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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 09-08-08, 08:17 PM   #1
birvine
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What's your day job?

I know there are a lot of people who read though this forum, but it almost sounds like everyone has all kinds of time to dedicate to lengthy tours to far reaches of the world. How often does everyone tour and for how long and how do you manage this despite the commitments of daily life at home? I am running a business and if I am away too long, it suffers... so I suffer!

Furthermore, for those who packed up and headed around the world for a year or two or more... how did you do it? (Not the long answer, but the abridged version for others' sakes; I'll PM if I have direct and long questions.)

Thanks

B
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Old 09-08-08, 08:27 PM   #2
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I've responded to many of these questions in similar threads such as these:

So what do you do? Really?

Long term touring, how do you do it?

Touring Bicyclists' Professions

Bike Touring - the rich man's pastime?

Job: I'm a temp worker and a student
How Long: Anywhere from a weekend to three months
How Often: As often as I can ... at least a couple tours a year
Daily Home Life: Quite flexible, and non-traditional ... I'm a gypsy at heart
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Old 09-08-08, 08:33 PM   #3
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I'm a hospital lab tech. I was able to take a bunch of 1 month trips (2 tours, a couple backpack trips), using only 2 1/2 weeks vacation time because I worked 10 nights on, 6 days off.

I saved up some money and resigned a position after 10 years to go on my year tour. I didn't take a vacation for the year before my trip, and I gave 1 months notice (I gave friends/mentors/supervisors much longer notice). I do still have an open invitation to come back to work where I was, but opted to move acrossed country (part of my original post tour plan). It took me a bit longer than I would have liked to find another position, and was almost about to head back east.

At the current state of the US economy, I would be markedly hesitant to go on another extended trip now without having a position to come back to.
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Old 09-08-08, 08:52 PM   #4
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Electrical/Controls Engineer, first job out of college that I started 3 years ago. Software/web design on the side.
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Old 09-08-08, 09:39 PM   #5
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Day job ??
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Old 09-09-08, 03:39 AM   #6
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I tell everyone I am an Adult Daycare Attendant My job field is Industrial Plant Maintenance (primarily roofing and siding) I work as a Construction Manager. In the past we would have a month or so off between jobs, that doesn't happen any more so I do S24O's and the occasional 3-4 day trip. Day long rambles aren't out of the question either. During farm fresh produce season, I will grab my bike and bags and make a 7-24 mile loop of the various farms in my area for fresh produce. It can take 3-8 hours depending on the weather, mood and who or what I see along the way.

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Old 09-09-08, 07:51 AM   #7
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I'm a computer programmer. These days my tour are a week or two long. When I did my year long trip, I simply quit my job of 12 years and headed out.
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Old 09-09-08, 11:55 AM   #8
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I'm an artist (mainly portraiture and landscape). I have an agent who sells my work. It's about 50/50 commissions and straight sales. I've sold abroad, most notable to Americans and Dubaians. Hopefully, I should be having an exhibition in a prestigious London Gallery next year. It's to be sponsored by a merchant bank, though, knowing my luck with the present banking crisis...
I also do a bit of photography now and again, mainly portraiture and the odd wedding, though the weddings mostly prove more trouble than they're worth.
Of course, what takes up most of my time is bringing up two daughters. I say bringing up, it's mostly feeding and ferrying. I've just got a Kona Ute, though, and converted it to take them both, plus their bags and books, so at least I get some regular cycling, even if it isn't of the touring variety.
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Old 09-09-08, 02:58 PM   #9
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was: project manager at a software company
tour: took 7 weeks to tour across the usa
now: home for six weeks without a job yet and starting to feel the financial pinch

advice: make sure you are financially prepared for the tour and a period of unemployment after your tour if you are quitting to accommodate your tour.
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Old 09-09-08, 04:33 PM   #10
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RETIRED
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Old 09-09-08, 05:16 PM   #11
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I'm a teacher. I get 2 1/2 months off in the summer. I usually tour for a month, go home and do house projects for a month, and then take the last half month to get ready for the new school year. Of course, I'll retire in another 8 years. Then I plan to take some longer tours. Maybe the entire Lewis and Clark. Maybe a cross-country trip. Maybe the Underground Railroad route.
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Old 09-09-08, 05:32 PM   #12
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My girlfriend and I both train dogs and we have a boarding and training facility here in
the twin cities area.
We are able to take off every so often for a week and hopefully starting this year leaving for up to
a month after Christmas.
It tuff when we ourselves have 9 dogs.
Mark
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Old 09-09-08, 09:54 PM   #13
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I'm a high school principal. I get some time off in the summer to get out. Now that I am a 12 month employee, I'll have to work out a new way to be off. I will have 22 days per year, so I am hoping to get a few single week tours in. I am planning for a TA in 3 summers where I will have to take unpaid leave.
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Old 09-11-08, 07:22 PM   #14
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Weekend touring for me. A week-long trip every year or two. On business trips (like this week), I'll rent a road bike, take along my handlebar bag, and do a couple day tours of the area.

I'd love to do a multi-week tour, as I did back in college days but, like you, I'm management in a small-medium business so I can't get away for more than a week.

I heard of someone who crossed Canada by doing it over a period of years. For each annual vacation, they cycled the next leg of the trip. Not the ideal way to do it but, for those of us who can't even get away for longer vacations, leave of absence or quit, it beats waiting for retirement.
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Old 09-11-08, 07:34 PM   #15
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I've only been on ONE 3 month life changing tour

but basically i'm hooked and am on the way to Asia (tour 1 got me from HOME to BASE1)

I work with seeds and trees and ecological restoration, as I am VERY passionate about this work and there has never been a time like now where reveg. work is needed, I feel confident that I'll get a job wherever I go...

inbetween here and there, I think we just need to learn to look at all the 'THINGS' we have in our life (material and emotional attachment) ... and learn to let go and fly

we are SO conditioned to settled down, hoard lots of material, have lots of kids, ect, ect ...

go out on a limb, that's where the fruit is
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Old 09-11-08, 07:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I've only been on ONE 3 month life changing tour

we are SO conditioned to settled down, hoard lots of material, have lots of kids, ect, ect ...

go out on a limb, that's where the fruit is
And here is the other issue that makes long trips tough for me at the moment - a 7 yr old and a 2 yr old. Hard to ask my wife to be the only one for x number of days while I traipse around the globe alone.

B
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Old 09-11-08, 08:14 PM   #17
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I am an ceramic artist, doing the gallery thing and also started doing some speciality work which takes me to trade shows around the country(about four a year so far)
I am using the traveling as an exuse to take my bike and ride it home after the shows, claiming that actual interaction with people for three days makes this a mental health write off.
the drawback is that the routes home are not on any major bike routes, and the time of year is out of my control... so far I have frozen my but off, cooked my brains out, gotten rained on for two weeks, been stuck on roads with no shoulders and lots of drunk rednecks on the 4rth of july, and generaly managed to have a pretty good time anyway. I email and call my agent, deal with insane gallery owners(trust me they are nuts, but they have rent to pay so they sell the work), and have taken one of my largest commisions ever on a cell phone, in the rain while lost as hell, about 900 miles from my studio and office while fixing the third flat of the day. I tried to do the crazy guy journal thing, and had to dedicate to much computer time to emailing for my work.
that said, I am a terrible slacker and would rather ride my bike all the time rather than do anything like work. I taught at university but hated only having summers off, plus the real word called.

Last edited by delver; 09-11-08 at 08:32 PM. Reason: changed the to my. it was not the largest commision ever, but "my" largest.
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Old 09-11-08, 08:17 PM   #18
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I stick knives into people for money.
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Old 09-11-08, 08:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldaley View Post
inbetween here and there, I think we just need to learn to look at all the 'THINGS' we have in our life (material and emotional attachment) ... and learn to let go and fly

we are SO conditioned to settled down, hoard lots of material, have lots of kids, ect, ect ...

go out on a limb, that's where the fruit is
Yep! And yet when I gave up my apartment, most of my stuff, my full-time permanent job, and entire life in Winnipeg to hit the road ... and then go back to school so I could hit the road even more ... I was actually called a "bad citizen". I still pay all my taxes, donate to charity, and am a law-abiding citizen ... but because I didn't want to pursue the "white picket fence" and "full-time job with benefits", etc. I didn't appropriately fit the mold in that person's mind.
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Old 09-11-08, 08:49 PM   #20
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I've been here http://www.bemismfg.com/ for the past 20+ years. I drove semi for them for about 10 years, & the rest of that time I've been a "professional toilet seat maker"! Next summer will end my vacation time with minor kiddos. So longer touring trips will be in order.

~Roger
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Old 09-11-08, 09:01 PM   #21
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Tim Ferriss wrote a book that deals with this exact subject. While some of his ideas are a bit over the edge, much of what he has to say is right on. Click here to see if a library near you has a copy.

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Old 09-11-08, 10:53 PM   #22
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I am a Barista that works for Starbucks. I live very simply, enjoying all my transportation by bike and the benefits of Starbucks makes it that I can have a flexible schedule to rush and get the lastest great buys off of Craig's List for my biking ventures.
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Old 09-11-08, 11:16 PM   #23
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I've been a teacher for many, many years - but just quit my job to go out on a long 2 1/2 year trip! This is the third time I've quit to go touring - the first time was back in 1990, when I spent a year cycling Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. then I taught for 16 years before getting up the courage to do it again - that time around the US and Mexico with our kids. And now we're riding from Alaska to Argentina with the boys.

No, we don't really have "enough" money for our journey, but we'll make do. We saved diligently for retirement, and are now spending some of that money. The way we figure it, life is too short NOT to do it!!
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Old 09-11-08, 11:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birvine View Post
And here is the other issue that makes long trips tough for me at the moment - a 7 yr old and a 2 yr old. Hard to ask my wife to be the only one for x number of days while I traipse around the globe alone.

B
That's exactly what my husband asked me to do. And I replied, "HECK NO!! (But I'll tag along after you)" Two months later we hit the road with our (then) 8-year-old twins on the back of a triple bike!!
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Old 09-11-08, 11:49 PM   #25
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I did all of my long tours before 1988, My work schedule is pretty rigid so tours longer than 2 weeks duration are difficult to arrange. But I find a one to two week tour to be pretty satisfying.
However, I did manage to take the month of June off this year and ride the Natchez trace to Nashville and then meandered through KY,IN,OH,PA and NY for 1800 miles.
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