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"You're so lucky....."

"No, I'm not lucky. I've made decisions and sacrifices for years. My priorities are different than yours and I have made consistent decisions over my entire adult life to get to this point. Please don't diminish those decisions by suggesting it happened by chance. Honestly, it's insulting." That's what I want to say. I'm getting snarkier as I get older but I'm not there. Yet.

About a million years ago, when I was still at university, I started a travel savings account. I knew I wanted to travel more but I wasn't prepared to go (further) into debt. At the time, all I could afford was about $20 per month on a regular basis but it was a start. I have continued that ever since, increasing/decreasing the monthly amount according to my expenses and earnings but I never zeroed it out, nor did I raid it for other purposes, although I was sorely tempted on several occasions. My travel account collected any "extra" money -- birthday money, income tax refunds, 50-50 winnings, postcard sales, etc.

For a very long time, the balance didn't allow for much but I got a weekend away once a year, usually to a fairly local destination. If I wanted to do more travel, I obviously needed to do more.

For me, travel is a priority, so financial decisions are made by reflecting upon where I get the best or most long-lasting pleasure or by assigning a level of necessity. Coffee is necessary but coffee-shop coffee isn't. It's easy to pour my own coffee in a portable cup. A vehicle is important but I don't need luxury, high performance, or speed. I don't need data on my phone -- I can wait until I'm home or use free WIFI.

I don't do many of the rituals my peers enjoy. I don't get massages, manicures, pedicures, or even regular hair cuts. I learned to be a great cook and vegetable gardener, so restaurant meals can be a rare treat. Friends are invited for dinner and drinks at home over meeting at a bar. Vehicles are used and driven until they need to be retired. I buy clothes only as needed, never at full price, and must coordinate with other things already in my wardrobe.

I use the library more often than I buy books. I use the community centre gym over a club membership. I never buy consumables on credit and pay off the full balance on credit cards monthly. My credit card was chosen because it includes travel insurance and cash back. Gifts may include home made knitting, jams/preserves, or photography. I do admit to splurging on expensive theatre tickets and camera equipment... as I said, we all have priorities! What financial decisions do you make that support your priorities? I suspect that the people who have said this to me had lovely intentions, wanting me to be complemented and to express their own travel desire. I try to tamp down the snarky response that immediately pops to mind, and as I process my reaction ... ... I recognize the immense privilege that allows me to prioritize travel when there are so many others making equally sensible decisions just to pay for basic needs. As a well-educated, middle-class, professional, cis-gendered, white Canadian woman who has investments and an indexed pension while living mortgage-free in a trendy neighbourhood, I really need to stop and appreciate that I get to go through life on the "easy" level... and that I am indeed lucky that I just happened to be born into privilege that smoothed out my path.


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