This three-minute video update was recorded live from my guesthouse outside of Thimphu, Bhutan. In the video I talk about frugality and the choice to spend $1,000 to come to Bhutan.
Bhutan is in South Asia, between Tibet, India, and Nepal. To put it in perspective, I’ve included a map below.
If you can’t view the video, here is a quick summary —
I’m having a great time here in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. It takes a lot to impress me, and Bhutan is an impressive and authentic destination.
Due to an active government strategy to promote sustainable tourism, it costs at least $200 a day per person, paid in advance, to visit here. For my five-day trip, I had to wire over a thousand bucks, not counting my airfare.
The $200/day is not as expensive as it initially seems, since that fee covers all lodging, meals, taxes, airport transfers, and guided tours. However, for budget travelers, it’s still a lot to swallow, especially since it must be paid in advance.
Frugality is one of my values, but I have my own definition of it. For me, frugality is not about giving up my daily coffee or putting my dreams on hold for the future. Instead, I think it’s about being clear about my values and structuring my life in a way that allows me to do things like go to Bhutan.
This kind of travel is something I’ve deliberately chosen to value. It’s not an impulse buy or something I do to escape a life I don’t like somewhere else.
Update: this wasn’t in the video, but today I met with a government official with the tourism office to discuss the state of travel in Bhutan. One of the things he said struck me:
“There’s an old English proverb about how if you are careful with your pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves. In Bhutan we have turned it upside down – we’re more concerned with the pounds than the pennies.”
His quote was in the context of something different (attracting the right kind of tourists to the country), but I thought it relates to this post as well. Coming to Bhutan was relatively expensive. It costs pounds – or dollars, more than one thousand of them – but I’m glad I came.
The point is not that everyone should pack up and come to the Himalayas. The point is that when you are clear about your values and align your life accordingly, you’ll be able to do more of what you truly enjoy.
You also won’t feel guilty about spending money on those experiences, because you’ll know they are events you’ve decided to prioritize your life around. Are you clear about your values? What is your Bhutan?
That’s my $0.02 — or my $1,000 plus airfare, to be more precise.
Happy Thursday, wherever you are. I’m enjoying it over here in South Asia.