Pictures Letters Journals Bikes Camp Plan Funding/Cost MyBooks Media Support Contact

search DownTheRoad.org

Custom Search


The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

HOME
Where am I?
Videos
Picture Gallery
Journals
Travel Plan

Finances
Shopping
Equipment
My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room

Contact

Photo Use Info

Subscribe to Newsletter
Read Sample
Continue My Travels


Places I have been
(
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Australia
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left


Sign up for my RoadNews Newsletter

 Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle


*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.


Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

Guest Contributor  Alastair Humphreys' "Reasons to travel or not to travel"

We met Alastair Humphreys when we were riding through Peru in 2002, he was on a monumental around the world bike tour that started in August 2001 and completed in November 2005.  He now lives in London and has gone on to be a professional speaker, writer and adventurer.  He recently walked across India and has plans for an expedition to the South Pole.  Alastair periodically invites "guest bloggers" to exchange posts on their blogs and he recently posted an article I wrote called Dreaming of Endless Travel.  While my article is about how we chose the traveling lifestyle indefinitely.  Alastair's article is about the decision to end a trip and the benefits of staying in one place called home.   I have to say that I agree with everything he says and it is inevitable that we will end our trip someday but, for the foreseeable future, we have no desire to stop.  I have to admit; after reading this I did dream a bit of the stability of home and a different way of life.  But first we would have to decide where home is.


Reasons to travel or not to travel
by Alastair Humphreys

I remember sitting on top of the Simplon Pass in the Alps. The view was fabulous, the world lay all before me. I loved my life on the road. I was good at it, it was comfortable and -at long last- I was earning a few hundred quid here and there with the occasional published article.
I was living the dream, and I was earning enough to keep on living it.

>From that pass I could, had I wanted to, turned around and cycled to Australia. It would have been a great adventure.
I thought of Heinz Stucke, the Godfather of long-distance cyclists (40 years on the road, and still going), and I thought of all that he had seen and experienced.

And yet I did not turn round and ride off towards Tasmania. I decided not to “do a Heinz”. I decided to drop down the northern side of the pass, towards France, England, home, and The End.

If life on the road is so precious, then why did I decide to end it? It is still something I often ask myself (often during morning rush hour on the Northern Line…)
Here then are some of the Pros and Cons of coming home:

PROS: Good things about coming Home

- The instant pleasure I felt from stopping travelling was that of returning to a sweet, lazy life. I was so grateful for fluffy pillows, a fridgeful of food, a roof, lights and tap water. It felt good to be home! (This ease, of course, is what eventually becomes the greatest ‘Con’ of stopping and what drives me to get out there again…)

- Stability. I love putting down some degree of roots. I enjoy knowing where I live, knowing the area, knowing people, knowing the history, and seeing the place as more than just the instant, present tense snapshot that you get when you are only ever passing through places.

- Relationships. Friends, family, relationships: being a lone wolf for over 4 years made me realise that I am not, in fact, a lone wolf! Ultimately I treasure a few deep bonds more than the wonderful variety of brief encounters the open road exposes you to. Thinking of Heinz, it was this aspect in particular that made me feel I should go home rather than riding on into my twilight years.

- Diversity. To my surprise, one of the things I appreciate most about having stopped riding is the diversity of my life now. I thought that it was through travelling that I would find variety. But my life is no longer just about the ride. Books, running, music, friends, libraries, sport, holidays, cooking, camping, cities… In some ways there is more variety to my life than when I was away striving for spontaneity and diversity.

- What was the point of the journey if not to prepare me for life? Before I began my long ride I felt that it would BE my life. Now I see the ride as a phase to help me live the rest of my life to the best of my ability. I am enjoying trying to transfer the lessons from the road to all that I do now.

- Cycling round the world was awesome. The best days of my life. But I did it for over 4 years. That’s a long time. It’s time for something new now!

CONS: Reasons I still pine under a full moon for the Open Road

- Freedom. The freedom to ride where I wanted, when I wanted. Sleep where I wanted, eat when I wanted. Free to BE whoever I wanted to be, for in each new town I arrived in I was a blank canvas, a fresh start with no history or future, just a present tense and a bike.

- Unpredictability. To never know what is round the next corner. Literally or metaphorically speaking…

- Simplicity. To have all my worldly goods in 4 panniers, and to carry all that I owned on a bicycle. That is something I miss. I also miss the mental simplicity of those days as well. The lack of mental baggage.

- New Friends. To form fast, fierce, magnesium bright friendships with extraordinary people. To treasure those brief days and conversations in the knowledge that once they are gone, they are gone for ever. Out of each other’s lives and on down the road.

- Other things that flow into my mind so fast now that it makes me realise how conscious and aware I am of the things I chose to give up: fitness (proper, 8-hours a day on the bike, iron-hard fitness), frugality, changing landscapes, camping, sunsets, rivers, dreaming of “what’s next”, always learning…

- And the strange satisfaction that comes through having a hard time, sleeping on stones, eating dull food, being hot/cold, feeling tired or anxious and yet knowing that these are, without a doubt, the times of your life.

All in all I see my years spent cycling round the world as incredibly precious. I know I will never have days like those again, and in some ways I feel my life has peaked now they are over. And yet, if I turn all the lessons and privileged experiences I bore witness to, then I sense that I am brilliantly prepared for making sure that the rest of my life is not spent in the shadow of my days on the road…

 

eXTReMe Tracker

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice 
(see all Equipment Pages)

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips
Headsets
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag

Lights

Helmet
Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)


Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads


Blog RSS 
Email Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2002 - 2012 DownTheRoad.org (TM) All Rights Reserved

Find out how you can use my pictures on your web site legally and free of charge.