Author Topic: Touring Question  (Read 3746 times)

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Offline pmac

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2013, 01:46:01 pm »
Great questions and answers.  My tours have all been of the short 7-10 variety for many of the reasons raised.  I'm in a small partnership and would not have partners or clients if I was gone for 3 months.  The spouse point is also well-taken.  Selling a 3 month bike trip to the wife would be very difficult.  Since I plan to retire in the next 3 years I'm working on getting her to take some short trips with me now to plant the seed for some longer tours in the not too distant future.  It is clear to me that for some folks taking extended bike tours are worth significant deprivations in other areas of their life.  While that is great for some people, it doesn't work for everybody.  But there are lots of ways to have fun on a bike tour and you don't have to be gone for 3 months to have a memorable trip.   

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2013, 02:49:55 pm »
My tours have all been of the short 7-10 variety for many of the reasons raised.  It is clear to me that for some folks taking extended bike tours are worth significant deprivations in other areas of their life.  While that is great for some people, it doesn't work for everybody.  But there are lots of ways to have fun on a bike tour and you don't have to be gone for 3 months to have a memorable trip.   

Short 7-10 day bike trips and 3 month bike trips are not comparable.  They are at different ends of the spectrum.  On a short bike trip you are always thinking about the end and going home.  On a long trip you can get consumed by the trip and forget about your life before and after the trip.  Your whole goal is that day.  Its not about your job, going home, getting back to your vehicle, your next vacation plan, etc.

"Significant deprivations in other areas of their life."  Living below your absolute means for a few years is a significant deprivation?  Saving money is a significant deprivation?  Not buying a new or luxury vehicle every other year is a significant deprivation?  Buying and driving a basic car for ten years is a significant deprivation?  Not buying the most expensive house in town is a significant deprivation?  Not flying to the beach twice a year and staying in the most expensive hotel is a significant deprivation?

Offline brad

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2013, 03:40:20 am »
The biggest issue facing most Americans wanting to do longer tours are the absurdly limited vacations we are allowed. As the poster above points out it is all about prioritization of expenses. As a career Army officer I have been able to tour in some amazing places where I have lived for extended periods, Europe, Africa, and in the US. However, I am still unable to get the time for a "grand tour." It has nothing to do with money, or time away from family. My little crew is so used to be me being gone that a three month tour is nothing. When I retire long bike and wilderness trips will be required, because otherwise I am not sure how my wife could cope with me at home all the time! I'm lucky, at 30 days of paid leave per year, I frequently carry almost three months of vacation at a time. However, being able to take it is another story. I jokingly tell all of my international friends that the national sport of America is working...we as a culture could go a long way to learning a bit more about a healthier work-life balance.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2013, 05:11:33 am »
In Scandinavian countries you are typically allowed to have 5-6 weeks of vacation (25-30 working days). I mean paid vacation. And you get it from day 1 and everybody is entitled - even people without any sort of education.

That sounds great - and most Americans would love that.

But personal income taxes are at 50-60%. So yes, at least half of your pay check goes straight to the state. And gasoline costs 7,60 dollars a gallon at the pump. And 1 kWh costs the equivalent of 40 cents. I guess that all systems have advantages and disadvantages.

Lucas

Offline Cat

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2013, 07:05:14 am »
In Scandinavian countries you are typically allowed to have 5-6 weeks of vacation (25-30 working days). I mean paid vacation. And you get it from day 1 and everybody is entitled - even people without any sort of education.

That sounds great - and most Americans would love that.

But personal income taxes are at 50-60%. So yes, at least half of your pay check goes straight to the state. And gasoline costs 7,60 dollars a gallon at the pump. And 1 kWh costs the equivalent of 40 cents. I guess that all systems have advantages and disadvantages.

Lucas

That would mean that the americans have a great opportunity to prioritise a long touring trip because of more controle over the income, but I guess it´s not that easy... As to the medical question - Here (in Sweden) most people have a home insurance and adding another 30 dollars a travel insurance usually for 90 days comes with it. It covers all medical care, delayed flights, loss of luggage etc etc. Maybe there is something similar in the US?

Offline indyfabz

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2013, 07:06:16 am »
"Significant deprivations in other areas of their life."  Living below your absolute means for a few years is a significant deprivation?  Saving money is a significant deprivation?  Not buying a new or luxury vehicle every other year is a significant deprivation?  Buying and driving a basic car for ten years is a significant deprivation?  Not buying the most expensive house in town is a significant deprivation?  Not flying to the beach twice a year and staying in the most expensive hotel is a significant deprivation?

+1. If they are, then I lead a seriously deprived life. For example, my car turned 18 at the beginning of this year, and I recently bought my first TV in 10 years. I have a dumb phone and a $45/month calling/texting plan. If I go to the beach, I usually ride there. Yet for some reason I don't feel deprived.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2013, 07:26:04 am »
My tours have all been of the short 7-10 variety for many of the reasons raised.  It is clear to me that for some folks taking extended bike tours are worth significant deprivations in other areas of their life.  While that is great for some people, it doesn't work for everybody.  But there are lots of ways to have fun on a bike tour and you don't have to be gone for 3 months to have a memorable trip.   

Short 7-10 day bike trips and 3 month bike trips are not comparable.  They are at different ends of the spectrum.  On a short bike trip you are always thinking about the end and going home.  On a long trip you can get consumed by the trip and forget about your life before and after the trip.  Your whole goal is that day.  Its not about your job, going home, getting back to your vehicle, your next vacation plan, etc.

"Significant deprivations in other areas of their life."  Living below your absolute means for a few years is a significant deprivation?  Saving money is a significant deprivation?  Not buying a new or luxury vehicle every other year is a significant deprivation?  Buying and driving a basic car for ten years is a significant deprivation?  Not buying the most expensive house in town is a significant deprivation?  Not flying to the beach twice a year and staying in the most expensive hotel is a significant deprivation?

My thoughts exactly.

Not all that many folks that I know seem to live within their means.  I know that some of that will vary with salary level and family size, but I am always amazed by what many of my friends and acquaintances consider necessities.

Offline Bike Hermit

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2013, 09:04:45 am »
I recently watched a movie on Netflix entitled 180 Degrees South. Our hero catches a ride on a boat to Chile on the way to Patagonia to  climb a mountain. He was retracing the path  two of his heroes took four decades ago and he was going to meet those two in Patagonia. On the way the boat broke and they spent a couple months on Easter Island where he met a girl who, once the boat was repaired, went with them. Once in Patagonia they got to hang out with Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins and enjoy personal tours of the 2 million acre Concervacion Patagonica and go surfing. When it came time to climb the mountain the ice was melted and they were stopped within a few hundred feet of the summit because conditions were too dangerous. He moped about this for days maybe longer....as if the entire journey was a waste and a failure. Mr. Chouinard was fine with stopping even farther from the summit saying:
 "What's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished". and
 "When everything goes wrong, that's when the adventure begins"
So my question is:
Why do you want to ride your bike across the country? Why set another, arbitrary goal like that which is already causing stress and frustration?  Raising decent kids is a goal. A career is a goal. Contributing something is a goal. Bike touring is bike touring. It's not a race or a contest and as Mr. Chouinard (who, apparently is my new hero too) also said;
"it's about the changes that happen inside you"
Go when you can...overnight, a week, three weeks or three months.
 


 

Offline e46rick

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2013, 09:42:10 am »
I recently watched a movie on Netflix entitled 180 Degrees South. Our hero catches a ride on a boat to Chile on the way to Patagonia to  climb a mountain. He was retracing the path  two of his heroes took four decades ago and he was going to meet those two in Patagonia. On the way the boat broke and they spent a couple months on Easter Island where he met a girl who, once the boat was repaired, went with them. Once in Patagonia they got to hang out with Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins and enjoy personal tours of the 2 million acre Concervacion Patagonica and go surfing. When it came time to climb the mountain the ice was melted and they were stopped within a few hundred feet of the summit because conditions were too dangerous. He moped about this for days maybe longer....as if the entire journey was a waste and a failure. Mr. Chouinard was fine with stopping even farther from the summit saying:
 "What's important is how you got there, not what you've accomplished". and
 "When everything goes wrong, that's when the adventure begins"
So my question is:
Why do you want to ride your bike across the country? Why set another, arbitrary goal like that which is already causing stress and frustration?  Raising decent kids is a goal. A career is a goal. Contributing something is a goal. Bike touring is bike touring. It's not a race or a contest and as Mr. Chouinard (who, apparently is my new hero too) also said;
"it's about the changes that happen inside you"
Go when you can...overnight, a week, three weeks or three months.
 


 

Chouinard is an interesting cat.

Offline pmac

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2013, 11:34:48 am »
I think you missed my point, Russ.  Obviously, a 10 day tour and a 90 day tour are not comparable and I was not trying to compare them.  To me, a "significant deprivation" is not about a new car, a fancy house or an expensive hotel on a beach, although it might be to somebody else.  My guess is that person isn't checking out this message board.   It is about health insurance which generally involves long-term employment, a career which generally, but not always, involves fairly limited vacation time, taking the wants/needs of your family/significant other into consideration when they are not touring with you and providing as best you can for your family.  But as you noted one person's deprivation is another persons extravagance.  It is difficult to walk in someone's shoes and there are many ways to skin a cat or take a bike tour.  But that doesn't mean one way is better than another.  They are just different.  Have fun on your next ride, wherever it goes for however long it goes! 

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2013, 09:50:12 am »
I have a job, wife, kids, etc.  There is no way I am getting more than a week off at a time.  On one week long trip (2009?), I actually had to file extraction plans with my boss in case something went wrong, and they had to send some one to "get me".  Not all of us have the luxury to just "take off", job be damned, family be damned.  Upton Sinclair's vision of corporate America lives on.

I do a couple of weekend trips and a week long trip each summer.   And it is an ordeal to just hold on to that.  For my sacrifice, I still have a job, being the 1 out of 3 people that can do my job that my employer kept in the last down turn.

This will have to do until I retire, ~10 years from now.  Hopefully my health will be good, and my retirement package will allow me to do some touring.  I will still have to balance a spouse that does not tour, who also expects me to be an active partner.  But that is another topic, that I do not plan to discuss here. :)

So I feel your pain, or would that be lust.  Do what you can to get buy, and I hope your eventual retirement is a good one.
Danno

Offline mucknort

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2013, 01:28:23 pm »
We were very much in the minority regarding bike tourist statistics. We were Mom and Dad in late 40's with 11 year old son. Seems most bike tourists are either college grads/early 20s or retired folks. We could do it because I'm a stay-at-home/homeschooling Dad and wife is a professor that went during her sabbatical. Choose the life style that works for you!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2013, 02:04:32 pm »
Choose the life style that works for you!
That is something that folks often seem to not get.  They say that they can't go because of their job or whatever, but don't seem to recognize that their situation is the result of their own choices.  I know that I would never accept a job that would require me to "file extraction plans with my boss in case something went wrong".

I have always considered my "spare time activities" to have a pretty high priority in my career choices.  Yes I have had to compromise at times, but I have always valued leisure time activities and at least keep that in mind when making career and financial choices.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2013, 02:50:40 pm »
I think if you work in a 100-person company, they can more easily adapt to your absence than if you work in a 3-person outfit. It also helps to have skills that cannot be replaced in a second, yet not skills such that they can't do without you for any length of time. It's great to have a job you love with the pay you deserve that gives you the flexibility you desire, but not everybody can have it all I suppose. Would we be willing to take a less interesting job with less pay in order to have the free time we want? Tough question.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Touring Question
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 03:51:33 pm »
With a BS in oceanography and a MA in math, I chose a career (HS teacher of math and science) that definitely was lower pay than I could have had elsewhere.  This was for lifestyle and the enjoyment and rewards of working in education, where I know I can say that I have and still am contributing in a way that is helpful to others. I could never get my head around the idea that making a living should take 50 out of 52 weeks of my life every year. I watched my dad do that.  Getting satisfactory work and lifestyle did not happen by accident--it was planned that way.
May the wind be at your back!