For many years I have wanted to do more touring. In 2006 I had just left California after living in a mountain town for a number of years, I went back to my home town in the Mid-West and was looking to do one of three things. I was ready for something new, my ideas were to either buy a house and let that be my first step into being a landlord, ride my bike around the perimeter of the lower 48, or move to New York City and be a bike messenger (in 2005 I had visited some long time friends living in Brooklyn & working as messengers, it seemed so much more fun than my job).
About two week into being back in my home town I still had not decided because I was having fun being unemployed and hanging out with friends a family I had not seen in a while. That was when I got a call from a friend in Brooklyn asking if I’d found a place to live and job yet. I had not. His news was that they were looking for a roommate and could get me a job working with them. I asked when the room would be open. It was in just a few days and I drove there with my things on time to not let the room sit empty. My decision was made.
In 2009, after living and working in New York for three years I had really started to want to take another tour on my bike. I had some money set aside for travel I just needed to get my touring bike out of storage (a barn at my moms house). That same year I saw the Bicycle Film Festival was doing a big ride from NY to LA, I signed up and was picked to be one of forty two “endurance cyclist” for the two month promotional group ride. The departure date was less than a month away by time I knew I’d made the cut. I made a quick trip to the Mid-West to pick up my touring bike but it was not in shape for a tour, lots of rust on very worn parts. After bringing it to NY, I ended up just setting that bike aside because one of my sponsors at that time sent me a new bike. I put 4000+ miles on a Specialized Tri-Cross Comp in 59 days. The only thing I did to it was put on a stronger wheel set, with a Phil Wood rear hub, for the ride. Afterward I sent it back to my sponsor with a thank-you. Leaving me satisfied in a sort of way for having traveled and with a rusty old touring bike that I’d bought a few parts for just before the Specialized became a reality.
Again in the Spring of 2011 I start to daydream more about a big solo tour. Having no real plans I figure at least I could finish building up my touring bike and at the very least I’d have a road bike to go on some longer rides.
But the more I thought about it the more I really wanted to get away from New York City, to ride quiet roads, to see places I’ve never been, to camp and sleep outside.
I’m living in an ok apartment but the location is not very good. It’s not bad for me because I ride a bike so living a few miles out isn’t a big deal but in the year I’ve lived here I have not had many guests. Not many friends live near me. My roommate feels the same way. We decided not to stay. Sort of made the same decision, separately. Our lease is over as of Aug 1st. I was looking but keeping my rent the same was not very likely. So with a bunch of things in the Pro category I decided to take another trip, this time solo again.
Going North to Canada via Maine in August and September seems like a perfect time, from what others have said.
Trying to find time to travel is hard because of funding it and paying rent simultaneously. With my lease over I don’t pay rent.
Converting my rent budget into touring budget would mean living like a king out on the road. But there is no way I’d go that route, I’m only gonna spend money on food and film.
Putting things off is a slow way of not doing them.
Touring is what my bike is built for, and I already have the camping gear.
Riding bikes and taking photos makes me happy.
I usually sleep better when camping.
Time to take my time.
I can turn off my phone (Boost).
But there are some things about such a drastic change that makes me very nervous.
I have friends in New York, I don’t know a soul North of Boston. Well, a couple in Canada.
Not knowing where I’ll sleep each night.
Spending money while not making money.
Finding work when I return.
Finding a place to live when I return.
Paying New York City’s storage fees.
And the biggest one as far as things I didn’t want to do, telling my bosses that I’m leaving just over a month after starting.
But that was kind of the deciding event. If I could say to my new bosses who I’ve known for a few years and really like because I respect their business and admire their attitude about many things, that I’m leaving then maybe I do really want to do this. I don’t have a lot going for me in the job world. I have done a few different things and some were pretty cool but other than this last month or so, every dollar I’ve made in the last five years has be made by riding bikes. I just got an indoor job working for a growing company that produce useful goods in the USA and now I’m basically quitting. I don’t like to quit.
And that’s another con, If I can’t finish what I start with this trip then the whole thing will make me feel like a failure.