What We’re Doing in 2017

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What a lovely upward trend.
What a lovely upward trend.

Well, this is long overdue.

I’ve been so focused on building a backlog of evergreen posts on the blog that I haven’t even let you guys know what we’re up to next year. That’s because I’m trying to get work as a freelance writer with my blog as a portfolio, and I’m trying to increase the income from my blog.

Related posts:

I’ve tried to shift away from my own personal narrative (because, really, who is that helping??) towards useful content that serves readers. But I know some of you are interested in what’s going on over here, so here goes.

Travel Plans

In early February we are flying to Los Angeles, where we will have a few days at Disneyland. We’ll then catch a bus or train down to San Diego and hang out there for a week or so before crossing into Tijuana via the Cross Border Express.

From Tijuana we’ll fly somewhere else in Mexico (we don’t know where yet) and hang out there until the end of March when we head up to Florida to board a transatlantic cruise to Barcelona.

After that we’ll probably fly to Ireland for a week or so. Then, who knows. I’m not allowing myself to plan any further ahead than that. It’ll either be South East Asia or back to South/Central America or Mexico for a couple of months. We don’t have the money to stick around in Europe for too long.


My goal is $2,000/mth by the time we depart. I’m currently at 400/mth from writing, around 300/mth from my blog and I have some other things in the pipeline. Dave might be able to take unpaid leave from his job, but if not he’ll resign on good terms and apply again when we get back.

We have enough savings to pay for the entire trip, but hopefully they won’t be necessary.


We have house-sitters. I still plan to eventually rent the house on Airbnb when we travel, but, for now we can’t be arsed with all the renovation work (and expense) required to get it up to Airbnb standard. Our mortgage is pretty small – the minimum payment is under $500/mth so we’re happy to have sitters in and no stress.

We’ll be gone for around 4.5 months, but I’m already starting to think further ahead to a year in Mexico while the boys are still small. The NZD is strong against the peso and I imagine it’ll get stronger after November. It makes perfect sense for us to live in Mexico. It’s the midway spot between both of our families, plus I’m close to the US which is definitely the centre of the universe for blogging/writing stuff. That’s a decision we’ll make on our first trip, and will depend on how my income is trending.

So that’s that. In case you were wondering :-).

Are you travelling in 2017? Got any tips for me to save money at Disney? Or recommendations for fish tacos in San Diego?

15 thoughts on “What We’re Doing in 2017”

  1. Hi Emma,

    Being based in NZ and content largely driven by NZ readers, how does the $300/month blog income come about? How is this generated?

  2. Am I travelling in 2017? Hell yes! We are off to Bali for a month to check it out for a long term, move there destination in a few years time. All booked with best available fares and comfortable but budget accommodation planned. How did anyone do this before the internet?

    And just yesterday I booked to go and see one of my all time faves, Roger Waters (think Pink Floyd fame here), in Denver Colorado in June. All done on frequent flyer points so all up, Denver return, $400!! And my brother lives in Denver so accommodation sorted, thanks bro.

    I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…..”

    Sounds like you’ve got a big year planned too Emma. Gotta take advantage of those cheap fares before they start to rise again.

    • Wow, I’d love to see Roger Waters, and well done on getting flights on FF points. Have you been to Bali before? We were there in 2009 and liked it, certainly close to Australia if you need to get back regularly, but not somewhere I could live.

  3. I know you have to make a living but I like your blog for the all the personal touches you have added having read most of them from the time you lived in Sydney to travelling to Spain and your son learning Spanish. My only complaint being there hasn’t been enough to read as I always check back now and again for what you’re up to. You are my kind of straight up no nonsense blogger with a little bit of humour along the way. Happy travels!

    • Aww thanks! I will still have personal stuff, just no melancholy rants about dead roses (I’m so embarrassed I ever wrote about dead roses). More like, these are lessons I’m learning, hope they help you all out!

  4. Hi Emma,

    I can highly recommend Café Coyote in San Diego. Not far from the Zoo/Sea World area.

    We are off to New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Bryce & Zion National Parks, and Hawaii in 2017.

    I love what you’re doing! Keep up the good work. My blog has been a bit neglected of late as we are having trouble with tenants and preparing our current house for sale in case we need to sell it quickly and move into our (currently) rented house. Stress city at present. Ha ha.

    Meg 🙂

  5. Disneyland on the cheap, you say? First question – How many days did you want to go? There’s a 7 day pass that is (last I looked – we went last year) only available if you buy it outside of the country. We settled for the 2 day pass and spent 1 day in Disneyland and 1 in California Adventure, and while we didn’t see everything, it was enough for us. Here are my tips for Disneyland:
    1) Find out what days locals are allowed to use their SoCal pass. Those are the quiet days. Don’t even think about going to Disneyland on a day that is blocked out for the SoCal pass.
    2) Get there slightly before opening so you can be first through the gates. If you care about rides (and that is the only thing I cared about) head straight for the biggest rides. We managed to walk on to the first 5 rides we wanted to do at California Adventure, and on to the first 3 at Disneyland. As in walk right in, no wait at all. Do as many of the big rides as you can that way, and then fast pass and go on the smaller rides until your fast pass time comes. (Of course if you don’t care about the rides, don’t bother with this advice.)
    3) Your boys are still quite small; but Disneyland offers a great thing where one of you can ride on the rides with height restrictions while the other waits with the boys, and then the other parent can basically cut to the front of the line to ride while you wait with the boys. I forget what it’s called because we didn’t need it; but it’s wonderful.
    4) Get free souvenirs. You can get a “First Time” badge at the customer relations desk; there’s a newspaper you can pick up in the park; and you can get a map on the Jungle Adventure ride. Also, you can ask to steer the boat on the Rivers of America ride, but chances are you won’t be able to because it’s kind of popular, as you can imagine.
    5) We didn’t really go to the shops at Disneyland (see #2) but there’s a Target just down the road which has cheap souvenirs. Also, Downtown Disney is free and as I understand it sells pretty much everything you can get in the park, so if you want to pick up souvenirs, do it at Target or Downtown Disney and save your park time for, you know, the park.
    6) Bring your own food. Food at Disneyland is actually very affordable but the lines can be really long. Use the time you’re waiting in line to feed. And remember that you can get free ice water from any place that sells food in Disneyland. There are also tons of fountains around. So bring a couple of water bottles and stay hydrated.
    7) Get the Disneyland ride app. It’ll give you accurate waiting times for all of the rides.
    8) I’d also recommend bringing stuff like bandaids. It’s the mum in me. While my kids didn’t need any, there was a little girl who skinned her knees and was really upset about it. I gave her a bandaid and it made her entire day better, and her parents were visibly relieved (after all, it’s the happiest place on earth, you don’t want your kids to cry there!) The little things can make a big difference.

    Everyone at Disneyland is so wonderful and friendly. We’ve been to other theme parks since then and none of them even come close.

    Also, if you’re going to be in the area anyway, check out the LA Zoo. It’s not as big as the San Diego zoo but it’s much more manageable; you need two days to do the San Diego Zoo properly and one is enough for the LA Zoo. We always end up going to at least one zoo while we’re on holidays. The LA Zoo is a very nice zoo and quite affordable too.

    • Thank you so much for these handy tips, Becca. I’m copy-pasting them into my trip notes, super helpful!
      7 days would be way too much for us, we only have 4 nights booked in Anaheim so I think we’ll do what you did with one day at each park.

  6. One thing about Disney that hasn’t been mentioned is that you can get your hand stamped when you leave the park so that you can come back again later in the day. If you get there when the gates open, you might want to consider leaving midday for a nap (even though I am an adult, every time I tried to do Disney all day I had to leave for a nap myself!) You can also find places to picnic outside the park (west of the resort there is Stoddard park-about 15 minute walk from Downtown Disney) or find a cheaper sit down place to eat.

    If you’re using public transport, OCTA is cheaper than the ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) and goes far more places. The 50 bus is a straight shot to Amtrak if you’re going to take a train to San Diego.

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