03 Jul A matter of choice, how to afford a long term bicyle tour
While going for a nice relaxing bike tour along the Pinellas trail, we stopped for a quick bite to eat at a local family business, we met a couple people who showed some interest in our new bikes. After a lot of bike-tech-talk, our plan to travel the world came up, and shortly after that the much dreaded question: “how can you afford such an adventure?” and the so common statement : “you are so lucky, we wish we could do that!” For some reason most people that we encounter seem to believe that we either won the lottery, are independently rich, very lucky, or just plain insane, to undergo such an adventure.
After pondering the questions and statements from others, I tried to figure out why it is that we are able to afford a long term bicycle tour and here are some of my thoughts:
For one, we are going on a budget: we plan on using Couch-Surfing, Warm Showers, and a lot of free/wild camping for most of our accommodations. Also, we will be buying and cooking our own food and obviously traveling by bike will cut our cost of traveling significantly. All these are choices to make a long trip more affordable. If people plan on traveling by motorized vehicles, staying in hotels, eating out every meal, etc,…their budget would look quite different than ours.
Since we are working stiffs with regular jobs, the “rich” label is not really fitting. However, we always kept a modest lifestyle, lived well within our means, and never tried to keep up with the “Joneses”. We bought our home with the thought in mind that we should be able to afford it even if one of us loses a job and our only credit card is usually paid down, since we believe in only buying what we can afford. Once we set ourselves a goal of going on this adventure we looked more closely at the choices we made financially. We opted to cancel cable TV, home phone, additional cell phone, and our gym membership; we scaled down to one car, commute to work by bike, and watch our electric consumption. We usually don’t go out to eat, or party, which does not mean we live a boring life—well, at least not in our minds! We enjoy the occasional treat of eating out and meeting with friends, we enjoy having a glass of wine in the back yard, going on hikes or for bike rides.
So I have come to the conclusion that this has little to do with “luck”, but more so with choices.
Don’t take me wrong, we feel very lucky to be in good health and we are very fortunate, that we have healthy children, who are responsible enough to take care of themselves for while…at least we’d like to think so.
So here are a couple of our choices we had: we could have chosen to live in a bigger, newer house with a big mortgage, or we could elect to travel the world. We could have chosen to get the newest car every 2 years or we could stick with our paid-off car and bike commute whenever possible in exchange for an once-in-a-live-time adventure. We chose to forgo the barbershop and beauty-salon, we don’t have the newest I-phone (I can talk on a flip phone just as well), we might not be able to discuss the newest, silliest TV show or commercial with you, but we have a great time together to build new memories and we’ll have a lot of new, awesome, and funny tales to tell when we’ll return from our journey.
There is one thing people might be right about though. We might be moderately crazy–in a good way, I think–by trying to see, feel, experience, and immerse ourselves into the whole big world out there that is waiting to be discovered.
Hopefully this will make some people realize that they can be “lucky”, too.
So go out in this world and “Choose your Luck”!!