While sometimes people’s reactions are that of jealousy, more often they are of bewilderment…..

“How can you take off 6 months from work?”

“Aren’t you worried you won’t find a job when you get back?”

“How can you possibly afford that, it’s so expensive?”

“Aren’t you scared you might get hurt/killed/sick?”

“Why would you want to do that?”

These questions and the many others I’m asked are all valid. They’re all questions that have danced around in my head at times. It’s never financially responsible to do anything other than work. Your 2 week vacation in Hawaii did not put money into your retirement fund. Your weekend likely does not net you additional cash flow. However, life is about more than money, things, it’s about experiences.

“How can you take off 6 months from work? Aren’t you worried you won’t find a job when you get back? How can you possibly afford that, it’s so expensive?”

So how can I take 6 + months off of work? That’s a good question but one that is relatively simple to answer. This trip has been in motion for a long time. I’ve based decisions around it for years. While out with friends I’ll internally ask, “Do I need that second beer? (or even the first one)?” I do not own a car and have not for a long time, my expenses are modest, and my savings are an array of forced distributions from each paycheck. But this isn’t about money, I’m not going to delve into a tangent of financial advising. Money is simply a necessary tool. More important than saving funds before the trip is using them wisely while on the trip. It’s easy to blow through your budget if you continue to live like you have an income (you don’t). Anyone that has traveled on a budget will share stories of camping, couch surfing, cans of beans, lack of showers, but they’ll never say that this detracted from the overall experience. There will always be work when you get home.

“Aren’t you scared you might get hurt/killed/sick?”

Fear is always present but you can’t let it dictate your decisions, rather it should be a reminder to calculate your risks. For me the risks that this journey presents do not outweigh the perceived benefits. I can only do my best to mitigate the risks and to be as prepared for them as is possible. My time up until now has been a practice run for this, I am ready.

“Why would you want to do that?”

When this question has been posed to me it is clear that we all follow different paths and have different motivations. The “why” has never been a question, that has always been apparent. The 2 and 3 week trips I’ve taken on my bike thus far just haven’t been enough. First you leave your town and the question of what’s in the next town is answered, which raises the question “what’s in the town after that”. Eventually you’ve traveled the majority of your own country and wish to further satiate your ever-growing wanderlust. As my friend/fellow adventurer Teo once said “The adventure begins once you cross the boarder.”

My largest source of motivation is regret. I don’t want to wake up when I’m 65/75/85 and wish I had done more, seen more, or been more. Life is largely backwards. We work while we’re young and healthy and then retire to a life of freedom when we’re really too old to take advantage of it. I want to look back and recall the times I looked out over countless valleys from the most beautiful mountains in the world or when I fell asleep on a picnic table in a park somewhere after riding 1000 miles to get there. I want to see and experience as much as I can.

I’ll leave you with a mantra that guides me: “When I look back at my life, I want it to have been an amalgamation of people, places and experiences, where money and things were always of distant concern.”