The Waterloo Project: Funding and Budget

An eight-week trip is expensive. I figure that just sitting in my house, doing absolutely nothing besides using what I already own costs around $10 a day in mortgage, electricity, connectivity and insurance.

Estimates are always low, but my mother is a project manager, so I’ve picked up her tool — always figure a cushion into the price of something. For construction, my cushion is always 2 X current sales tax. (Which means about 18% for me.) For travel, I go higher.

Here’s my current breakdown with some overestimates built in for inflation/exchange rate changes:

$600 — Train from Colorado to New York City to catch the ship (in a roomette)
$1000 — Passage, in interior cabin, on a Cunard line Transatlantic ship, eastbound
$ 150 — Train from Southampton to Suffolk
$1000 — Lodging in Suffolk (I’ve found a couple of guesthouses in the 300 pound per week range; if I use a camping site as my base, the tariff will be cheaper but I’ll have other expenses)
$ 600 — Food for twenty days (I’m mostly vegetarian, I am happy with simple picnic foods)
$ 400 — Bicycle rental (or purchase, with subsequent donation to Oxfam)
$1000 — Incidentals. I won’t be buying much, because of the transport issues, but some things can be mailed home, and some things will break — like bike tire inner tubes.
$150 — Train from Suffolk to London to Belgium.
$400 — 2-4 nights’ lodging in Belgium (I don’t know about this yet because the Waterloo 2015 project doesn’t yet know when and and for how long the site will be open for this.)
$300 — food and water at site
$300 — site fees (again, I don’t know if this is even reasonable.)
$150 — train from Belgium to London
$1800 — lodging, food in London for 7 days (There are London B&Bs around 50 pounds a night, though I don’t know if this means STAY AWAY or not.)
$60 — train from London to Southampton to catch the westbound ship
$1000 — Passage, in interior cabin, westbound
$600 — Train from New York to Colorado
$1000 — taxis, buses, random other events unforeseeable.

So… around $11 grand, all told. What gear I take will run somewhere around $2000, but that can be bought in small doses, as needed, over the next year. Given my 30% over-estimate, I’m looking at $15,000. I’ll also need to update my passport.

All of our debt (save our mortgage, which is small) is gone by June of this year. This is why I can even consider taking this trip. Right now, I’m shoving about $300 a month into savings for this; after June, that will jump by more than an order of magnitude, but it can be done, with long-range planning, on $300 a month for 30 months. (So, significantly less than my car payment was.) If I had children to send to college, this wouldn’t be possible at all. It also means no new toys for me for the foreseeable future. (C and I have separate toy funds.)

There are places where this could be cheaper — if I find a roomie for the two weeks at sea, or if I manage to couch-surf. This might be possible, but I’m not counting on it.

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