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Old 10-18-12, 06:30 PM   #1
Rowan
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Pondering the touring life

This article seems to encapsulate many of reasons why we tour, whether by bicycle or other means.

It seemed to hit a chord for me as Machka and I have wandered across the world these past months.

http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/t...-1226498615169
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Old 10-23-12, 01:59 PM   #2
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A couple snippets from the article ...

"Read maps instead of just asking for directions. Try and get a sense for the local language, and any similarities or differences from your native tongue. Take mental notes about formalities with certain associated actions ..."

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/t...#ixzz2A9Y16KkE


I love maps ... paper maps I can hold in my hand and turn upside down and sideways to fit the direction I'm facing. Maps I can bring with me, tucked in my handlebar bag map case so I can refer to them as necessary.

Through our travels, we've discovered maps can be found in various places ... tourist information centres (often located near train stations or in the middle of town), sporting goods shops, hostels, hotels, campgrounds, and even on the sides of bus shelters. Some towns post maps every few blocks to show tourists where they are and where they might want to go. As we travel, we keep our eyes open for sources of information like this.

And I also enjoy learning and trying new languages. It's good to be able to greet people in their own language, at least. If we do return to Hokkaido (as I hope we do), I'd like to go with a better knowledge of Japanese so we can communicate more than we did.



"It’s OK if you get lost – you’ll have an adventure finding your way back. Try out a new skill; chances are good that you’re not going to be a world-class Tango dancer, but if you’re in Spain and don’t give it a shot, you’re just sitting on the sideline. Ask questions you otherwise wouldn’t. If you’re curious as to why something is done a certain way, use the “tourist” card and find out."

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/t...#ixzz2A9YHvHP6


I especially like the comment about getting lost. On this trip, we did spend quite a bit of time following designated routes, and that was OK but it can get a bit onerous and I like the flexibility of being able to decide to go elsewhere today. In the past, some of my best rides have been rides where I've turned down this road to see where it might lead, and then turned down that road to see where it might lead. I highly recommend doing that sort of thing in preparation for tours ... go explore your local area, see what's there, ride all sorts of different roads, stop in at little grocery stores in the middle of nowhere, take photos ...



One question that comes up sometimes on these forums is whether or not people will have difficulty re-entering the workforce after an extended tour, and this article addresses that to some extent, highlighting a few transferable skills ... skills which a traveller can develop, and which can then be useful in the workforce. Extended travelling can be as much a learning experience as attending night classes or acquiring further education to enhance a person's ability to do his or her job.
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Old 10-26-12, 03:30 PM   #3
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I do think though, that it is worth considering that one can do much the same thing without ever leaving the house. Recently I pulled out some rope, and started tying knots, something that has interested me over the years. I invented some new, ones to add to others I have created over the years. Then I came up with an exercise machine that I had tried to invent, but was thinking more along a welded frame lines. But I came up with a much cheaper design using rope.

I think it is an element of our consumer society to sell us on the idea that only by consuming can we have small "s" spiritual growth or fulfilment. Travel is another form of consumerism. I love it, and agree with all the less overwrought lessons in the article. Butt there is always something new to be had by simply being open to it.

The most extreme example I can think of is Jordan Pettersen's claim that potentially Solzhenitsyn caused the soviet union to collapse through mental exercises he undertook while in the gullag. Something similar has been suggested, and seemingly more broadly accepted, for Mandela.

The flip side of that is Spalding Gray's suggestion in the excellent Swimming to Cambodia that no vacation is complete until one has achieved a perfect moment, as though this could not be had through simple mental discipline.
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Old 10-28-12, 11:56 AM   #4
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It's a way to pass the time, which is a big problem for us retirees. I envy people like MassiveD, who can find joy passing the hours tying knots. A friend of mine paints. I tried that but it did nothing for me. Another friend finds joy passing the hours in his garden and workshop. Reminds me of the chores I was forced to do as a boy and which I always hated: cutting the grass, raking leaves, painting the porch, etc. Reading (including diddling around on the internet) is good for maybe three hours a day and after that I'm anxious to get out and exercise my body. But running in circles, running on a treadmill, swimming laps, etc are joyless, at least to me. So that's how I got into travel when I first retired about 10 years ago. First hiking city to city in Europe, then wilderness backpacking in the United States, now bike touring in the backcountry of the United States. A way to pass the time pleasantly, while exercising the body in a natural organic way and stimulating the mind with constant novelty.
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Old 10-28-12, 12:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, you can't substitute knots for travel. In fact the ultimate use of them is in some place like Yosemite. But when it comes to a variety of forms of human satisfaction, it is all between the ears. When it comes to beauty, and it's ever changing forms, I (surprisingly), only have to look at my children's faces.




Then when that wears thing, and all the laughing and screaming gets too much, hit the road.
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Old 05-10-13, 12:50 PM   #6
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Great artical thank you for posting this.
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Old 05-18-13, 06:55 PM   #7
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I tour for the same reason I ride a bike in general, and that is because I have a low boredom threshold, and like to see the world, but not on two feet - takes too long and the same stretch of hedgerow becomes tedious after a while - and not in a car - too divorced from the sights and sounds. I also love tinkering with bikes. Stripping them down, building them up. That came from childhood where, if you wanted something, and had little money, you had to work with what you had. The great thing about bikes - no regulation. Well, very little. I can make a bike in an afternoon, give or take, and given all the parts, and at the end, I don't have to get a certificate, or insurance, don't have to get it signed off or buy fuel. It's a freedom so rare nowadays. But riding a bike, that's the pay off. Frankly, it's the closest I get to flying, and all with myself as the engine.
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Old 05-18-13, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
I tour for the same reason I ride a bike in general, and that is because I have a low boredom threshold, and like to see the world, but not on two feet - takes too long and the same stretch of hedgerow becomes tedious after a while - and not in a car - too divorced from the sights and sounds. I also love tinkering with bikes. Stripping them down, building them up. That came from childhood where, if you wanted something, and had little money, you had to work with what you had. The great thing about bikes - no regulation. Well, very little. I can make a bike in an afternoon, give or take, and given all the parts, and at the end, I don't have to get a certificate, or insurance, don't have to get it signed off or buy fuel. It's a freedom so rare nowadays. But riding a bike, that's the pay off. Frankly, it's the closest I get to flying, and all with myself as the engine.
Your post is excellent.

The bit about that no regulation is something I really had not thought of until now, but it truly is an integral part of why building and riding a bike seems so simple and free from bureaucratic interference.
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Old 05-18-13, 08:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
I tour for the same reason I ride a bike in general, and that is because I have a low boredom threshold, and like to see the world, but not on two feet - takes too long and the same stretch of hedgerow becomes tedious after a while - and not in a car - too divorced from the sights and sounds. I also love tinkering with bikes. Stripping them down, building them up. That came from childhood where, if you wanted something, and had little money, you had to work with what you had. The great thing about bikes - no regulation. Well, very little. I can make a bike in an afternoon, give or take, and given all the parts, and at the end, I don't have to get a certificate, or insurance, don't have to get it signed off or buy fuel. It's a freedom so rare nowadays. But riding a bike, that's the pay off. Frankly, it's the closest I get to flying, and all with myself as the engine.
Yeah, that was really well put. Very well said. Love it.
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