We quit our jobs to cycle?
Hi there! We are two mid-50ish individuals, Mark and Linda, who love adventure and travel. Linda’s passion is mountaineering and my passion had long been motorcycling and motorcycle touring. My dream for the past several decades had been to save enough money to be able to quit work for 3 or more years and travel to and around South America by motorcycle. A few years after we met in 2007 I expressed interest in climbing Mt Whitney. Linda told me I would need to improve my cardio fitness first (she had a valid point as she was constantly having to wait for me to catch up on any uphill hikes or climbs).
Knee pain had caused me to quit running a few years earlier so I began going to spin classes at the gym and found I quite enjoyed that activity. Knowing how much more I enjoyed running outside than on a treadmill, I decided to give cycling a try and see if I liked it better than spin class. Did I ever! By my 2nd year of cycling my motorcycle was lucky to see 1,000 miles turn over on its odometer instead of the usual 12-15,000 miles, and I’ve averaged roughly 5,000 miles a year on my bicycle since then.
Fast forward about 4 or 5 years and during a conversation on long term travel Linda commented that a long motorcycle tour still sounded fun, but exploring by bicycle sounded like even more fun. Deal! But rather than starting in Europe or South America, how about we start in the US & Canada where we can work through the learning curve of cycle touring where we don’t have the additional challenge of not being able to speak the local languages? Makes sense, but I still want to go to many other countries too! And rather than road touring, how about more off the pavement type of routes? Like the GDMBR? You mean the route that most people say “don’t make this your first tour.”? Yes, why not? Um, ok, what could possibly go wrong?
In 2013 we began saving in earnest, cutting out almost all non-essential spending, paying off debt and squirreling money away into savings. At the rate we were saving I projected we should be able to start our adventure in 3-4 years. But as 2016 then 2017 came and went, every year it seemed like we needed to work “just one more year” to get our savings where I felt they needed to be. Finally, Linda suggested that maybe it was OK if we had to go back to work at some point. Once that sunk in it took a little while for me to be ok with that concept, but it made a lot of sense and we settled on quitting our jobs in 2019. Linda’s teaching job ended in June and I turned in my notice in late July for an early August end date. It was tough leaving a job of 28 years working with great people, though changes in the company in the past few years made it a little easier to chose to leave.
So here we are, jobless, homeless and about to strap everything we [think we’ll] need onto our bicycles and head on down the trail. We couldn’t be more excited!