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
Videos
Picture Gallery
Journals
Travel Plan

Finances
Shopping
Equipment
My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room

Contact

Photo Use Info

Read Sample Letter
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


*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)

Downtheroad.org
RoadNews Newsletter
Do you want to receive regular email updates and know the inside scoop about my travels?  Sign up today to receive my free newsletter.

Sign up to receive my almost-monthly newsletter. Get first hand stories about my life the road, plans for future routes, and my occasional glimmers of insight about bicycle touring and the world.  See Sample Below

Subscribe to the RoadNews Newsletter  Type in your email address below  and receive the free RoadNews newsletter about every 6 weeks.  Your email address will not be sold or disclosed

 

Subscribe/Unsubscribe on DownTheRoad.org RoadNews NewsLetter

* Required




Sample Newsletter

RoadNews Newsletter
Five Years DownTheRoad:  a different kind of endurance.

April 11, 2007
(Sent From Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia)

AN EXTRA SPECIAL
MP3 Audio Interview with the Bike Tourist PodCast
can be found here

Hello and welcome to this special 5 year anniversary edition to our RoadNews Newsletter.

On March 30, 2007 Cindie and I celebrated the completion of five years of living and traveling on bicycles including four continents, nineteen countries, and countless amazing and often bazaar experiences.  We knew things would get wild but we never could have predicted the endless adventures that were waiting for us or the unexpected hardships and obstacles in our path.  The experience of visiting different continents and meeting locals from diverse cultures, religions, and political orientations has had a profound affect on us.  We have and continue to learn and grow every day.  How could we not?

The long summer days of cycling on quiet roads in Australia gave us the opportunity to ride side by side and talk.  These conversations have focused on our 5 year anniversary of this trip and defining what this experience, good and bad, has meant to us and why we continue.

As a byproduct of this discussion we unexpectedly discovered that, for us, time and place have fused into the same concept.  I can say, "Do you remember in Bolivia when I injured my back in a remote village in the middle of the Altiplano?" and Cindie automatically knows what month and year I am talking about.  This concept went on to create a list of fun facts that demonstrates how time has fused into geographical location.  For example, below is a list of everyplace we have spent our travel anniversary and New Years Eve:

First Day March 30, 2002 left home from Prescott, Arizona, USA
New Years Eve 2003  Antigua, Guatemala

1st Anniversary March 30, 2003 Santa Elena, Costa Rica
New Years Eve 2004  Belen, Argentina

2nd Anniversary March 30, 2004 Bariloche, Argentina
New Years Eve 2005  Phnom Penn, Cambodia

3rd Anniversary March 30, 2005 Bac Giang, Vietnam
New Years Eve 2006  Long Phrabang, Laos

4th Anniversary March 30, 2006 Phang Nga, Thailand
New Years Eve 2007  Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

5th year anniversary March 30, 2007 Seal Rocks, Australia

After quizzing each other on this fun time and place trivia our conversations turned to the deeper impact and meaning of our travels.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF ENDURANCE

This extended nomadic lifestyle has been both good and bad on our health.  Obviously, all the exercise and fresh air has been great for our fitness but, of course, fitness is only one component of health.  The wear and tear that months on end of exposure to the elements and foreign cultures breaks down our bodies and speeds up the aging process.  To last this long on the road takes a different kind of endurance.

International bike touring is less about cycling several hours a day and more about being durable, adaptable, open minded, and just plain old tough,  Oh yes, do not forget a sense of humor and the ability to not take it all (including yourself) too seriously.

Most people, including beginning cyclists, could easily ride along with us.  We are by no means super athletes.  What would send most companions home would be the hard living, months of sleeping on the ground in a tent or dealing with the confusion and unsanitary conditions of developing countries.  Cyclists do not abandon international tours because the riding is too hard but rather the time off the bike is uncomfortable.

I jokingly suggest to touring cyclists who are contemplating long term travel, in addition to time on a bike, prepare by clogging up your toilet and removing the seat (Latin America) or just digging a hole in the ground to squat over (Asia), purifying every drop of water you consume including water used to brush your teeth, and trading your bed for a camping mattress and sleeping bag.

WHAT HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS

Another concept Cindie and I talked about was that we are past the point of no return.  During the first couple of years we drew confidence to continue on this trip by thinking that we could always stop, go home, and find new jobs.  We pictured this scenario in our minds occasionally when road life became difficult.  As the years have passed under our wheels, this mental picture of us going home has faded to the point that we can not see it at all.  It is impossible to picture any other life except the one we have now.  We have arrived at the point where traveling is not a temporary episode of our lives but has become our life and the only lifestyle we know.  Too much freedom is intoxicating and addictive.  Play around with it for too long and you can never go back but also never know where forward will take you.  Today "home" can be found by flipping through my passport and finding the most recent countries' entry stamp and valid tourist visa.  By this definition we are always going home but can never really arrive there.

Cindie and I have also changed the way we discuss out trip with people we meet.  During the first few years, when we met people and they asked, "Where did you start?" or "How long have you been traveling?"  We would explain the entire trip starting in Arizona.  Now, after 5 years, we prefer to talk about only the past few months.  For example when we are asked these questions here in Australia we answer, "We landed in Adelaide (Australia) in mid September."  This draws much less attention to ourselves and makes it easier for us to fit in.  Of course, if people probe enough the whole story can be pulled out of us but we generally prefer not to discuss our travels beyond the country we are in.  This way our story is much more digestible and believable.

During our conversations we agreed that what is important to us on our bicycle tour around the world has nothing to do with riding a bike.  We are not consumed with kilometers ridden, speed through regions, number of flat tires or obtaining bragging rights.  These kind of superficial goals could not sustain us this many years on the road.  This is an educational voyage.

When we listed what we had achieved over the last 5 years and what we wanted to accomplish in the future cycling related accomplishments were not included.  We can generally estimate the total kilometers we have ridden, about 45,000 (28,000 miles), but we have no set goal to complete a certain distance.  Our journey is not about anything tangible or something that can be organized into rows and columns of a spreadsheet.  We do like to ride but it is not a goal of our travels.  Riding a bicycle is just a tool to bring us deeper into the authentic sections of each country and closer to the people who live there.    We seek the opportunity to meet the people of the world and learn their outlook on life from their unique perspective.  This actually requires a lot of time off the bike.

So you may wonder what is important to us.  In a single word "culture" is what we seek on our bicycles.  Of course, culture covers a broad spectrum of components which I partially discuss below.

We try to learn languages which helps us to interact with locals, this gives us a deeper understanding of how everyday people think and see the world.  We have concentrated on retaining our knowledge of Spanish and Mandarin Chinese but also have learned basic words and phrases of many other languages.  We have been exposed to several religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.  This has given us a better understanding of what is important to people and how these often mysterious beliefs and cultural traditions shape everyday life.  Economics and politics are topics I have always found interesting.  They directly influence each other. In our travels we have witnessed a variety of political situations and experienced different economic systems. The same political view and economic system does not work for everyone.  Finally in my partial list, we have been delighted to learn about and witness a wide variety of climates, ecosystems and wildlife.  This also influences local cultures in the way people eat and adapt to the elements.

 I am left wondering where we will be 5 years from now.  Until next time.

Tim Travis

(see also Media, finances, and Sponsorships pages)

DSC00016.JPG (621426 bytes)
Tim working on the web site at Lake Pleasant, Arizona, USA


DSC00095.JPG (549434 bytes)
Local children in the village of Tzununa pose for a photograph, Guatemala.

DSC00197.JPG (587807 bytes)
Tim and his 100 lb. rig make it to the top, Mexico.


A strong head wind on a wet cold day.  Not everyday is fun! Argentina


Riding a rocky road through a sheep herd. Peru

DSC00090.JPG (552034 bytes)
Cindie on her way out of the city of Zacatecas.

 


Tim working on his newsletter at Campsite 11, Chile. what a view!


Packed up and ready to ride on the Salar Salt Lake Flat.


Cindie pushing her bike through a sandy patch.


Tim collecting water from a well and entertaining the local children in Tambo Tambillo, Bolivia.

DSC00023.JPG (586732 bytes)
Volcano Santiaguito erupting again.


Our last campsite on the Altiplano, south of Abra Pampa, Argentina.

 


Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

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


Email Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2002 - 2020 DownTheRoad.org (TM) All Rights Reserved

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