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I need an ass kicking (out the door)

Old 04-05-09, 01:16 AM
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I need an ass kicking (out the door)

So, maybe you well-heeled folks can help me out with this.

I've been wanting to get the hell out of town on my bike for years now but never seem to do it. There's always something that comes up that prevents me from actually quitting my job and GOING on a long tour. One year my car broke down and needed major repairs, then I got into triathlon and bought an obscenely expensive bike and another year work slowed down big time and I didn't have the coin required to go away.

Blah blah blah.

Now I have no car, I have steady work and I have no interest in doing any more triathlons for the foreseeable future BUT, I'm worried that when I get back into the real world, I won't be able to find work. I'm also debating whether or not to grow the f**k up and forget about touring and just concentrate on making money so that I can tour to my hearts content later on in life (I'm only 28). I can save up probably 3 or 4 thousand dollars in cash before mid July and thoughts of France and Italy have been tempting me away from the 18 hour workdays and 3-6 day workweeks (odd as that may seem). What's your advice for someone like me? Should I just do it? I mean, my job is so draining I've wished for my own death constantly since I began working at this company, maybe a long tour is what I need to remind me all the work CAN have a reward and not just be about perpetuating a worker bee lifestyle.

Your thoughts?

Also, what kind of dinero am I looking at for a trip to France, Italy and maybe Spain? I'd just be camping and eating out of grocery stores.
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Old 04-05-09, 01:20 AM
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1. Go to France on during your vacation time ... you get what? 2 or 3 weeks, maybe a bit more?

2. Cycle around France during that time and see if cycletouring is your thing. $3-4000 should cover a 3-ish week tour there.


There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be able to get work again after a long tour ... if someone is telling you that, they're wrong ... BUT ....

-- you've got to have marketable skills
-- you've got to be willing to look at options other than "full-time permanent"
-- in an interview, make your tour sound like a learning experience from which you gained skills that would be useful to a company
-- and it does depend on the market. If you start looking for work, and the unemployment rate is 12%, you might be picking something up involving restocking the fruit and veg section of the local grocery store. Nothing wrong with that ... it was one of the jobs I looked at as a possibility recently ... it's just that your options might be a bit limited.

Last edited by Machka; 04-05-09 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 04-05-09, 08:05 AM
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Hey listen, your question is not about bike touring, it's about how to live your life, set your priorities, manage your career and finances. I think you have to answer that for yourself.
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Old 04-05-09, 08:30 AM
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Dear Ms. Mossity -

France is lovely.
The Euro is down.
You are not getting any younger.

I've done a major tour nearly every year for the past 25 years. I'm middle-aged and middle poor, but don't really give a damn. I think you need to be cautious about quitting a good job in the middle of a rexxxxxxx > depression, but if it is killing you - surely there is something better.

In my many years of touring I have had numerous people say that they want to go with me on my next tour and it has NEVER happened. The only people I have ever toured with are those I connected with online or those I bumped into along the way. Why? Because things ALWAYS seem to get in the way.

It's a matter of priorities. Some people may have all the money and time in the world - and you need both - but most don't. So you have to do without to squirrel away the bucks and you have to be willing to get a job that allows you extended vacations or to take time between jobs. Then there's housing, pets, family members' concerns, etc., etc., etc.

Backwards on the list: With parents, assure them that it has been done before and that you will be cautious and prudent. With significant others who may not be able or wish to go, share the importance of this and support them in their dreams. With housing, you have two main options - get someone to sublet, rent, or house sit or end your lease and store everything. With pets (which may be a repeat of significant others for more reasons than I have space here), it's harder to get rid of your place. If you have just one cat or dog, you may be able to get a family member of friend to watch Zoe while you are gone. Otherwise, that can be part of the sublet/house sitting deal.

So you have to really want to do it and have things together ahead of time. If you don't make your tour a priority and plan accordingly, something else will always bump it aside. That is what has happened to all the friends who wanted to go with me - despite the fact that I gave them similar warnings. (And that includes people who made bike/gear purchases and did training rides with me.)

My advice - make sure you are not going to be chronically unemployed when you return. If not, then go. Don't sweat the details - just go.

All the best - J
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Old 04-05-09, 10:00 AM
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My simple advice, if you have no major responsibilities at this time (no children or spouse) then do it NOW. If or when those occur, it will likely be a long time before you have the chance to do it again. There are no guarantees for the future and this is not a dress rehearsal for life, this is your one time through......err other than my Uncle Ed who did return as a sheep but then he can't ride a bike very well now can he.
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Old 04-05-09, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by AnnaMossity
I'm also debating whether or not to grow the f**k up and forget about touring and just concentrate on making money so that I can tour to my hearts content later on in life (I'm only 28).
If I read between the lines, you may have some pre-conceived societal notions about what it means to "grow up."
If I take another step down this assumption path, waiting until "later on in life" quite often equals "it will never happen."
Certainly, if you have responsibilities to others, they must take precedence yet there are ways to make this happen without jeapordizing your life goals.
As Valygrl said, this is a global life question, not a bike question. Talking it over with a professional may be beneficial. (I'm 52 and am giving my son a similar message at the moment.)
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Old 04-05-09, 10:41 AM
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"My advice - make sure you are not going to be chronically unemployed when you return. If not, then go. Don't sweat the details - just go."

Great advice.

Sounds like me in 1990 when the only reason I could think of for quitting a high paying job I detested was to ride across Canada. It changed my priorities and touring has been my #1 passion ever since. It wasn't an easy decision and I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic sometime wondering what I was going to do for work.... but it always works out. It has to. I look back now and remember a fabulous 10 weeks on the road, not a job that I hated.

If you said it, I apologize but how long are you planning on being away for? I know you hate your job but it never hurts to have a back up plan so could you get a leave w/out pay?

If the only thing that is holding you back is taking that first step, than take it. Calculate what you will need, book a flight that far in advance and start planning. The closer you get to the day, you will either become more apprehensive or excited and I am guessing it will be the latter. All of the aspects of planning will put you in the right frame of mind and help you determine if this something that you want.

Warning: Most of your friends and family will try and talk you out of it. Come back to us when that happens.
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Old 04-05-09, 12:00 PM
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There are always a million reasons NOT to do something. All it takes is one good reason TO do it.

Can you find that one reason?
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Old 04-05-09, 12:42 PM
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Wow, thanks for the great advice guys. Oh and BTW, it's Mr Annamossity now not Ms, lol. It's not possible to change screen names if you don't change e-mail addresses so AnnaMossity I remain

Anyways I agree with the notion that you only get one shot at life. I've seen enough friends and colleagues die tragically and ahead of their time to know better than to be so future oriented.

I think being a trucker it can't be THAT hard to get work especially since I have skills most others in my industry lack. But yeah, even if I end up working at Wal-Mart stocking shelves it's better than driving past tourists on the highway and feeling twinges of envy.

My employer might even give me a leave of absence too, They owe me that much. The ******* that hired me told me I'd only be working 4 days a week maximum. I couldn't get my job done in four days if I worked 24 hours a day!

I don't like the idea of being poor just to live out my dreams but I'm good enough with money that I can probably avoid that route. Even people of modest means can grow wealthy over time after all. I really appreciate you guys helping me realise the importance of doing this now instead of being so concerned with the future that may never come.



Oh I'm going for a ride, it's sunny out

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Old 04-05-09, 12:57 PM
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Hi Annamossity/I got to the 28yo part and had another Forums belly laugh//If the bug's got ya[like with most bike travel wishers you will have another 40+ yrs of feeling just like you are now.!!!/Kenneth
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Old 04-06-09, 12:11 AM
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It's more important to think about what you actually want to do for a living than touring. But touring is a nice time to think about that . I mean you can always tour, it's just a matter of finding the time.
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Old 04-06-09, 12:26 AM
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One additional thing to mention is this ... while you're under 30 you can take advantage of "Working Holidays" in other countries. Australia, for example, has that visa option and I believe quite a few other countries do too.

Check it out ... see if you can go to another country and get a job.

Once you're over 30 you can't do that anymore.
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Old 04-06-09, 01:33 AM
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Just do it.

As long as you keep looking for excuses, you will find them. At some point you have to take that massively scary leap and just trust that you will be okay. As one woman we met yesterday said, as soon as you commit, the universe supports you. I really believe that is true. We were scared to death when we quit our jobs, came home feeling sick to our stomachs. But now we have a list that is soooooooo long of potential things to do when we return. When you get out of the routine, the ideas start coming and you just realise it's not going to be a problem. It's a great feeling of freedom. Our biggest problem is choosing what, when and where!

Costs in Europe can be quite cheap if you're willing to rough it. Campgrounds are expensive in Spain and Italy but in France there are cheap municipal campgrounds and in Portugal too (wonderful!).
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Old 04-06-09, 04:23 AM
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Maybe you need a new job?

Work you love is like not working at all...

Oh, and ride your bike more.
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Old 04-06-09, 04:45 AM
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Seagullplayer: I'm trying to get out of the rat race entirely but I have to stick with trucking for now because it pays way more than anything else I'm qualified to do. Not that it pays much but I'm an uneducated shmuck so them's the breaks. I used to love my job, getting paid to drive?! What's not to love? That's how I felt when I was 19. That was before years of 60-90+ hour workweeks. Now, work is merely perfunctory.

But yeah, I definitely need to ride more. I just keep letting myself get screwed over with work. If I have learned one thing it's that hard work and loyalty don't do you any good in my industry. They treat drivers like robots and therefore I should have no allegiance to my employers. That's one of those things I ought to have tattooed onto the back of my hand, lol.

Avatarwolf: That was the most poignant of all comments so far, thank you. It is a big scary leap. But I suppose it's worth the risk. I definitely know what you mean about choosing what when and where. I want to go so many places.

Machka: Thanks for that tip. I've actually tried to immigrate to Australia before but I was told I don't have skills that are in demand. It'd probably be hard for me to find work there in transportation. So I'm told anyways. No big deal though, I don't think I'd want to work there.

Hillsbreakme: I want to rob banks for a living...you in?
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Old 04-06-09, 05:29 AM
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Go for the tour while you can! I have difficulty thinking it would be tough finding another job in the trucking/driving industry after you've returned. Besides, doing something you really want to do always has it's unforeseeable rewards!
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Old 04-06-09, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dxrider
Go for the tour while you can! I have difficulty thinking it would be tough finding another job in the trucking/driving industry after you've returned. Besides, doing something you really want to do always has it's unforeseeable rewards!
+1 Unless you have family that will go hungry or something, just do it. You can find reasons to put it off for ever.
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Old 04-06-09, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnaMossity
Machka: Thanks for that tip. I've actually tried to immigrate to Australia before but I was told I don't have skills that are in demand. It'd probably be hard for me to find work there in transportation. So I'm told anyways. No big deal though, I don't think I'd want to work there.
No, you probably don't have enough to immigrate to Australia, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Working Holidays. Do some research.

https://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/
The working holiday is "for people aged between 18 and 30 from arrangement countries to have an extended holiday supplemented by short-term employment."

The kids who do that sort of thing come to Australia, work at this and that job, and also spend their weekends, or weeks in between jobs, touring.

Australia isn't the only one that has this, other countries do as well. But most cap it at the age of 30. If you want to experience other countries, and still support yourself, and still have something to put on your resume, this is the way to go.
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Old 04-06-09, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnaMossity
So, maybe you well-heeled folks can help me out with this.

I've been wanting to get the hell out of town on my bike for years now but never seem to do it. There's always something that comes up that prevents me from actually quitting my job and GOING on a long tour. One year my car broke down and needed major repairs, then I got into triathlon and bought an obscenely expensive bike and another year work slowed down big time and I didn't have the coin required to go away.

Blah blah blah.

Now I have no car, I have steady work and I have no interest in doing any more triathlons for the foreseeable future BUT, I'm worried that when I get back into the real world, I won't be able to find work. I'm also debating whether or not to grow the f**k up and forget about touring and just concentrate on making money so that I can tour to my hearts content later on in life (I'm only 28). I can save up probably 3 or 4 thousand dollars in cash before mid July and thoughts of France and Italy have been tempting me away from the 18 hour workdays and 3-6 day workweeks (odd as that may seem). What's your advice for someone like me? Should I just do it? I mean, my job is so draining I've wished for my own death constantly since I began working at this company, maybe a long tour is what I need to remind me all the work CAN have a reward and not just be about perpetuating a worker bee lifestyle.

Your thoughts?
You might be interested in what Heinz has said and done on this subject (and in checking out his mottos):

https://www.bikechina.com/heinzstucke1z.html

***

Both Heinz Stücke and Dennis Coello, among others, have noticed -- after touring around the world -- that we have an exceptionally beautiful and diverse, both physically and culturally, continent right here in North America. And it's possible to go out and wander farther and longer here, for the same or less cost. (If you are quite set on Italy, Spain, France, though -- rather than California, Quebec, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Baja California and the rest of Mexico, Guatemala, Oregon and the Pacific Coast, and all the rest -- then by all means check them out.)

Just grow a pair.

Last edited by Niles H.; 04-06-09 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 04-06-09, 08:56 PM
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This string needs to be blended with the "Am I The Youngest One Here?" string, and vice-versa. If you have the perfect philosophical answer to one, you have the answer to the other.

Life is full of complex issues. There are no simple solutions. Usually the answer is a compromise that fits as many variables as closely as possible, yet not one of them perfectly.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:28 PM
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Here's the site to a place that advertizes at my university. It's info on Working Holidays.
https://www.swap.ca/

And here's a government site about Working Holidays.
https://www.international.gc.ca/iyp-p....aspx?lang=eng

Do a search on other "Working Holidays" ... and definitely check out the information on doing a Working Holiday in Europe. Europe is great ... I love France and wouldn't mind moving there for a year or two myself.
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Old 04-07-09, 02:31 AM
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28? DO IT. You're no where near too old. For pretty much anything for that matter.
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Old 04-07-09, 12:59 PM
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Another possibility would be to find some work that you love doing, and do it.

Alternatively, you might be able to find a way to love just about any moment of life, and anything you are doing.

Live in fear and complaint, die in fear and complaint.

Or find another way to live.
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Old 04-08-09, 08:48 PM
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I can't think of anywhere else you could find such great advice and insight re: the bicycle touring lifestyle. I am impressed with all of the responses that this post has generated. Here's my two cents:

I call touring a lifestyle because once you're hooked it IS a lifestyle. And hooked you will be once you dive into the waters. My own story began so many years ago that I don't care to talk about it much. I went back to college at the age of 35, with hardly any money since I'd just spent two years on tour. I had a cheap apartment with walls, but lived the next 6 years sleeping on a thermarest on the floor and touring with books during the summer. Did winter tours flying to California to attend conferences. Long distance traveling on a bicycle does not have to be purely recreational, but can be very practical. My goal was to keep personal posessions down to what fit on my bike, except for books and school stuff. No car for over 12 years - bicycles were my only transport.

At the age of 28 in today's world I think you are in for more change than I ever experienced. And I can't tell you how many jobs I've had between tours. Education is the key. Learning and growing through your experience is the key. Loving to learn helps a lot.

I've owned businesses, been a professional mechanic (and given it up for college), been a logger, a janitor, pumped gas, did a stint as a systems administrator, and was an engineer working for several medical device manufacturers. The way that I managed to do all of my decades of long-distance tours and keep the social world around me happy was to divide my work between paid jobs and jobs that didn't pay much (if anything) but got me great recomendations from the people I worked for. Specifically, these were researchers and profs who needed my skills but had no grant money to pay a salary. I learned as I worked on their projects and could fudge the dates a little to cover for my absences while touring when I had to update my resume. Every reference you can get helps. Volunteer work doesn't have to be listed on the resume as volunteer work unless it makes you look good. Don't lie, but a little fudging of dates is easy if there is no real sharp beginning or end to the projects, as in my case.

Eventually I discovered that I could work on contract for a year or two and then just not take another contract. Unemployment comp. filled in the gaps after my tours, but contract jobs are easy to get once you are in the pipeline. Find a good agency. Become what the temp. industry refers to as 'plug and play'. Do what you do best and make every manager a true beleiver in your skills and abilities. Overproduce. Burn off some enthusiasm. Go on a tour to regenerate it whenever you run out.

But I still say, bite the bullet and get an education. It does not have to be a university degree. Skills and knowledge are all that are necessary. Find what interests you and pursue it! And I will predict that you will continue doing this until you finally retire. There is no one, single career these days.

Things work out. They really do. The cool thing about traveling wherever you want to go on a bicycle is that you learn to be resourceful, independent, and your people skills get honed sharp. Add this to a skillset that the business world can use and you have $$$. My degrees are in psychology. My last job was spent as a full engineer working on an enormous capital project. I never earned an engineering degree, and never even took an engineering course. I did take advantage of opportunities to learn, and I worked my butt off. No, I was not aware of what I was doing at the time. I didn't plan much of anything. I had interests and I pursued them with a passion. I was totally amazed when I discovered that I'd learned things that could make me money. Not everything in life can be planned. But taking advantage of opportunities to learn will make up for that. Like I said, things work out. Perseverance will get you where you want to go, whether it's landing a job when you need it or getting to the top of a 13,000 ft. mountain pass on a loaded bike with only two full water bottles.

The essence of the lifestyle of a touring cyclist is that there is no distinction between riding, learning, working, and living. It's all one.

I remember my first ride to Alaska. It was the night before the ferry to Prince Rupert would leave from Port Hardy (or was it Port McNeil?). This was long before we had cell phones. I called my mother that night and found that I'd just received a call from Pacific Car & Foundry who wanted me to work at their testing facility as a technician. I know any number of people who would cut off an ear for a chance to work at that facility. Would I ride back down to take the job? You can easily guess what I did. And I never looked back and in later years I've had jobs that made that testing tech job look pale. Who could turn back from their first bike trip to Alaska?

The most influential and inspiring ride I've done? That would have to be when I discovered National Historic Trails. Two seasons were spent doing photography and studying history on a loaded MTB on the route of the Oregon/California National Historic Trail (lots of off-road, Oregon to Missouri). I fit the Nez Perce and Lewis & Clark Trail in there as well. I recommend those experiences to anyone who's looking for more than just bike ride.

The truth is out there.
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Old 04-09-09, 03:26 AM
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Go for it, the economy is in the toilet, you may as well go and give the world a while to recover.
You might lose your job next month and then spend 12 months trying to find another one. Or you could make preparations to cut your costs (rent out apartment etc.), quit and then spend 12 months touring. You'll be in no worse position when you get back.
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