Trip update: I hated to leave Tampa, but I have people to see and appointments to keep in other cities. Tampa will remain a pleasant memory for the good company and the smooth roads. I really enjoyed running errands and meeting friends. Covering 100 km in a day just seemed so normal in a flat place like Tampa Bay.
On the other hand, I have never had so many flat tires in one place. Last week, I reported picking up three tacks on area bike paths. Add a failed inner tube and a two-inch staple on a side street since then, and I had five flats in less than a week. I hope that stretch of bad luck is over.
The 114-km ride to Sarasota on Wednesday featured smooth roads and tailwinds. If it had been just a little warmer it would have been perfect. The next day I visited some friends from our Church in Virginia Beach, then caught the bus to Naples, Florida, to see a high school classmate. I just rolled into Miami on the bus (again). This is as far south as I plan to go. Next week I head north – slowly. It has been cold enough in Florida. I am in no hurry to slog through the snow and ice that lies ahead.
Last week, I reported that this lifestyle on the road seems to be affordable. However, the margin may seem a little thin to some. If one wants more cushion, there are several ways to increase it. On the other hand, one could deliberately accept a thinner margin to be able to do things that one enjoys.
– Staying in each place longer. Arguably, this generates more revenue, because I put in more hours/day when I am not changing locations. The places that I spent more than four days all featured deliveries of large projects.
– Staying where one can cook in and eat out less (campsites; extended-stay hotels; friends/family). Obviously this lowers expenses, even when I am contributing to the cost by buying groceries.
– Motorizing the travel. Only walking takes longer to get somewhere than a bicycle. A Vespa motor scooter would have me at the next stop and opening the work file sooner. Traveling by motorcycle, car or RV allows one to carry more stuff, and spend less time planning the travel, packing, and shipping bounce boxes. This makes more time for work and play. One can always bring the bicycle along, of course, I did this for many years. In the end, no mode is cheaper to operate than a bicycle, but motorizing one’s travel could at least be revenue-neutral.
– Traveling by train or bus. I can earn the cost of my ticket by working while travelling. WiFi and phone service may occasionally be intermittent while moving, but it is good enough to take in work and email and make deliveries. Air travel can’t match it; only the airports have service, and they are hardly ideal workplaces.
– Crossing the ocean by ship instead of flying. I am investigating this for next year. If you are a writer or you have a long-term project, you can get some serious work done on a seven-day passage from New York to Southampton. As low as USD 800 (double-occupancy), and that includes your room & board for a week. You may have to pay for internet service, but that is something to look into when planning the trip.
– Joining a social network of hosts and travelers. These may also be called “hospitality exchanges.” I belong to Couchsurfing and Warm Showers (www.couchsurfing.org and www.warmshowers.org). The former is for anyone; the latter is for touring cyclists. There are similar networks for RVers (who already enjoy a network of RV sites and campgrounds), and other modes of travel. Of course, if you don’t have a home, you can’t host other members, but you can always be the kind of guest that people enjoy hosting.
So much for the quantitative data. I can afford to do this. Next week, I will consider the qualitative side, that is, whether I want to do this. I may write two posts on the pros and cons of living indefinitely on the road. By the end, I hope to answer the question, “Are we home yet?”
I look forward to your comments and questions.
Smooth roads and tailwinds,