Bike Trip FAQ

1. What is the purpose of your trip? What do you expect to gain from this?
2. Where are you going?
3. Why are you traveling alone?
4. How long have you been planning this trip? 
5. What will you eat?
6. Where will you sleep?
7. How much will the trip cost?
8. How are you paying for this trip?
9. People are dangerous. Aren't you worried? 
10. Are you up to the challenge?
11. Why are you not in college preparing for a job?




1. What is the purpose of your trip? What do you expect to gain from this?
To err on the side of oversimplification, the purpose of my trip is to "find myself", and to take pictures of interesting people I meet along the way.

To dig deeper, there are several primary motivations. 

First of all, I need time to think and process, and come to a better understanding spiritually, away from certain distractions and impediments.

Second, I feel a need for a challenge. People often say things to the effect of, "wow, you must have a lot of gut to do that!" Honestly, it's naïvety, not gut. Basically, though, I've stored up virtually every ounce of determination I have over the last few years for the accomplishment of this one thing - in other words, I don't really have much. I actually have a reputation for being indefinite and indecisive. But I know I just really need to do something.

Third, I have an irresistible urge to learn first hand how the "other half lives". My own experiences with people have been limited, and I really want to come to a more full understanding of humanity.

Fourth, which somewhat builds on 2 and 3, I see it as a learning experience - an opportunity to learn how to make decisions and interact with strangers on a regular basis (things I'm actually terrible at), an opportunity to learn independence and fortitude.. it will give me an opportunity to better see the needs of society, and for what it's worth, a better feel generally for the geography and sociology of this country.

As I travel, in addition to photography, I plan to continue developing my writing skills by keeping up this blog.


2. Where are you going?
The plan is to cycle from my hometown, Pendleton, Oregon, to Orlando, Florida in time for GYC, going first through New England. I'll be traveling through as many as 30 states in the process. While my exact routing hasn't been pinned down yet, nor will it be until it has happened, I estimate I will have somewhere between 4500 and 7000 miles of riding (depending on how I choose my roads). If necessary, I may shorten the distance, or even take rides from people, in order to reach the end point on time.


3. Why are you traveling alone?
While I am not 100% opposed to the idea of traveling with anyone else at any time, taking the entire trip with someone complicates things in a few ways. Primarily because I don't know of anyone who would take such a trip with me, so finding someone would be difficult.

Beyond that, having a second person would take away from my thinking and processing time, and tend to insulate me more from the outside world, decreasing interaction, and as a result, the ability to learn from those I met along the way. It would also be a good learning experience, but if I did not choose my riding partner carefully enough, it could be stressful, as I am at this point as bad of a follower as I am a leader.

I'm not saying that I won't ride with anyone ever during my trip, but doing so for more than maybe a week or two at a time would compromise the core purposes of the trip in the first place.


4. How long have you been planning this trip?
In its current version, I have been planning this trip, in varying intensity, since the summer of 2012. For the year before that I considered cycling into and throughout South America, but decided that would take too long for me to not come up with something better to do. My dreams for something challenging and introspective, however, start perhaps as early as the single digit years of life.


5. What do you eat?
So far my diet has consisted of things like peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, raisins, pancakes, ramen, soup mix, oat meal, dried nuts, refried beans and tortillas, and so on, and not actually cooking all that often - when I'm limited on water, and not yet efficient with time, taking the time to cook, and then needing to wash my dishes afterwards is something I try to avoid. Around once a week or less I've been going to some restaurant along the way, for a little variety, and from time to time other people feed me. So far I've been maintaining a food budget of around $6 a day. 


6. Where do you sleep at night?
Due to my budget constrains, I'm going to avoid paying for a place to sleep for the whole trip. So far I've slept in the ditch along side the road, at churches (behind, in, in fellowship hall..), behind a school, at people's houses, in a Forest Service corral, on public lands, in city parks, and in people's back yards. 


7. How much will the trip cost?
At this point my budget is about $7 a day for travel expenses, or about $1500 for 6 months of travel. So far I've been managing to stay within that.


8. How are you paying for this trip?
Well, by saving money from working, of course. I had close to $2000 in the bank at the time I started. Not a huge amount, really..


9. People are dangerous. Aren't you worried?
I've been actively reading up on adventures relating to this trip for years, and have yet to so much as hear of a single person being assaulted or murdered while traveling by bike, and this includes rides throughout the richer and poorer countries of Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. I have heard of several small scale robberies, but no real harm was done. The biggest threat to safety is the motorized vehicles I'll be sharing the road with. While I've heard several stories of car/bike collisions, these are truly rare, and I can only remember one story, a third hand account, where there was a fatality (because he wasn't wearing a helmet). I'm as likely to die in a car accident while still at home.

Now that I'm on the road, I've been yelled at a couple times, but other than that, most everyone has been quite nice. Occasionally I won't feel safe riding through a town - because of traffic - but for the most part people are polite and keep an eye out for me on the road.


10. Are you up to the challenge?
Before I left, a lot of people seemed afraid that I was biting off more than I could chew. Now that I'm going I'm really loving it most of the time, 'though to say that riding is fun is a little inaccurate - it does get a little torturous at times. But difficulties must be faced in any areas of life, so nothing new here. 


11. Why are you not in college preparing for a job?
Many people (including my college adviser) have suggested I take a break before college to figure out what I'm doing, before heading into the wrong major or something. At this point if I were enrolled in college classes, I'm afraid I would not be able to make the best of the learning opportunity. What I will do after the trip is still a bit indefinite, but I will likely return to college at some point.