ANDY: I loved your quote about your journey: “
Tim: It is safe to say that most of our trip is made up as we go because we never know what is going to come our way in the course of the day. We usually have an idea of which direction we are going and even occasionally know the roads we will be riding but traveling on a bicycle is different than most other forms of travel. On a bike we can not control what is going to happen compared to driving or public transportation. We must be flexible because there’s always the unexpected like getting lost, sick, headwinds, home invites, and free beer. Usually, when we set off for the day, we do not know where we will sleep that night. We have all the camping gear to meet whatever situation arises like treating water from creeks and cooking our own food. It is the not knowing and not having control that turns a vacation into an adventure. A bicycle tour is always an adventure.
ANDY: It is very empowering to hear that you’ve transformed your passion for biking into a bike-based business (quite literally). With all of the books, Podcasts, and even plans for a DVD, it all must be very exciting. Do you ever have days where you don’t feel like cycling? What do you do on the road to “take a break?”
TIM: Most people assume this is an exciting life because of the interesting places, people, and media attention. While it is true there are some very exciting times there are also long hours riding in the sun and the peacefulness of just staring at our camp fire. It is a very simplistic life. We generally only bike 4 or 5 days a week and the rest of the time is spent sightseeing, relaxing, and working on the computer finishing various projects like you mentioned above. So, when we feel like riding we ride and when we feel like taking a break we stop. It slows our progress but stimulates our minds.
ANDY: Has there been a place that was particularly inspirational? Why? (this could be a place that was deeply “spiritual”, or a place that you had a eureka and realised why you were on the journey. sometimes also called a peak experience. Be sure to paint us a full picture here…feelings/sights/sounds…)
TIM: It would be hard to pinpoint one place as inspirational. It is really the collection of places or, rather the ongoing experience of traveling through so many countries, cultures, and religions, that has changed us. It was never like a light bulb suddenly turned on but more like after so many years on the road we looked up one day and noticed a bright light of new ideas, new thinking and looking at the world, and a whole new way of life for ourselves. It started slow and unnoticeable and turned into a big sensation before we ever knew it started.
The only pinpoint answer for a “Eureka” moment was in Baralochi, Argentina when we decided to convert our then temporary trip into a permanent international nomadic lifestyle by investing our remaining travel funds into our self published book and relaying on that income to meet our travel expenses to support us indefinitely. This moment, and all the background buildup to it, is described in full detail in our second book, “Down The Road in South America”. see http://downtheroad.org/Publishing/
ANDY: You once said your goal was a continent a year. How are you progressing on that lofty but worthwhile achievement?
TIM: A continent a year? I probably said that a while back because I do not recall it. It sounds like something I said in the first few years of this trip because it took about three years to get past the new and naive stage of travel. This statement can be added to a long list of mis-predictions I have made about our trip. I am clearly eating those “a continent a year” words today. Looking at the math; we have been on the road well over seven years now and have only visited four continents. (Asia, Australia, North, and South America) All these years of travel have taught me one thing about goal setting that I keep repeating to myself, “Our goal is to not have a goal.” This is a level of enlightenment that I have not completely achieved but I keep working on it.
We plan and hope to be fortunate enough to visit all continents and countries in due time. Obviously a hand full of countries are currently impossible to visit because of wars and other problems but we still hold out that given enough time, maybe decades, things will clear up and we can visit someday. This may raise some eyebrows but I always think about the generation that would have told you it would be impossible to visit Germany or Japan. Also, Antarctica, Greenland, and the North Pole are not especially bike friendly places so I doubt if we visit unless we win the lottery or some other unforeseen opportunity arises.
ANDY: And by the way – this is such a powerful paragraph. Wonderful!
TIM: I wrote this (in our Finances section http://www.downtheroad.org/money/Finances.htm) because so many people write us hoping we can tell them that one little secret that will show them the way or untangle one of their philosophical problems concerning life. I am simply unable to do this for them. We often feel like Forrest Gump who is running because it is fun and feels good but there is a group of people running behind him thinking he knows “the meaning of life” and if he would only give it up all their lives would instantly be better. I really wish I could help people with cosmic advise but that would be above my pay grade. We are simply drifting on our own journey trying to find our own solutions and everyone else will need to do the same.