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The Intangible Values of Touring

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The Intangible Values of Touring

Old 11-14-11, 04:58 PM
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HopliteGrad
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The Intangible Values of Touring

So, my wife just handed me a check for several thousand and said, "happy birthday, I want you to go cycle the Transamerica [in a year or two, once preps are complete]."

Amazing! (!!!) But, as a former Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, I understand that epic trips can also carry big intangible costs--costs that I need to count as a responsible person. For example, I'm pretty sure an epic trip like that benefits me personally a LOT. I grew and changed a lot as a thru-hiker, no question. But it meant time away from loved ones, career, etc.

Would a TA trip benefit my marriage? For me to be sold-out and intense about this trip, I have to be crystal clear on that question in particular. Trip = perk, healthy marriage = nonnegotiable priority. My wife has zero intention of long distance cycling, herself.

You married folk, what are your experiences here? Have solo tours while married made things better or worse?

Thank you!

Other forum discussions related to but not addressing this question:

How to justify a long trip to your partner
Getting your wife into touring
Touring once baby arrives
Has your love of touring hurt relationships?

Last edited by HopliteGrad; 11-14-11 at 05:38 PM. Reason: Added interesting links
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Old 11-14-11, 05:14 PM
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Better than they were? No, just the same.
Better than they would have been if I hadn't? Who knows.

The longest I've been away was three weeks.
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Old 11-14-11, 06:05 PM
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jeez you must have a very under standing wife to let you head off for a year on your todd or am i reading this all wrong. if your in your 20's yeah your probably still full of the adventure spirit but if you older then its time to look at life a bit different imho ,why in gods name would you want to leave your wife for a year to bust your ass across country ,will a two or three week tour not satisfy you .
yeah i can realyl see my woman give me a wad of cash to tour for a year in my dreams.
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Old 11-14-11, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HopliteGrad View Post
So, my wife just handed me a check for several thousand and said, "happy birthday, I want you to go cycle the Transamerica [in a year or two, once preps are complete]."
If you conclude it would harm your marriage then I'm sure you could find someone who would gladly take the check off your hands, ride the Transamerica, and tell you how it went.
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Old 11-14-11, 06:09 PM
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A good marriage should not be hurt by either party responsibly pursuing their interests. I do have to wonder at the "in a year or two, once preps are complete" statement. What do you need to prep that takes a year or two? It was a matter of weeks between the time I decided to tour and when I left on the Trans America.

BTW, remember that doing a Trans America is a much smaller commitment than an AT thru hike. The time away will be much shorter and the opportunities to be in touch with home more frequent. An AT thru hike usually takes what? Five months? The TA took us 73 days and while people do it faster or slower, I think that is pretty normal.

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Old 11-14-11, 06:11 PM
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Your marriage will survive just fine. Or it won't. Your being gone a couple months on a trip, gifted by your wife, will have no baring in the long run. Men have been doing such for many centuries.

Your being gone will not benefit your marriage. Nor will it adversly affect it. As long as it's done with your wife's blessing. She gave you the money, so we can assume you're blessed. Mine gives me a kiss and say's "See ya. Have fun." I'm blessed too.

Go in peace.
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Old 11-14-11, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by contango View Post
If you conclude it would harm your marriage then I'm sure you could find someone who would gladly take the check off your hands, ride the Transamerica, and tell you how it went.
Ha! I'm *sure* we could find other ways to spend it if it came right down to it!

Originally Posted by staehpj1
I do have to wonder at the "in a year or two, once preps are complete" statement. What do you need to prep that takes a year or two?
I guess I'm modeling a TA trip on my hiking experience. I prepped and trained about a year, and had a very successful hike. My current job will have an opening (sabbatical) in about 2 years, so that's my window to go ride long, as we don't get any vacation days to bank up.

Thank you all for your perspectives. So far a long trip sounds pretty neutral marriage-wise.

Last edited by HopliteGrad; 11-14-11 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 11-14-11, 07:11 PM
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She gave you the money and said go, have a good time?! Sounds like she does not have a problem with it.
A friend of mine did the TA this summer, and his long time girlfriend flew out to meet him about half way through. They rode together for a week and then she headed back home. They were both a little lonely with out each other, but their relationship did not suffer.
Maybe you could plan for your wife to fly out & meet you somewhere, not to ride necessarily, but just spend a few days together?
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Old 11-14-11, 08:12 PM
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I took my longer tours abroad, getting out of the country was a good perspective change.
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Old 11-14-11, 08:21 PM
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A transamerican tour would only be a couple months, right?

And during that time you would both be on the same continent?

And for some of that time you would be near (within a 2-300 km ... easy driving distance) of where you live?

So even if the tour were 2 months long, you could probably spend some time together somewhere on the tour ... right? You wouldn't be apart the whole 2 months.

And you're not going to be leaving her with a whole mountain of work to do and things to take care of while you're enjoying yourself on the road?


Rowan and I got married in Canada in August 2008. 10 days later, he returned to Australia and I stayed in Canada to finish my education ... half a world apart. 9 months later, I finally moved to Australia. I don't think those 9 months apart did us any harm ... we still communicated every day via email and phone calls, and the relationship was still solid when I got to Australia.
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Old 11-15-11, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
if your in your 20's yeah your probably still full of the adventure spirit but if you older then its time to look at life a bit different imho ,
???

This I dont understand. I am in my late 40's and will do a 6 - 8 month ride from China to Turkey starting July next year.

4 1/2 years ago I left Australia, spent 2 years living in South Korea, and nearly 3 years now living in China.

My sister seems to think I should grow up, meaning, I think, that I should stop growing, stop having fun, and stop having an interesting life.

I prefer to keep doing those things.

z
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Old 11-15-11, 03:38 AM
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+1 on all the "go west, young man" suggestions. Or east, depending on which way you plan to cross. Your wife seems to be very much OK with the idea.

You could always take a couple of rest days in some nice town along the way, ask your wife to meet you there? Or at the end of the trip. Would make it even more of a shared project.

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Old 11-15-11, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by HopliteGrad View Post
Ha! I'm *sure* we could find other ways to spend it if it came right down to it!


Seriously, assuming your wife doesn't just want an excuse to get you out of the way so she can avoid leaving secret signals for the milkman, it sounds like you've got her blessing and it's hard to see how it would damage your marriage.

If you can take a sabbatical from work that sounds like a doubly good opportunity. It sounds like the kind of ride I'd fancy doing at some point in the future, although unfortunately I'm starting on the wrong continent.
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Old 11-15-11, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
if your in your 20's yeah your probably still full of the adventure spirit but if you older then its time to look at life a bit different imho.
Originally Posted by azesty View Post
???

This I dont understand. I am in my late 40's and will do a 6 - 8 month ride from China to Turkey starting July next year.

4 1/2 years ago I left Australia, spent 2 years living in South Korea, and nearly 3 years now living in China.

My sister seems to think I should grow up, meaning, I think, that I should stop growing, stop having fun, and stop having an interesting life.

I prefer to keep doing those things.

z
I'm with you azesty!

I did my first cycling tour (hub-and-spoke) in another country (England) in 2002 when I was 35 years old. When I was 36, I did a longer tour + 1200K randonnee in England, France and Wales. When I was 37, I quit work, packed everything up, and hit the road for 3 months in Australia. There were more here, there, and everywhere in following years ... and then in 2009, when I was 42 I packed up and moved to Australia from Canada.

It's looking really good that come June next year we'll be on the road again. Not sure where yet, or for how long.

I hope I never lose that adventurous spirit. Occasionally it takes a back seat because I feel the need to settle for a year or two. But then it returns, and it's ... "♪♫ on the road again ♪♫ ♪♫" ...
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Old 11-15-11, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by contango View Post
It sounds like the kind of ride I'd fancy doing at some point in the future, although unfortunately I'm starting on the wrong continent.
And meanwhile we're eyeballing the North Sea Route over on your continent.
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Old 11-15-11, 04:38 AM
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Not trying to derail this thread too much, but...

Hey, azesty, I often wondered what happened to you. I left Tasmania just before you left Australia and spent six months in Canada and then settled in the ranges just north of Melbourne. Machka and I are just about ready to hit the road again for some extended touring, either in big bites, or over a couple of years (still not quite decided on that).

I think you hit the nail on the head with this:

My sister seems to think I should grow up, meaning, I think, that I should stop growing, stop having fun, and stop having an interesting life.
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Old 11-15-11, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by HopliteGrad View Post
I guess I'm modeling a TA trip on my hiking experience. I prepped and trained about a year, and had a very successful hike. My current job will have an opening (sabbatical) in about 2 years, so that's my window to go ride long, as we don't get any vacation days to bank up.
The sabbatical sounds like a good opportunity to do a big trip and I highly recommend the Trans America. I have a hard time relating to planning trips two years out, but I guess that is just me, because I know that I hear other folks talking about plans that far out. Me, I would change my mind about what trip I wanted to do a dozen times in two years. I never seem to be really locked in until I actually buy a plane ticket and up until them am likely to change plans repeatedly.

I do have a couple suggestions...

Promise less contact from the road than you can deliver. Do not promise to call every day. Then call whenever you can. It is better to set expectations low and then exceed them than to do the opposite.

If you live near one end of the trip, consider flying to the far end and riding toward home. This has the advantage of riding toward your loved ones and not away from them and also opens the possibility of them meeting you at the end. I know that having family and friends throw us a cookout in Yorktown was a great note to conclude the trip on.
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Old 11-15-11, 06:15 AM
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so machka and azestry are you guys married
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Old 11-15-11, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
so machka and azestry are you guys married
Umm...
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Rowan and I got married in Canada in August 2008...
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Old 11-15-11, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Not trying to derail this thread too much, but...

My sister seems to think I should grow up, meaning, I think, that I should stop growing, stop having fun, and stop having an interesting life.
I googled what does it mean to grow up, from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...5212345AAjf6zG
and this is an interesting reply

>>It means be like the billions of people out there living boring lives.Go to work,Have some coffee,eat,sleep,go to work,have some >>coffee,eat,sleep,and over and over again.

So your sister wants you to do this? having experienced the above routine, no thanks, I feel dead doing that. Doing as you do I feel alive.
I wonder how many people are like this? Why do others feel the need to imposition their world view on others so that if they complied they would be miserable? In my opinion if your sister is happy fine, we don't impose on her to go touring.

Yep you got it, I am passionate about this subject and hate other people saying how others (as long as they are doing no harm) should live their life according to their lifestyles and could fill 20 pages!!!! In brief well done mate and don't listen to your sister. She sounds the complete opposite of you.

cheers

Steve Jubb
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Old 11-15-11, 06:53 AM
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However from the above link if she means

"To act responsibly toward yourself and others, to not judge others for their mistakes but to work on you own, not to get angry, jealous or resentful of others and be happy with what you have. Don't expect hand outs in the world, work to get what you want."

This does some up bicycle touring for me so tell her you are already grown up.
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Old 11-15-11, 09:05 AM
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Excellent. So many good vibes! Machka's point about meeting up along the trail works well. We actually live about 1 mile from the TA in one of the towns. This is why we see TA riders all the time and where my wife likely heard the idea seed: "gee I would love to do that some day!"

Well, I'm glad that you heavy duty tourers haven't seen big impacts on your spouses. That's very heartening. Now I need to find the "Tourer's Auxiliary" club and get their side of the story!
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Old 11-15-11, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HopliteGrad View Post
So, my wife just handed me a check for several thousand and said, "happy birthday, I want you to go cycle the Transamerica [in a year or two, once preps are complete]."
[/URL]
OMG. You either have one of the world's most amazing wives, or she has a hot and heavy affair going on the side and wants you gone for a while. (Sure hope it is the former!)
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Old 11-15-11, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
And meanwhile we're eyeballing the North Sea Route over on your continent.
Cycling the North Sea? That would be impressive. How hard to you have to pump your tyres to pull that off?
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Old 11-15-11, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by stephenjubb View Post
I googled what does it mean to grow up, from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...5212345AAjf6zG
and this is an interesting reply

>>It means be like the billions of people out there living boring lives.Go to work,Have some coffee,eat,sleep,go to work,have some >>coffee,eat,sleep,and over and over again.

So your sister wants you to do this? having experienced the above routine, no thanks, I feel dead doing that. Doing as you do I feel alive.
I wonder how many people are like this? Why do others feel the need to imposition their world view on others so that if they complied they would be miserable? In my opinion if your sister is happy fine, we don't impose on her to go touring.

Yep you got it, I am passionate about this subject and hate other people saying how others (as long as they are doing no harm) should live their life according to their lifestyles and could fill 20 pages!!!! In brief well done mate and don't listen to your sister. She sounds the complete opposite of you.

cheers

Steve Jubb
+1
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