“The Road That Has No End”

Late one afternoon a few weeks ago I was hanging out at a friend’s bike shop discussing my post-early-retirement dream of long-term bicycle touring. Jim, my friend, companion on several past bike tours and proprietor of the shop told me about Tim and Cindie Travis, a couple who set out on a world-wide bicycle tour back in 2002. Intrigued, and looking for guidance in pulling off my own version of the same, I discovered the Travis’ had written three books about their adventure. Their first book, The Road That Has No End, details their trip from Arizona to Panama. The account of their first year on the road is fascinating, and I highly recommend reading it if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m looking at their account as a How-To guide, and their pre-tour planning is what really caught me attention: They re-arranged their lives so they were living on 25% of their income, and five years later had saved enough to fund what started as a seven-year international trip. In the process they sold everything they owned that they would not take on the trip, moved into an RV, and rented out their house to pay both their mortgage and international traveler’s health insurance.

So far I’ve made the leap from living in a 2,000 square foot suburban house and driving 40 miles a day to my job to living in a 900 square foot house in the city, within easy walking distance of Minneapolis’ light rail line. About a year after that I landed a job down-town, and three months later had proved to my own satisfaction that I no longer needed a car to get to work, so I sold the car. In the process I’ve managed to cut expenses from 90% to 50% of my income. While there’s nothing specifically bad about the life I have now, it’s become clear to me that I need to make additional changes if I want to start following my dream of world-wide bicycle touring sooner rather than later.

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