Saturday, October 21, 2006

Francs, Limps and Cordobas

A friend is leaving for London tomorrow and as a result I've been going through some of my travel things, in case he could use them. At this very moment, my luggage backpack is on its way to London, a place it has not been before. I bought it for a trip to Central America, years after my last visit to London.

In digging things out for him, I have had reason to run across bits and pieces from various times in my life. I found a 100 Franc note from France. Not sure how I missed it because on my first trip to Paris after the Euro conversion I went to the Bank of France near the Bastille and turned all my francs into euros - well, I thought I had anyway. I guess I'll just keep that note as a souvenir - not that I needed a $20 piece of paper souvenir, which is about what it would have been worth when I bought it, but I have it anyway. It's now worth about $15 but I'm not sure it's worth another trip to the bank during a trip to convert it and I'm not sure you can convert them any more unless it's a certain amount. Oh well... guess that's something to figure out.

I also ran across some Cordobas from Nicaragua - they're worth less now than when I bought them. I think that's when you know your economy sucks - when the dollar has lost ground against the Cordoba. I also have some Honduran limps and it's the same story for them - they're worth less now.

This has made me think about travel - as if I'm not always thinking about it anyway. Since I changed careers a few years ago I've done a lot more traveling within the states as part of the job. It's pleasant to be able to do that, but you start to get the feeling that you've been traveling when you've really just been away from home. They're not the same thing. And I'm guessing this is part of the reason I've felt so out of sorts at times in the last few years. I need a lot of newness in my life and travel gives you a big dose of it at one time.

Of course, the fact that the dollar continues to decline against other currencies means that travel is more expensive. The dollar was roughly equal to the Euro for quite some time. Now you spend about $1.26 for each Euro. So, you're paying 26% more for everything you buy.

So, you have to scope out somewhere that you can afford to go... always a challenge when the economy tanks.

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