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The Dream: Self Sustaining tour

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The Dream: Self Sustaining tour

Old 02-07-15, 11:39 AM
  #1  
Buffalo Buff
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The Dream: Self Sustaining tour

Problem with touring is even if you have no responsibilities like kids, wife, mortgage etc., it still costs $$ to eat, buy supplies etc.

I'm trying to brainstorm ways to alleviate that restriction from my next tour. Ways that I could make the tour self-sustaining. Got any ideas? I'll wait to share mine.
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Old 02-07-15, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
Problem with touring is even if you have no responsibilities like kids, wife, mortgage etc., it still costs $$ to eat, buy supplies etc.

I'm trying to brainstorm ways to alleviate that restriction from my next tour. Ways that I could make the tour self-sustaining. Got any ideas? I'll wait to share mine.
a) Save 25 times your annual touring budget. Then you can draw down on your savings which are kept in reasonably safe investments like bonds and index funds.
b) Find a rich lover that thinks Lycra is sexy and wants you to tour all the time if you'll meet up at a motel occasionally for hot sex.

Your turn.
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Old 02-07-15, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
Problem with touring is even if you have no responsibilities like kids, wife, mortgage etc., it still costs $$ to eat, buy supplies etc.

I'm trying to brainstorm ways to alleviate that restriction from my next tour. Ways that I could make the tour self-sustaining. Got any ideas? I'll wait to share mine.
Freelance writing or having a blog with enough traffic to get some advertising money would work.

Busking, seasonal work, going on Craigslist to find day laboring jobs. If you have design, programming or other skills you can do remotely you can find jobs on
freelancer sites.
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Old 02-07-15, 01:28 PM
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Every thing into a storage unit, or just sell it all .. and vacate your Apartment, shut off all utilities , and have someone else get your Mail, forwarding address change.. .


Busking is GOOD .. can you entertain people enough to Draw a Crowd on the town square?

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Old 02-07-15, 02:27 PM
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Win the lottery.
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Old 02-07-15, 02:47 PM
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thievery? retirement account?
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Old 02-07-15, 03:05 PM
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Your 4 big expenses while travelling are:
1. Airticket
2. Food
3. Hotel/Hostel
4. Rent on your apartment at home.

1. Shop for offers 3-4 month in advance, go on non busy days. Take a long trip, so the relative expense on tickets gets lower pr day.
2. Travel in South East Asia and eat local food. Its much cheaper than at home, so you'll save up on that account. Especially if you stop clubbing and beerdrinking, you can save an extra lot here and even remember the WHOLE of your trip.(ooh I'll get flak for that one :-) )
3. Just go for the cheaper places, maybe just a fanned room, instead of A/C.
4. Find a cheap one or skip it if possible. This is the critical one. If you can skip the rent back home, you'll live cheaper on the road than at home.
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Old 02-07-15, 04:06 PM
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"The best way to make money is to 'make' money."
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Old 02-07-15, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
a) Save 25 times your annual touring budget. Then you can draw down on your savings which are kept in reasonably safe investments like bonds and index funds....
+1 on this. Read Mr Money Mustache's blog. Ordinary amounts of money saved over time can yield extraordinary results.

Or invent Facebook.
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Old 02-07-15, 05:12 PM
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Go to the nearest homeless shelter. I am sure they have some really good ideas at self-sustaining life with nothing.
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Old 02-07-15, 05:25 PM
  #11  
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Seriously, I did it for a while. I gave up the rented unit I was in, and set off on what is called here in Australia The Harvest Trail. I spent several months riding from one job location to another picking cherries and thinning grape flowers.

I free camped a lot. Then I found a job on an apple orchard with free accommodation on site, and stayed in that job for around six years. Over that time, I lived in free or cheap housing. I saved a lot, travelled a fair bit and was super fit.

Technology has changed somewhat since then, and I could imagine making an income through authoring or IT or photography on the road if you are talented enough and capable enough of persuading clients that your lifestyle is appropriate.

Other times, I think it would be good to get back into tour guiding again with bike trips. But you need an ability to deal with a broad cross-section of people, their skills and their inabilities (which, oddly, I am quite good at dealing with).

The one cost that hasn't been mentioned so far is replacement and repair. At some stage, a bike is going to need servicing and/or repair. Camping equipment is going to need repairing. And for the really unlucky ones, almost everything you own can be stolen or lost in something like a fire.

Living with no reserve is not much fun. I've been there once on the road, and the Harvest Trail work pulled me out of that predicament. And, depending on your age and inter-country working visa arrangements, if you intend to travel to other nations, you may not be legally entitled to work. I remember an English guy staying at the same hostel in Kamloops, Canada, having trouble getting some work just as a dishwasher, because the immigration officials had swept through the town recently, and every employer was reticent about taking on a foreigner who wasn't entitled to work.

There is a lot to consider. Personally, I have very good memories of what I did, even if for a relatively short time. And it opened up new work opportunities with the experience I gained. But one way or another, you will have to do some work to pay your way.
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Old 02-07-15, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
+1 on this. Read Mr Money Mustache's blog. Ordinary amounts of money saved over time can yield extraordinary results.

Or invent Facebook.
A fellow mustacian
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Old 02-07-15, 05:41 PM
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You could try to go the free route when it comes to eating ...

Living on road kill and bush tucker: One family's epic cycling adventure - ABC Ballarat - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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Old 02-07-15, 05:43 PM
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If you're under 30, you could go to any number of countries and pick up work. Rowan mentioned the Harvest Trail here in Australia ... that's a good example. You could spend a year or so here in Australia working a bit, travelling a bit, working a bit, travelling a bit ...

A multitude of backpackers (mainly from Europe) do that every year.
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Old 02-07-15, 06:53 PM
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The Bike Grease and Coffee blogger. No idea about his finances.

His latest trip was riding his fat bike from Maine, camping in the winter, to Florida. Then a boat to South America, and travel all the way to Patagonia. Looks like he's done traveling since last spring.






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Old 02-07-15, 08:22 PM
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Lead group tours. I get to tour for free as my camping, portion of the food is included. On top of that there is a daily stipend ($65 - 80) in my case. That cash gets deposited into my account so I can tour solo in between group trips. I spend 3 months a year doing contract work ( web design and back end programming) that I set up year round to be done in the winter. I can keep on the road 9 months a year on this plan and be quite comfortable.
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Old 02-08-15, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
And I thought Rowan's post above was neat. Yours is one up.
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Old 02-08-15, 07:46 AM
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Rowan's story is a good one and very inspirational.

I've had one other warmshowers.org guest who was living on the road on about US$5000/year. He was a single father who raised a son to adulthood then took off touring. When I met him he'd been on the road for several years and biked about 8000 miles/year. His cost per mile (pennies!) blew me away. I thought I did fairly well on my last tour at 80 miles and $25/day average. He had good, if not excellent gear and overall health, had all his teeth--not your average bum. He had at least one really good roadkill story he was willing to share, did some gleaning, some dumpster diving, some work-for-stay, and as far as I could tell he did not break laws or trespass anywhere. He was another inspiration for a low-cost, low-impact lifestyle.
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Old 02-08-15, 10:02 AM
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Just take off... figure it out as you go. That's where the adventure is.
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Old 02-08-15, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jargo432 View Post
Just take off... figure it out as you go. That's where the adventure is.
This works.....
so does working your butt off for a few years, save money, then touring for 10 months. After 10 ten months you will likely be done with the whole thing until the next few years roll around.
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Old 02-08-15, 11:51 AM
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So what are the OP ideas?
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Old 02-08-15, 11:59 AM
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Living on the road does not mean being constantly on the move. If you find a nice free place to camp on public land that has available water, grocery not too far a ride, stay for a couple of weeks before moving on. Most federal land like National Forests and BLM land have 14 day limit for occupying a location.

Off season is a good time to drop in state or local parks and offer labor for free campsite. It means having a shower and laundry available for the duration. I used to trade 4 hours work for the campsite per day, giving me lots of free time. I developed a very good relationship at several parks in WI back in the 70s. At these parks I rarely had to go to the store as I was invited to meals with the park managers family. Work was usually outdoor maintenance, raking, painting, washing windows, off season repairs.

None of this makes you money, but it really cuts your expenses a lot and in a real pleasant way.
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Old 02-08-15, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
This works.....
so does working your butt off for a few years, save money, then touring for 10 months. After 10 ten months you will likely be done with the whole thing until the next few years roll around.
That's what I did. Ended up taking three long tours ranging from 1.5 months to nearly 4 months over the span of about 17 months. While not touring, I pursued my photo hobby and saw a lot of matinee movies. I could have gone longer, but I didn't want to destroy potential career opportunities so I went back to the working world.

I wouldn't trade the experiences I had for the money or career advancement I gave up.
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Old 02-08-15, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo Buff View Post
Problem with touring is even if you have no responsibilities like kids, wife, mortgage etc., it still costs $$ to eat, buy supplies etc.

I'm trying to brainstorm ways to alleviate that restriction from my next tour. Ways that I could make the tour self-sustaining. Got any ideas? I'll wait to share mine.
I am not permanently on the road, but I have had many tours from several weeks to several months that were self sustaining. The key to it for me (and therefore not likely to apply to many others, sadly......) is a minimalist lifestyle. I have no house, car, wife and kids, and none of the other accoutrements of life that make it no more rewarding but a lot more expensive. I do make some money writing online for Seeking Alpha, and investment website; and I used to write for NewsMax for a while as well. I have enough set aside in a brokerage account to earn option income on a monthly basis, and that involves the third Friday of every month which is when I roll over the position for another thirty days. I minimize touring expense by wild camping. I minimize the cost of my off touring time by accepting make-work positions in exchange for room and board: right now I live in a cabin on the side of a mountain at a former logging camp. I'll be out on a tour for seven months this summer starting April 1st, and I pretty much have all the groundwork done for it financially.

There are as many ways to tour independently as there are ways to tour..plain and simple. The best time to tour? NOW!
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Old 02-08-15, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
That's what I did. Ended up taking three long tours ranging from 1.5 months to nearly 4 months over the span of about 17 months. While not touring, I pursued my photo hobby and saw a lot of matinee movies. I could have gone longer, but I didn't want to destroy potential career opportunities so I went back to the working world.

I wouldn't trade the experiences I had for the money or career advancement I gave up.
Yeah I love going to movie matinees and being the only person in the cinema....I've been retired for about a year and just got dragged back part time, but I told them that I could only work 4 months because I'd be touring over the summer. They agreed, but I think it will still be a shock to them when leave at the end of May. Having a pension is a nice way to fund tours.
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