Our Big Adventure

We were on the road for 378 days and cycled 13,500km from May 21, 2011 to June 1, 2012!

We plan to cycle out of our driveway in Hamilton, Ontario and circle around Canada, the USA, Mexico and Central America throughout the following year, keeping with warmer climates as we move. Our route plan is about 20,000km in length, first taking us across the northern states, then down the pacific coast and on into Mexico and Central America. From there we will jump up to the east coast of the USA, continuing on through the new england area and eventually returning home to Ontario.

An exercise in adventurous simple living

As a family, one of our core values is living simply.  We intend our bicycle adventure to be an extension of this value, acting as an ultimate simple living, environmentally conscious, training session. This year-long trip isn’t a ‘vacation’ – it is a way of increasing and strengthening the simplicity in our lives. While we strive to live simply on a day-to-day basis,  a year of  ultra-simple living on the road is sure to make this value stronger and further ingrained in our family’s lifestyle. Our bicycle adventure will also fulfill our desire  to explore the North American continent as a family, subsisting on our savings and the gear we can carry self-supported on our bikes. Learning about and living in the areas we travel through will instill a spirit of adventure in us as well as our young children, something that is sure to have lasting impact through the rest of our lives and our relationship as a family.

Strengthening relationships through compassionate giving

Our well-being during this year will rely heavily on the kindness of strangers, and we desire to show kindness and compassion towards those we meet as well. While on the road we will encounter many people, and have many opportunities to act compassionately, all while working to help raise awareness and money to supply much-needed bicycles to the developing world.

Living in the now

Planning to be away from one’s job for a whole year, while still supporting a family, can appear to be an expensive undertaking, and a daunting thing to plan. Won’t we be breaking the bank and putting our future livelihood in peril? Well, for starters — it will actually cost us less to live on the road for a year than it would to continue living as we do now. Secondly, we believe too many folks work hard to squirrel their money away in order to go on yearly vacations – perhaps heading to a resort, Disneyland, Europe, or a cottage for a week or two.  For the rest of the year, they labor.  Some people like their work, but a lot of people don’t.  They ‘work for the weekend’ — and for these short, yearly vacations.  They work so they can spend their hard-earned money on things they think will make them happy.  Their vacations become a time to splurge — a time to live the way they wish they could live all the time — or simply a time to recharge for a short period so that afterward, they can trudge back to the same job that drained them. This is a cycle that we do not want to be trapped in. It is a cycle in which it is too hard to find meaning or purpose — the idea of living to work is just too widely accepted. We would much rather take our savings and schedule an extended period of time off now — not just to recharge, but to transform our family’s lifestyle into one more fully in-line with our values.

Our route

Okay — so where will be actually be going? Well, for a traveling family, our route plan is ambitious — and we are both excited and a little anxious about that. However, the nature of our journey demands flexibility, so adjustments to our route are bound to happen once we are on the road. One major reason for our route taking the (rough) path shown here is that in addition to meeting new people, we would like our kids to interact with as much of our existing family and friends along the way as possible — in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Montana, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and New York. We will head to Mexico and Central America during the winter months of our journey, hopefully visiting bicycle-related and other compassionate project locations in the developing countries we pass through. We will then return to the USA and Canada in time for Spring, arriving back in Hamilton a year after we began.

Route20111 548x548 Our Big Adventure

Traveling counterclockwise. Click image for larger version