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Old 01-06-06, 11:01 PM   #1
Zalafan
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How do you afford this?

Amid a newly kindled interest in touring, I've been reading a little on the forums and elsewhere on the subject. It seems that many tours take place over long periods of time; weeks, months or more. It would seem that taking on such a tour would disrupt money flow and career, making for a difficult return to life as it had previously been known. Plus I would assume touring to tax heavily on social and family life. Bills and rent still need to be paid whether you are on tour or not.

So how do people do it?
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Old 01-06-06, 11:36 PM   #2
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A good book that gives one approach is "The road that has no end" by Tim Travis. He discusses the five year plan his wife and him implemented prior to heading out on their world tour. They've now been touring for eight years.

I think the real answer is that like everything in life it comes down to priorities. If it's important for you to see the world then you make it happen. Perhaps you travel with your significant other, ride solo or do a lot of short tours. Many people who go on long tours sell houses, cars and leave apartments etc before they set out. Why pay a bill for something they aren't using.

I guess the thinking patterns can be somewhat different too. What is important to people who work every day is not always the same importance for long distance/time tourers. As someone who works everyday you want a house and probably a car.

A long distance tourer takes their car and their mode of transport with them. Sometimes they don't know when or where the tour will ultimately end. There are a number of journals where you read about a long tour ending when someone met their future spouse on tour. Other times there is a break to raise cash to continue and then back on the road they go.

So if touring and experiencing life is really what you want to do then you will make it happen.

~Jamie N
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Old 01-06-06, 11:37 PM   #3
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Oops!

"A long distance tourer takes their car and their mode of transport with them."

should have been

"A long distance tourer takes their home and their mode of transport with them."

Perhaps I've been working too much myself lately! (grin)

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Old 01-06-06, 11:45 PM   #4
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Just as one Buffalo is not like another - so too are touring cyclists.
I'm not quite at the point of selling all my possessions and dressing in sackcloth - but I'm close.

I did a little touring in Europe in the mid-eighties and enjoyed it, but the bug did not really hit until I did my first cross-country trip in 1987. I was thinking about my next trip within of week of finishing. Oh yes, there had been rain, and wind, and mosquito bites, but there was a certain freedom that seems to come only after an extended period on a bike. Since then, I have spent a few months touring every year.

I have tried to calculate how much I have spent on all these tours - and how much I haven't earned - and all the career paths I have ignored that would have impinged on my opportunity to bike tour. It comes to lots and lots of dollars. Have I gotten a fair return? Absolutely. So for many years I was in the restaurant/bar line of work which got me out to Jackson, Wyoming. Then grad school and teaching - albeit as an adjunct with adjunct income. And still I tour.

I am single. I really don't see how folks in relationships can do it unless both like to tour or one's partner is very, very, very understanding. I did care for my mother when she had Alzheimer's for a few years right here in my house. It made me even more keenly aware that all the glamour and consumption of American society is a poor bargain, indeed. I would take her out for car rides along Clear Creek - through the jagged red hills east of town. And she would say, "Look how blue the sky is today."

I certainly am no youngster. But I have come to the conclusion that the cost - whatever that may be - of bike touring is far less than the benefits, no blessings, than ensue. Perhaps, it's a different math. Perhaps, it's a different calculus altogether. But I would encourage you to venture it.

Best wishes in the coming year - John
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Old 01-06-06, 11:49 PM   #5
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You're right. I've found that taking long periods of time off from working makes it harder to get back into the grind. Not only do you not WANT to go back, but employers figure you're probably some sort of free thinker or other undesirable. If you want to take long bicycle tours or just have adventures but still be able to buy a house and have 2.3 kids, etc. then your only hope is to be really, really good at what you do and have an occupation where you are in high demand. That way you can take off for 6 months, come back, and start working again and make lots of money. Good luck. I couldn't figure it out so I let my engineering career die and now I make poverty level wages working in a bike shop in a ridiculously expensive city. On the plus side, I can take off lots of time without pay to tour or whatever and I get to be around bikes instead of computers. It's all about priorities.
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Old 01-06-06, 11:58 PM   #6
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I'm set on doing a couple of tours, one short and one long, beginning in spring. For me, it is easier since I am still a student with all the standard breaks. I'll be finding out soon, then, where my priorities lie.

Thanks forum folks
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Old 01-07-06, 12:13 AM   #7
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Life is way too short, do it before it's too late!
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Old 01-07-06, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zalafan
Bills and rent still need to be paid whether you are on tour or not.

So how do people do it?
Not necessarily.

Here's how I did it ...

I sold, gave away, tossed, and packed all the stuff I'd collected over many, many years. Then I handed in my resignation to the nice stable, decent paying job where I'd been for 8 years and might have remained for the rest of my life. I loaded everything into a moving van, and drove across the country to my parent's house where I had arranged to store what little I had left. I dropped off my stuff, and my two cats, and three days later, I was standing in the Calgary airport with my bicycle and panniers. For three months I cycled all over Australia with a friend, visiting friends and family there, meeting new people, and seeing all sorts of places, animals, etc. etc. etc. and having a great time (I wish I were still there!!!!!). When I returned to Canada, I contacted a temporary employment agency and got a good temporary job here so I could pay off my trip and save up a bit of money. And then I started University this past September.

Basically ... University is why I quit that nice stable, decent paying job. I want to get my Bachelor of Education so that I am employable in many different countries ... so I can continue to travel and see the world.
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Old 01-07-06, 03:48 AM   #9
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It has been said that you spen 1/4 of your work day paying for a car with repairs insurence, bla bla bla, How much for housing? On a bike you put out some money to start, some times nothing, and all you have to pay for is food. Life is good.
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Old 01-07-06, 10:21 AM   #10
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It has been said that you spen 1/4 of your work day paying for a car with repairs insurence, bla bla bla, How much for housing? On a bike you put out some money to start, some times nothing, and all you have to pay for is food. Life is good.
Agreed.

You can live very cheaply if you want to. Most of us here have more money in the bank right now than many people in many parts of the world will earn in a life time.

It's all in how you want to live. Give up the car, your housing, your computer, television, stereo etc. etc. and you can live pretty cheaply in a tent. Medical insurance (if you are from the US) would be your only real expense and if you are young enough you may want to gamble and do with out.

My first love is sailing and I often dreamed of giving up everything to sail the world. Many people do. I guess it really does not scare me that much to leave my job, I know I would probbaly find another. It's that I would want to do this for an extended period and in that time, I would not be earning money for may old age.
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Old 01-07-06, 10:35 AM   #11
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"It would seem that taking on such a tour would disrupt money flow and career, making for a difficult return to life as it had previously been known."

Fear not.

Is life as it is really so great that you shouldn't follow a Vision?

Last winter I started building up a Surly LHT. Didn't have any plans really, just wanted a really cool touring bike.
I've always believed that Life could be .... Different. Better.
Has a lot to do with my Spiritual (not religious) philosophy.
Long story.
Anyway. I dropped everything last summer as the bike was nearing completion. Sold or gave away everything I owned. Packed up the bike and took off. No real plans except Freedom.
I was gone about a month and a half. Camped out exclusively. Ate simple, cheap foods I cooked myself on my MSR stove.
Eventually I decided maybe long-term living like that wasn't my thing, at least not right now.
I returned to a "normal" life.
And you know what? I've never been happier with the "status quo".
I got something out of my system that had been itching to be scratched for all my adult life. Proved something to myself on a very basic level.
I DID IT. And know I can do it again.
And that knowledge affects every aspect of my Life.

Life is Good! Take chances. Do the impossible. Learn and Grow.
Don't fear the possibilities.

Kevin

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Old 01-07-06, 10:51 AM   #12
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My wife and I make a good living, We don't spend a lot on toys, we buy durable cars, our house is paid off. the only major money we pay out now is for our son's college. Wife and I take 2 vacations a year 1 together and one each seperately. My 2-3 week bike tours have little impact on our budget. For longer tours I pull a little money from savings if need be.
If you really want to do something in life, you find a way to do it
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Old 01-07-06, 03:02 PM   #13
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There was a demographic thread, and it seemed to suggest most people who answered the thread were single and young. So getting time off under those circumstances tends to be easier.

The costs on the road are pretty negligible if you can find free accomodation. If you are shelling out money for hotels, even camp sites, bike touring gets expensive fast. It's not necesarilly such a big number, but it can rack up to being more than yachting, or a package trip or cruise (depending on all the toys you might also buy).

Bike costs are the most variable. My wife is the kind of person who, at least before we met, never would have thought of buying an expensive bike. She has toured all over the place on really crapy bikes. One buys an expensive bike (meaning over a few hundred dollars), because one likes expensive bikes, not because one needs to.

So if one can keep the costs low I think one can save money on food, and incidental spending. I just ride the bike when I am touring. I don't do tourist trap stuff, or buy magazines or coffee. I'm not getting any advantage from the homestead costs, but they don't rise. The main issue is how much money I spend on gear, and accomodations.
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Old 01-07-06, 04:59 PM   #14
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One begs to differ! Sometimes one needs a reliable bike, in which case an expensive one is necessary. For example if one is touring somewhere harsh like the Himalaya or Africa. One once took a cheap bike to Africa and had no end of problems. After that one has always taken an expensive bike and had few problems.

But for trundling down asphalt in the states I guess anything will do.

Touring can cost as little as US$10 a day (less even) so if you are prepared to give up a job, house, car, girlfriend...... then it costs very little to travel for a long time. The problem is adjusting to life post-tour. If it really hits you (like it did me) then forget about a career. You'll expend all you brain power planning and dreaming about your next trip.
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Old 01-07-06, 09:46 PM   #15
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Your Young,

Do it now, before possessions and job committments way you down. You will recret it if you don't. When I am working all I dream about are the bikes I am building and the tours I'd like to take. Money as Velonomad stated if you work hard takes care of itself, but in the case of many of us it's time that is the precious commodity. Bigger houses and newer cars will never take the place of beautiful sunset on some remote road or mountain vista on the horizon.
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Old 01-07-06, 10:17 PM   #16
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That is why my tours are never longer than just a few short days.......
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Old 01-07-06, 11:37 PM   #17
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Peter - That is what I plan on doing. Camping stealth style, eating whatever is cheap where we go and similar stuff.

Perhaps I will never return...
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Old 01-07-06, 11:48 PM   #18
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Be a messenger. Work to fund. Work to train.
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Old 01-08-06, 12:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zalafan
So how do people do it?
Here's a couple of recent posts from the Living Car Free Forum that may be of some help...

Car free got me....
How simply do you live?
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Old 01-08-06, 05:07 PM   #20
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so how do people do it eh?

Thing is, most people don't and they miss out on the greatest thing in life! Zalafan, I believe you need to ask yourself...what am I doing with life? Do I ride a bike to school? do I ride a bike to work? In the winter in the rain? Do I have more than 3 good ones that work? Have I spent more money on a bike than a car by this point in life? If I find bikes/components on the road, do I not collect them? Do I keep a bike in my room and use it to hang things on cause there's no more room anywhere else?

Your bike becomes more than just hobbie or transport, it becomes a part of you!
So dismiss everything else...and be one with the bike.
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Old 01-09-06, 11:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Zalafan
Amid a newly kindled interest in touring, I've been reading a little on the forums and elsewhere on the subject. It seems that many tours take place over long periods of time; weeks, months or more. It would seem that taking on such a tour would disrupt money flow and career, making for a difficult return to life as it had previously been known. Plus I would assume touring to tax heavily on social and family life. Bills and rent still need to be paid whether you are on tour or not.

So how do people do it?
I worked at the same company for 12 years. I saved up my money, and then I quit. I gave notice at my apartment, and put all of my stuff in storage. I then spent a year cycling and backpacking through Asia. I kept in touch with my brother via email. He picked up my mail from my post office box, and paid my credit cards bills for me (these days I would just pay my bills on the internet). When I returned I found the trip was not detrimental to my career. It is best to do this sort of trip at the stage in your life when you don't have dependants.

I know many people who have done similar trips, and no one has ever regretted it.
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Old 01-09-06, 03:39 PM   #22
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It becomes less easy to drop everything and hit the road as one gets older. Responsibilities mount rapidly after you get hitched, have children, start a business, or embark on a career. So to folks who are in their 20s or 30s without responsibilities to family or children, for heavens sake, get out there!

I spent much of my 20s as a traveller. On two occasions I was away for a 10 month stretch, and many times I was away for three to six weeks. But by my 30s I found fewer opportunities for getting away for extended periods. Now, at almost 50, all I can manage is one seven to ten day trip per year. It's a compromise I can live with. The limited time I have available is appropriate for this stage of my life.

During my 20s, I occasionally met people who lived on the road. In particular, I remember a 50-year-old German guy who lived on a beach in India and smoked ganga all day, yet he kvetched about his "good-for-nothing" 26-year-old son back in Germany! But it is rare to be able to live this way; it is not the life I want for myself. It is obviously possible to get away for extended periods when one is older, but in most cases, the road "belongs" to younger people.

If I did not have family responsibilities, I would consider doing trips of, say, three or four weeks. But no longer.
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Old 01-10-06, 06:03 PM   #23
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Well....I am one of those who dream of those long trips...And acantor is absolutely right. It often really does becomes less easy to drop everything and hit the road as one gets older and have family responsibilies. But in the cases one shares or is able to develop the same passion for travel and cycling with his family...then it can really facilitate everything...To the extent possible... live those dreams with your family and kids....
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Old 01-10-06, 07:49 PM   #24
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At this point in my life my strategy is to never ever ever under any circumstances or pain of death have children. But age and career will provide their own challenges, therefore I live upon my bike beginning this summer.

Greetings dimkick... do you wish to ride across the country with me?
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Old 01-10-06, 08:11 PM   #25
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Zalafan, I do not know..it sounds Risky? Who else is journeying with you? Convince me with tales of sugar plums and greener grass than that of Buffalo and I shall venture with you til death!
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