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  1. #1
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    How to decide to leave for a long solo tour?

    It's pretty much all in the title...
    How do you finally tell yourself "that's it, I'm going!"?
    I have the opportunity to go for a 6-months trip next year, it's something that has always made me dream (I've done quite a few several weeks trips before and I love it) and yet, I don't feel 100% comfortable with the idea of being in the great unknown, far from home, and leaving my boyfriend for such a long time (though he would probably come ride with me for a part of the trip).
    How do you deal with that fear of leaving?

  2. #2
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    My longest tour was only 9 days but I've been dreaming of a long tour and it seems to me that I wouldn't have the "fear of leaving" but the "fear of returning", when it's over and I have to return to "normal life" with all its complexities.

  3. #3
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    I don't know, nor is it any of my business what your personal life's situation is, "claire", but as we've all been told many times, great opportunities seldom come twice in our lifetime. I didn't start touring until I was about 48 years old, and have only been able to take up to 3 weeks off at a time. Even within these relatively short windows of opportunity, Ive been able to tour from Fairbanks Alaska down along the west coast to San Francisco and many, many, roads in between. Now, I am 65 and retired, which should allow me longer touring time; but I now have health issues, which might not allow me to take the extra time most of us dream about when we are younger and too busy. When I was younger, I would have loved to have a 6 months opportunity, so that I could ride across Canada, or to ride from the top of North America to the southern tip, all in one shot, rather than in pieces. So I say...go for it! you might not get another chance.

  4. #4
    Bike touring webrarian
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    Maybe you shouldn't look at it as a 6 month tour. Plan to do a shorter tour that you can extend if you want to.

    I typically do 1 month tours. Doing a 6 month tour would be a daunting task. But, riding for, say 6 weeks, a bit longer than normal, and ending up at a place where I could get home from if I wanted would allow me to decide if I wanted to continue or call it quits.

    Also, if you add in plans to spend some time in interesting places, either national parks or cities, then it isn't spending every day pushing the pedals.

    Just some thoughts.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Pick a day, then leave. It really is the only way. Don't analyze too much.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    Pick a day, then leave. It really is the only way. Don't analyze too much.
    That's the best way.

    You have the opportunity, take it while you can. I find the best way to actually make ideas a reality is to start teling people what you plan to do. Soon there's no way back and any fears you have (which are inevitable) you'll find a way to deal with.

    My motto in life is, 'you'll only regret the things you don't do....' and it's treating me well so far.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    pack your stuff into a storage unit, then get on a plane,
    to somewhere that interests you...

  8. #8
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    why do you have to tell yourself?
    you do it and self knows.

  9. #9
    Igo
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    I don't miss a thing. I never give up a chance. I've lost numerous jobs over 20 day backpacks in the Grand Canyon.
    Dream this; in your death bed:
    "I wished I had" or
    "I'm glad I did".
    I've had hundreds of adventures. None a looser. If you don't go I'm coming to France to take your bike away from you.

    I've been riding for 30 days. In October I'm going to ride across the Escalante/Grand Staircase of Utah. I don't care if I fail and have to hitch home in the back of a pick up truck. I'm going. Right after I finish another backpack in the Grand Canyon. LOL.
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  10. #10
    Which bike should I ride? bullwinkle's Avatar
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    I've never done a tour that long but I always have some "jitters" before any tour. However, once I force myself to get started, everything works itself out and I have a good time. Just try to relax and enjoy!

  11. #11
    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    Pick a day, then leave. It really is the only way. Don't analyze too much.
    That is what I've done. Last big trip was for 10 months in 2007. In 2002, after returning from a year cycling on the road, I decided I was going to take another long trip "in five years". In 2004, I determined the longest leg would be Russia. By 2005 additional details were filled in, by 2006 I took a six week long training ride and by time it was 2007 this had been in my plans so long I just took off for the trip.

    I definitely enjoy work, family, friends and all of my current situation; but I've got another date on the wall and am in preparation for my next long trip.

  12. #12
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    The first step is the hardest. Once you're out there it will be easy.

  13. #13
    the bike made me do it oneredstar's Avatar
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    I think bike touring for me is just like travelling in general. You just need to go and do it, in the end it will all work out. When I was 18 and went on my first backpacking trip for 6 months I was terrified, but after a few days it was fine. Now that I am 33 the anxiety is only short lived, but I do still get it. That is part of the excitement though.

    Go on your trip, have fun, grow as a person, and in the end you will probably want to do it all over again.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Print these posts and stick the good ones up where you can read them easily. That oughta help ease your doubts and fears. If your motivation remains high enough, you'll go. If not, you won't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    Pick a day, then leave. It really is the only way. Don't analyze too much.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  15. #15
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks everyone! Lots of good advice here!
    I've already started talking to people about it (not my mom though, I think she'll be terrified when I tell her...)
    I'm planning to do a big tour of Europe (april to september so I avoid the coldest months!), so if anyone wants to join me or if something goes horribly wrong it's always possible to take the train and meet me/go home...

  16. #16
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    i'll be cycling from Belgium towards Turkey around that time next year, after a detour through France to visit some friends
    we should talk when plans get more concrete :-) its always nice to share the road with someone, short or long!

  17. #17
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    I went on my first tour last year....alone. Buffalo, NY to about Louisville, KY. I was supposed to go to Austin, but had a little mental breakdown on the way (I was only 19...not that I'm that much older now) and ended up calling my mom who drove 600 miles to pick me up on a street corner in Indiana. I don't regret anything I did though, and I think that's the biggest part. Sometimes, even if you're frightened, you just have to go. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. You'll kick yourself if you don't at least give it a try, trust me

    edit: as far as talking to your mom about it.... my family freaked out on me (my grandma told me she would never talk to me again...we're still very close!). They'll be scared for you too, sure, but just reassure them. The best way to do that confidently is to make sure you are sure of yourself too, and that doesn't mean you can't be nervous.

    The hardest part to doing anything is starting it, like Northwestrider said. I've always found that to be true, whether it's actually putting on your shoes to go for a long run or just getting on your bike and pedaling to get out of the city. What would be the point in getting out of bed if there was nothing challenging awaiting you?
    Last edited by one-headedboy; 06-17-11 at 09:23 AM.
    Ce n'est pas une signature

  18. #18
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    Fly somewhere far far away with only your bicycle and panniers.Problem solved.

    Long trips can seem scary if you look at the big picture.It disrupts most peoples whole lifes,unless you don't have one like me.You just have to do a 180 step program,take it one day at a time.

    Say I'm going from L.A.- Denver and back.I'll plan the first few days and that's it.I know where Denver is on the map.If I get up in the morning and ride towards the sun,I'm going to Denver.I'll make it there,I'll probably get lost quite a few times,oh well,I'm bike touring,that's part of the fun.I can't ride a regimented tour,it takes all of the fun out of it.

    I just plan a day to leave,take care of what need to be taken care of around the house,plan a couple days ride with a finale destination,then get out of Dodge.

    I won't go on a ride with time constaints.I leave plenty of time to do/look at things.I could be in the middle of nowhere and find the world biggest bra ball or Picasso's made from dryer lint or the worlds biggest barbed-wire collection.How could I pass that up?

    I never have trouble leaving,I have trouble coming home.
    Last edited by Booger1; 06-17-11 at 10:41 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  19. #19
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire View Post
    How do you deal with that fear of leaving?
    Alcohol.

    Cherish the fear. That's when you know you're about to embark on a real adventure. Once the ride begins, the fear turns to elation.

  20. #20
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Personally I think opportunities to take months off at a time come quite rarely; so when they do present themselves I have no choice but to take advantage. Bring your boyfriend along. Mine is taking me on a three month tour this fall to visit her folks in Hungary.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  21. #21
    Senior Member charly17201's Avatar
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    Its corny, but the old quote "A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step." But it is also true. There is also a country song you probably won't have heard of there in France, "Live like you were dying."

    The bottom line is to make your plans, test rides and then GO. You can always go home if you hate it. Or change directions or destinations.

    I'm on a more or less open-ended 12 months or so tour of the U.S. I also have an invite from a friend to head to the middle east to start an Asia tour when I'm done here.

    I like your 'bent, but you might want to consider a LWB one for the tour.
    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm.

    In response to bicycling being so dangerous: "We could all died today from any number of accidents. I'm not going to stop living to keep from dying." The Northern Tier by Lief Carlsen

  22. #22
    Sambo Sam Tully's Avatar
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    I'm only 34 but have twice sold everything I owned to go on big tours that my partner dreamed of, the first one was only meant for 1 year but turned into a four year "thing".
    I will be honest and say it has been hard settling back in and and finding a good job again, but I now only live to save for the next big trip.
    I believe in one corny saying "Carma is a *****" always try and treat other's how you like to be treated and eventually you will always land back on your feet.
    Go for it ;-)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by simplygib View Post
    Cherish the fear. That's when you know you're about to embark on a real adventure. Once the ride begins, the fear turns to elation.
    Nice.

    My dad surprised the heck out of me - I thought he would be scared for me, tell me to take the conservative path, keep my job, prepare for my future...

    He told me to go and enjoy the most out of my life. He was on his deathbed, at the time.

    Claire - go if you want to, even if you are scared. If you don't want to, but feel you are too far down the planning path to back out, don't go.
    ...

  24. #24
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    Fly somewhere far far away with only your bicycle and panniers.Problem solved.
    On that note, I will say that I find it does help with commitment to the trip to start far from home. If you live near one end of the trip, start at the far end unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. For me that commitment really kicks in as soon as I have a non refundable airline ticket.

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Nice.

    My dad surprised the heck out of me - I thought he would be scared for me, tell me to take the conservative path, keep my job, prepare for my future...

    He told me to go and enjoy the most out of my life. He was on his deathbed, at the time.

    Claire - go if you want to, even if you are scared. If you don't want to, but feel you are too far down the planning path to back out, don't go.
    Great advice. (Both your Dad's to you and your's to Claire)

    As a dad of a touring daughter, I got kind of choked up reading that.

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