We have just climbed over our last pass and descended out of the
Rockies and are now in Americas vast plains. We have not seen such
flat roads since the two months we rode across the top of Australia
almost three years ago. Ever since Cindie's computer died we have
struggled to keep up with even the minimum amount of our computer
work. It was also frustrating to carry her dead netbook because it
could only be used as a paper weight even though we do not have any
papers to hold down. Here in Pueblo, Colorado, USA, our first
sizable town in weeks, we found a computer repair shop and dropped
it off with our fingers crossed. So, here we sit in a cheap hotel
room waiting for our cell phone to ring with good news. If her
computer is beyond repair we will have to wait until we can save
enough money to buy a new one. Cindie is quick to point out it is
hard to share my laptop and she is getting almost none of her
On a more positive note, and proof that I can share my computer at
least a little, Cindie has a new Twitter account and is in the
process of moving her daily journal to it. The big advantage for
Cindie using Twitter is that she can update from our cell phone when
we are off the grid and in between internet access points. She is
updating her Twitter feed with detailed events once or twice a day
which serves to remind me of all the crazy stuff that continuously
goes on during our travels. You can be one of the early subscribers
to what is bound to be a huge following please see
Also we typed up a short email interview that will appear (in Greek)
in the Makedonia newspaper www.makthes.gr. We wrote this in our
tent while crossing the Rockies and it was only lightly edited to
Cindie and I at Monark Pass
Cindie updating her Tritter feed on the road (literarily)
Raddled at Cindie as we rode by
Email Interview: Questions and Answers with Greek
1. Would you change your life for a lot of money
and a big house?
We already gave up a lot of money and
the opportunity to buy a bigger house to take this trip so these material
things can not tempt us again. Before we left we both had good jobs and
could have bought many nice things but instead we chose to travel the rest
of our lives. Because we can always go back to our old lifestyle of money
and material possessions we choose a nomadic life on our bicycles everyday.
A big house and income only requires a bike ride to the nearest airport,
slap down the credit card, and a flight home to Arizona but we will never go
back. Seeing the world is the biggest house and freedom is the greatest
2. What keeps you going?
The opportunity to continuously see new
things, meet new people, and to learn and grow everyday is what keeps us
moving down the road. 3. Have you ever been to Greece?
Cindie has been to Greece but not on a
bike and Tim has not been anywhere in Europe. It doesn’t really count as
visiting a beautiful place like Greece until we have ridden a bike across
it. Bicycle Touring is such a deeper level of travel end immersion into the
culture. We would love to visit Greece and the rest of Europe some day and
plan to, maybe several times, before this trip is over. The biggest
obstacle to a European/Greek tour is the sinking US dollar and the strong
Euro. Our day will come and we promise to visit. Any suggestions? 4. When do you get to write your books? On the road?
Yes, but we never lived close to our
families before we left. Now we get to visit more often and for longer
periods of time. Our circle of friends has expanded to many parts of the
world and they are all loved, missed, and revisited in due time.
7. Would you settle down one day?
We can not picture living in one place
and setting down roots right now but eventually we will grow too old to
travel and return to our (now rented) house in the mountains of Arizona, USA
8.Did you change as persons during your travel?
Obviously, traveling this many years is
having profound affects on us but not in ways many would think. These
changes are not static but instead happening slowly, as we experience more
of the world and constantly reevaluate our values. Peering deep into
ourselves is the true journey instead of the superficial line we draw on a
When we were on
temporary trips the simplicity and freedom of a bike tour was a vacation
from our regular lives of working, and surviving the rat race. Looking back
at the years leading up to our departure we wonder how we juggled all the
complexities of modern life. There were bills to mail, cars to fix,
schedules to keep, bosses to impress, and a million other things to get done
before the end of the day, month, or year. We used to say, “There aren’t
enough hours in a day to do all the things that need to get done.” Now we
have far less things to worry about and feel like we have all day to see
what will come our way. After several years of living a simple life on
bikes with our possessions being limited to what can be carried we have
evolved into a very simplistic yet open minded way of looking at life.
Everything is beautiful in its own basic way and the great weight of worry
and stress has been lifted from our shoulders. We are free to explore,
learn, and drift.
Before this trip we
needlessly complicated the world around us by over analyzing everything
until we found faults and became angry. Traveling has caused us to make
peace with our surroundings. For example, in our own country, instead of
seeing good and bad politicians and political parties we see a democracy and
a healthy debate. Instead of seeing National Parks that need infrastructure
upgrades we see pristine mountains. Obviously if everyone were like us
nothing would get done but we have never wanted everyone to be like us.
This is our dream and our reality; we have made it as painless as possible.
Another big change we have noticed is our growing freedom from “want.”
During the years on the road, visiting rich and poor alike, the idea of “I
want” will never be the same. We used to walk through stores and fight the
urge to buy all the things we thought we wanted with that little piece of
plastic in our pocket that promised immediate gratification. It was
stressful to want something, ponder the consequences, and use restraint to
deny the purchase or, give in to our desires and buy it and often feel
guilty later. So many people in this world live on a fraction of what
citizens of developed countries consider the bare essentials and yet find
far more happiness in their lives. The most content people we have met in
our travels all have a clear sense of the difference between want and need.
After riding in their countries and staying in their houses we have learned
to open our minds to new perspectives.
The answer is not to make or borrow more money in order to have more
possessions because acquiring material things will never satisfy wanting
more. There will always be something else to want. The secret to happiness
is to be content with what you have and not want things you can not afford.
It is much more fulfilling to feel fortunate when your work has earned
enough to cover all your real needs and have something left over for
extras. It is a shift in perception from agonizing over wanting something
like a new TV to being excited when the household’s finances have gone so
well that you can have something extra. The TV is no longer wanted every
time it is passed in the store but rather an unexpected reward for a job
This many years on the road have taught Cindie and me to throw away the big
list of things we would like to own and be content with what we have. We
now find happiness in the simple pleasures of life and don’t seek our
identities in the things we own. It sounds so simple and idealistic but the
results have been monumental.
9. Has anyone tried to follow you on your trips?
Many thousands of people follow our trip
every day on our web site
www.DownTheRoad.org and a few have rode with us for a few days to a few
weeks at a time. Most of the time it is just the two of us. All are
welcome to ride and camp with us but it is a hard life and few stick around. 10. As a couple do you stick to each other because of
what you’ve seen and done together?
This trip with all the good, bad, and
crazy experiences has drawn us closer as a couple. We have gone through it
all together and survived because we are committed to each other. We have
learned to work together as a team to overcome the endless challenges
that we face.
Well, that is it for now. Keep checking Cindie's
Twitter feed to see what happened to her computer.
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I have a plan as how the next 6 years will look like.
This May 2nd we fly from Christchurch to Alaska where we
plan to spend a month with Cindie's sister in Valdez. Around June 1st
we start riding south through Canada and the west coast of the USA. In
November we hope to be in Tucson for several bicycle events.
If we can find a cheap place to stay in Tuscon we will
spend the winter there but if we can not afford Tuscon we will head south to
Mexico, find a quite villiage, rent a room, and rest.
In the spring of 2009 we we want to ride north to
Yellostone National Park or beyond in time to pick up the Adventure Cycling
Assosiation's Trans America Trail and cross the USA. In the fall of
2009 we will visit my family in Indiana and most likely goto the huge bike
event called the Hilly Hundred.
From here things get more fuzzy with several possible
scanerios leading to a fall and winter riding through the Middle East and
then a two year ride south in Africa on the way to Cape Town. .
If the new American president drops the embargo on Cuba we
would love to spend the winter there and the fly to Europe for the summer
and then heading on to Europe and Africa
If my goverment still prevents US citizens from visiting
Cuba then we have concidered flying from Indiana to spend the winter
in Morocco before heading on to Europe and Africa
Another possibility is that the US dollor is trading very
low against the European Union Euro and makes Europe far to expensive for
our shoestring budget then we could go stright from fall in Indiana to
Istanbul Turcky, spend the w