I’m 27 and unhappy.

A post. because it’s been a while, and I miss writing.

I’ve been at my current job since the end of March. That’s what my last post was about. I took the job mostly because I wanted the chance to work for my now-boss again, partly because I knew there would be opportunities to transfer internally within this company after about a year, and a very small amount because I wanted a bit of a life challenge (more structure, more using my brain).

The other things I said in that post, unfortunately, are also still true. It isn’t my dream job (I still don’t know what that is). It’s still in software development, but I’m now further removed from actual developers, teams, and interesting technology (I didn’t know I would miss those things, but I do–on good days). I originally said that I would wait a year and then look for something else if I still hated it. That timeline has been dramatically reduced. I knew within the first few weeks that I didn’t like the job, and after a month or so, I knew that it was very different than what was actually pitched to me during the interview process. Pretty soon, I came to realize that my boss had also been somewhat hoodwinked into taking her role, and that she had also grown increasingly unhappy during her time in her job. Fast forward to early August, when she left for a 2-week European vacation and came back with a clear head and reset life goals: she told her boss that she was quitting, even with nothing else lined up, because that’s how unhappy she was. Since then, she’s been able to re-claim her previous role (also internal at the same company), but with more responsibility, higher pay, and several new direct reports. Her last day as my boss is next Friday. I’m very happy for her.

However, this leaves me in a difficult position. I’m 6 months into a job that I hate, newly responsible not only for my own duties but hers as well, and teetering on the verge of handing in my resignation on a daily basis.

My 27th birthday was on Sunday, and in keeping with my sort-of-tradition, I booked a trip. I went to Minneapolis for a few days to explore and (mostly) to get the hell away from Charlottesville. The week off work was the most relaxed I’ve been in a long time. I’ve had trouble sleeping for about a year now (maybe longer?), but every night of my vacation I slept like a rock. I even slept on airplanes, surrounded by total strangers. This is completely unlike me, but in the recent past I’ve come to be a person I don’t always recognize. I like it a lot.

I’m rambling a bit, but I’m trying my best to create an accurate record of my thought process over the past few months, since I don’t post updates here often enough to have it captured.

For the first few months I was at my new job, I daydreamed a lot about quitting and setting off on a cross-country road trip with the intention of choosing a few ‘spotlight’ cities to spend longer periods of time in, in order to gauge whether I could see myself settling there permanently. I’ve lived in Charlottesville for my entire life aside from the 8 semesters I spent at Virginia Tech, and I’m so far beyond burned out on this town that it’s ridiculous. I’ve known for a long time that I’m done here, but I haven’t had the guts to change that fact. I made a list of places I’d want to go, including the cities I thought I wanted to move to, and started looking for remote work opportunities as well as jobs located in each place. That sort of fizzled out, and I don’t remember right now exactly why.

Next up, I thought I’d apply to grad school (again). My life dream for so long was to be an architect, and I was actually accepted to a Master’s program in Architecture in 2010. I thought I’d give it another shot. What’s 3.5 more years of school? I’ve been in the working world and hating every minute of it for 4 years. It seemed like a good possibility. Then I borrowed some GRE prep materials from a friend, never opened a single one, convinced myself that I’m not good enough at math to pursue this, got stressed out by the thought of trying to cobble together application essays and terrified by the thought of asking former professors for recommendation letters, and promptly gave up on that path. Again.

So now, after my week away from the office and a small taste of freedom, I’m back to the road trip dream. I was 100% ready to give my 2 weeks’ notice upon returning to work today. I’ve been trying to find someone to rent out my house, and I’ve started telling people (mostly family) that I’m going to quit my job and finally take this trip. I talked about it with my sister this weekend, and she told me “Katie, you’ve been talking about this for so long that if you don’t do it, I’ll be mad at you. You absolutely deserve this.” It was really nice to hear validation from someone else that I am in fact deeply unhappy with my career path, the lack of any real purpose in my life, and the fact that I am still in my hometown. Another item of note is that my dad, who is the staunchest of believers that you NEVER quit a job without another one lined up first, has been fully in support of my harebrained idea for a few months now. I’ve been confiding in him about my plans for an extended trip + eventual relocation for a long time now, and he has finally come out in full support. “Just do whatever you need to do, and I’ll support you,” he says. The last person I really need to convince is myself.

So now, as soon as I can get my house rented out, I’m going.

I went back to work today and told my boss that I’ll be tendering my resignation soon. I didn’t do it today (although I so wanted to), because I know it would be foolish to run off into the sunset with a mortgage payment, no income, and no itinerary. She gave me a lot of great suggestions about how to set myself up to leave this job on the best terms possible, a list of people I should get in touch with before leaving for remote working opportunities, and a still-growing list of cities I should visit. She’s been nothing but supportive of this travel dream for a while now, but I don’t think she realized until today how serious I am about needing to leave everything behind, and what I’m willing to sacrifice in order to do it.

So as of today (and this could very well change by tomorrow), my dream is to work until the end of November or a bit into December, try my very best to line up some sort of remote work opportunity, get my house rented out, and then hit the road in January after spending the holidays with family. I envision heading south for the winter, slowly making my way across the US, with home being literally wherever I find myself that day. I realize that it sounds insane, and that I might quickly come to hate such a nomadic lifestyle, but after 4 years of hating my various desk jobs, it’s time to try something new.

I hope to be back here more often with updates. I miss using my voice.

A Very Finger Lakes Vacation

I’m back from vacation, relaxed and refreshed! (Kind of. Mostly I wish I hadn’t come home!)

The Finger Lakes region is beautiful. I’ll start with that. I’m sure it’s beautiful year-round, but my impression is that it’s even more beautiful in the fall. See what I mean?

the view from Glenora Wine Cellars on 9/22/13

the view from Glenora Wine Cellars, 9/22/13

 

Keuka Lake on 9/23/13

Keuka Lake, 9/23/13

 

grapes at Hunt Country Vineyards on 9/23/13

grapes at Hunt Country Vineyards, 9/23/13

 

Hunt Country Vineyards on 9/22/13

Hunt Country Vineyards, 9/22/13

 

just a roadside vineyard

just a picturesque roadside field

 

view from the northwest shore of Seneca Lake on 9/23/13

view of sailboats from the northwest shore of Seneca Lake, 9/23/13

 

across the road from our Inn on 9/24/13

a vineyard across Route 14 from our Inn, 9/24/13

 

Watkins Glen State Park on 9/24/13

Watkins Glen State Park, 9/24/13

 

95% sure this was the view from Standing Stone Vineyards, 9/24/13

95% sure this was the view from Standing Stone Vineyards, 9/24/13

 

the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13

the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13

 

panorama of the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13

panorama of the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13

 

just a casual waterfall on the side of the road

just a casual waterfall on the side of Route 414

We got home on Wednesday night, and I’ve been trying to decide since then how to summarize the trip. I’ve considered a budget breakdown and a day-by-day breakdown (kind of like I did with our Road Trip to Cape May in July), but I haven’t fully decided yet. I want to write it all down before I forget any of the details, but something has been stopping me and I’m not quite sure what that is.

For now, I’ll say this: it was wonderful. I’d go back in a heartbeat. It was 4 days of relaxation and pure one-on-one time with P. Since we don’t see each other as often as I’d like, I always really love when we get to spend extended time together. I loved having him all to myself and exploring a whole new part of the world together. It was a perfect birthday present.

Adobe Photoshop Beginner Class at PVCC

This morning, instead of going to work, I headed to PVCC for a half-day-long Workforce Education class called “Adobe Photoshop for Beginners”!

I work on a team of web designers, and they use Photoshop all the time. All the good bloggers use Photoshop for photo editing and making mood boards. I wanted to learn something!

I’m certainly not an expert yet, but at least now I can say I’ve opened the program.

The first exercise was to take this rubber duck photo:

Ducky

And insert him into this scene:

Duckiesonwater_start

Like so!:

Duckiesonwater_start_1

I decided that a family of ducks was better than just one, so I did 3. Plus, I added their reflections, which I put on a slant and reduced the opacity. Go ahead, marvel at my skillz!

From there, we moved into photo editing tools, which I picked up quickly, because I’ve had some experience using other programs to do similar things. I couldn’t save those files to share here because they were simply too large. But I feel pretty confident in my basic photo editing skills.

Then we moved on to layer masks, which I totally didn’t understand. I couldn’t get it to work right, and I couldn’t grasp the usage. I didn’t understand the practicality of any of it, and nothing I tried seemed to work. So that part of the class was a bit of a fail.

I’m signed up for the second part of the class, “Adobe Photoshop Intermediate,” but now I’m thinking that I might cancel. I really wanted to learn how to do cool blog things, like designing a logo or a header image, or making design mood boards, and that doesn’t seem to be what the class will cover. I’ll have to do some research on my own, I think.

Overall, though, I’m really glad I took the class, and not just because it got me out of work for half the day! I really had fun with the stuff I picked up quickly, and wish I had access to Photoshop to practice some more. (They won’t pay for a license for me at work, since nothing I do has to do with design. Sigh.)

Anyone else learning any new skills lately?

Reunion Road Trip, Day 4: The Architecture of Cape May

I decided to skip blogging about Day 3 of our Reunion Road trip, because it consisted of waking up, spending the morning at the beach, heading back to Lauren’s house for a lunch cookout, taking an afternoon nap (this was just me–everyone else hung out by the pool), getting ready and heading out for dinner, and then bar-hopping. Not that it wasn’t a wonderful day (it was), but I was too busy relaxing to take any pictures!

Day 4 was Saturday, which was the last day in Cape May for P and me. (The rest of the girls stayed until Sunday, but we were heading back to D.C. that night for the Nationals baseball game.) If you saw my Reunion Road Trip: Budget Breakdown post, you’ll remember that P and I stayed in a motel on Friday night, and woke up there Saturday morning. We met up with the rest of the group at a bagel shop for breakfast, and then, since it was the coolest day of the trip so far, Lauren led the group on a walking tour around town. I took the opportunity to take pictures of the Victorian architecture that  Cape May is known for!

nope, not San Fran! Cape May, New Jersey!

nope, not San Fran! Cape May, New Jersey!

one of many B&Bs in Cape May

one of many B&Bs in Cape May

all the houses had at least one porch

all the houses had at least one porch

tons of detail

tons of detail

I was befuddled by the amount of upkeep that must be required to maintain the intricate paint jobs on the houses around town. But they were all kept up–there really weren’t any houses in disrepair to be seen!

another B&B

another B&B

a more "beachy"-looking beach house

a more “beachy”-looking beach house

After walking a few blocks from the bagel shop, we made it back to the pedestrian mall. I snapped a picture of this storefront, because it struck me as so different from the bright colors and gingerbreading all over town. The whole store was painted the same color, and there was a simple exterior light above the door:

"Galvanic" storefront

“Galvanic” storefront

At the end of the mall is Congress Hall, which is one of the most famous locations in Cape May. The original hotel burned down and was later rebuilt to restore it to its original grandeur. It wasn’t impressive from the outside (I thought it was very ugly), but the inside was actually really pretty.

Congress Hall

Congress Hall

I was surprised that there were some boutique shops inside, because this was one of the bars we had visited the night before, and it hadn’t occurred to me that we should shop there. One boutique had two striking chandeliers:

chandelier #1

chandelier #1

chandelier #2

chandelier #2

And then we made it back to the bar where we had hung out the night before. I wasn’t able to get a great picture due to the lighting, but it was decorated in a way that made it feel like an old-timey, very high-class lounge.

swanky bar inside Congress Hall

swanky bar inside Congress Hall

Next up, we passed a little boutique that was adorable inside and out. I didn’t catch the name; otherwise, I’d try to link to their website!

pink, frilly, Victorian storefront

pink, frilly, Victorian storefront

Inside, I was happy to see ornate gold mirrors, chandeliers with ceiling medallions, and faux animal mounts. Lots of good design stuff here!

pretty!

pretty!

wooden deer head above the necklace display

wooden deer head above the jewelry display

another wooden deer head mounted above the clothing

another wooden deer head mounted above the clothing, and a white ceramic dog!

I asked P to get out of my picture and he refused, put his sunglasses on, and smirked. That’s his punk face, because he knows he’s annoying me!

another huge gold mirror, and an original fireplace

another huge gold mirror, and an original fireplace

The next store we headed into had lots of household-y type things, but there was some eye candy, too. I had never seen a brushed metal drum shade before…

tin ceiling + metal drum shade

tin ceiling + metal drum shade

And I liked the way they stored and displayed their drawer pulls:

lots of knob options

lots of knob options

As it started to heat up outside, we decided to head back to Lauren’s house. On the walk back to the car, we passed a decidedly non-Victorian house. This is just another example of how well-maintained all the houses are in Cape May!

how Colonial!

how Colonial!

And speaking of well-maintained, here’s Lauren’s backyard, where we spent many hours soaking up the sun:

the pool + canal

the pool + canal

It was tough to say goodbye to that, but P and I had to get back on the road! We were on the road by 1:30, heading for D.C. and my first baseball game. But we hit a snag when my car almost wouldn’t start, first when we left our motel that morning, and again when we tried to leave Lauren’s house. P thought it was my starter, and I decided we wouldn’t stop (or at least turn the engine off) unless absolutely necessary. Since I was worried about my car, I was in a pretty bad mood from there on out. I refused to stop for lunch or gas, and I was pretty crabby. After about an hour and a half of driving, I called my dad and described what my car was doing, and he suggested that we find an Advance Auto Parts, asap. We did, and thankfully, I only needed a new battery rather than a new starter or alternator. About 45 minutes and $126 later, we were back on the road, and I was much happier!

We made it through New Jersey and into Delaware, where we stopped for gas and lunch. After that, P took a turn driving and I took a nap. I woke up when we got to the Baltimore toll. After that, there was some traffic on the route to D.C., but we eventually made it to the Vienna Metro stop, figured out how to buy tickets, and made it into the city.

daytime at the ball field

daytime at the ball field

It was 95 degrees when we got to the game, and it was still about 90 when we left, so, needless to say, I was drenched in sweat and seriously uncomfortable the whole time. But it was still a new experience, and it wasn’t nearly as boring as baseball is on TV!

nighttime at the baseball field

nighttime at the ball field

The game we saw ended up going into extra innings, which meant we didn’t leave the park until about 10:30pm. After a long ride on the Metro, we made it back to the car, and then had to hop back on the road for another 30 minute drive to P’s friend’s house in Haymarket. We realized we hadn’t had dinner, so we stopped at a McDonalds at about 12:30. Then P and his friend stayed up talking until about 2am! It was a late, late night, and I was so glad when I finally made it to bed.

We woke up (late) the next morning, and we all got showered and dressed for brunch in NOVA. After brunch, we hit the road for the hour and a half drive back to Charlottesville!

Reunion Road Trip, Day 2: Towson to Cape May

On Day 2 of our Reunion Road Trip, we woke up in Towson at P’s aunt and uncle’s house, showered, had a nice breakfast, and hit the road for Cape May, New Jersey!

We knew we were on our way when we paid our first toll at the Delaware Memorial Bridge:

approaching Delaware

approaching Delaware

$14 in tolls and one gas stop later, we arrived at Lauren’s house in Cape May! (I’ll pause only to say that I think it’s weird that you can’t pump your own gas in New Jersey.)

After dropping our bags in our room, we headed out for lunch and a driving tour of Cape May. We stopped at the Lobster House, which Lauren told us is one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the United States, due to the massive volume of fresh seafood sales they do.

The Lobster House

The Lobster House

I’m not normally a big seafood eater, but I wanted to embrace the spirit of vacation! I had a crabcake sandwich for lunch. The verdict: it wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t terrible. I even tried it with horseradish!

my crabcake sandwich

my crabcake sandwich

After lunch, Lauren led us on a driving tour of Cape May Island, so we could get our bearings and try to decide what we wanted to spend the next few days doing.

Lauren showed us this nunnery...right at the beach!

Lauren showed us this nunnery…right at the beach!

here's the lighthouse I initially planned to climb... but the heat changed my mind

here’s the lighthouse I initially planned to climb… but the heat changed my mind

I was surprised by the number of remainders of WWII around Cape May. Apparently that’s when the island was created (it used to be attached), because they dug out a cut-through channel across the land to connect the Atlantic to the Delaware Bay. There were old lookout towers plus this lighthouse, and a sunken ship at one of the beaches.

At the end of the tour, I requested that we go back to the pedestrian mall we had passed earlier.

us on the pedestrian mall... P with ice cream

us on the pedestrian mall… P with ice cream

Even though it was incredibly hot, I wanted to see what there was to see, and maybe do a little shopping. And it’s a good thing we did!

fudge counter at The Fudge Kitchen

fudge counter at The Fudge Kitchen

yummm!!

yummm!!

P and I split a quarter pound of some vanilla fudge with Oreos, and I wish we had gotten more. I also snagged a Christmas present for my dad in a different shop. After this, we popped into a few antique stores. I didn’t get any pictures, and didn’t make any purchases, but there was some good stuff to be found.

We headed back to Lauren’s house to relax for a brief bit, and then headed to a beach on the Delaware Bay to watch the sunset! Lauren and I split a bottle of champagne while P sipped on a 6-pack. It was a great way to spend our first evening at the beach.

sunset over the Delaware Bay

sunset over the Delaware Bay

toes in the sand

toes in the sand

a horseshoe crab exoskeleton! you would never see this on the beaches I'm used to (read: OBX)

a horseshoe crab exoskeleton! you would never see this on the beaches I’m used to (read: OBX)

Lauren worked some Instagram magic to "make us look good"

Lauren worked some Instagram magic to “make us look good”

the sun went down...

the sun went down…

and the moon came out!

and the moon came out!

Then we simply walked across the street to a restaurant/bar that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of…(I think it had Harry’s in it?) where we had a few more drinks and dinner. Continuing in my vacation spirit, I ordered a coconut shrimp basket with fries, which was delicious! (This assessment could have been attributed to my 2 cups of champagne and two vodka cranberries, but it was pretty close to perfect.)

dinner + drinks at the bar

dinner + drinks at the bar

We sat at the bar for a few hours chatting and listening to live music, and then we called it a night and headed back to Lauren’s house for bed.

Not a bad way to spend vacation day #2!

Reunion Road Trip, Day 1: Baltimore Aquarium

As promised, I’ve been able to steal some internet time (while sitting on the floor in my now-empty apartment) to transfer the photos from our trip from my phone and camera over to my computer!

On Day 1 of our Reunion Road Trip, P and I hit the road from Charlottesville and headed north to the Baltimore Aquarium! We arrived a little before 2pm and stayed until they closed around 5:30. We saw plenty of fish, turtles, stingrays, and sharks, and we also saw a dolphin demonstration and the temporary jellyfish exhibit! I’ll let my less-than-stellar photos do the talking. (Here’s where I should mention that “buy a nice camera” has been on my blogging to-do list for a few months now.) It’s hard to take pictures of animals inside tanks with just a crappy camera and a phone!

the coral reef

the coral reef

2013-07-17 15.58.30

lovely coral

Baltimore Aquarium 7-17-13 003

the sea turtle was missing his front left flipper!

a whale skeleton

a whale skeleton

some sort of invasive species of fish -- but it looked like it had feathers!

this was some sort of invasive species of fish — but it looked like it had feathers!

this picture is terrible, but this was the puffin exhibit. we got to see their feeding time!

this picture is terrible, but this was the puffin exhibit. we got to see their 4pm feeding!

I believe this was a rain forest fish

this was some type of rain forest fish

this turtle was sleeping underwater and opened one eye to look at me!

this turtle was sleeping underwater and peeked one eye open to look at me!

one of many frog species. this one might have just been a tree frog.

one of many frog species. this one might have just been a tree frog.

this one was definitely a poison dart frog!

this one was definitely a poison dart frog!

I love stingrays. Ever since swimming with them in the Grand Cayman Islands. I just think they're so cool.

I love stingrays. Ever since swimming with them in the Grand Cayman Islands. I just think they’re so cool.

a puffer fish! I really wanted him to puff.

a puffer fish! I really wanted him to puff.

a stingray buried under the sand

a stingray buried under the sand

they remind me of ghosts

they remind me of ghosts

eek!

eek!

double eek!!

double eek!!

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

jellyfish

dolphin!!!

dolphin!!!

2nd grade me (the one who aspired to be a dolphin trainer) was on excitement overload

2nd grade me (the one who aspired to be a dolphin trainer) was on excitement overload

this sign was on my bathroom stall door and was too funny not to capture

this sign was on my bathroom stall door and was too funny not to capture

these were Australian crocodiles. I learned that they hang their mouths open like this to cool their brains!

these were Australian crocodiles. I learned that they hang their mouths open like this to cool their brains!

a long-necked turtle

a long-necked turtle

looking back at the dolphin wing from outside

looking back at the dolphin wing from outside

Once we had seen all we could see before the aquarium closed, we headed back to our car in the garage. But on the way, we passed this:

a 3-story Marshall's!!! the motherland!

a 3-story Marshall’s!!! the motherland!

Unfortunately, P put his foot down, because his aunt and uncle were expecting us for dinner. So we hit the road for Towson and night #1 of our journey. We hung out with his aunt and uncle all night, and they served us a delicious meal of grilled barbecued chicken, scalloped potatoes, Caesar salad, and Dove bars for dessert.

OH!, and this was their back-door neighbors’ house:

Gatsby might possibly live here

fit for Gatsby himself!

Possibly the biggest house I’ve ever seen in person.

So that was day 1 of our vacation! I hope to be back tomorrow with day 2.

Has anyone else visited the Baltimore Aquarium? What else did we miss in Baltimore? If we had planned for more time, I would have loved to explore more. Maybe another time!

Reunion Road Trip: Budget Breakdown

Since I still don’t have internet in my new home and haven’t been able to transfer my pictures onto my computer, I’ll start off my vacation recap posts with a budget breakdown. P and I (mostly me, truthfully) are budget-conscious travelers. I hadn’t crunched the numbers on this trip yet, so I wanted a chance to do so.

I [presumptuously] invited us on this trip several months ago, when I found out that our friend Lauren, who’s been working in Hong Kong for the past year, would be home at her parents’ house in Cape May for a few months this summer. Luckily, Lauren said we were welcome to come stay! Three other girls from P’s master’s program also wanted to join in, so it became a reunion!

Once we settled on a date range that worked for the group, the details got more fleshed out. Since Lauren’s family was gracious enough to allow the group of us to stay in their house, we knew that lodging would be free. (Cha-ching!) However, as we got closer to the actual event, Lauren let P know that on Friday night, her house would be full, so he and I would have to shell out for a hotel room. (Womp, womp.)

I thought it would be no problem until I started searching for hotels with availability on July 19–the height of this beach town’s summer season. The cheapest rooms I could find were in the $250/night range! Not happening. P courteously volunteered to pay for the room (which he managed to find at a cheaper rate, thanks to a local suggestion from Lauren), if I would pay for aquarium tickets, because, surprise!, he also wanted us to go to the Baltimore Aquarium! (My relentless reminders about my desire to visit the Georgia Aquarium must have gotten to him.) There was also an alumni gathering in Washington D.C. at a Nationals game on Saturday night that P wanted to add. I had never been to a baseball game, so we threw that into the mix!

So with a basic itinerary in mind, we set out on our reunion road trip. Here’s how we did budget-wise*…

Day 1 (7/17, Charlottesville to Baltimore to Towson):

  • lunch at Chick-fil-A: [$10 gift card] + $3.74 more
  • National Aquarium tickets (2 x $34.95): $69.90
  • Parking at the National Aquarium: $24.00
  • Dinner + lodging at P’s aunt and uncle’s house: FREE
  • TOTAL: $97.64

Day 2 (7/18, Towson to Cape May):

  • Delaware Bay Bridge toll: $8
  • NJ turnpike toll: $4
  • one additional toll: $2
  • stop for gas (in New Jersey where they pump it for you!): $24
  • lunch at The Lobster House: $10.65
  • 1/4 lb. of fudge: $4.38
  • Christmas present for Dad: $19.25
  • dinner + drinks at [??]: P paid
  • lodging at Lauren’s house: FREE
  • TOTAL: $72.28

Day 3 (7/19, Cape May):

  • a few hours on the beach: FREE
  • poolside cookout at Lauren’s house: FREE
  • dinner at McGlades on the Pier: $34
  • one night stay at the Cape Harbor Motor Inn: $184.68
  • TOTAL: $218.68

Day 4 (7/20 Cape May to D.C. to Haymarket):

  • breakfast at Avalon Coffee Co.: $19.16
  • sightseeing stroll around town: FREE
  • new battery for my car (!!!): $126.26
  • Delaware Bay Bridge toll: $8
  • NJ turnpike toll: $4
  • gas at a rest stop in Delaware: $33.66
  • lunch at a rest stop in Delaware: P paid
  • Baltimore-ish area toll: $2
  • Metro tickets: (2 x $9): $18
  • Nationals tickets (2 x $28): $56
  • Bottle of water at the Nats game: $4.50
  • Dippin’ Dots at the Nats game: $5.50
  • 12:30am dinner at McDonalds: $10.96
  • Lodging at P’s friend’s new townhouse: FREE
  • TOTAL: $228.04

Day 5 (7/21, Haymarket to Charlottesville):

  • brunch at Mimi’s Cafe: $30
  • TOTAL: $30

TRIP TOTAL: $706.64

Trip Total after subtracting my new car battery: $580.38

*NOTE: Although for the most part we alternate paying for things, these totals reflect the fact that P and I paid for many of our meals in cape May separately (so these are my numbers). There were also a few additional discretional purchases (alcohol and snacks, mostly) that aren’t reflected here, because they weren’t my purchases!

Overall, I’d say we did a pretty good job for a 5 day, 4 night trip!

And I’ll really try to get some photos transferred tonight, because I’ve got lots of good stuff to share!

Does anyone have any go-to vacation budget tips? Any expert ways to save money? I really think that having free lodging and a car that gets good gas mileage helped keep our costs down!