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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

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START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
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RoadNews Newsletter:
Greetings From India.

Day, Month xx, 2009 (Sent From place, India)

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The short flight from Cincinnati to New York and then 14 hours to New Delhi, India was cramped and uneventful; one of our better flights. Our bikes and luggage arrived safely with us which kicks this part of our tour off with positive news. I find it stressful to land with only one bike or missing one of our boxes.

New Delhi, India, population 15 million, is one of the most chaotic and densely crowded cities we have visited. To add to the confusion the entire city was ripped up due to the incredible amount of construction that goes with a booming economy. The badly needed commuter train is being expanded and many streets are seeing makeovers. I noticed a lot of new schools where students learn engineering, all things computer, and medical professions. The better schools boast UK accreditation and easy grade transfers to international schools. The boom in education is needed to train the workers in the new industries.

crowded roads and interesting wiring

Basic Indian "cycle" shop

We stayed in New Delhi a month which was much longer than expected but we had to take care of a lot of medical things. The private hospitals here are excellent. Their patients consist of India’s growing wealthy class and foreigners. Most of the doctors had spent time working in other countries, especially the USA and UK. The hospital staff including the doctors and nurses could speak English well although their Indian accent threw us some times. Everything looked and smelled like a top hospital in the USA, that sterile smell is unmistakable.

We had extensive medical checkups and dental work done, including all the modern X-rays, ultrasounds and EKGs. The cost is about 10 – 15 % of the same medical treatments in the USA. The drug prices are unbelievably less as well. We met people getting skin cancer removed, having heart surgery, and a hip replacement. The foreigners sought any treatment that wasn’t so pressing they had the time to fly to India for US$1,200 to save US$50,000+ off their bill.

Everything in the hospital technology wise looked the same as home but the wealthy in New Delhi came from a variety of backgrounds. Hindu women floated across the room in colorful saris, a Muslim man in his special white hat stared at reports with daughters wearing scarves, a Catholic held rosary beads hoping to avoid bad news from the doctor, a Buddhist prayed at the little shrine of Buddha, and a Sikh wore an impressive turban.

Hindu women wearing saris at Gandhi's Memorial

Muslim men cooling off in the mosque

After watching all this I decided it is much better to be in the hospital when no one in your family is actually sick. Many of the locals were dealing with urgent problems which caused unexpected somber family reunions. No matter what religion or ethnic background all families act the same when faced with this kind of a crisis. In the waiting room we saw an obvious family leader gather everyone together to discuss their situation. This is where the universal human bond of love in ones family is on display. We have seen it all over the world. It is the very thing that makes us all human.

Free public hospitals are available for Indian citizens but the waits are suppose to be huge and the equipment about 10 years old but to most poor Indians this care is very welcome.

One day we walked over to the train station to see what it would take to get our boxed bikes on the train. The station was jammed packed with bodies. Scam artist tried to make us believe the ticket window was closed, broken, or some other lie. They wanted to take us to a place where we would buy an expensive ticket through a travel agent and they would get a percentage of the sale. We were approach by a dozen such scammers before we found the international ticket window and knew it wasn’t closed. I do not mind someone working on commission but I hate the lying and deception. I could not imagine all this confusion while we had big bike boxes and gear in tow. We agreed that it would be wiser to buy our train tickets ahead of time, without our luggage in tow.

Congested roads are normal in New Delhi

The next day we read the headlines in the local newspaper “Two die in stampede in New Delhi train station” After reading about the seasonal surge in people riding public transportation we decided to hang out in New Delhi a little longer.
Both of us made good use of the extra time. We had filed an extension for our USA and Arizona taxes so Cindie was able to finish and file electronically. Our business taxes are complicated; to say the least. I feel very lucky to have a smart wife who does this for us. Cindie Travis is again awarded the Down the Road Publishing’s employee of the month. She seems to win every month. I had the easier job of preparing our 3rd book to be sold in PDF eBook version. (see We are working on versions that can be read on Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad.
But really, all these excuses about keeping us in New Delhi would not have stopped us if we really wanted to leave. The real problem was we did not know where in India we wanted to go first.
We usually take a lot of time to research an area before we land in a new region or continent but we were so busy publishing our new book and preparing our bikes/gear that planning our multi-year India and neighbors trip had to be put off until we were sitting in our New Delhi hotel room. Here we poured through our guide books trying to figure out where we would like to go.

India is hard to plan for but at least we have settled on where to start and therefore where to ride the bus. Why didn’t we just cycle out of New Delhi? We are in this to have a good time and cycling in New Delhi’s crazy congested traffic, with 110F – 120F summer temperatures did not look like fun to us. So, for US$16 we jumped on a bus to a small town high in the cool mountains called McLeod Ganj near Dharamsala.

The 14 hour bus ride was one of the worst in my life. I was dazed out on motion sickness medicine. The road was full of bumps and holes and the bus rocked from side to side even on straight flat stretches. The worst part was when they insisted our two boxed bikes had to be tied on top of the bus instead of inside with the rest of the luggage. At an early morning break I inspected the bikes and found the rope dangerously loose. I asked the baggage man to readjust the ropes. He felt how loose they were and chuckled while he said in English “One more hole and your cycles would have littered the road.” It was a good thing the driver wanted to stop for tea.

Mcloed Ganj and Dharamsala are famous because they are the home of the exiled Dalai Lama and what is left of the free Tibetan government. We chose this place because it was pleasant and with the coming monsoon season we wanted a cool retreat where we can do some hikes in-between rain storms. We were here a couple days before we found a basic apartment for $160/month and plan to stay until mid September when we start riding through the Indian Himalayas towards Nepal.

We do have plans to attend several of the Dalai Lama’s free talks and his birthday celebrations (July 6). Cindie has signed up for several Yoga classes (more on that later) and I plan to tie up a bunch of loose ends for our business. The day hiking is excellent with many trails going up into the pine covered mountains and connecting villages. This feels like a much needed vacation from our trip.

Let it rain!
Tim Travis
Mcleod Ganj, India

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