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Michoacan, Mexico

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Frequently Asked Questions

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You’ll find answers to questions we’re most frequently asked below.  If you have a question that isn’t included in this list, please use our contact form to submit your question and we’ll add it to this page or will respond to you directly.


 

Why did you decide to cycle around the world?

Our decision was prompted by a lot of things, but was mostly driven by our desire to become healthier people, both spiritually and physically.  An extended tour will give us the opportunity, as well as a global context, in which to re-define how we live.  It will give us the chance to face the world in all it’s reality and beauty, to find out how others are dealing with global issues, to get involved in volunteer or humanitarian efforts, and to  experience all the joy, heartache, challenges, and adventure that comes with such an endeavor.

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Do you have to train to do something like this?

Not really.  It’s nice to be fit before you leave on a trip, but it’s not necessary.  The nature of an open-ended, self-supported tour allows you to ride at your own pace, stopping when you need to – so you become more and more fit as you go.

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What did you do with all of your things/stuff/furniture?

We sold or gave away most of our possessions.  Some stuff, like tools, bicycles, and clothes, were packed away into storage until we return.

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How much do you plan on cycling every day?

That depends on how we feel and the circumstances.  We predict, based upon past rides, we’ll do ~50 miles/day (or ~80 km/day).

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How long will it take you?

We’re expecting, at minimum, 3 years.  But, it depends on a lot of things:  money, weather, political climate, health……all these things can affect how long it will take us.  It’s open-ended.  It’s fluid.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Will you return to Vermont when you’re done?

Ideally.  We’re building a tiny house to come back to, so that’s our intention.  However, things could change and our hearts could lead us somewhere else in the end.

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How often will you update your blog/website?

As often as we can but lack of internet connections, certain countries restrictions on freedom of speech, and our own mental/physical states could delay us from posting, so we’re not promising anything.

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What will you eat? Where will you find food?

We’re vegan/vegetarian and will be making most of our own meals.  Of course, when it’s cheaper to buy meals in restaurants we will do that too.  Since we’ll most likely be cycling during the growing season, in most places, we should be able to find plenty of food along the way, but we’re also prepared to eat what we can find and/or are given when necessary.

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Where do you stay/sleep?

Our plan is to stealth or wild camp most of the time but we’ll also splurge for a hostel/room when we really need one.  Nice people offer room/bed/showers via warmshowers.org, and couchsurfing.org, and we’ll also participate in volunteer programs like WWOOF, in which room/board/meals are provided in exchange for labor.  There are also times when random people we meet along the way generously offer to let us stay in their home or pitch our tent in their yard (three cheers for kind-hearted people!).

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Are you going to cycle the entire way or will you use other transportation too?

Crossing oceans requires that we use other forms of transportation.  Because of the negative environmental impact, we’re going to avoid flying and driving at all costs.  If we do have to get off our bicycles for some reason, including because of fatigue or a needed break, we’ll most likely utilize trains or ships/boats.

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Are you going to stop along the way, in certain places, for extended periods of time?

One of the main reasons we’re travelling is to stop and visit with organizations and groups we feel are addressing global problems.  We will volunteer our time and skills to these organizations for short periods of time.

As far as long-term stops, we’re keeping our minds open and if something calls to us, or we need a break from cycling, we may stay in a place for a bit but we anticipate we won’t stop for longer than a few months at a time.  Then again, if an opportunity presents itself we may consider an extended stay.

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Are you raising money for a charity or cause?

Yes.  We have a long list of various people/organizations that we think are doing incredible, amazing work in the world.  Our goal is to visit them as we travel, to witness their work first hand, and to offer readers information about how to get involved or donate, if they’re moved to do so.

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How can you afford to quit your jobs and do this?

Philosophical Answer: We couldn’t afford not to!  Dreams of a better future will pass us by and become regrets if we’re not careful!

Practical Answer: We’ve planned, worked hard and saved money for this trip – enough to get us through at least a handful of years of living as simply and cheaply as possible, with a buffer for emergencies and a potential transitional period upon our return.  In addition, we don’t have kids or other obligations preventing us from saving money or leaving.

Fact: It’s actually cheaper for us to live on our bicycles and travel than it is to stay at home.  Here are some comparisons to help put things in perspective:

Cost of an SUV in the United States ($30,000US) = 3 years and 3 months living via our bicycles

Cost of annual car insurance in UK ( £3100 or $5,000US) = 6 or 7 months living via our bicycles

Average amount of US household credit card debt $15,799 = 1 year and 9 months living via our bicycles

Annual cost of 2-bed apartment in our hometown ($13,488) = 1 year and 6 months living via our bicycles

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How did you save for this trip?

Because we were lucky enough to be born in the United States, we are privileged.  Our access to health services, higher education and steady employment have provided us great wealth on the world scale.  That being said, over years and years of building our careers (mostly in the non-profit sector), we’ve rarely made more than the $29,730 median income for a single person in the United States.  The only exception to that rule was our last two years of working, when we doubled our time working to save for our future.  Neither one of us are independently wealthy nor do we have access to disposable cash.  Under our particular circumstances we’ve been able to save money by living simply and frugally.

It should be noted that we were also able to reduce our monthly housing costs by living in a home that is a duplex, allowing us to rent one side out (at below fair market value) while living in the other side.  Kai purchased the fixer-upper home over a decade ago, using the money he saved from his first full-time non-profit job for a down payment.  Over the years any income realized from rent was used to rehabilitate the home and make it as energy efficient as possible or to pay down the mortgage.  In 2011 we finally finished work on the home and are now able to use some of the income realized toward our living expenses.

Additional ways we were able to save money:

  • worked a lot of hours, to put extra money aside
  • didn’t spend money on anything unrelated to our trip or house-prep work (exceptions included some gifts for family/friends, social events like the very occasional lunch/dinner out)
  • kept only the money we needed for monthly expenses in an accessible, every-day account — all other money was transferred as soon as we were paid to an interest-bearing account where the savings grew
  • made all our meals at home and bought in bulk from a wholesale, organic food buyers club
  • bought organic, whole foods – all of which provide longer-lasting benefits and fill you up more than processed foods
  • grew our own food in raised beds in the spring/summer/fall
  • as member-workers at our local food coop, we received substantial grocery discounts each month
  • rode our bikes and walked versus using a car or using other costly transportation
  • attended free talks/lectures/events at local venues and universities versus paying for concerts or other events
  • checked books out of our local library instead of buying them
  • hooked our laptop up to our home stereo sound system and watched free movies/documentaries at home versus going to the theatres
  • didn’t have a TV, and therefore, didn’t pay for related utilities like cable
  • bought a fixer-upper duplex over a decade ago which helped lower our monthly housing costs
  • did all the work and repairs around the house ourselves versus paying others to do it
  • repaired things like socks, clothing, and bags versus buying new
  • paid off all revolving debt & started putting money otherwise spent on interest/fees into savings
  • paid off credit card balances in full each month
  • used cash back credit cards to receive money back for purchases we made each month
  • re-financed our mortgage when rates were really low so that we would have lower monthly expenses and be able to travel longer/save more money short-term
  • waited for things we bought to go on sale and/or offer free shipping.  We also would ask companies to price-match if we found the same product at another location cheaper (usually they do – and some even offer an additional discount on top of that to entice you to buy from them).
  • used as little utilities as possible (i.e. we unplug everything when not in use & use CFLs to use less electricity, we bundle up in warm clothes versus turning the heat up, use super-low flow shower heads and faucet aerators, etc).  We also invested in energy efficiency measures throughout the house to lower utility use/cost.  If we buy appliances, we buy the most efficient model possible.
  • sold most of our belongings, including our car, and put the money we made from sales into our savings

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How much will it cost?

We’re estimating it will cost between $15-30/day (per person), maybe less, depending on where we are in the world.

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How can you live so cheaply while traveling?

That’s one of the great things about traveling by bicycle – it’s cheap!  We’re not paying for plane tickets, gasoline, and/or tour guides.  We won’t be buying trinkets while we travel – where would we put them?!  Other than visas, border fees, replacement gear and clothing, food, and the occasional room, we’ll be spending very little money on our travels.

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Aren’t you afraid of (insert your personal fear here – i.e. being hurt, mugged, killed)?

Nope.  The probability of anything bad happening to us is very low.

However, that’s not to say we don’t worry about certain things.  For example, Sheila is worried about dogs and other sharp-fanged animals, and Kai worries about running out of water.  In the end, it’s a matter of overcoming our fears to focus on all the things we’ll gain by moving forward.