“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
About Me: I attended college in Florida and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Economics. Shortly after college, I joined the military as a commissioned officer and spent the next few years stationed at various places around the United States and served one combat deployment. I am currently in the process of transitioning over to the civilian sector where I will continue working in the same career field. It is during this transition period that I plan on taking a year+ sabbatical to travel and explore the world. I am unmarried and have no children, which certainly makes taking this trip much much easier.
Why on earth are you doing this?
Besides the obvious reason that I love to travel and experience new places/cultures, I think it’s because I want to do something interesting with my life even if it’s only for a year or two. It’s unfortunate that in the US, we don’t have the gap year mentality like they do in the Europe.. I think traveling can really help develop a persons understanding of the world and become more cultured. I’ve wanted to do something like this for many years now.. When I was in college, I had the time but not the money.. now I have the money but not the time. It’s funny how life works like that. I’ve finally got these two factors coming together, so I’m seizing the opportunity and taking off on one-helluva-ride.
Why do it on a motorbike?
Because I love riding! I also agree with Ted Simon when he was asked this question about his 4 year motorcycle journey:
I think the motorcycle is best because it puts you so much in contact with everything. You experience much more closely the nature of the terrain and almost taste the cultures’ that you’re riding through, because it exposes you to the climate and to the wind and rain and it’s a much more complete experience.
How long will you be gone?
I’m going with the plan of one year on the road though this is really just a guess.. I absolutely don’t want to rush it since it’s literally a once in a life time experience. It may take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, all depending on how I’m feeling about the pace of the trip. I would rather the trip only be a few months long and not make it to Argentina while fulling experiencing the countries and cultures I pass through than to make it there and feel like it was rushed and that I only experienced a small amount.. After all, It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey that counts.
Are you prepared?
I’m semi-prepared. I’ve done enough research and preparation to make the trip enjoyable and safe but left enough unknowns to keep it interesting. I’ve been thinking about this trip for over 4 years now, so it’s hard not to read about doing it. I’ve spent countless hours researching silly things like border crossings and gear reviews.
Are you traveling alone?
Yes, I am primarily traveling alone on this trip.. however there will be times I ride with others who are doing the same trip. People always ask me why I choose to take this trip alone and I always give them same answer “I have no crazy friends”. While this may be true, I think the actual truth is I really want to be alone.. alone to travel as I want. Ride when I want to ride, stop when I want to stop and to choose my own destination and path to get there. I think riding alone also makes you more approachable; allowing you to meet locals who otherwise might shy away.
Aren’t you worried about being kidnapped, murdered, robbed, etc?
Well, if you watch the news then surely I’ll be dead before I make it anywhere near Mexico. Can Mexico and other places be dangerous? Yes, of course they can.. I could also be killed before I even leave the United States. Yes, I am aware there’s a drug war going on in Mexico. However, I’m not involved in it. 95% of the murders in Mexico and elsewhere involve people who are directly involved with those activities. The murder rate for US citizens in Mexico is lower (15 per 100,000 Americans) than many US cities; Baltimore is 37 per 100,000. Cruising around Maryland more than doubles my chances of being murdered.. Do I expect to be robbed? yeah, probably. It’s known to happen in poor developing countries.. doesn’t mean you should avoid the entire country. The best thing you can do is prepare (have a fake wallet), have a plan and of course use common sense.. Avoid traveling at night and go with your gut instinct.
What are your long term plans?
Travel for a year or two and come back to the US to continue working/saving. I doubt this will be the last big trip I take. Actually, I’m already starting to think about the next one.. South East Asia? The Old Silk Road? Who knows..
How can you afford anything of this magnitude?
Save, save, save.. Besides that live simply; I don’t own a new car, have a big house or even have cable TV.. Before I leave, I’ll likely sell just about everything I have and put the little remainder of my stuff into storage. This way, I cut down on expenses like rent/utilities and have a little extra money if I need it.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to do something like this?
Don’t ever give up on your dream.. seriously. If this is something you truly want to do, then start making steps to make it happen now. I think the biggest hurdle for people is actually getting things started. They let the “Yeah, But..” stop them before they even start. My advice: Start now.. do something that commits you to the dream.. open a trip dedicated savings account, start researching and talking about it with people you know, start making trip preparations, etc.. The hardest part is getting started.
How do I start planning my own adventure?
Read! There’s an endless amount of info out there on traveling. Read blogs, internet forums, and talk to people. Check out my links section for a guide in the right direction.