*Backdated to late July, 2012*
I started my trip on the most easterly point of Canada. Two and a half months, and some 8,000km later, I was across the other side of the country in Vancouver BC, back to the place I had arrived in Canada almost four years earlier.
I had reached my destination, but I wasn’t ready to stop travelling. I was so close to Portland, Oregon, a city I’d wanted to check out for years. Cue spontaneous road trip.
The trouble was, after almost three months of travel and no income coming in, I was running pretty low on funds. If I was going to do this trip, I was going to have to do it cheap! I set myself a challenge: four days in Portland for less than $200 (including transport from Vancouver) without sacrificing things I want to do. (There was no point going all the way there if I wasn’t going to do the things Portland is renowned for – eating, drinking, and art.)
HERE’S HOW MY BUDGET PANNED OUT:
Free through CouchSurfing. I stayed with Jake Sauvageau (look him up if you find yourself in Portland) and his flatmate Jeannette. These two were awesome hosts, and are largely responsible for keeping my trip so thrifty (they knew all the best places to eat and drink for cheap).
Transport: Round-trip bus ticket from Vancouver – $60 through BoltBus
City bus tickets – $12.60 (you can get anywhere for $2.10 one-way)
Food: When I first arrived in Portland, my first meal was the Santa Fe “chicken” burger at Veggie Grill. This was a tofu burger (that tasted amazingly like fried chicken) with avocado, chipotle mayo, tomato, lettuce and a side of cabbage slaw. It was the best thing I’d eaten in ages! It came with bottomless organic iced tea for $11. Coming from Vancouver, I thought this was a steal. Turns out, it wasn’t. Rookie mistake, but no regrets!
Dinner fit for a king at Mio Sushi – $15
Lunch at a Thai food cart – $5
These food carts are all around town and sell almost any dish you could want for $4–$7. Many cluster along 10th Avenue.
Maple bacon doughnut from Voodoo Doughnut – $2.50
Lunch special at Stickers – $7 (including tip). Creamy coconut shrimp, rice and a diet coke.
Late-night burger at an unspecified diner – $8
Groceries to make two-course dinner for Jake and Jeanette – $23
Round of drinks at “Bear Paw” bar (divey but fun) – $13. This covered two pints, a super-strong vodka and tip. Excellent value!
Bottle of wine at Trader Joes – $2.50 (Outstanding value!)
Bottle of Jacobs Creek wine at Rite-Way (supermarket/pharmacy) – $5. (This was before I knew about the wonder of Trader Joes!)
Random drinks/coffees – $10
Strolling around Portland State University – free.
Walking down 10th Avenue and browsing through Powell’s Books (takes up a whole city block) and Crafty Wonderland (really cool stuff made from local artists) – free.
Portland Art Museum – $15. This is sooooo worth the money! Housed over two buildings, it contains everything from classical to contemporary works of art. Paintings, sculpture, photography, artifacts, home decor, installations: this place has it all!
Living Room Theatre – $9. Cinema/bar/restaurant in one. Love the concept of drinking and dining while you watch a movie (even though I had to skip that part!).
GRAND TOTAL: $198.60
Footnote: More Portland Awesome for your viewing pleasure.