Planning

Two bicycles leaning against a road sign in Baja Mexico that say, "Precaucion Disminuya Su Velocidad"
Dennis and Scott take a break in Baja California, Mexico. The sign says, “Caution Reduce Your Speed.” We’re not sure we can go any slower.

Resources & Advice for adventures of any kind — even cupcake bakers

I get a lot of emails asking for advice, and my answer usually boils down to the following:

I began my trip feeling afraid and lost, but I didn’t know that the very best adventure, by definition, is unimaginable and impossible until it is done. And I didn’t know that humans instinctively fear the unknown. Life is not easy. This is good news! Not only is the world a constantly changing place, but you can actually change it—you can create the adventure you are looking for, you can create the world you want to live in, and you can create yourself to be a hero; therefore, I need to give you no advice except, If you have the passion and the courage—you will find the way. ~

Since the world is a constantly changing place, my main advice is pretty simple — Enjoy the journey. That may sound simplistic and easy, but how many people really enjoy their journey through life? Also, remember someday you’ll be living a “regular” life again, so enjoying the journey will mean everything, and simply achieving some monumental goal or notch on your belt will mean almost nothing. That being said, here are a few useful stepping stones:

The most important factors when planning your travels, in order of importance:

The second most important factors when planning your travels, in order of importance:

The following three items are perhaps more important in terms of finding value in your trip, but the previous four are more important in terms of surviving your trip.

  • Frame of mind — You can find an adventure in your own backyard if you have eyes of wonder. In fact, everyone you meet is a new adventure. So, you really need not go anywhere or do anything unless you have the true passion. In other words, why are you doing it? What is your goal? Also, your adventure won’t be perfect, it’s not supposed to be. Don’t set absolute goals. Allow room for mystery. Sometimes “misfortune” will be your greatest door to a new adventure, one so great you couldn’t have possibly imagined it.
  • Trip Theme — One of the most important things you could do is give your trip a theme. How do you want to frame your adventure? What is the greater purpose or goal? Do you want to discover something, like what is the world’s best beer? Prove something, like are people good or bad? Explore something, like visiting the historic monuments of Eastern Europe? The theme of my trip, which would turn into my book Falling Uphill, was essentially: What is the meaning of life and is that the secret of happiness?
  • Fear Factor — The more foreign to your experience (belief system) the more difficult your travels will be in the short run, but the more rewarding you’ll find your travels in the long run. For example, what is the scariest, yet most exciting, travel destination you can imagine? I don’t recommend a war zone, but neither do I recommend something too easy, like a beach vacation.

Top Ten Travel Tips:

  1. Just do it! If you choose to bicycle tour, get on a bike and go. You’ll figure it out fast.
  2. Enjoy the ride. This may sound cliché, but I was surprised by how many people complained. Travel is not easy, but if you choose to do it, have some fun.
  3. Go Slow! You are not on “the amazing race” around the world. Spend more time living with the locals, say a week or two or even several months with a family off the beaten path.
  4. Learn the basics of the culture. What are taboo subjects and actions? What morals would you adopt?
  5. Learn the basic words of the native language, such as: excuse me, please, thank you, how much, where, left, right…
  6. Chronicle your adventure.
    1. Take more photos and videos than you ever think you’ll need.
    2. Make lots of notes and trip updates for your friends.
  7. Drink lots of water. I recommend adding some fresh lemon or lime juice to keep you hydrated. They are full of natural electrolytes.
  8. Stay out of the sun. Bring a wide-brimmed hat for the sun, and use organic (no petrochemicals) sunscreen.
  9. Leave a place better than you found it.
  10. Bring an open mind. Remember you are not the only one on this adventure. Everyone you meet may be just as excited to explore your life.

More Travel and Adventure Resources

Even more practical advice:

The great grandmother of advice:

Relive the adventure Falling Uphill

If you want to learn all my major lessons and start a journey knowing everything I did, plus everything you know, please read my book. I truly believe it will enhance the value of your experience. Why make all the same mistakes, when you can make all different mistakes? Relive and reimagine the journey. More info. 

Kick start your dream Falling Uphill for young adventurers

The young adventurer edition is the short-and-sweet of all my wisdom. Plus it contains some “magical” exercises to guide you through the creative process to create your own dream, whether that be adventurer, artist, or anything you can imagine. By the time, you finish this book, you will have taken the first steps on your new adventure. It even includes a Teachers-Parents-Students Guide. More info. 

Bicycle Traveler Magazine Bicycle Traveler Magazine

Here is a really great magazine that you can download for free. The photographs are truly spectacular. And the stories are truly inspiring, featuring people living great lives on the bicycle. This will entertain serious bike tourers and armchair travelers alike. Get yours here.

The Bicycle Touring Survival Guide The Bicycle Touring Survival Guide

Falling Uphill is about the inner journey we all travel through life, but if you choose to make a real adventure by bicycle this is the guide you want once you start pedaling. It has a lot of info that I wish I knew and even teaches you how to grow a garden on your bike. Best of all, Scott played a very small part to inspire and edit this book, along with a lot of other notable cyclists. More info.

Bike Touring Basics Bike Touring Basics

Just getting started with bike touring? Wondering what bike and gear to buy? Find out in Bike Touring Basics with this free 66-page eBook. I read this and thought it was a great how-to bicycle tour introduction, with fantastic pictures. In fact, I can’t believe they are giving it away for free! More info.

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