I have been talking about touring for so long now that people are starting to be nauseated and just say "GO!!!"
I find myself likening this to a favorite Zen Koan, "Jumping off the hundred foot pool."
I almost did it in 2001, with a month in France, but came home. Then when my mother passed and I lost my job, I almost went, but felt I wasn't ready. I have purchased everything I need for this tour, I have the bike, the tent, the panniers, the clothing, maps, books, tires, tools, have tried different bikes, and combinations.
I've gone out on small tours just to see if it is possible that a sane person can do this and come back wanting more. I commute to work the long way just to get miles in and in shape. I have no reasons to stay, I've made a list of things I'll miss, but the adventure of just riding and seeing and experiencing life from a Brooks saddle outweighs them. I've even calculated how I can take the last of my vacation time, then come back and put in my two weeks, collect my last paycheck and vamose.
This has been in the works for years.
So, I posit this question, how long did it take you to step off the 100 foot pole?