OK, this will be a chaotic post and there will be several issues here that I'll try to get some advice on.
This summer I toured for the first time. I did a few overnighters, then a 10 day ride around Adirondacks and 5 day spin across Connecticut and Massachusetts. I made some mistakes, I have still a lot to learn but I loved it. This was the best time I had in my adult life since I can remember.
I used to hike and do dayrides for years and bike touring combines it all: cycling, outdoors, camping into incredible experience.
So.... I can't go anywhere again until Spring. Although, there is a small chance of driving somewhere South and doing a short tour before that. I obviously caught the bug. I think about touring every day, I look at my photos and re-live the trips, I read CGOAB daily. I feel depressed that I can't go again any time soon.
I've started seriously considering changes in my life: simplifying my life, changing jobs, moving so I have more time and money for myself so I can go on tours more often. I regret that I waited until my 40s before I discovered bike touring. I want to catch up. I dream about doing Trans Am and other rides. I can get several months of leave of absence, but I can't do that every year, they won't let me.
I have a full-time IT job for a biomedical research facility that I used to love, but that I'm beginning to hate since corporate drones took over the medical center IT and sucked us into their world of meetings, charts and metrics. The only good thing is that I worked here for 18 years and I get 6 weeks of vacation time. That seemed like a lot until I started thinking about touring.
It also happens that I grew tired of NYC. I've got to get out of here.
Some of this started happening years ago before I even thought of bike touring. Last summer bike trips were the last drop in the bucket: I decided that I don't want to live like that any more.
We have no kids, we can settle for lower paying jobs and move to an area with lower cost of living. In a year we'll be completely debt-free, we don't own any real estate. We've started getting rid of clutter and junk from our apartment. We had a yard sale, then just gave away and thrown out lots of stuff. Much more to go. The idea is to have enough savings and little stuff so we can just pack up and leave in a year or two and basically go anywhere.
Ideally I'd love to work for six months and then have six months free. I'm really tired of living the American way: living for work. But I have no idea how that's possible. Our needs are minimal, we don't crave luxury cars, houses, vacations in exotic resorts, our big screen TV is collecting dust most of the time, we dress inexpensively, we're car-lite (42k miles in 6 years). The only thing that kept me in NYC was my job, but that's changed too.
So here are some questions:
How do you folks deal with such withdrawals?
How do you find the time for extensive touring?
What do you do for living that affords you the time?
Have many of you made such changes to your lives?
Any tips and ideas, suggestions?