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

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Places I have been
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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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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



(see all 3 book)

The first chapter from
 
Down The Road in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam: A Bicycle Tour Through War, Genocide and Forgiveness


Chapter 1: Something called Freedom


Tim and Cindie Travis

Freedom is addictive. Too much of it, and there’s no turning back. Cindie and I found that out for ourselves after two years on the road – cycling from our home in Arizona to the southern region of South America.

When we first started our journey on March 30, 2002, we set out on what we thought was going to be a seven-year cycling adventure. That’s how much time we could afford, based on the amount of money we had saved up after living frugally for nearly five years before we left. And once the money ran out, we reckoned ... well, it was back to our home, back to our working lives.

But then came this freedom thing. We got a taste. We wanted more.

During our two years on the road, our views of the world changed. We went from being Arizona residents who liked to travel to travelers whose only home was on the back of our bikes. We proved to naysayers – who thought we would miss the comforts of home, or get killed in a distant land – that we could not only do it, but also have the time of our lives in the process.

After our two years in Latin America ended, we returned to relatives in Indiana for a short break to take stock in our finances and decide our next move. Our bank accounts were getting low. Freedom beckoned, but reality intruded. How could we continue our bike ride forever and never run out of money?

And we thought we found a way.

In Argentina, I wrote a book. It was called The Road that Has No End, and it explored our decision to ride around the world, and the first year of cycling from Prescott, Arizona to Panama City, Panama in Central America. Later, I wrote a second book, Down the Road in South America that described our second year of cycling in South America. Although these books are sequential, it is not necessary to read the first two to understand and enjoy this one. Information about all our books can be found on our web site, www.DownTheRoad.org.

I wrote these books despite being dyslexic. Dyslexia is something I’ve had my entire life, and is the reason I chose a career in Special Education – to help others with the same problem. Thanks to a patient wife and a computer that checks spelling and reads text out loud, I became an author, which was a possibility that only a few years earlier I never would have dared imagine. It gave me confidence; made me realize I could do (nearly) whatever I set my mind to.

Starting a business and self-publishing books was an incredible learning experience. The first book took months of work. We had to hire a professional editor, a cover artist and a commercial printer. We learned how to edit photographs, and lay out the book with text, images and everything else.

And then, in order to keep riding while selling the books, we had to learn about the “fulfillment” industry. We found a company that stored our books, took orders from our web site, mailed them out and kept various retail stores stocked up. We also had to learn to use complicated accounting software that would track sales and other income so we could pay all the applicable taxes.

By the time we reached Asia, our business was earning about half our daily expenses through book sales and pay per click advertising on our web site. It wasn't a lot, but it was a start and showed potential. The number of site visitors was growing -- sometimes doubling in one month -- thanks to the thousands of folks who found us through search engines, subscribed to our email list, and passed our stories on to friends.

We also attracted a few sponsorships, which helped cut down on expenses. Ortlieb, the German-based manufacturer of high-end cycling panniers, offered us two full sets of their excellent waterproof bags. Phil Wood Co., maker of the world’s best bicycle hubs and more, gave us two sets of sealed hubs -- just before I was about to buy these things myself. Koga USA, the American arm of the Dutch maker of touring bicycles, offered two bikes at wholesale cost and the mechanism to refer customers from our web site and earn commission sales.

After two years of hard work as nobodies, it seemed we were finally being discovered by the cycling world.

Our original plan after spending time in Indiana was to head to Africa. But the dollar was doing better in Asia, expenses were less there and Cindie found a great deal on a pair of one-way tickets to Bangkok. So Asia it was.

As we prepared to ship out to Thailand on Nov. 22, 2004 we really had no idea if our plan would work. This new way of living would require us to run our business from our saddles – using our laptop for what others do in an office, and checking in when we were in towns large enough to have Internet access, hard to find in rural Southeast Asia.

We were cycling entrepreneurs; early pioneers in international travel telecommuting and only time would tell if our business plan would work. The catch was all of our business endeavors had to pan out. We had less money for traveling now that we had invested in a book. Would our book pay off? How long would it take to get our investment back and break even with our monthly expenses? We had no idea. If we succeeded we could travel indefinitely. If we failed we would fall flat on our faces and have to go home and look for jobs sooner than expected.

And were we ready for Asia? We didn’t know that either, but figured we’d find out soon. After two years on the road, we had suffered through mechanical problems, exhaustion, learning a foreign language, dangerous traffic, crime, poverty, illnesses and culture shock. We felt like grizzled, cycle-touring veterans. I was 38 years old; my wife 43. It was six years since we biked up to a drive-thru wedding chapel in Las Vegas, said our vows and rode away on a tandem bike.

I promised Cindie that life together wouldn’t be boring. And it certainly hasn’t been. But Asia would be different from our time in Latin America. There would be multiple languages, most of which we wouldn’t have a chance of understanding, plus an entirely foreign alphabet. The customs and religions would be completely different to what we had grown up with. We would be eating mysterious foods. Smelling exotic scents. And it would mean a new and intimidating distance from home -- halfway around the world from America and our families.

We were nervous, but there was no point in stopping now. We were addicted to freedom and financially committed. And the only cure was the road that has no end.

 

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Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
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Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag

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What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

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