Get Excited, You’re Going to Belmar Instead!

I cancelled Keansburg. After doing some research and listening to advice of some other travelers, I realized that even though the accomodation was a steal, since I don’t drive and the transit isn’t that great in Keansburg, all my money would go to transit. There’s also not much in Keansburg, and just the other costs of that, it would add up and break a budget.

I looked at some of the places I was looking at near Asbury Park. I’m more familiar with the area around Asbury Park, there’s good transit and there’s a lot of gluten-free options. I also did some more thinking, there are no grocery stores in Keansburg and I don’t really feel comfortable cooking in someone’s else kitchen. While I’m sure they are clean, I have to deep clean my cooking spaces here at home, because gluten can be hidden. I also use my own cookware and I’m not dragging that on trains and buses. Gluten-free shopping can be as expensive as eating out.

Anyway, I requested a space in Long Branch on Air bnb, but the only room that was affordable, the woman responded back that she didn’t feel comfortable renting out this year. I understand. I then looked at the Belmar listing that I looked at before Keansburg. I asked the owner if she was near a train and she is, within walking distance. $95/night, $50 more a night, but I’m near a train that can take me to Asbury Park, that can take me to gluten-free dining, and Belmar has gluten-free eateries too. The beach is a 43 minute walk, and that’s okay. One day I can also take the train to Asbury Park beach, that’s only a 30 minute walk. I might see if Belmar boardwalk and Asbury Park boardwalk connect.

I want to share a piece I wrote for Gotham Writer’s Workshop because I think it sums up the lessons I’ve been learning about frugality and living within my means. It’s also not only about money, as another writer put it, it’s also about time. Time is just as important as money.

Prompt: let’s mess up our lives the right way.

I tried really hard to live a frugal life, I swear I did. I paid off a mountain of debt in the process of learning how to budget and shop around.

However, I’ve been learning that just because something is cheap that it’ll remain cheap or in budget. For example: one has to replace cheap clothes within a season – cheap clothes can break a budget. Theoretically, more expensive clothes are made better, last longer, and one only needs to purchase the item once. The same issue can happen with appliances.

I love to travel, but I’m a non-driver. Cheap accommodations in the middle of nowhere are attractive until you add up the costs of transit, ride shares, and food; that cheap vacation becomes more expensive than the room downtown.

I was supposed to go to Keansburg; 3 nights for $188. I was excited to be taking my first trip post COVID-19 quarantine until I did my research, added up costs of ride shares, food, and the time I’d have to invest in getting to places. I also researched the area and was left with a pit of despair in my stomach. Dangerous, gang activities, robberies, burglaries, the list went on. CANCEL!

I’m going to Belmar instead and while it’s double the price of Keansburg, it’s safe, I can walk places, I’m more familiar with the area as I’ve traveled in that area for the past 4 years, there are more transit options, and I have more access to gluten-free and other allergen free eateries.

Sure, I could probably do it cheaper, but I rather mess up my life the right way – by coming home alive with beautiful memories to write about.

I’m excited to go to Belmar and the family I’m staying with seems very nice! That makes half of the trip.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “Get Excited, You’re Going to Belmar Instead!”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    I hope by now your headache has subsided, dear friend. I don’t know anything about Keansburg and therefore I shared your excitement a few days ago when you told me you planned an overnight stay there. You have proven that it pays to do your research, remain flexible and not be afraid to change your mind. Based on your findings a stay in Keansburg would have been more costly than you projected, inconvenient for meals and possibly dangerous. It seems like you are now on the right track with a trip to Belmar planned. You have indeed learned (and taught) lessons on frugality. You want to make this getaway count. You want to have good quality rest, relaxation and fun and bring back happy memories to write about, not tales of disappointment and dashed expectations. I hope the host family in Belmar turns out to be as nice as they seem and that you have a wonderful time.

    Have a nice weekend, dear friend JM!


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