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Old 12-12-2012, 08:19 PM   #226
Two Wheeled 'Tard
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I've gotten quite a number of PMs about this topic, so I'm going to elaborate more on my post.

To reiterate, the way that I'm able to take a large number of multi-month motorcycle trips is that I do contracting work in very remote locations around the world.

The first thing I need to say is that it's nearly impossible to do this if you have kids; so if you've already reproduced, to you I say "HAHA that was stupid!".

These jobs are usually working for the government in some way (Usually through a defense contractor) and are similar to being in the military, in that you sign on for a specific amount of time. Usually for six months, but some places the contract lengths are two years. And during that time, when you're at the location that you're working, everything is provided; you don't pay for food, housing, transportation, anything. Every dollar you make goes straight into your pocket. And when your contract is done, that's it; you're done. If you want to repeat and come back, you do have to re-apply and re-interview and be re-hired for your job for each contract, but for the most part it's usually pretty easy to be hired back if you've done a good job the first time around.

There's two basic routes to contracting.

The first route is the "Sell your soul, shit-tons of money, might get killed" route. This is either working in war zones such as in Afghanistan and formerly Iraq (that's pretty wound down by now), or working for oil companies on remote drill sites and oil rigs. They will usually require making pretty big moral compromises, or have a significant risk of getting shot at/killed. On top of that, the work experience itself usually sucks; 12 hours a day, 7 days a week is typical, for weeks or months at a time. High stress, everyone always screaming at you to work harder, go faster. The flip side is the pay is insane; front-line war zone jobs can pay upwards of $150,000 for basic work, and I knew one guy making $350,000 a year running network cables in front-line bases. This is largely tax-free, as well.

The second contracting option is the "Awesome experience in crazy locations for low pay". The pay is usually about 1/2 to 2/3 what you'd make hourly in the states, however you're still not paying for anything so as long as you're not trying to maintain a house or family, you can do quite well for yourself. The upside is that you're usually working in really neat places, with really cool people, doing work that you'll hopefully enjoy a lot.

I'm currently taking Option 2, awesome experiences for blah pay. The pay is medieocer at best, but because I save every penny when I'm working, I come out of a contract with a nice chunk of change. And I like the places I work; they're full of vagabonds, part-time workers and full-time travelers. Most of us only work 6 months on/6 months off, saving our money when we work and then traveling for the rest of the year.

I hope that's cleared things up a bit. Good luck getting out there and seeing the world some :)
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:36 AM   #227
Nc987
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How I do it?

I am currently a part time middle school teacher. I make $&/? for pay so I make sacrifices like riding a ninja 250 that has cheap parts, is cheap to maintain and gets 60+ mpg.

Right now I am sitting in a cheap apartment with no heat, I wash my laundry at work, I eat lots of sandwiches and I work two other jobs outside of teaching.

Am I complaining? Nope. I love teaching and coaching, I have what I need and I get summers off to ride my motorcycle wherever, whenever I want to.

I'm 29 and know that I need to do this now because the future, god willing, may have a wife and kids in the picture and riding that little ninjette for weeks on end in the middle of nowhere may be hard to come by.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:33 AM   #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Wheeled 'Tard View Post
I've gotten quite a number of PMs about this topic, so I'm going to elaborate more on my post.

To reiterate, the way that I'm able to take a large number of multi-month motorcycle trips is that I do contracting work in very remote locations around the world.

The first thing I need to say is that it's nearly impossible to do this if you have kids; so if you've already reproduced, to you I say "HAHA that was stupid!".

These jobs are usually working for the government in some way (Usually through a defense contractor) and are similar to being in the military, in that you sign on for a specific amount of time. Usually for six months, but some places the contract lengths are two years. And during that time, when you're at the location that you're working, everything is provided; you don't pay for food, housing, transportation, anything. Every dollar you make goes straight into your pocket. And when your contract is done, that's it; you're done. If you want to repeat and come back, you do have to re-apply and re-interview and be re-hired for your job for each contract, but for the most part it's usually pretty easy to be hired back if you've done a good job the first time around.

There's two basic routes to contracting.

The first route is the "Sell your soul, shit-tons of money, might get killed" route. This is either working in war zones such as in Afghanistan and formerly Iraq (that's pretty wound down by now), or working for oil companies on remote drill sites and oil rigs. They will usually require making pretty big moral compromises, or have a significant risk of getting shot at/killed. On top of that, the work experience itself usually sucks; 12 hours a day, 7 days a week is typical, for weeks or months at a time. High stress, everyone always screaming at you to work harder, go faster. The flip side is the pay is insane; front-line war zone jobs can pay upwards of $150,000 for basic work, and I knew one guy making $350,000 a year running network cables in front-line bases. This is largely tax-free, as well.

The second contracting option is the "Awesome experience in crazy locations for low pay". The pay is usually about 1/2 to 2/3 what you'd make hourly in the states, however you're still not paying for anything so as long as you're not trying to maintain a house or family, you can do quite well for yourself. The upside is that you're usually working in really neat places, with really cool people, doing work that you'll hopefully enjoy a lot.

I'm currently taking Option 2, awesome experiences for blah pay. The pay is medieocer at best, but because I save every penny when I'm working, I come out of a contract with a nice chunk of change. And I like the places I work; they're full of vagabonds, part-time workers and full-time travelers. Most of us only work 6 months on/6 months off, saving our money when we work and then traveling for the rest of the year.

I hope that's cleared things up a bit. Good luck getting out there and seeing the world some :)
Thanks for the great information! I've Googled around a bit, but I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction. Any tips or advice for a first time contract job seeker? How does one enter the field and become established? It sounds like your setup is ideal, but I can't imagine it being very easy to get!
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:24 PM   #229
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oh u will find that you hve so much more time in your life if u dont have a tv.
sitting on a couch watching tv is the biggest deterrent keeping you from going out and doing something
I find that there is another benefit as well:

Because I'm not exposed to all the commercials, I'm clueless about the latest cars, electronics, and widgets being pushed. If I watched all those commercials, I'm sure that some of the products would resonate with me and I would lust for them and burn my money on them.

But instead, I don't even know that I'm missing out on X product, Y widget, Z service.

That really helps to save money.

I do think that working in a school (as teacher or administrator) is one of the best lifestyle jobs possible. One is essentially working 1/2 a year... 180 days per year for almost full time pay. Union job, pension, etc. Lots and lots of holidays for big ride trips.

And you don't have to live like a slave in some bunkhouse on some oil field/mine/war zone for half the year to earn money. You still have a good life when you're working.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:25 AM   #230
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I find myself in a similar situation from time to time, asking myself what to do- we all need finance to live and a career to fulfill us inside, but if we had the material means, i think a lot of us would give it all up for that RTW or the discovery of the world we don't yet know.

I think things become trickier once people start to depend on you to be here for them and especially when you build a family, get a house etc...in these instances, you need work regardless to sustain the ones who love.

If you're a true ADV, i'm sure you will find a way to get by. I wasn't born to get up every morning and sit in front of a computer, formatting databases and excel spreadsheets. But it sure helps you to figure what you really want out of life and your career, once you've done it long enough to realise the world is slightly bigger than it seems!
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:56 PM   #231
LandLeftBehind
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OP:

Save up a couple grand. Quit your job and split town.

I spent 4 months travelling. I ate lentils and stayed at whatever free campsites I could find. I spent two of those months working on a farm.

Buy a bike and learn to maintain/troubleshoot/repair it. Thus, an older bike may be a better option, due to less complexity. Preferably one that gets AT LEAST 40 mpg.

Itinerant work is a great option if youre travelling. 'Trimming' in Northern California apparently pays well. I cant say from experience. I have worked on farms through the WWOOF organization however. You provide labor in exchange for room and board. I have always had a great experience from it. Check it out.

I spent about 1k on myself (i.e. food, beer, misc.) over 4 months. It wasnt glamorous living, with air conditioned hotels and restaurant meals, but it was rich in its own way. I spent another thousand on about 8500 miles worth of gas.

The last thousand went into bike repairs/maintenance. Can you see where I went wrong?

You can find another job when you get back. Typically, people (including employers) are impressed by those who divert from the mainstream to pursue their ambitions. Going on a cross-country motorcycle trip has definitely permeated its way into the American ideal If the employers in your field dislike the travelling motorcycle type for some reason, then maybe a change of career is in order ;)
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:06 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by ThanatosF View Post
Thanks for the great information! I've Googled around a bit, but I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction. Any tips or advice for a first time contract job seeker? How does one enter the field and become established? It sounds like your setup is ideal, but I can't imagine it being very easy to get!
If you live near a fishery, or are willing to move near one, NOAA hires Observers through independent contractors. You might need a degree in the natural sciences though to qualify too...

The pay is pretty good considering its doesnt cost anything to live on a fishing boat for a few months out of the year. My friend who did it was hooked up by his company with a place to live while back home as well.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:36 AM   #233
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Great thread

Wife and both wonder how folks have accomplished thes dream trips. We are both consultants for decent sized firms and in our 40s with a 13 yr old son. Our interest was really peaked when we met a 70 yr old man over the weekend who has lapped the planet 3 times. The only question we forgot to ask was the how of things both logistically, but really fiscally.

I too had been offered one of those contractor jobs in the sandbox. My then 8 year old son overheard my conversation with the agency interviewer and asked me if people were going to try and shoot me if I worked over there. I told him no, that I would be trying to keep all of the good guys from being hurt. He started crying and said he did not want me to die. That is kind of a tough one to deal with considering the money and the time off (9 mos on 3 mos off) . It was not feasible for me, but the pay was awesome 250-300K.

Life is a constant compromise. I just always say it is good to be me.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:24 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by RVDan View Post
I think its a great idea, there should be a section dedicated to it.

Honestly, I don't care, you don't have to donate, you don't have to read it.

The internet is full of inapropriateness, simply asking for money isn't the worst thing out there.
I know this is 2 years old but I strongly disagree with this statement. I've earned all my own money. No-one ever gave me a thing since I was 17. That's the problem with today's generation. They feel entitled to everything and don't feel they have to earn things themselves.

It's a sad commentary when society new accepts or embraces begging and those that feel they don't have to work hard for things.

These adventures we all take in our lives are earned and a privilege. Not a right. That's how we can appreciate them more when we go.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:52 AM   #235
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Great thread. As I read the posts, I agree that you can do at 20 what you can't do at 59 (although you still think you can). So riding at 20 is a free wheeling fun adventure.

My concern for you is: you talk of retirement and waiting until then. Well, how do plan to fund your retirement? During your working years you need to put away an additional years salary to live on after you retire, because you're the one responsible for raising it. The government isn't going to give you any and social security will be dead by then. You need $1million in the bank to give you $40,000/yr to live on when you retire. Think about it----and start saving.

The other concern is: stay single if you want adventure. Family changes everything, usually for the better. I didn't have a car in college, only my bike. So after we had twins, I was riding home for lunch one day and went around a corner, hit some sand with my front tire and slid, didn't go down. But at that moment it hit me-----I had two kids, I had responsibility. I put the bike away that noon and didn't get it out again for 17 years. When they graduated from high school I started riding again, figuring they could fend for themselves if they had to. Have put on over 100K since then.

Adventure can come on day trips and weekend trips. Even exploring with a girlfriend/wife. It's how you perceive the adventure and time off. Just enjoy what you have.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:45 PM   #236
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Some people say that adventure comes cheap.

That may be true for a tiny sliver of riders. But most of us don't want to eat ramen and free camp in some field alone for months on end. Living like a homeless bum - but with a motorcycle - is not my idea of adventure or fun and I doubt that most people can bear it for long. To me, that is just being a bum.

Moto trips are a lot more fun when you can experience everything you want to experience. Access often takes money. Entertainment takes money. Not all - but many - experiences and fun things and interesting things take money. Yeah, if your idea is to just ride around and sleep in fields and buy ramen at the nearest grocery store it can be very cheap. But if you want something more, things are going to add up very quickly.

I also don't buy the idea that after living a certain lifestyle for 60 years someone is magically going to flip a switch and take a complete reversal in their lifestyle. That is just daydreaming.

Save up as much money as you possibly can, and do manageable trips that you can do now, while you still have your health and your free spirit.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:50 PM   #237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold View Post
Some people say that adventure comes cheap.

That may be true for a tiny sliver of riders. But most of us don't want to eat ramen and free camp in some field alone for months on end. Living like a homeless bum - but with a motorcycle - is not my idea of adventure or fun and I doubt that most people can bear it for long. To me, that is just being a bum.

Moto trips are a lot more fun when you can experience everything you want to experience. Access often takes money. Entertainment takes money. Not all - but many - experiences and fun things and interesting things take money. Yeah, if your idea is to just ride around and sleep in fields and buy ramen at the nearest grocery store it can be very cheap. But if you want something more, things are going to add up very quickly.

I also don't buy the idea that after living a certain lifestyle for 60 years someone is magically going to flip a switch and take a complete reversal in their lifestyle. That is just daydreaming.

Save up as much money as you possibly can, and do manageable trips that you can do now, while you still have your health and your free spirit.
At 61, I have my health and a free spirit, and am getting ready to leave on a six month journey through the Americas. When it's all over, I"ll be shipping my bike from Montevideo Uruguay back home to Los Angeles.

The hardest part for me will be "flipping the switch." But doing so will give me the richest experience I will ever know.

Enjoy each day and make each one an adventure!
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:01 AM   #238
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At 61, I have my health and a free spirit, and am getting ready to leave on a six month journey through the Americas. When it's all over, I"ll be shipping my bike from Montevideo Uruguay back home to Los Angeles.

The hardest part for me will be "flipping the switch." But doing so will give me the richest experience I will ever know.
Maybe... I know several guys who were really excited about their first big trip. They spent year(s?) reading ride reports and figuring out where they want to go.

Then they finally set off and by week 4, they were sick of it and finished.

A lot of ride reports are written in a very rosy way and things seem richer and cooler than reality. No one ever mentions all the tourist traps and scummy thieving locals, the disgusting hotels that double price you because you're white, and other less than literary and photogenic aspects of travel. It's all an "interesting adventure that turned into a great learning experience" in the ride reports. :)

Reality is that results vary all over the place. Some people love it and for some people it was a big disappointment and waste of time and money, and everything in between. And truth be told, there is nothing wrong with whatever impression you come away with, as long as you give it a try.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:32 AM   #239
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Originally Posted by Witold View Post
Some people say that adventure comes cheap.

That may be true for a tiny sliver of riders. But most of us don't want to eat ramen and free camp in some field alone for months on end. Living like a homeless bum - but with a motorcycle - is not my idea of adventure or fun and I doubt that most people can bear it for long. To me, that is just being a bum.
You're missing a lot.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:59 AM   #240
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Since my last post on this thread,I now have the means but not the health to ride long distance.I can do about 50 miles max before I have to stop.I am now on disability for neuropathy from taking cipro.
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