Friends: I have been following the travels of Tim and Cindie Travis ever since they set out for South America from Prescott, Arizona on their bikes over seven years ago. When they began their journey they thought they had saved up enough money to last seven years on the road. They discovered along the way that they could actually earn a living as touring cyclists, selling articles and photos and giving lectures and publishing books (two so far). They are now more than breaking even and do not plan to quit the touring life until old age or health issues force them to.
They maintain a web site (http://downtheroad.org) and send out periodic updates on their travels and the attention they attract from the media. Their latest report mentioned an interview with a fellow touring cyclist, Darren Alff, who also maintains a website (http://bicycletouringpro.com) promoting cycle touring. The thirty minute interview offers at least one worthwhile nugget of insight into the mind of long-time touring cyclists. Tim said when asked what their favorite times have been he says usually its the day they've just spent on the bike. He can pin point perhaps ten days that have been their worst, but when it comes to the best, any day spent touring is an exceptional day. He did not say at what point in their travels he came to this profound realization.
Tim and Cindie know they are blessed to be touring without any strict deadlines, enabling them to take their time. His foremost advice to anyone setting out on a tour is that they take twice as much time as they initially planned to cover the same distance.
Their interviewer, Darren, is an eager 25-year old who has been touring since 2001. He is six months into a European tour. His website is rich in how-to articles for aspiring touring cyclists. He lists ten things that cyclists should take with them that they might not otherwise consider. He is also a proponent of stealth camping. His site includes other interviews with touring cyclists, including a recent one with a Canadian he encountered in Macedonia. He likewise had been on the road for six months. They both said they had not encountered another independent touring cyclist in all those months. Darren is determined through his web site to get more people out touring. I wish him the best of luck. He is certainly making a concerted effort.