The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including visiting new cities, and learning how to balance work with longer travel trips!Hello everyone! I hope your first week of November went well. Today is my last day in New York. I’m a little upset that I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to while I was here, and everyone’s schedule was a little hectic, but I think I gained some much-needed perspective.

Being Grateful for Visiting New Cities

I know I mentioned this before, but I’m amazed that I managed to fit in multiple trips this month. I went into the city a few times, I went upstate, and then I visited Boston a few days ago.

As I’ve said, I’m looking for ideas on where I should move. Right now, Austin is at the top of the list, but I’m always open to other cities, especially because I’ve traveled so little in my life.

Boston was a shining example of why I want to visit other places. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only been there once before to visit a college I was accepted to.

I also don’t consider myself much of a city person. I like my space, and I’ve never had to rely on public transportation before.

However, after spending a night in the city, I realized I could see myself living there. The architecture is gorgeous, their library is absolutely amazing, and it feels comfy and cozy. The public transportation was pretty great as well.

Unfortunately, the rent is ridiculous! I haven’t been met with this problem yet, as I’ve only been looking at cities with a cost of living below or slightly above the average in the US.

I know there’s something to be said for being happy where you live. I’m just not sure I’d be happy paying $2,500 for a tiny apartment! Then again, there’s so much to do there. I think I’d be forced into going out more often, even if that’s just going to the library.

Regardless, I’m thankful for the experience. Growing up, “living in the city” meant living in NYC. That’s way too crowded and expensive for me! I kind of figured “city living” always equated to that, but obviously, no two cities are alike.

Being Grateful for Experience While Traveling

This is the longest I’ve been away from my apartment, and I have to admit, it’s been extremely challenging. While I took my PC with me (along with my laptop), the set up I had wasn’t ideal. As many of you know, I’m a night owl, and having a “curfew” of 10:30 – 11pm because my PC was in my grandma’s room killed me. The internet was also in and out the entire time.

I’ve been contemplating how I want to execute future travel plans while still being productive with work, and this has certainly been a learning experience for me. Considering I like to plan things out and not be rushed, I always figured I would do the “slow travel” method of staying in a place for a longer amount of time. This allows me to work while not feeling too guilty about it.

While I probably wouldn’t have a curfew to deal with in the future, it’s still hard to be out of my element. I’m actually looking forward to returning home and getting back into a routine!

Being Grateful for Charity

Today, many different charity streams are going on for Extra Life. What is Extra Life?

Extra Life unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $14 million for local CMN hospitals.

One of my favorite content producers on the web, Rooster Teeth, is taking part in this for the third year in a row. The goal is to raise $300,000, and they’re steadily working their way there (while being one of the top teams).

Edited – They ended up surpassing their goal, raising around $520,000. It’s crazy what the power of community can do!

Writing Around the Web

On Young Adult Money, I gave my best advice on how to simplify holiday shopping (cough, don’t go at all, cough), and how to turn your financial goals into a game. I know not everyone is super motivated to save or pay off debt, but making it into a competition of sorts can be fun!

On Frugal Rules, I listed 11 things you can do besides watch TV. That might upset a few people, but I’m not a fan of mindlessly consuming content, which I find most people do with TV. Quite a few people in the comments shared their experience cutting out TV!

On MagnifyMoney, I shared how millennials can lessen the burden of moving back in with their parents. It can be a difficult situation to be in on both sides, and having a greater understanding of that (and knowing how to work your way out of it) can help.

Also, a quick side note, I’ve changed my Twitter handle. This is likely a sign of things to come, but it’s now @erinmcreates. If any of you have been sharing my posts via Twitterfeed and have my old handle in there, I’d appreciate it being changed. I still have @journeytosaving, but it’s an empty profile. ;)

That’s it, folks! I hope you enjoy your weekend.

What are you being grateful for this week? If you’re location independent, how do you manage traveling and work? How do you prefer to travel? Do you enjoy living in a city, in the suburbs, or in a rural area? 



  1. Traci November 7, 2015 at 2:53 PM

    Move to…Denver! It’s a beautiful city and the mountains are just a short drive away. It has a small town feel but you can definitely still get the urban vibe there if you’re looking for it.

    Today I am grateful for time to catch up on some projects, and for my adorably hilarious puppy. Happy weekend!

    1. Erin M. November 7, 2015 at 3:10 PM

      Denver is on my list! I’ve heard many good things about it. I love the mountains. =)

      Aww, jealous! I miss my cats. I hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply November 7, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    I love Boston. I have a lot of family on my mother’s side there and we used to go pretty much every year. I even worked there one summer while in college. I really like Boston…but it is expensive. I like NYC too but also very expensive. I’m in Queens which isn’t really considered the “city” to those in NYC (we refer to Manhattan as the city) but apparently Long Islanders consider it the “city.” I like a mix of the suburban feel with the excitement/entertainment of the city. I also really do like having public transportation available. When you’re out in the suburbs you can’t get anywhere without a car. It kinda sucks if you’re elderly (and don’t want to drive) or too young to drive or don’t have a car. I liked being able to get around all over the city during my teens when I didn’t have a car.

    1. Erin M. November 8, 2015 at 9:07 AM

      I actually don’t consider Queens (or Brooklyn) “the city.” I know it’s quite a bit cheaper to live there than directly in Manhattan! I never thought about it like that – public transportation does give more freedom to those that otherwise wouldn’t have it. I was always frustrated I had to wait until I was 17 to drive.

    2. Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless November 8, 2015 at 9:29 PM

      You know, Boston is actually not that expensive, in my opinion. I mean, it very much depends on where you live, like whether you live in Boston proper or in one of the surrounding cities (which are still very much part of Boston). Jamaica Plain is great, and much cheaper than Boston. Cambridge and Somerville and Brighton are good too. In my experience, it’s possible to live relatively cheaply here — at least much more cheaply than NYC.
      Good luck with the decision, Erin! :)

      1. Erin M. November 10, 2015 at 2:47 AM

        Thanks for the input, Sarah! I was mostly looking around Back Bay and that whole stretch by the green line, as it was where we stayed. I didn’t get a chance to explore the surrounding towns, but zooming out on Craigslist didn’t yield many results for under $1,500. I’m not really willing to pay more than $1,100 in rent right now, which might be tough in any of the cities I’m looking at, but here’s hoping!

  3. Tre November 8, 2015 at 8:32 AM

    I usually work in a coffee house when I am travelling so I can use their free wifi. It throws my schedule off because I’m used to working late at night too, but it’s only temporary. Have you checked out Portland or Seattle?

    1. Erin M. November 8, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      Well, at the very least, I have been getting up earlier. We’ll see if that sticks, ha. I briefly considered Portland and Seattle, but I don’t think the west coast is for me. At least, not up there. I like sunny weather!

  4. Karen November 9, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    Even though I work right in the heart of downtown, I prefer living in the suburbs. I grew up in the suburbs and like the quiet, calm vibe to it.

    Boston is a great city. When I visited the city, we went to MIT, Harvard, did a boat tour around the harbour and walked some of the Freedom Trail.

    1. Erin M. November 9, 2015 at 3:43 PM

      I prefer quiet, too. Hearing horns blaring outside my apartment doesn’t sound like fun, but certain parts of Boston were actually pretty calm! I was surprised. I’d love to go back and experience more of the city.

  5. Melissa November 9, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    It’s so great that you were able to visit Boston! My husband and I did a driving tour through New England in September and we stopped in Boston and Salem. Both places were so beautiful and I highly recommend visiting Salem if you’re able to. The historic area is so beautiful. We loved walking the Freedom Trail in Boston and we took one of the Duck Boat and Land tours.

    Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I’m always happy to hear about another’s adventure!

    1. Erin M. November 9, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      I’m totally on board for more driving tours – going along the Blue Ridge Parkway before moving is a goal of mine. Parking was a little crazy in Boston, though! Thanks for the recommendations. I would love to go back for a week; it’s hard to fit things into a day trip.

  6. Shannon @ Financially Blonde November 9, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    I am thankful for the opportunity to watch my son’s soccer game this past weekend. His team was absolutely killed by the other team, but my son played really well and he’s been practicing A LOT lately, so it’s nice to see all of his hard work paying off.

    1. Erin M. November 10, 2015 at 2:44 AM

      Aw, I’m glad to hear that! I know soccer means a lot to him. Even if your team loses, it’s important to be proud of your own successes during the game.

  7. Tonya@Budget and the Beach November 9, 2015 at 6:42 PM

    I think I would like Boston (save for the shitty cold weather), but right now I’m trying to go DOWN in COL, and that might on par with LA, sans the beach and good weather. :) You might fall in love with San Diego if you’ve never been there before. You seem like you could be a laid back beach girl? I think Austin is a good choice, and I would be jealous if you move there, but then I’d have someone to visit and give me the lay of the land!

    1. Erin M. November 10, 2015 at 2:44 AM

      I’m trying to decrease COL too, but I think most places that are growing right now are going to be a bit more expensive than Charlotte. At least I got to enjoy ~2 years of low COL? Haha.

      Growing up on Long Island, I had fairly easy access to the beach, but you had to pay to park and fight with traffic, so I barely went. I also burn very easily, which isn’t fun to deal with. I do like the ocean, but not enough to make it a priority. I totally wouldn’t mind having visitors wherever I end up!

  8. Cat@BudgetBlonde November 10, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Working on the go is something I haven’t really mastered yet either. I’m most productive when I’m working at home or in my other usual places. Travelling is fun though, so I’m glad you got to visit a few places while you were there.

    1. Erin M. November 10, 2015 at 12:17 PM

      Glad I’m not the only one! I’m feeling much better now that I’m back home and in my “usual space.” I don’t regret traveling, though – it was definitely worth it. I just need to plan better next time!

  9. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank November 11, 2015 at 4:25 AM

    Erin, I remember when we were kids, I and my brother competed in saving money. It was really fun because we were really motivated to save as much as we could. There were times that we didn’t expect that we could save that amount of money as we tried our very best to be frugal and saver at the same time.

    1. Erin M. November 11, 2015 at 11:37 PM

      That’s great, Jayson! Sibling competition always seems to have more of an edge to it. I guess it’s natural to compete with them – I know I always tried to outdo my cousins growing up!

  10. Jamie V. November 11, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    I am grateful: that I am doing so well in life, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way; that I have an income to afford a roof over my head and food and travel and little luxuries; that I could afford to start a new sewing hobby to help others out for a craft fair; for great friends who caused me to go to bed hours past my bedtime on the weekend with a huge smile on my face and an eagerness to wake up the next day; that life has been good to me; and even more grateful that in the past 30 days, I’ve turned a corner and was/am able to see all these great things I otherwise didn’t see or took for granted.

    1. Erin M. November 11, 2015 at 2:07 PM

      Jamie, all I can say is, I LOVE this comment! These are all wonderful, little things to be grateful for. It’s amazing how much we take for granted sometimes, but it’s even more amazing when we stop to think about all the positives in our life. It’s pretty powerful, and I’m glad you’re realizing that.

  11. Harmony @ CreatingMyKaleidoscope November 12, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Perspective is so valuable. Also, you seem to be pretty aware of what works best for you. I have no doubt that you will figure it out in good time. Be thankful for freedom and the opportunity to chart your own way.

    I really enjoyed all the of the posts mentioned above.

    1. Erin M. November 12, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      Thanks, Harmony! I am definitely very grateful to have the flexibility I do. It’s a far cry from where I used to be, as I went through most of my jobs without ever taking a day off. Traveling like I just did wouldn’t have been possible.

  12. Chonce November 12, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    I’m such a suburban girl. I love my space and hate paying for simple things like parking, but there is so much to do in the city and it allows you to get more active. I hope you get to explore some new places before you decide on your new hometown and Austin sounds nice!

    1. Erin M. November 12, 2015 at 9:54 PM

      Space is a big thing for me, too. Growing up in the suburbs, it’s just what I’m used to. I agree that city living can get you to be more active (and sociable), though. Definitely a trade off!

  13. DC @ Young Adult Money November 12, 2015 at 9:40 PM

    Ah my wife might apply to a phd program in Boston and you just reminded me of the worst thing about it – crazy rent! My sister’s friend lives in Austin and my sister has visited her a few times and she has many good things to say about it. I don’t have the luxury of visiting places for long periods of time so my vacations have to be a bit more “rushed.” I think longer trips are definitely ideal for location independent freelancers. You are bound to end up working while you are travelling and, like you said, you will have more time to experience the place you are visiting if you balance work and fun.

    1. Erin M. November 13, 2015 at 1:52 AM

      There are a crazy number of students in the area because of all the colleges there. I was wondering how they were affording living off campus, but I guess student loans and parents may help…That would be pretty exciting, though!

      I only ever took one vacation while I was working full-time, and that was to go visit my parents. That one week flew by so quickly, it was disappointing. I’m definitely a fan of longer travel regardless as I hate trying to pack so much into one trip. I wish the US would start giving employees more time off…

      1. DC @ Young Adult Money November 18, 2015 at 1:17 PM

        I think there are a couple things that come into play here. In general it seems like people in business refuse to take more time off. In many jobs you are always “replaceable” in one way or another, and someone who is out, say, 2 months a year, is just making themselves more of a target. Overall I agree we do need more vacation time but it seems like employees are a bit of the problem. Of course I am generalizing and mainly talking about employees who DO get ~5 or 6 weeks of PTO a year.

        1. Erin M. November 19, 2015 at 2:21 PM

          That’s true. I wish there was more respect for personal time. I’ve never been in a corporate environment, so I can’t speak to how it works, but “work yourself to death to move up the ladder” isn’t really sustainable. I’d rather have employees that are well-rested, less stressed, and happier with their quality of life, as that tends to translate well to their work (and boosts morale). I’ve done that on a smaller scale and it left me feeling burnt out. It seems like startups have a good way of handling time off (sometimes “unlimited”) and not gunning people down for taking advantage of it.

  14. Jamie November 14, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    I think I need to congratulate you Erin because you could still find time to work and when I am on travel, I find it hard to have time to do side hustling because I try to explore the place as much as I could. Then, when I go back to our hotel, it’s like I need to go to sleep asap. So, the work is piled up, which makes me so much busy after travel. Good job Erin.

    1. Erin M. November 14, 2015 at 5:34 PM

      Thanks, Jamie. We weren’t doing any intense traveling – the few day trips we took were casual. If I were traveling overseas and had a full itinerary, I think it’d be a different story! Working while volunteering at a convention this past summer was difficult because I was pretty tired after each day.


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