Anyone who travels as extensively as I do has their favorite travel books. One of mine is Dave Barry's The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need by Dave Barry. Among the nuggets of wisdom that he gives (like "Never get on a plane if the pilot is wearing a tank top" and "You can travel anywhere you want to go and never know that you have left Cleveland if you just never leave the hotel.") is that no matter where you go there is one thing you can be certain of: "The Dollar is always getting weaker." Until I started traveling to the United Kingdom, I never quite fully appreciated this fact.
The problem is that when one travels on business, the per diem one is given to the traveler in their home currency. So the dollar getting weaker means that the money I have to spend on the expenses of daily life is getting smaller all the time. If you live cheaply enough, this doesn’t really matter. You could go on bread and water provisions, but Man does not live on bread alone. I need the occasional beer!
When all of my travel was confined to North America I was sitting pretty. The Canadian Dollar was always weaker than the US Dollar so even if the dollar (ours) slipped a bit, it was still relatively cheap to travel in Canada. With the pound hovering somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.90, it is not as cheap to live!
When I was last home, I filled my car with petrol. Listening to the other patrons complain about the cost (about $3.00 per gallon) I had to chuckle. Over here, it costs about £0.98 per litre. That works out to being about $6.75 to the gallon. (and that's a US Gallon… not the imperial gallon which would cost about 25% more!)
But you can get used to almost anything. I am constantly finding myself forgetting to do the Pounds to Dollars conversion and thinking about what things cost in pounds. Now if only I were paid in pounds instead of dollars... Well, maybe some day!
I hope wherever you are, you're having a wonderful day!
Don Bergquist - 17 August 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK