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How We Did It

by Tyler

I wanted to sit down with Tara and document how we got where we are today before it became a distant memory. As it turns out this was a great idea; it was incredibly difficult to remember accurately all of major events leading up to our departure. We were both amazed by how much we have changed since we started this process. Had we not kept this journal it might have been impossible to recount everything accurately.

Listed below in chronological order is the winding journey we took together to arrive at the beginning of our adventure.

October, 2007

  1. Tyler sees a man alone in the middle of nowhere in Africa with many, many gallons of water strapped to his bicycle on Long Way Down.

November, 2007

  1. Tyler naïvely decides he will bicycle around the world and begins saving, reading and dreaming.

December, 2007

  1. Tyler asks Tara if she wants to sell everything she owns to bicycle through Africa.

  2. Tara (not a bicyclist) says, "Sure!"

  3. Tara realizes Tyler is serious.

  4. Tara wheedles for more inviting, flatter continents and not selling all of her carefully collected precious possessions.

  5. Tyler agrees and asks for the bicycle trip go on indefinitely.

  6. Tara refuses.

  7. Tyler wheedles for Tara to pick a country, any country and to go for a year.

  8. Tara agrees to go to France, for six months.

  9. Tyler rejoices while silently waiting for Tara to warm up to the idea of a year.

  10. Tara researches bicycling through France and declares, "France is for pansies, lets go to Africa."

  11. Tyler cheers telling Tara she can do anything.

January, 2008

  1. Tara decides that Africa is, "way too hardcore" and decides on Southeast Asia.

  2. Tyler cheers, Tara does more research.

  3. Tara decides Southeast Asia is too small for six months.

  4. Tyler mentions how he has always wanted to ride the Trans Siberian Railway

  5. Tara responds, "I love trains!"

  6. We agree to one year of travel.

  7. A departure date of November, 2008 is set.

  8. Tyler puts together a budget for the trip.

  9. Tara makes a saving chart and starts stashing away her tips.

February, 2008

  1. Tyler orders his bicycle frame.

  2. Tyler takes Tara to The Hub Bike Coop to sit on Surly Long Haul Truckers for sizing.

  3. Tara is scared of riding bicycles other than beach cruisers.

  4. Tyler tells Tara she can do anything, explains how everything works, and promises that it will be really easy.

March, 2008

  1. We buy large format world maps and start drawing lines haphazardly across the world.

April, 2008

  1. Tyler orders Tara's bicycle frame.

May, 2008

  1. We realize there is no way we can afford to leave or prepare quickly enough for a November 2008 departure and reschedule for April, 2009.

  2. We start designing our website.

June, 2008

  1. Tara moves to Minnesota.

  2. Tyler finishes ordering parts and builds the bicycles.

July, 2008

  1. Tyler teaches Tara about gears, bike maintenance, handlebar positioning, saddle height etc.

  2. We bike everywhere. Tara feels totally at home on her bicycle.

  3. Tara gets a job at a local bakery.

August, 2008

  1. We fine tune our bicycles as we ride all summer long.

September, 2008

  1. Tara begins riding to work (20 miles round trip), riding to the grocery store, riding to the post office, and everywhere else she can.

October, 2008

  1. Tara lands a good paying office job at Midwest Compliance.

  2. Tyler finishes camping gear research, we go to REI to see our gear in person.

  3. We go through every single posession we own (more than once) weeding out everything we don't need, box what we want to save and sell the rest.

  4. Tyler lists the house for rent.

  5. With a bit of fear we buy plane tickets for our April departure.

  6. We secure renters for a 2 year lease.

November, 2008

  1. We move in with Tyler's mother and begin saving nearly every cent we earn.

  2. We get our vaccinations.

  3. We learn how to make emergency alcohol stoves.

  4. We test our camping and cooking gear with great success.

  5. Tara teaches Tyler about cooking and why homemade food is better than prepackaged processed food.

  6. Tyler teaches Tara how to make a fire without matches.

  7. We change our website from www.advriding.com to www.goingslowly.com.

December, 2008

  1. We design a portable collapsing oven for cooking on the road.

  2. We go through our remaining possessions and find gifts to give to our family members. Unexpectedly these end up being the best Christmas presents we've ever given.

January, 2009

  1. We begin training in Arnis de Mano (a Filipino martial art).

  2. We improve on our original portable oven design and order another prototype.

  3. Tyler realizes we will eat like kings on the trip and gets excited about food.

  4. Tara teaches Tyler about the importance of eating local foods and preserving traditional cultural activities.

February, 2009

  1. We drive to Illinois to visit Tara's family for the second to last time before our trip.

  2. We make lots of lists to help tie up what feels like an endless pile of loose ends.

  3. We test pack the bicycles with all of our gear (finally!)

  4. We sew a case for our portable oven and make bandannas.

  5. Tara researches the visas that will be required for various countries we intend to visit.

  6. Tyler sets up our international cellular plan.

March, 2009

  1. Tyler finds a buyer for the car. She agrees to pick it up the night before we leave (thanks Jeannie!).

  2. Tyler learns how to do maintenance/repairs on bicycle hubs at a local bike shop.

  3. As the trip draws closer to becoming a reality Tyler starts to realize there are reasons to go on a trip like this other than to "get the hell out of here"

  4. Tara begins teaching Tyler to speak French. Tyler is amazed by how much easier it is than he thought it would be.

  5. Tara decides she should have front panniers on her bicycle, purchases and installs them.

  6. We visit Tara's family in Illinois one last time, her brother Lian flys in from California to meet us. (thanks Lian!)

  7. The following weekend we drive to NYC and back to deliver Tao & Ki to their new home.

  8. We take turns having minor emotional breakdowns from the workload of preparing to leave.

  9. We coordinate final visits with friends and family.

  10. We spend the 31st tying up all the loose ends.

  11. We attend our last Arnis De Mano class the night before we leave. It feels like leaving yet another family behind.

April, 2009

  1. We pack our bicycles, checked baggage and carry-ons.

  2. We leave!

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Room to Breathe


Sorry we missed you, but we will be talking soon. Love you both and our prays and hopes are with you. Love GM & GP
Posted by The Mathman on April 1st, 2009 at 7:30 AM
Wow. Katrina K.just turned me onto your blog. Exciting. I'll be following your journey. Best wishes.
Posted by Reasonable Sandra on April 1st, 2009 at 11:10 AM
Hooray! You're on your way! I hope you saved your card for the plane! :)
Posted by David on April 1st, 2009 at 12:29 PM
Hey, it's Adam from Arnis... Nice site. You guys' needed to pack alot of stuff and plan for a long time. Hope you guys have a nice flight out, if you're flying... It'll be kinda weird without you guys at class. Well, i got to go. Talk to ya guys later
Posted by Adam on April 1st, 2009 at 5:17 PM
awesome break down of your journey plans & preparations. you 2 have done so well. I am truely proud of you both.
--Maestro Kurt
Posted by Schtick on April 2nd, 2009 at 9:46 PM
Great to hear how a trip like this slowly comes together - my favorite step is no. 27!
Posted by tschitschi on April 24th, 2010 at 4:50 AM
How did you attach your fenders? I have the same frame/racks, I just bought some new fenders, how did you attach yours? Do you have any photos? Cheers
Posted by Lowell Reynolds on February 10th, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Hi guys, I have only discovered your blog of late and look forward to the reading I have ahead of me.

Can I just ask a question in relation to number 38. "Tara lands a good paying office job at Midwest Compliance".

Did you make your new employer aware of your wishes to travel in the near future?

I am in the process of planning a round world trip and could potentially increase my income a great deal by gaining employment with a new employer between now and leaving day.

I hope you are still responding as I know that these posts are fairly old now.

Posted by Andrew on November 13th, 2013 at 6:11 AM

I missed your message somehow--sorry for not responding! I am sure you have long since installed your fenders, but here is a link to a photo that shows how we did it for the front fenders (i mounted the rears using the holes drilled in the frame). If I had it to do over I would mount them further from the tire and stop worrying about it looking good because they caked up with mud easily and rubbed a bit at times.


Midwest Compliance is a client of my consulting firm. They knew the position was temporary but they hired Tara to do a specific job (digitizing a zillion documents) that didn't require long-term employment. Happy reading, and good luck with your tour planning!
Posted by Tyler on November 13th, 2013 at 8:08 AM