In this blog I will reveal the secret of long-term, overland travel. This is going to be it. The curtain is being raised. The man behind the curtain exposed. The END OF THE MYTH.
Okay, it’s not really that much of a secret, it’s just surprisingly hard for most people to manage. There is also the problem of seed money – the stuff you need to start traveling in the first place. It’s less than you think. Really, it is.
I’ll explain why it’s hard, at least for the prospective of a American – someone from the United States. It’s because we want the big trip. Sometimes, it feels like we invented the road trip. 12 states in 10 days, with 9 national parks and 3 museums, or something like that. We came up with the motor lodge (later called motels), curb service and drive throughs. The microwave meal. We are a culture that gets things done. No faffing around. No dilly dallying.
I’ll cover this more in depth later, but the simple truth is that the more you move the more you spend. People who travel for year and years, travel for years and years because it takes them that long to get anywhere. True story. Ask any of them.
There is a type of coral that grows near New Zealand which lives for thousands of years. It doesn’t do much, growing only a millimeter or two per century. Not scorching by any measure, but it’s got longitivtiy. Long term travel is, sometimes, like this. Only better is a whole bunch of ways.
Since it might not yet be clear, I state it clearly. The secret to long term, overland travel, is to slow down.
No, seriously. Slow down.
Slow way the F down.
Lets say you’re in North Platte, NE and want to go to Fairbanks, Alaska. Why North Platte? I don’t know, maybe you’re a Wild Bill fan or like Rodeo. That’s not the point. It’s about 3100 miles from point to point. Lets look at two trips. The first will take two weeks, the other six. Both will have the same funds – $2000.
Yeah, I know. 3100 miles is only one way. And yes, I know you only get two weeks of vacation a year. Those are separate issues. Stay focused.
Trip one – two weeks, 142 dollars a day. Trip two, 57 dollars a day. Huge difference. How much do you need to travel? How much do you need to live at home? Food? Camping (sometimes, lots of free camping in Canada and Alaska)? If you have two weeks for those 3100 miles you have to ride 221 miles a day (a bit more than that, actually). In six weeks you only have to cover 74 miles a day. How much gas do you need to cover 74 miles? Not much, I expect. Also, how much more time do you have to see things and talk to people along the way? All that pressure to keep moving is gone. Well, most of it, anyway. There’s time to cook, to buy food, to find the perfect spot to camp. All that translates into savings. It really does.
Now, which trip would you rather be on?