Common Questions about Bicycle Touring Around the World
'When will you finish your round the world bicycle tour?
Our aim is to cycle every country on the planet. So far, we have biked through 102 countries on all six permanently inhabited continents. Depending on whose list you follow, there are 195 or 196 countries in the world.
Our big gaps on the map are Central Asia (which we'll bike in summer 2017) and Europe. In South America, we're missing Ecuador and Peru because Eric's bike was stolen and we had to change our route. We biked 35 of Africa's 54 countries.
Some countries pose security risks (eg: Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen) and some are just plain hard to get to (eg: Palau, Grenada, Cape Verde, Kiribati).
How to do you finance your bike tour around the world?
Most importantly, we live frugally. Our budget is around $500 per month for the two of us. We have a small income from rental property in Europe, so we try not to dip into savings.
What’s your favorite country?
It’s hard to pick just one so here are 5 favorites: Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, and Morocco.
Do you work along the way?
The short answer is No. We are too old to get legal working holiday visas and have not found any casual work that is well paying. Sometimes we pet sit. We also earn some income through writing and photography.
Have you ever been seriously ill?
Yes. In the beginning of our trip, we fell seriously ill several times. We’ve both had malaria twice and Eric has had dengue fever and typhoid fever. Eric also broke his collar bone in Cameroon. In the past six years on the road, we have been surprisingly healthy.
Have you been to any dangerous countries?"
Dangerous means different things to different people so this is a tough question to answer.
We almost always feel safe on the road.
In Senegal, Cameroon, Congo, northern Kenya and southern Thailand, northeastern India, and the Kurdistan region of eastern Turkey we passed through pockets of political instability.
In Latin America countries with high rates of crime and murder (Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala) we were more vigilant than in other parts of the world.
How many kilometers to you ride per day?
We ride about 100 kilometers per day on average. On a few occasions, we’ve ridden more than 200 kilometers in a day thanks to favorable winds and a flat road. As we get older, we're slowing down and taking it easier on the road.
Where will you settle down after your tour is finished?
We’re not sure yet. We were living in Germany before we left and if a good job opportunity came up we might return there. Otherwise, we will probably retire somewhere in Asia where our savings will stretch further.
Do you have health insurance?
Yes, absolutely! We think it’s important to be covered in case of a serious illness or accident. We do not want to deplete our savings to pay for a medical evacuation or rely on the generosity of the government or others to cover our healthcare costs in the case of an unforeseen medical emergency.
How often do you go back home to visit?
We have been back to France twice and to the USA three times. We incorporate family visits into the cycle tour. I was back in Montana in summer 2016, but Eric has not been to France since 2009.
How many bikes have you used over your decade-plus of touring?
Eric had to replace his bike after it was stolen in Bolivia in 2011. I am riding my original Koga—it’s now got over 185,000 kilometers on it. Talk about built to last!
Where do you sleep?
We do a lot of Couchsurfing and use the Warm Showers hospitality network.
In more costly countries (Western Europe, North America, Australia, NZ) we NEVER go to hotels, youth hostels or guesthouses. We very rarely go to private campgrounds, RV parks or caravan parks. We often do wild camping or ask at a farm if we can pitch the tent.
In less-expensive countries (India, Guatemala, Thailand, Laos) we sometimes go to inexpensive hotels. We also ask to camp at schools, churches, temples and other public places.
What do you eat?
We don’t eat anything special—just whatever is cheap and plentiful. Rice and beans in Africa, pasta in the rest of the world and porridge almost every single day.
Got anything YOU want to know?
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