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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

(see all 3 book)

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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


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


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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

Finances: How I pay for long term bicycle touring, traveling and bike tours

Sponsors - EconomizingBudgeting - Charity or Cause - Receiving Donations - Health Insurance - Dreaming of Travel - Leaving It All Behind - Videos About bike tour Finances - How I pay for long term bicycle touring main finance page

Some of the most common questions emailed to me are about paying for or funding long bicycle tours and backpacking trips:

How did you save enough money to travel and bicycle tour for several years?
What is your daily, weekly or monthly travel budget while living on the road?
How do you make money while living internationally and traveling abroad?

While I find this type of question a little personal, I can understand why people are asking.  What I have done with my life and how I pay for it is not mainstream.  My creative financing might help others to think of new possibilities in their own lives.  I am a true believer that anyone living in a developed country, with boundless choices and economic opportunities, can steer their lives in almost any direction they choose.  My hope by telling my financial story below is not that people follow in my footsteps, rather that they find a personalized path of their own.

The Short Answer:

Before my ex-wife and I quit our jobs and left in March 2002, we both worked and lived well below our means.  I was a Special Education teacher and my ex-wife was a Geologist. (see about me) We lived on less than 25% of our combined monthly income and did without the extras.  While other couples with similar incomes and no kids were buying new cars and splurging on weekend getaways, we were buying mutual funds and riding our bikes.

We also avoided debt. After paying off our student loans, the only debt we allowed ourselves was a mortgage.  I still own the house in Prescott, Arizona, USA and rent it through a property manager.  We never had a car payment because we drove vehicles we paid cash for.  Car payments and long term travel do not mix.  If you are in debt and want to travel for an extended time, the first thing that you must do is get out of debt.  It's that simple.

In five years we saved enough money for what we thought would be a seven year trip. Once the trip was under way, my website grew, I sold advertising and wrote and self-published three books.  I am by no means getting rich financially from this business.  My current income puts me just below the official poverty level in the USA.  Life on bikes is cheap and I am able to survive on a limited income.  I have no plans to stop traveling on my touring bicycle in the foreseeable future.  What I gain from my travels in educational value can not be measured in a bank account.  I think the trade of poverty for freedom is worth it.  Who needs a wide screen TV when there is the real world to watch?

My secret:

The trick to surviving on the road financially has two parts.  First, I learned how to make money with a laptop and infrequent internet connections.  Computer work has to be done off-line, on the go and often at a park bench or in my tent on battery power.  Second, I learned to live cheaply enough to survive on the trickle of income that anyone living nomadically with my type of business can expect.  Living and working on a touring bike certainly makes everything cheaper. It comes down to balance, I travel just fast enough to see new places, cheap enough to break even and slow enough to get my work done and make a living. 

The catch: it takes discipline to pull the computer out in exciting places like Queenstown, New Zealand or Bangkok, Thailand and perform tedious tasks like picking and labeling pictures (I have tens of thousands) for the website when I don't feel like it.  It also takes discipline not to spend money on the little extras and live within my income.  I believe it is this kind of discipline that has turned my trip into a career and what a beautifully strange career choice it has been.

More information

Finding gear and equipment sponsors  This page explains what I have learned about attracting sponsors, dispels some myths about sponsorship and provides advice for those seeking gear sponsors.

Economizing on the road  Spending less every day is the ticket to traveling long term.  Bicycle Touring is cheap but there are a few tips and trick to traveling on the cheap.

Budgeting and Determining a Daily Travel Cost   It is hard to figure out your daily expenses before you set out on a bike tour. Picking a realistic bicycle touring travel budget and sticking to it is difficult.

Bicycle Touring for a Charity or Cause Some say your trip is selfish if you do not have a higher cause and others say there are way too many cyclists out there traveling and trying to raise money for a charity.

Receiving Donations You built your web site and have some great readers that you want to turn into supporters.  A donation button can be added to your site asking visitors to give money to help fund your trip but there are drawbacks to this that you should know about before taking the "generosity of others" leap.

Health Insurance  Often when traveling abroad you are not covered by the health insurance you have at home.  Health insurance is my biggest expense and confusing to buy.  This page explains what I have learned through the years, what to avoid and where to start your online research.

Dreaming of Endless Travel: This is a magazine article I wrote just before publishing my second book.  It describes the concept of permanently traveling and how I pay for it

Leaving It All Behind: This is the first chapter from my book "The Road That Has No End" and can be read, in its entirety, by following this link.  It contains an in-depth description from hatching the idea of extended travel, saving up money and every step I took up to the day I left permanently on my bike.

Videos and Audio Interviews About Finances and Long Term Travel Hear explanations to many of the travel budget and money questions gathered from several radio interviews.

Coming Soon:

Saving up before the trip

Managing money on the road

Earning money on the internet while traveling

Working around the world

Trust fund, inheritance or other mysterious sources of income travelers

  

 

 

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