Thursday, December 27, 2007
I'll spare the technical details, but suffice it to say, the bike is built to be bomb proof. Steel components, internal gearing, dirt jump rims; everything is solid and tough. The bike is heavy and won't set any speed records, but it should be able to rack up the miles over any surface and keep on trucking.
All of my camping gear is purchased and now the only step left in preparation is testing it out, which I will do with a trial run out to the mountains. Once I have gone through that final phase I will have to christen my trusty steed with a fitting name, and I will give a comprehensive list of my equipment and my assessment of the utility of each piece.
The only hang up after all of this is the price! Yikes, the gear alone ran me a little over 5 grand! But, I wanted quality equipment because as my dad said, I will be thanking heaven for every penny I spent when I hit foul weather.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The short answer: I don't know!
I have never done anything like this, so I will learn most of it while on the road.
But, my game plan is to carry everything I need with me on my bike and in a small trailer I will tow. I plan on camping most nights, and staying in cheap hotels, or hostels when I feel like it. I will cook my food as I go and eat out, again, when the mood takes me. I am bringing only what I think will be essential to completing the journey, and I have no doubt I will acquire some things as I go and leave other things behind. I will ride the bike as much as possible, only taking conventional modes of transportation when I am crossing bodies of water, or when I have no alternative.
A list of my gear:
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Mat
- Cooking Gear
- Simple Stove
- Water Purifier
- First Aid Kit
- Small Laptop Computer (for staying in touch!)
- Cycling Clothes
- Day Clothes and Rain Clothes
- Bike and Trailer
- Passport and other legal documents
How much will it cost?
I plan on living on an average daily budget of $20 a day. Some days will be less, others more. Depending on the country, the going exchange rates and my activities for the day, that number will vary by a large margin, but in the end, I will be doing everything in my power to strictly adhere to that number. Toss in a couple thousand more dollars for over-water travel costs, visas, incidentals and bike repairs.How long will it take?
I think if I pushed it, I could get it done in less than two years, but I would be moving very fast, and I would be cutting out huge chunks of the trip. I plan on going at what ever pace I feel like. I am not racing around the world, I am trying to see the world. If I find a place I like, I will stay. If I find a place I don't like, I'll move on. With that in mind, I figure it will take me about 3 years to complete my journey, but that number could vary.
Wont it be dangerous?
The short answer: Yes.
There will be the threat of wild animals, exposure to the elements, bandits, corrupt officials, armed conflicts, etc.
But is daily life really that safe? We all know how fast life can be taken from us. At any given day, you could be struck by a car, fall ill, choke to death on your lunch, or any other of a multitude of possible life ending accidents. I refuse to let fear of possible outcomes dictate my decisions in life. I do not think it is better to die an old man in my bed, having lived a safe life that was devoid of any adventure and excitement. Better to go out really living life and enjoying it, in my opinion.
However, I will not be out looking for trouble. I want to live through this adventure and tell my grand kids about it! I will take every precaution and avoid unnecessary risks.
Wont you get lonely?
Yes, there will be times when I will be very lonely, I'm sure. I get lonely here at times too, though. But there will also be times when I meet incredible new friends from all corners of the earth and get to learn about their ways of life. I enjoy being alone, but I also love meeting new people and making new friends. As I travel I will get to do a lot of both, so in my mind traveling alone will be no problem. I have gone backpacking by myself in foreign countries and always had a fantastic time. If I meet people to travel with on the road, great, but in the end if I make the entire trek by myself, then that is fine by me too.
Well, this is my route plan for now, starting in California. This is a very rough idea of where I want to go and what I want to see. I have traveled enough to know that the best plan is a flexible one. As I meet people, and learn of places and things, I will without a doubt alter my route to accommodate my changing desires. Other considerations that could change the route: weather, health, political climates and my personal economic situation.
The evolution of this idea:
As of this writing, I am a 26 year old man living in Huntington Beach, California, as most of you reading this would already know. I have been planning an around the world trip with two of my best friends, Tony Pricor, and James Mattis (aka: "The Chin") since we returned from our last group venture over seas in the summer of 2004. We have all traveled fairly extensively on our own, but we had such an amazing experience together on our 4 month backpacking tour through Europe that we decided that the only thing to do was a world tour. Our vision was of an 18 month, grand adventure in which we put off the responsibilities of the adult world as long as possible, and prolonged youthful freedom and wild times. We put our heads together, worked out a time table, budget, must see list and a tentative departure date for the summer of 2006, along with a solemn vow from all members to see this plan through.
Well, life does not always work out the way we envision, as most people know. We each went through numerous set backs in the ensuing two years. Everything from relationships, stolen vehicles, family illnesses, financial set backs, in-fighting, career and education opportunities, etc. Our departure date kept getting pushed back as life kept throwing things at us until we finally settled on a do or die deadline of March 18th, 2008.
In order to see this thing through, Mattis and I even moved away from our beloved home in San Diego to take higher paying jobs in Orange County. We were all dead set on making our dream a reality. However, fate intervened when one member of our intrepid band received a mortal blow in the form of a great job and education advancement opportunity, an ailing father and a mother with a hefty mortgage to pay by herself. So, our noble comrade, Tony had to give up the dream in order to assist family and take a golden opportunity for long term success.
And then there were two. My remaining companion, Mattis and I have been like brothers. We have lived together every year but one since we were 18. We know each other about as well as two people can, and we both knew that we wanted different things out of the trip. Tony was a bridge between the two of us sharing both of our interests and with that link gone, we both knew that there would be a fair bit of conflicting desires. However, we both still planned on seeing this journey through to the bitter end until one fateful day when I encountered a story that opened me to the possibility of an entirely different way to travel.
About 7 months ago, I stumbled across a website that told the tale of Edward Genochio, a man that rode his bike from his home in England, to the east coast of China and back (http://www.2wheels.org.uk/). His journey was amazing to me, something I had never even considered: traveling by bicycle?! What a nut! But his adventure was intoxicating, and I found myself daydreaming about doing the same thing. I wanted to have an adventure like that, but grander. I wanted the danger, the excitement, the physical challenge of going around the world under my own steam. I would have to use my wits, effort, and perseverance to make it. This would be a real adventure, where I interacted with all the people places and things that define a country. In my mind, it became the kind of challenge that can shape a life and define a person. I wanted to see if I could undertake such a huge venture and succeed.
I began doing the research in earnest and before long, determined that it was not only something I could feasibly do, but something that I would do. I began making plans, budgeting, talking to people who had done similar trips, and working out all of the details. In no time the wheels were in motion and my mind was made. I broke the news to my companion, Mattis, and he took it in stride. He desired that we could travel together but also wished me the best all the same. I hope that the two of us can cross paths at least once on the road, and that he has the best trip of his life.
So now, I am three months out from my departure date. My excitement level is off the charts, I have trouble focusing on anything other than this upcoming adventure. After 3 and a half years of planning, dreaming, hard work and sacrifice, it is getting so close now that I can barely take it. I feel like a child the night before Christmas! I will sell my car, give away most all of my possession, quit my job and become a free man come March 18th.
In the meantime, I am working furiously to make the last amount of money I think I will need in order to make this trip a reality. I am also trying to build a custom bike to fit my needs which has turned out to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I have been an avid cyclist my entire life, and yet in building this bike, I have come to learn just how ignorant I was in terms of bicycle mechanics. It has been quite a learning experience, but after a great deal of research, the bike components have been chosen, ordered, and should be ready to go next week. I can't wait to try it out! I am buying all of the gear necessary to keep myself going: tent, sleeping bag, water purifier, etc. The end result is a huge bill, but I feel the high quality equipment will be a godsend once I hit foul weather out there in the wide world away from civilization.
And so, in three short months, I will be off on my grand adventure to see the world. I will update this site as often as time allows from the road, and I hope to hear from everyone at home from time to time.