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Old 04-01-2011, 05:27 AM   #1
bigalsmith101 OP
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No Jobs, No Responsibilities, No Better Time than Now

No Jobs, No Responsibilities, No Better Time
Nearly three years ago I had a dream, conjured up in the midst of a summer tryst in South America, backpacking during a year off from school.

I will ride my motorcycle around the world. Alone? Maybe. With friends? Perhaps. With a significant other? Possibly. Either way, it was pivotal. That moment was the beginning of a mental journey draped over the cutting board of the past three years, mixed with a college education, hammered into shape by a strong determination, and cooked into a possibility by the efforts of unexpected employment.

My university graduation took place on June 12th, 2010. It was a nice warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in Bellingham Washington. I now had a degree in International Business, with a Spanish minor equivalent. Congratulations Alex. Round One Complete.



Work started two days later, Monday June 14, 2010. Location: Juneau Alaska.

In the past seven days, I had taken and passed 4 university level final exams, written 12 pages between two papers, received 40hrs of instruction on how to drive a commercial vehicle, taken and passed my Commercial Drivers license examination, moved all of my personal belongings from my college apartment back into old room at my parents house, moved 3 motorcycles home, packed for work, and flew away to Juneau, Alaska.

Unknowingly I was to remain there for 6 months. Working 6 days and often over 50+ hours a week, I made my home in an Extended Stay hotel. All expenses minus personal food and my cell phone were provided. I had less than $300/mo in personal expenses. My income was magnitudes greater. What did I do? I saved every cent earned. Why? I was riding around the world on my motorcycle. When? Yet to be determined.

I worked as an emergency services contractor for the local Home Depot.


You might ask… YOU DID WHAT? I delivered appliances. That's right. I graduated from a 4 yr university, and was employed delivering appliances and material for Home Depot, and I liked it. They paid the best, and I wasn't in it for the long term. Saving money was the goal. Best decision yet. But even better yet. I can bring my own assistant. Meet Kristi!
Kristi. She’s my favorite. She knows all about my goal, and even listens when I tell her all about them, two, three, four times in a row. Better yet, she knows her goals as well. School first. She works with me in the summers and continues her schooling otherwise. Her planned graduation date is the summer of 2012. She wants to come. Maybe we leave then? Awesome, I’d like her to come. She’s capable, adventurous, fun loving, and spirited. Can she ride a bike? Not yet. Would she be willing to learn? Of course she would. Did I like her enough to have her along the whole way? Well, we’ve been together for 3 years. I like her a lot. Meet Kristi!



I liked my job. I worked for a good man who paid me well. I told my friend. He got a job and liked it too. He was paid well. He liked my idea too. Third piece of the pie? It so happens that I’ve known Tom for 16 years. Long enough to know he could handle it. Around the world? So what, big deal. Hence, Tom came to work with me and learned to drive big trucks. We’re fellow Eagle Scouts. Tom studied International Business as well. Tom speaks Spanish too. Ball is rolling now. Are we getting somewhere? Meet Tom!

We worked and we saved, and we worked and we saved, and we studied.

We were making headway. We set goals. We’d start the summer of 2012. We’d ride around the world. We’d spend 25 months doing it. We’d hit 6 continents, see 70+ countries, ride 60k+ Miles, and ride…. What kind of motorcycles? See the link to the decision making process here. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=605104
Decision made, Dr650’s the steed of choice. Awesome, Let’s buy some. Done. Bikes purchased. Congratulations, Alex, Kristi and Tom. Round Two Complete.
Tom’s Motorcycle

My Motorcycle

Kristi’s Motorcycle

Yay! Motorcycles are bought! Let’s ride the hell out of them in the mean time! And so we did. Even in the snow.

Until…
We got LAID OFF!
What did you say!?!? We got laid off... kinda. We worked as independent contractors, for a contractor who supplied emergency services to a company that delivers for 70% of all of the Home Depots in the United States and Canada. Someone quits, can’t be replaced locally, we fill the job temporarily, they find a new guy, and we train the new guy, than we leave. Well the guy we work for knows what he's worth and charges for it. The company we contract too doesn’t like it. My employer didn't like being treated poorly. So he stopped contracting to them. So Tom and I now have no jobs….

Well what now you ask?
Plan B. This sucks. Not everyone can be happy. But circumstances exist, opportunities have arisen, decisions must be made. And made they were. Tom and I will leave early, and go until we have to stop! How much earlier? 14 months earlier. How long will we last? We saved about 50% of our goal. Half way sounds good! Congratulations Alex and Tom. Round 3 Complete. (No more job!)
What about Kristi? School is important. She will continue her schooling and visit us during her school breaks. She’s bummed, but understanding. She’s wistful to join, but determined to ace school. Now’s not the right time for her. However, it IS the right time for us.
Time to modify motorcycles!
Tom’s Motorcycle!

My Motorcycle! (sans top pelican case, since added)

Modifications are now complete. Elapsed time is around 9.5 months from date of completion of round one. We leave 27 hours. Saturday morning, April 2nd, 2011. It will be Tom’s birthday. He’ll be 24. I am 24. We’re young, but we’re prepared. We’re Eagle Scouts, remember?
Our new goal is to travel for 9+ months. Destination is “South”. We hope the generic hope, to reach Ushuaia. Will we? Yes we will. When? We don’t know. Why you ask? Because. It doesn’t matter where we go, just as long as we go. And go we will. Like the wind. Stay tuned brothers and sisters, Round 4 is just beyond the horizon!!!







bigalsmith101 screwed with this post 11-26-2012 at 09:13 PM Reason: In response to the positive vibes
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:41 AM   #2
AtlantaViking
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I'm in

Well done so far. Great intro and it sounds like you got your sh$t together!

Can't wait to hear the rest.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:47 AM   #3
txxr
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quite an intro....

safe travels.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:55 AM   #4
Reverend12
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Outstanding... Looking forward to the Adventure..
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:06 AM   #5
Mullet
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Sounds Good

Im in on this one. Good luck dudes.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:57 AM   #6
ride4321
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Subscribed! Excellent intro.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:11 AM   #7
achesley
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Great start! Will be following along. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:12 AM   #8
saito
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looks promising, i'm in
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:15 AM   #9
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:25 PM   #10
rawdog
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:37 AM   #11
bigalsmith101 OP
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Oh shit. Here we go...

Hello Everyone! Thanks for such an awesome response to our intro! Currently everything you read is written by yours truly, Alex. As time goes by, you may see a smattering of words written by Tom. His skill in photo journalism is outstanding, and not to be dismissed. We will be on the road a long time. But we're all familiar with this kind of trip, so you know we won't be posting everyday. I do however intend to keep everyone entertained, as I enjoy this just as much as you do! As for now, HERE WE GO!

Holy Shit! What to expect? We're not sure, but we're excited for it. There is much to be considered, but little to be certain of. Tom's bike is packed. Mine is not. I'm doing this instead. Will my tent fit on my bike? Yes. Where? Not sure yet. My sleeping bag fits well in my side bag. But it takes up so much room. My cooking things and tools, and patch kit, and misc electrical all fits well in one bag. Two bags left. Will I have enough room? Tom has two 35liter side bags and a 25 liter top case. 90 liters. All of my bags are 25 liters. A total of 75. He has room for other things then bare essentials. I don't. Am I jealous. A little bit. Worried? Not so much.

My shit spread around my room. Packing ensues.



Damn these spare tubes. They sure do take up a lot of room. Why don't I just leave them behind, and bring lot's of patches.... Oh yeah, now I remember. Because shit like this happens, and you CAN'T patch it.



How many of these knives do I want to bring? Two? Three? One leatherman, one pocket knife, one camp knife? All in one? Combo? Where the hell is my outlet converter. Fuck. Missing. Good thing I wired a powerlet to my bike and have enough USB cable to hang a hammock let along charge my camera/phone.

Which backpack to bring. Damnit, my new one doesn't roll very well, but that old Jansport is a ghetto piece of crap. Wait, it served you well last time you were in South America. Ha. Yah. Nearly 3 years ago.

Good thing I don't need much clothes. Only half a pelican case. 1.5 to go. Minus .5 for netbook, charging cables, spares. Only one to go. Minus .35 for my sleeping bag, .25 for my sleeping pad..... Shit. I'm running out of room.

Oh that's right. I have a waterproof roll bag. YES! More space... For now. I hope my motorcycle isn't overloaded. I hope it's not bogged down. Good thing I have a 14 tooth sprocket... Jesus. I'm all over the place.

Tom is calm, cool, and collected. ON THE OUTSIDE.



He's searching ahead. What can I bring. What do I not need. He's not worried. He makes decisions fast. It's good. It's easy. But he wonders. He chews his lip. But he thinks good and hard, and situation handled. Me? I wait till the last minute. And succeed. No worries either way. We're a good team. 2 months living together in Juneau, Alaska, One month in the same room. 10 years in the boy scouts. We have this covered.

We leave in 7.5 hours. I'd better finish packing. More of this to come. Hopefully with a few more scenes like this.

Part of my inspiration. Riding in Juneau, AK.

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Old 04-02-2011, 07:06 AM   #12
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Even if you took nothing else, your positive attitude will get you through anything that comes up!

Subscribed...
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:27 AM   #13
danceswithcages
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Here you are!

I was surprised to see you had ramped up your departure date, now I understand why.
Good luck to you two!
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:08 AM   #14
Toadride
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Another Excellent Adventure. Ya gotta love it!
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:01 PM   #15
TealLA
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Tom, Just came across your trip blog. I haven't had time to read it all yet, but will do so in the next few days.
Are you guys going to go to SE Asia???
I did a MC trip through Thailand back in 2006. Highly recommend it. It's a great place and easy to get around.
Talk soon,
Teal
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