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The Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana, USA
The Road Doesn't End For the Travises
Tim and Cindie Travis are living out their dreams as they bicycle around the world. The duo gave a presentation about their tour of four continents and 23 countries at Batesville Memorial Public Library Jan. 21, (2010)
Tim Travis, who is the brother of Terri Roper, Batesville, showed photos of the journey and explained about some of the interesting people and places he and his wife have seen since they left their home in Arizona in March of 2002on bicycles. Maybe this was their fate because the couple got married in the drive-thru in Las Vegas while on bikes.
How did they get started? “We saved our money, sold everything we owned, quit our jobs and rode … (but) it took me about four or five years to talk Cindie into it. I wanted to go from the time we got married,”
Their first trip was to Mexico and Central America. Then they traveled to South America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and are currently visiting parts of the United States and Canada.
Traveling through the various countries can be difficult, but “the first thing you learn in any language is How much is that” The other rules is you have to bargain … You don’t have to be a Lance Armstrong to do what we do”
He pointed out that they have to carry everything with them, including a tent, sleeping bags, pots and pans, books, clothes and laptops.
“When my wife wants souvenirs, we send boxes to my mom and dad.”
The former special education teacher reported they spend about $20 a day. Whenever possible they camp for free and cook their own food. However in some countries, it cost very little to eat out, about 50 cents for a meal, so they patronized various restaurants.
What is special about touring the world on two wheels? “You travel for the landscape … There’s the big beautiful landmarks, the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon … Australia has the most interesting wildlife with wild cockatoos and kangaroos everywhere. You can’t play a game of golf without hitting a kangaroo. We saw a duck-billed platypus. Alaska comes in second with rabbits as big as Dobermans.”
He reminisced about some of their international adventures: In China there are “millions of people on one-speed bikes … I love the people. They’re gentle, kind, passive, but the government I do not much care for.”
“I got arrested in China. We were riding along and saw people
off in the distance. My wife told me to take a picture. I snapped some pictures
and noticed there was a man with a gun, and there were men all chained together”
“What we thought was a pretty big university had soldiers running out with guns. Of course, they ran to us and surrounded us … (and) took us to a holding place.”
“Finally an interpreter came in and asked us why we took pictures of prisoners and a military base … They finally determined we weren’t causing trouble and let us go.”
Tibet “was the highest place I’ve ever been in.”
The Tibetan people are very interesting. They are very religious but the Chinese won’t allow them to have a picture of the Dali Lama in their homes (even though many did).”
“The men live nomadically in the mountains”
“Once you get so high in the mountains vegetables don’t grow.” So all the food comes from yaks – butter, cheese, meat. “We ate yak everything for six weeks.”
In Bolivia the bicyclist saw Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. While in Tasmania, a Tasmanian devil (a kind of marsupial) ate Tim’s leather bike seat.
They saw soccer moms, women in traditional Muslim garments, in Malaysia. They discovered there are many minority groups in China and got to know many of these subgroups.
Cindie Travis said there were some places where they felt threatened. “In South America, there were some areas that I wouldn’t ride through again, and places in Central America were scary too.”
The geologist commented, “We don’t ride late at night and don’t tell people where we are going because we don’t want them to come up behind us.”
Why do the Travises enjoy traveling? “We like to meet people … like to know what they eat, what music they like, just how they live their day-to-day lives … one of the greatest gifts is to be invited into someone’s house and you don’t even know their language,” Tim Travis emphasized.
“The women show Cindie what they cook and what they make … (She) really gets to see a lot of things that I don’t … Guys want to talk about sports so I get to sit around and drink beer and watch soccer”
According to her, “I have been humbled by the generosity and enthusiasm people have shown us.” After all their adventures, “I look at people so differently now. I will always lend a hand” to others because she is grateful people have helped them.
Their travels are documented on the web site www.DownTheRoad.org. They have also authored two books “The Road That Has no End” and “Down the Road in South America” and are working on a third.
What’s next for the two? In March they will head to India and have plans for other trips over the next 20 years
Tim revealed, Cindie knows if I draw a line on a map to be excited or worried.”
“We pick up the most remote, less traveled roads we can find … any day that it is not raining or cold or people aren’t trying to run us over or we don’t get arrested is a really good day,” he admits.
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