Long term bike trips... HOW do you do it? (time/work/career)

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by MaxF, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. bumblebee1

    bumblebee1 All bikes are dirt bikes

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    Me again.

    I've been giving this a lot of thought.
    The most attractive aspect of riding away for a long trip is the unexpected.
    I always think that it will come around the next corner or in the next town, but it can't be predicted.
    The most memorable experiences are the ones that have caught me totally off-gard and lived to talk about.
    Ripping around a remote dirt road and almost plowing into a moose...now that I remember.
    Ya know, rocks and trees all look alike after a few hundred miles.
    I have also seen a ton of pictures,videos and articles from all around the world, and it sort of takes the magic away.There's not much virgin scenery left.
    If you can imagine the first white men to walk in the woods and come upon the roaring Niagara falls, now that would have been a sight to behold.
    I guess I'm just pondering as to the "Why" we want to travel (slow day at work).
    #41
  2. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    Ain't my place to comment, yet sounds like your dad should be setup to retire - cut back- or some such thing. He's worried about X but can't act on Y and in the end, he'll probably regret the fact that he did .. NOTHING 'cept worry that now is not the time while worrying that when? will be too late.
    #42
  3. securety10

    securety10 Stuck...

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    That was exactly my point.

    He can retire anytime and get full benefits. Problem is part of their retirement was tied up in real estate (that they have owned for 20+ yrs) and if they would have sold a few years ago they'd be set, now not so much. Besides that my mom is diabetic and the insurance coverage is going to be ridiculous once he retires. I've been trying to talk him into retiring and he seems to really be considering retiring in the next year or so. I hope he does...
    #43
  4. MarkGS

    MarkGS No I don't ride a bimmer

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    I quit my job in October of 2008 (was 31 at the time) and went backpacking for a year. Best year of my life.

    Came back, got rehired at the old job. I don't like it. Currently it is funding one year of massage school and my next trip which will be a one year motorcycle ride down to Argentina and back. Maybe longer...

    It is tenuous and risky in that the more I do this, especially at this age, the less easy it becomes to live an everyday life. But as I learned while backpacking I'm not happy unless I'm doing interesting things and taking risks on a regular basis. Once I experienced being "for real happy" there was no putting the genie back in the bottle.
    #44
  5. simondippenhall

    simondippenhall Simondippenhall

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    Good topic.
    I started motorcycling when I was 14 (well, strictly it was a moped!) and took a 1 day road trip.

    When I was 18 I had a 125 which I got to ride from Paris (where my parents lived) to Dublin (where I went to college). That was a 2 day road trip:rofl
    Then corporate life for a lot of years.:(:

    Come the year 2000 I took a redundancy package (that was the internet crash) and spent some of my job hunting time doing advanced motorcycle training.

    Come 2005, my next employer was taken over and I cashed in my (little) portion and, while job hunting, rode with friends from london through Morocco to western sahara...a 3-4 week trip.

    Come 2008, I was on the job market again....so took the opportunity to ride from London through Turkey, Syria and Jordan to the Red Sea. A 5 and a half week trip, this time I went on my own and, if i am honest, it was even better.

    So the point of all this? Carpe diem...if you can take the financial risk and are out of a job , use the freedom. Certainly countries like Morocco, Turkey etc are cheap to travel in.

    My 10 cents
    #45
  6. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    This is REAL similar to my experience (posted above) when I took that "1st" year off to travel at 43.

    I was dreading the "cube" life again, so started working for myself - then I had to go out and get a "real" job. I don't like it. I've never looked at the "career" the same since. I'm pondering another break right now, but the whole age/will have to find another job/retirement thing is hard to figure out. I know I can't retire now, but should I take a year or two off now, put the house up for rent, and roll the dice on another job to take me into retirement OR just put my head down, gut it out for another 5-7 years and then "semi-retire" into a life of travel/secondary jobs, until retirement $$ kickes in...Ahhhh, these are tough questions..:lol3
    #46
  7. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    Big stretches of free time with the dollars to go ride and enjoy those long trips require some good decision making. The quality of your life is based on the choices you make. Falling into the "consumer lifestyle" will set you up for a life of work, and payments and less freedom. We all need to work to pay for the things we need to live.We work to live, and soon find we cant live, because we are working....Time is money they say, so is the guy with a lot of time actually richer?
    This is a great thread. I say go ride now.....You may find out later that you will never be 22 years old again. You only get 1 life, so enjoy it, because you do not get a "redo" Your "career advancement" will suffer, but is that more important than life itself ? We are not our jobs, working should be something you do, to earn the money you need to go do what you actually want to do....don't let your job be the definition of you.
    Ride. Doors will open later on.I realize its scary to let loose of the grip of a decent job during these recession times though, but no glory is found on the safe and sure pathway......
    #47
  8. MaxF

    MaxF Zee German

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    Great posts in this thread... interesting to hear how everybody's opinion on long term adventure trips and coping strategies with regard to the job-finances-family-challenges.

    Just some comments...

    From what I read on the forums I'd agree with those numbers. And also the rest of your post is spot on. Not to say that there is an "age limit" for adventure biking but I think a good case can be made for traveling early (if it is manageable financially!).
    I envy the techies and self-employed folks who have some flexibility. The fly&ride idea is pretty neat though, will look into that!


    Well that sounds ideal! What kinda contract/consulting jobs do you do?

    To give a little background: I'm work in biglaw which means little free time (usually working weekends as well), long vacations are frowned upon and "taking time off to travel around" is pretty much unheard of. I will likely perform a lateral change in the field this year or next year though so I may be able to squeeze some time out of it to do a trip that will satisfy me for some time... then it is only a question of explaining that time off to the new employer or covering it up.


    Interesting question... for me it is the element of traveling in a unique way which allow for an experience of the different countries and cultures the average tourist doesn't get. Then, if you take sufficient time off, you are under no pressure or constantly worry about deadlines.
    Maybe in the end it IS one of the few ways to still have an actual "adventure". There are lots of ways to get the odd "thrill" (racing, skydiving, jaywalking, etc.) but taking a bike trip through Russia or Mongolia is what I would consider a proper adventure. Make sense?
    #48
  9. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    PowerSmoke,

    I apologize if my remarks came off as personal or cruel, they were not intended as such. I can imagine that you, your Dad, and myself are just making the best of our respective situations. Nothing personal indended.

    About 25 some odd years ago I was hired by one of the oldest companies in the US, and did the routine involved with the 'human resoures' department including a talk with the dept. head. This was not the largest of cities and we had mutual friends, not uncommon in the plant. We talked of pensions, 401K, and such and somewhy I asked; "How long does the average retiree receive pension checks?".

    Sterling did not have the answer but was curious and said he would ask the question 'up the channels'.

    Several days later I was called to his office and after proper polite chit-chat he said that he had received an answer; "I heard back from those that know and the answer to the length of retiree checks is 18."

    "I'm surprised Sterling, that the average retiree lives that long!" I said.

    "No, Rufus, that's 18 months, not years."
    #49
  10. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    These are our golden years.:deal
    #50
  11. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Got a source for this?
    #51
  12. securety10

    securety10 Stuck...

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    Environmental/Electrical qualification of airplane components is what I do usually. Currently helping with the certification of the exterior lights on the soon to be released Boeing 787. When I am working, I usually work 7 days a week, and 15 hr days aren't uncommon. I've been living in hotels, and more recently a shitty apartment, on Long Island for the last 6 months (I'm from and still "live" in FL). Christmas was the only time I managed to get a trip back home in and that was against the wishes of the higher ups, but I didn't care. Honestly this gets old quick and can be very stressful, people are constantly burning out and leaving (or becoming alcoholics :evil). But there are some positives, I know when I am done I can take months off with no worries, and there is no better way to do networking in an industry than doing something like this. Good networking=a job just about anytime you want it.

    Unless you plan to take more than a year off, a simple trick is to note employment history by year, don't add months/days on your resume. Then there should be no question about employment holes. Most employers won't ask a prior employer the day you quit or were laid off anyway. They usually just ask if you were ever employed there. If you only worked January of 2011 you still worked in 2011 in my book...

    No harm rufusswan, I didn't take it as either. I was joint pointing out his situation and "why" he hadn't retired.
    #52
  13. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    I'm also in my late 20s. I quit my job in september '09 and took off to south america for 9 months. When I got back I found a new job. Simple as that. In fact, the 9 months I spent travelling on a motorcycle in south america were viewed as "unique job qualifications" by my current employer. Hell, it's just something interesting and different. Something not everybody does. If it's something you want to do then just go do it. Don't waste too much time worrying about the consequences.
    #53
  14. Vstromjim

    Vstromjim Been here awhile

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    I am 63, almost 64, and still able to ride my bikes on Iron butt rides and travel to Inuvk and Dead Horse. So not quite a total gimp yet.
    Several years ago back in 19mumble mumble my wife and I sat down and ask our selves if we wanted to see stuff or buy stuff. We both chose to see stuff. We bought a smaller house than we could have and always buy used cars as needed. You get the idea. We saved money and planned trips. As we went through life and work we kept to our plan. Work is just a way to afford to do what we want. We used piled up vacation days to travel. Three weeks was the norm. We used short weekend trips to test our packing and how the bike was set up.. Make and remake plans. We plan a year ahead of time as well as keeping a list of where we would like to go. We retired when I was 57 she was 52. The key for us was to decide what our priorities are then live as if we had about 1/2 or 2/3ds the take home that we actualy did. Our only regret is that we didn't make that decision back when we were your age. Oh, we did...:rofl
    #54
  15. blues

    blues Been here awhile

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    Max,

    Maybe you need to think about it a little different. As far as doing the corporate thing is concerned I've been there and am still doing that, pays quite well and is exciting but...

    That said you can do alot of living in a week if you work at it.

    Pick an interesting location where you can rent a bike, flying in and go. For several months in advance spend the time to learn a little of the language, culture, and history. Research interesting areas to go, things to do, and places to stay. Maybe read a book or two by a local author. Plan out a route.

    On tour do more than just ride. Get involved. On a whim while in Buenos Aires I took a Tango lesson and went out and did the Tango. It was the highlight of an amazing trip. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, you'll forget all about work.

    When you get back, arrange your photos, do a trip report, send a few thank you notes to people who helped you out along the way.

    You can easily get '6 months' out of a one week trip and the process is addicting in it's own way. Start a list of places you might want to go, the most important thing is to get started.

    Blues
    #55
  16. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

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    No, just that
    A) I was surprised I got an answer so I assumed that it was true ..
    B) the simplest actuarial numbers are required to fund a retirement program ..
    C) I watched a lot of people retire from the company.

    In general, retirement is a nebulous goal that comes way late in ones life and I found that most folk really hadn't given it much thought. The change is as life altering as changing careers at an advanced age. Many are leery of the reduction of income, most had no 'real' plans for occupying their time, and on top of that you give up the sense of self-worth that goes with a job well done.

    It is just my personnal experience, but most who retired had waited as long as possible to do so, or for health reasons. As the computer guru I talked with everyone in the plant - high paid managers to regular Joe Blows - and very few looked at retirement as a "promotion".

    So it doesn't really matter whether my story was true or just allegory. Retired or not, you still have to allocate your time and you will still say you don't have enough money. So you'd just as well start practicing for it in your 20's.

    Just sayin :deal
    #56
  17. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    Actually a "woman's view" would be pretty moot in his situation: he married, was miserable, got out. Good for him, and good for you too. I myself may nag my boyfriend about how to spend his money but it's for his own good, not because I want to control him. For example yesterday he said how he was going to, with his next check, buy an overbore kit for his CB750 and I pretty much nixxed it. Caveat: he's currently going to school for welding/machining, lives on sporadic unemployment, needs welding supplies (leather, autodark helmet, etc) to continue classes past the month, uses my 1973 Maverick (>10mpg) to get to classes when he has a perfectly good CX that just needs a new front wheel, and he wants to spend $800 on a CB that isn't registered, has no wiring harness, and whose joints are so bound up that even if he did get a new engine and made his own harness to get it running he'd still need at least another $1000 to even get the thing to ROLL.

    Enough of the feminine perspective? I don't generally care what he does with his free time or money, but honestly sometimes you men are idiots. :freaky

    Anyway, to the OP (and forgive the off-topic rant): don't be afraid to get out there and LIVE. For about 6 years post-college I think I averaged about 2 radically different jobs a year (marketting executive, park ranger, wildlife biologist, disaster relief, fast food, appeals/grievance for medical insurance etc) and I had a blast. I've lived everywhere from Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas and Idaho. I've always managed to feed myself, always managed to pay back the absurdly expensive student loans my parents took out for me (private schools are awesome but a lifesuck to pay back), had a blast meeting different folk from all walks. I've ridden highs and had some pretty far-reaching lows, and wouldn't trade a minute of it.

    The point I'm making (and that I've seen in a lot of posts here) is there are more ways to live your life than in a cubicle. Sure some of them are a crapshoot and require you to take a chance, but now's the time to have an adventure. Don't wait to have a mid-life crisis - have a current-life crisis. Hey, you're here and thinking about it which is a goodfirst step. Good luck however you decide, there's as many ways to live a life as stars in the sky and none of them are better than the other. :)
    #57
  18. bigskydrift

    bigskydrift dual sport hooligan

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    ......AND.......other than riding my bike whenever possible, I've often been asked, 'What do you old folks do now that you're retired? Well..I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background, and one of the things I enjoy most is turning beer, wine, Scotch , and margaritas into urine.
    #58
  19. MerrellJr

    MerrellJr Adventurer

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    I take my adventures how ever whne ever I can. Living on SOCAL with the prettymuch understanding Wife and kids in Jr and High school. My adventures are short trips day rides, weekends, or 3-4 day trips. My longest adventure has beem 1100 miles in 3 days. Fontana Ca to St George Utah to see friends.
    343 miles door to door each way. the rest was all local in southern Utah. Just get out and ride. your edventure is what you make if it. I have family obligations like so many others on this world forum. It is a balance in life. IMHO, in your shoes I would look at whne the present job ran out, take a trip. get back to work after ??? weeks. repeat as necessary. You are young and have to answer only to yourself at this point. It makes it easy. When you find your self in a relationship do not let it take control of your life. It is balanceI . My 16yo sons is in puppy love and tells his chick " If your happy I am happy "/ I told him he needs to be his own person and identity. SO do what ever you can for yourself. while you can. go for it. Post your adventure so we can go along with you. I love reading all the trip posts. It gives me ideas and keeps me going every time I read it. I have another reason to go and work every day- to provice for my family and save for my next ADV. Ride on
    #59
  20. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

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    Good perspective.



    To the OP: I'm with the school of thought on living NOW not latter. Life is short you never know what will be so live life with no regrets.
    #60