two criteria that I needed as a reason to get away: a great breakfast and an unbeatable view.

outside_bungalow_uluwatu   (Photo: Merta Sari Bungalows)

What inspires you to travel and what has surprised you in terms of how much “travel” you get for so little money?

Until next time,

Peter Paxx

What did your 6 year old self want you to be when you grew up?

When I was 6 years old I saw my first magic trick. It was a stranger who did a coin trick on my dad. He had four coins that he magically transposed from one side of the table to the other. This was the first time I saw magic in person and the feeling I had at the time I will never forget.

I don’t know if I was more excited by the mystery of the impossible, or more so that my dad who I thought knew everything about life was dumbfounded. My dad not wanting to accept that he could not explain the trick immediately offered this stranger $10 to learn the trick. Like all magicians, the man refused to reveal his secret. Although I would have loved to have understood the workings of the trick at age 6 I’m now glad he refused. The feeling of wonder that stayed with me for years ignited my dream to one day be a magician. That and of course seeing David Copperfield fly on national television.

24 years have gone by and I’m currently hosting auditions to find assistants for my latest illusion. I won’t reveal much but all I can say is it involves spikes, fire and beautiful assistants.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Be location independent and live the life you dream.

What is your dream?

My dream is to be able to choose to be anywhere in the world at any time, while I read the news on my MacBook Pro and sip on a locally brewed coffee as I watch the morning sun. Other times I may ditch my technology to find a local bookstore and read on a balcony of a tree-top bungalow, while drinking a magical Amazonian tea.

I’m starting this site as I plan the next crazy adventure and prepare for the next thrill of travel. I’ve just returned from a trip to Thailand where I rode an elephant and bamboo raft in Chiang Mai (not at the same time!), sunbathed on the island of Phuket and sipped a lychee cocktail at the top of the Banyan Tree in Bangkok. I’ve always had the inner desire to see the world and immerse myself in an environment that is different to my everyday life, and be able to share that feeling of wonder with others like me.

I have an ever-growing Bucket List that I wish to one day complete. In the mean time I’d love to share some of those experiences with you all.

I hope I can inspire you in some way and if anything, I hope that you also follow your dreams.

Peter Paxx

raft_chiangmai

(Chiang Mai, Thailand 2015)

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