Sometimes I think that all I want to do all day is just laze around and barely move, but that always ends up being the worst thing. I had a pretty bad week emotionally, but actually pretty good, workwise, in productivity, and all I wanted to do was just go home and RELAX.

So I slept late — much longer than I usually do, from 11:30 PM to 10:41 AM! — and then just lazed around and read travel books like crazy. I tried to absorb information about Bangkok, about Australian bus routes, about Iceland.

Also!!!! Big news!!!! I won a $500 travel credit from STA travel! On Facebook, they’re giving out $500.00 to two people each week for several weeks, for giving the best travel tips. Now, most of the tips that I saw were pretty dumb and specific to location (“Go to this hotel in New York, it rocks!”), so I pulled out one of my best tips:

“Invest in a zippered pillowcase and put your money belt and valuables in it at night. Not only does that protect them from would-be robbers, it also offers you the chance to have the same pillowcase every night and avoid questionable hostel linens. Plus, they often come in soft fabrics like satin.”

And I won! I got a message on facebook from one of the admins. My tip isn’t posted yet (see “STA Travel: Cheap, Flexible and Easy”) but I think it will be posted next Friday. The claiming must be done by tomorrow, and I’ve already emailed in my claim.

I have to use the travel credit within a year, which means I can’t apply it to my RTW trip. If split between multiple people, they must be under 26. So now I’ve got to think of somewhere to go!

On the boards at Bootsnall, I mentioned that I was considering Las Vegas — while it doesn’t seem like a typical me place, epitomizing all that I hate about the way most people travel (ie spending a lot of money to stay at the hotel all day), especially since I don’t like to gamble and I’m not really drinking much these days, but it could be fun. I’d love to experience the shows, the glitz, and especially the restaurants, though. I book my clients at work for Vegas vacations so much that I feel like I know the restaurants backwards and forwards!

Then someone on the boards suggested, that since I love being a foodie and seeing shows, that I do a long weekend in London.

That would be GREAT, actually. I want the $500.00 to cover mainly the airfare, since I’ll likely be staying in hostels (depending on where I go), and London fares are, at their lowest, just above $500.00 from Boston. I could soak up the culture and eat lots of yummy ethnic food.

However, I’ve been to London before. I’d rather go somewhere new — preferably a new country.

Other ideas:

–I’ve never been to Amsterdam!! This could be that chance!! Flights there are a bit more expensive than elsewhere in Europe, though.

–I looked into San Fermin in Spain (the running of the bulls), but it’s booked solid, as expected.

–I looked at Iceland, but I may be able to fly there cheaper on IcelandAir, and it’s pretty expensive and not as much of a backpacker hub.

–I could fly into Frankfurt (cheap) and visit my German roommate Julia in Mannheim!!!

–I could do a long weekend somewhere in Central America — maybe Guatemala?

–I could hike the Inca Trail in Peru (the hike itself is 4 days) and arrange my guide in advance. That’s best done over the winter.

–Find a cheap flight to a random spot and just chill there for a few days.

–I mentioned to Alexa that maybe we could go to HAWAII!! Again, very expensive, and the flight would definitely cost way over $500, unless we found an amazing deal through STA.

I have to mention that I owe this all to Alexa. She was the one who mentioned that I join the STA group. I wasn’t that enthusiastic at first, thinking that I wouldn’t win, but we see how THAT worked out!! I’ve never been to Hawaii. It would be awesome.

Also, I’ve hit a saving milestone for my RTW: I’ve officially saved over $5,000.00. I’m really happy and proud about that.

However, I am freaking out about money!!! I’ve spent a lot of time today researching Perth, and although I want to go there so much, it seems like it’s so expensive that it wouldn’t be worth it.

So I’ll just be another Oz backpacker, Sydney to Cairns with the rest of them, spending my time on the beaches and drinking my nights away.

Oh God, I sound like a spoiled brat. I’m not going to delete that sentence, because I need to remind myself not to be like that.

I did read more about New Zealand today as well, and I’ve found a few more places to visit: Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier. I just have to be careful about not overspending on outdoor activities.

I found a bus system called Naked Bus, which is essentially the RyanAir of the bus world, some rides costing as little as NZ$1.00 (US$0.73). They keep the costs down by cutting out all unnecessary frills. I just hope the seats are more comfortable than those on RyanAir — when flying from London to Bologna, Sars and I slept on top of each other, taking turns being the bottom, resting on the tray.

I also read about some trips from Gap Adventures, a tour company that interested me a while back. Nowadays, I am not interested in tours, but I might consider one overlanding Africa tour. I wouldn’t be comfortable about arranging to overland through Africa on my own, even with a group of fellow travelers that I would meet on the road, so this might be a good idea. I particularly would love to visit Namibia. This tour goes from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, and it’s expensive, but lasts 21 days, and if I keep my other costs down, it might be worth it. Visiting the Okovango Delta in Botswana would be lovely.

I am up later than I usually am these days — it’s 12:16 — and I can’t wait to go to bed and sleep in again tomorrow. I absolutely ADORE having these two days off in a row. You never know how good it is until you miss it.