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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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RoadNews Newsletter
Five Years DownTheRoad:  a Different kind of endurance.

April 11, 2007
(Sent From Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia)

AN EXTRA SPECIAL
MP3 Audio Interview with the Bike Tourist PodCast
can be found below


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Hello and welcome to this special 5 year anniversary edition to our RoadNews Newsletter.

On March 30, 2007 Cindie and I celebrated the completion of five years of living and traveling on bicycles including four continents, nineteen countries, and countless amazing and often bazaar experiences.  We knew things would get wild but we never could have predicted the endless adventures that were waiting for us or the unexpected hardships and obstacles in our path.  The experience of visiting different continents and meeting locals from diverse cultures, religions, and political orientations has had a profound affect on us.  We have and continue to learn and grow every day.  How could we not?

The long summer days of cycling on quiet roads in Australia gave us the opportunity to ride side by side and talk.  These conversations have focused on our 5 year anniversary of this trip and defining what this experience, good and bad, has meant to us and why we continue.

As a byproduct of this discussion we unexpectedly discovered that, for us, time and place have fused into the same concept.  I can say, "Do you remember in Bolivia when I injured my back in a remote village in the middle of the Altiplano?" and Cindie automatically knows what month and year I am talking about.  This concept went on to create a list of fun facts that demonstrates how time has fused into geographical location.  For example, below is a list of everyplace we have spent our travel anniversary and New Years Eve:

First Day March 30, 2002 left home from Prescott, Arizona, USA
New Years Eve 2003  Antigua, Guatemala

1st Anniversary March 30, 2003 Santa Elena, Costa Rica
New Years Eve 2004  Belen, Argentina

2nd Anniversary March 30, 2004 Bariloche, Argentina
New Years Eve 2005  Phnom Penn, Cambodia

3rd Anniversary March 30, 2005 Bac Giang, Vietnam
New Years Eve 2006  Long Phrabang, Laos

4th Anniversary March 30, 2006 Phang Nga, Thailand
New Years Eve 2007  Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

5th year anniversary March 30, 2007 Seal Rocks, Australia

After quizzing each other on this fun time and place trivia our conversations turned to the deeper impact and meaning of our travels.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF ENDURANCE

This extended nomadic lifestyle has been both good and bad on our health.  Obviously, all the exercise and fresh air has been great for our fitness but, of course, fitness is only one component of health.  The wear and tear that months on end of exposure to the elements and foreign cultures breaks down our bodies and speeds up the aging process.  To last this long on the road takes a different kind of endurance.

International bike touring is less about cycling several hours a day and more about being durable, adaptable, open minded, and just plain old tough,  Oh yes, do not forget a sense of humor and the ability to not take it all (including yourself) too seriously.

Most people, including beginning cyclists, could easily ride along with us.  We are by no means super athletes.  What would send most companions home would be the hard living, months of sleeping on the ground in a tent or dealing with the confusion and unsanitary conditions of developing countries.  Cyclists do not abandon international tours because the riding is too hard but rather the time off the bike is uncomfortable.

I jokingly suggest to touring cyclists who are contemplating long term travel, in addition to time on a bike, prepare by clogging up your toilet and removing the seat (Latin America) or just digging a hole in the ground to squat over (Asia), purifying every drop of water you consume including water used to brush your teeth, and trading your bed for a camping mattress and sleeping bag.

WHAT HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS

Another concept Cindie and I talked about was that we are past the point of no return.  During the first couple of years we drew confidence to continue on this trip by thinking that we could always stop, go home, and find new jobs.  We pictured this scenario in our minds occasionally when road life became difficult.  As the years have passed under our wheels, this mental picture of us going home has faded to the point that we can not see it at all.  It is impossible to picture any other life except the one we have now.  We have arrived at the point where traveling is not a temporary episode of our lives but has become our life and the only lifestyle we know.  Too much freedom is intoxicating and addictive.  Play around with it for too long and you can never go back but also never know where forward will take you.  Today "home" can be found by flipping through my passport and finding the most recent countries' entry stamp and valid tourist visa.  By this definition we are always going home but can never really arrive there.

Cindie and I have also changed the way we discuss out trip with people we meet.  During the first few years, when we met people and they asked, "Where did you start?" or "How long have you been traveling?"  We would explain the entire trip starting in Arizona.  Now, after 5 years, we prefer to talk about only the past few months.  For example when we are asked these questions here in Australia we answer, "We landed in Adelaide (Australia) in mid September."  This draws much less attention to ourselves and makes it easier for us to fit in.  Of course, if people probe enough the whole story can be pulled out of us but we generally prefer not to discuss our travels beyond the country we are in.  This way our story is much more digestible and believable.

During our conversations we agreed that what is important to us on our bicycle tour around the world has nothing to do with riding a bike.  We are not consumed with kilometers ridden, speed through regions, number of flat tires or obtaining bragging rights.  These kind of superficial goals could not sustain us this many years on the road.  This is an educational voyage.

When we listed what we had achieved over the last 5 years and what we wanted to accomplish in the future cycling related accomplishments were not included.  We can generally estimate the total kilometers we have ridden, about 45,000 (28,000 miles), but we have no set goal to complete a certain distance.  Our journey is not about anything tangible or something that can be organized into rows and columns of a spreadsheet.  We do like to ride but it is not a goal of our travels.  Riding a bicycle is just a tool to bring us deeper into the authentic sections of each country and closer to the people who live there.    We seek the opportunity to meet the people of the world and learn their outlook on life from their unique perspective.  This actually requires a lot of time off the bike.

So you may wonder what is important to us.  In a single word "culture" is what we seek on our bicycles.  Of course, culture covers a broad spectrum of components which I partially discuss below.

We try to learn languages which helps us to interact with locals, this gives us a deeper understanding of how everyday people think and see the world.  We have concentrated on retaining our knowledge of Spanish and Mandarin Chinese but also have learned basic words and phrases of many other languages.  We have been exposed to several religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.  This has given us a better understanding of what is important to people and how these often mysterious beliefs and cultural traditions shape everyday life.  Economics and politics are topics I have always found interesting.  They directly influence each other. In our travels we have witnessed a variety of political situations and experienced different economic systems. The same political view and economic system does not work for everyone.  Finally in my partial list, we have been delighted to learn about and witness a wide variety of climates, ecosystems and wildlife.  This also influences local cultures in the way people eat and adapt to the elements.

 HEAR OUR INTERVIEW!!

Below is an  in depth interview Cindie and I had with Gabrielle of the Bike Tourist Podcast.  Gabrielle first played chapter one of our MP3 Audio Book on his show and then released the interview.  If you are not familiar with our background information, particularly how and why we started our five year journey, you should first listen to chapter one (below) then play the interview. 

MP3 Audio: Bike Tourist PodCast Interview (54 minutes)

MP3 Audio: Hear Chapter 1 of our 7.5 hour Audio Book!
"The Road That Has No End"
(35 minutes)  (Purchase full version HERE )

 I am left wondering where we will be 5 years from now.  Until next time.

Tim Travis

 

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INDEX #4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

Subscribe to Email Newsletter

 South Australia
Adelaide to Mount Gambier (Sept 15 - Oct 20, 2006)

Cindie's Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Culture Shock in Australia

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Pictures of the state of South Australia

Full size Picture Pages

- The city of Adelaide
- Tanunda, Barossa Valley
- Cudlee Creek and Gorge Wildlife Park.
- Barossa Valley Wineries and Vineyards
- Murray River Pictures of Tanunda to Strathalbyn
- Macclesfield to Menengie
-Coorong National Park from Parnka Point to 42 Mile Crossing.
- Robe to Mt. Gambier


 

 Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Nelson to Melbourne, Victoria (Oct. 21 to Nov. 12, 2006)

Cindie's Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Nelson to Port Fairy
- Warrnambool to Princeton
- Otway National Park: camping under the Koalas
- Apollo Bay, Lorne to Geelong
- Castlemaine with the Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club MBTC
- Melbourne Australia the capital of the state of Victoria, Australia.


 

Tasmania
Devonport to Devonport (Nov 13, 2006 - Jan 4 2007)

Cindie's Daily Journals for Tasmania

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Downloadable Malaysian Video Postcard From the Road

Best Place to see Pictures for Tasmania

Full size Picture Pages

- Devonport to Strahan
- Cradle Mountain National Park Tasmania
- Strahn to The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and World Heritage Area
- Lake St. Clair Wilderness Park
- Tarralleah to New Norfolk
- Pictures of Mount Field National Park
-Hobart Wharf, Salamanca Market, Parliament Building in Tasmania
- Eagle Hawk Neck dog line to Swansea
- Port Arthur National Park and Penitentiary Ruins. #1.
- Port Arthur National Historic Site and Prison Ruins #2
- Swansea to Bicheno
- Freycinet National Park
- Nature World Animal Park
- Bicheno to the boat ferry at Devonport


 
 Victoria
Melbourne to Jindabyne , Australia  (January 5 - February 9, 2007)

Cindie's Victoria Daily Journals

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
How do we stay married while traveling together 24/7?

Best Place to see Victoria Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory National Park
- Tarra Bulga National Park
- Bairnsdale to Jindabyne


 
 New South Wales
Jindabyne to Mudgeeraba (February 10 - April 24, 2007)

Cindie's Daily Journals for New South Wales

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see all thumbnail Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Jindabyne to Khancoban, Australian Alps
- Wild Flowers of Mount Kosciusko Peak Hike.
- Threadbo ski field and snow sports area
- Khancoban to Adaminaby
- Adaminaby, NSW to Canberra, ACT
- Parliament House in Canberra to Sydney
-Sydney Australia with the Aquarium, Opera House and walk across the Harbor Bridge
- Sydney to Diamond Head, Crowdy Bay National Park
- Port Macquarie to Nimbin.
- Nimbin to Mount Nimbil Lodge Campground Gold Coast.


 

 Queensland - Outback
Sunshine Coast, to Wollogorang Station (April 25 - July 23, 2007)

Cindie's Daily Journals for Queensland

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see all the Queensland Thumbnail Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Sunshine Coast and Maroochydore surfing beach
- Snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef at Lady Elliot Island.
- Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo
- Lamington National Park
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Brisbane, Australia.
- Cairns to Atherton Tablelands
- Cairns Rain Forest Botanical Garden
- Mossman Gorge in the Daintree National Park
- Atherton Tablelands to Georgetown, Queensland, Australia
- Georgetown to Burketown
.- Burketown to Wollogorang Station


 

 Northern Territory and Outback
Wollogorang Station to Darwin
(July 22 - September 14, 2007)

Cindie's Daily Journals for the Northern Territory

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

LETTER

Best Place to see Pictures of the Outback

Full size Picture Pages

- Wollogorang to Borroloola and Heart Break Hotel
- Daly Waters to Katherine
- Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
- Yellow Water Boat Trip #1
- Yellow Water River Cruise and Boat Tour #2.
- Aboriginal community Oenpelli (Gunbalanya) and festival
-Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr and Merl campground in Kakadu National Park Northern Territory, Australia


1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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