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

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

  1. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    ... on what you want out of life. I am responding to the OP, I didn't read all the replies.

    If you want a wife and kids, you need to let go of any pretence that you have control over things anymore. 50% of marriages end in divorce and kids will cost money for at least 20 years, if you’re lucky. So you can retire at 60 if you plan well…
    Or, you decide the life of fridge magnets and minivans isn’t yours.

    In that case, work, save your money, build a dividend stream, retire early and kiss the corporate world goodbye as soon as you can.

    I took path number 2, and am retiring on Feb 9th next year (at 43). I leave for a 4 year RTW trip, staring with South America and then onwards to Australia etc. I did this once before in 2006 and rode from Europe to Cambodia over the course of 10 months.

    Those are the main choices you need to make in my opinion. Once chicks get in the way, shit goes sideways …. Practice serial monogamy and be happy, then travel when the time is right (and the bank full). Shack up with a girl if you really must at 50 who’s a divorced empty-nester (and hence can appreciate your way of life) when you’ve traveled the far corners of the world.
  2. FKNBUM

    FKNBUM Adventurer

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    I have had jobs which provided me with 4-8 weeks vacation. I made 2 month long trips during this period.

    I have saved and quit my job to take a long (6 week) trip, which I easily could have turned into a 3 month trip.

    I have simply told my boss I needed to go for a ride (26 days).

    There is no job/career worth postponing life. A few others have noted that the sudden death of a friend/family memeber drove them to reasses their priorities. Keep in mind this could be you.

    For me, being homely and skinny has probably granted me more travel opportunities than most. Personally I would rather have been born handsome and wealthy, however, I would be too tied down with, the wife and kids, girlfriends, and stalkers, to enjoy myself.
  3. MarkGS

    MarkGS No I don't ride a bimmer

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    Heh, I've given this some though since I did my first one year RTW trip (did it as a backpacker). When thinking about the luck involved when stumbling into the means and the will to make these kinds of trips happen, the lack of relationship success is certainly a part. I think humans look for novelty (games), pleasure (in all its forms) and validation from others (all the social creature stuff) in life, and most people look for that and sometimes find it with their sexual relationships. We're certainly taught to look in that direction. It's really, really difficult to give up an established identity for the unknown.
  4. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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  5. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    It only feels like that. When you are 50 and still saying the same thing....well, then you have.
    Maybe a career change? Life change? Its never too late ya know....it might be the hardest thing you ever did in your life but it might be the best thing.

    Ask RTWDoug. He takes trips all the time, all over the world. Others have quit their jobs and just taken off with no destination. Some even end up married! Some people can work from the road.

    I have taken 6 one months long vacations since 2001 and went cross country . I saved up, have two weeks a year vacation and asked for two more. I am the #1 driver (been there 22 years) where I am so it is a little easier for me, and there are people to cover for me. Two of the six were on a motorcycle. The best trips so far. (Except for the Alaska/Yukon/Arctic circle trip in my pick up...In December...:D)

    Start small, a week when you can get it and be prepared. A lot can happen in a week.
  6. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    I can sympathize with your dilemma. I went through this two years ago when I turned 30. So, I took my first extended solo trip and toured from two months around the southwest. Most of the other motorcyclists I met were close to twice my age and the majority of them expressed, they wish I had done it when they were younger and not waited until they retired (some by choice, some not) when their bodies were not as up for the longer days. At 30, and of the "single with no kids or house or other demanding responsibilities" midst, I set out for adventure. I am lucky enough to have a career that allowed me two months off during the slow season and return to work when it was in full force. But now, two years later, still with that (I don't know if its any longer considered a mindset, but more like my continued circumstances), that wanderlust bug is still biting and I am considering leaving my great job, which I have also worked hard to reach this point, to go explore for a year in farther lands, knowing that if I return to it, the position will not be the same to return to. And I will admit, The thought scares me. But there is not a better time than now, while I have the physical capability, the freedom to wander, and the lust to plan it all out. And that is above all…do it while you have the passion for it. Cause really…where were you last year? Where do you want to be a year from now? I guess it depends on what you're dreaming of…


    regarding the wonderful thoughts of LarryLarry….I appreciate the ability you have learned to take things slower. It is something I strive to do, but struggle with because the society we have created (at least the one I live in) does demand a sense of urgency, of constant connection, and that is part of the urgency that I want to escape on my travels. It seems easier to take off and live as a vagabond than it does to figure out how to slow down my daily life. But the one thing I will say about time…one thing the majority of you (luckily, will never have to deal with) is a ticking biological clock that does have an expiration date. Some things are better utilized when younger. That is proving to be a hard act to balance.

    Any which way you can manage it…get out there and go for that extended trip. What you find out there may change how you want to live your future.
  7. hilslamer

    hilslamer 2XRedheadedstepchild

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    Looking at your blog, I can see that you speak from true experience and deliberate personal growth. Not that I question anyone else's story here - not at all. But, it's cool to put a face with advice and see confirmation from someone who has been there.
  8. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    Hilslamer mentioned your blog, so I took a look too. Love the pictures in the old style. That really gives it an extra bit of punch and makes the "travel" part seem more palpable.

    You asked for perspective ... Well, in 1991 I traveled for the first time to Kenya and since then, my mindset has shifted to travel for as much as I could. I'm now 43 and am retiring in 9 days (Feb 9th) to do just that.
    I am still like you in some ways. No kids, house or responsibilities. All choices made long ago, probably when I was 18, with a focus to change life and purposely break the mold every 20 years. I lived in Europe till I was 25 (although I am from Montreal), lived in Vancouver from 1993 till I guess this coming April and will then be on the road for 4-5 years. Yes, it's not for everyone, but those who do it never regret it and those who are so inclined and don't, always wonder.

    The thing that I found is that no one but you have the answer. You need to do what feels good and not listen to the "advice" you get from elders, parents and your environment. As long as you are happy, live happily in your environment and are kind to those around you, go nuts and travel as much as you want. Taking a year or two off to travel the globe will change your life forever. That much is certain.

    Personally, I would never want it any other way.

    Here's my new website (still mostly empty) for 2012: http://www.nohorizons.net/2012/
    Here's my 2006 website when I rode halfway around the world: http://www.nohorizons.net/
  9. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the differenc
  10. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    Agreed. Your supposed to work your ass off and eat ramen noodles through your twenties in order to get where you want to be in your thirties. Otherwise you would be one of the OWS losers. :evil

    I do wonder how normal people pull these trips off. I'm lucky enough that, at least in the summer months, I'm "on call" but hardly ever needed. Therefore, as long as I have my phone on me, I can be in Timbuktu and no one cares.
  11. Denture Rider

    Denture Rider Adventurer

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    I would seriously reconsider your life and what you want to get from it? You can not generally have your cake and eat it too. Get into a career that allows time to travel! Few of those(us) that pull long adventures off do it without a lot of sacrifice in other area's of their lives. Often people either waited till they're retired or choose an occupation that has limited chance for a sweet retirement package. Or they are often trust fund kids and/or just have various talents that have produced a lot more money in a shorter duration than most. But everyone that does it does it their own way. I have a bicycle store in the North East, I don't make much money in the winter anyway, so I squirrel every morsel away during the warmer weather and then travel for a few months when it's cold here. If you live long enough to eventually be laying around in some hospital someday, eventually waiting to die, you won't regret a moment you spent doing something you loved.
  12. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    thanks hilslamer...Its always nice to hear people enjoy what I share. Helps me keep with writing. It has been a rough couple years working the chaos of my head out, but worth every moment. There are those times when you realize, as Malindi said...you cant rely advice from those around you...but you can learn to rely on yourself and make things happen.

    Malindi...good of you to share that poem. The words of Robert Frost have always stuck with me, (the signs of a true wanderer) as I'm sure it has for many others.

    Cheers to the road less traveled...:clap
  13. Denture Rider

    Denture Rider Adventurer

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    If Robert Frost was a wheel, Pablo Neruda is the Baja 1000 AND every bike in it! (he's really is that much better). Look him up and let his words become you, if your lucky...
  14. kerncountykid

    kerncountykid Been here awhile

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    That seems bigoted and harsh to me. I'm sorry if you see the world as winners and losers. Life can be whatever you want it to be, why would you want it to be the same for everybody?
  15. Pete O Static

    Pete O Static Adventure Seeker

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    Everything in life is a choice or compromise of priorities. Rich or poor, it matters little. We all have different priorities as a result of different choices. Some live to work and some work to live.
  16. MarkGS

    MarkGS No I don't ride a bimmer

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    I make pretty good money as an electrical engineer in silicon valley. But I don't own a house, my car is 11 years old and long since paid off, I don't have a wife or children, I have no debt, and my savings goes towards the travel budget almost exclusively.

    If you're making $10 or $15 an hour at your job, you're probably never going to be able to screw off to South America for a year. Between there and people who are for real rich, though, there are many possibilities to make long term travel happen.

  17. Pete O Static

    Pete O Static Adventure Seeker

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    I posted just above but to be more specific, I thought I would answer directly to the OP.


    This summer, I will be starting a ride from Quebec Canada to the PNW, and California via Colorado and Utah. Then returning along the Mexican border and Eastern Seaboard. I have a wife, a house and a job ( for now ) :)

    To do this, I will start with 3 weeks of vacation. When that time runs out, I will put the bike and gear into a storage locker, lock it up and fly home from wherever I end up. I can fly for free because I am in the industry but realistically, airfare these days is cheaper than bus fare. When I get a few days off, I will fly back to the bike and continue my journey. I will continue this process until the bike is back at home. The beauty of this is I have no real schedule to keep and I won't have to disappear for several months nor have a brinks truck filled with years of savings to finance it. Kind of a "pay as you go" deal. If it takes me a year to finish the ride, so be it. At least I will have done it and I will always have my next stretch of days off to look forward to.

    So no, I don't think you need to rich, just a bit creative depending on your situation.
  18. Libertynh

    Libertynh Adventurer

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    Your post caught my attention because I often find myself thinking the same thing about time and finances for journeys inspired by posts on this site.

    If I were a rider and had less personal obligations at some stage I hope I would or will have the courage to create a lifestyle that supports more adventure riding.

    Living in an area that has lots of good roads helps quell the passion until the next opportunity for a new experience.

    In between I will continue to be a vicarious lurker.
  19. Morgan Steele

    Morgan Steele Been here awhile

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    Old thread but the message is timely for me. I often think of how I'm going to manage more time off for longer trips.

    I took my first adventure trip at age 40 (three weeks in Africa). Hopefully, I'll be doing more and longer trips well into my 60's.

    For years, I didn't take vacations because I worried about losing my advantage. In hindsight, work is always going to be there in some form. The key for me is staying out of debt by not chasing down the latest technogadget or lifestyle upgrade. I've run into many people on the road with less money and less things. They tell great stories about the things they've done and not about the things they've bought. They manage it and I know I can, too.

    I don't know the OP's vacation situation. But, looking back at my own work history, I know I could have taken the time off sooner.

    The moral of the story is: plan, save, and go do it!
  20. AdamFL

    AdamFL Been here awhile

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    I can agree with the above. I never took vacation because I thought I might miss something at work. After amassing accrued time off the company policy changed to only a certain number maybe rolled over each year. So all of that time got wasted. No more. Also a couple of life changers last year made me realize work isn't who you are only a means to be who you want to be. So that said we are off to South Africa in March. Maybe only for two weeks but it is a start. No kids, two incomes, and no debt make me think the end isn't so far off..