It’s hard to put it all down in such concrete figures; our adventure was so much more than what these numbers say. But here is what it looked like:
John 21,545 km. 13,387 miles.
Emily About 20,745 km. 12,890 miles.
*All distances calculated on a bike computer of dubious accuracy. Emily’s distance is a little less than John’s because she went home for 2 weeks of December 2010 and John went on a solo ride in northern Thailand.
23 months. We left Bend, Oregon on January 5, 2010 and returned to Colorado on December 2, 2011.
Works out to $105/day. These dollar figures include 100% of our spend on the trip. Food, visas, plane tickets, bike parts, clothing, gifts, camping fees, guesthouses, shipping boxes back home, trains, scuba certification and dives, albatross sightseeing, paragliding, etc. It does not include the start up costs before we left, such as the cost of our bikes, racks, panniers, and the gear that goes inside.
We started the trip figuring the cost would be ~$43/day. We went over that in NZ and OZ but we expected that. Asia was cheap, we lived on $20/day total for both of us the entire time we were there. But add in flights, train tickets, bike parts, souvenirs, shipping, and all of the little expenses and we couldn’t fit that in to $20/day.
We used ATM cards to get money. No travelers checks and no wad of cash in the bottom of our panniers. We used Charles Schwab for our bank; they gave us interest earning checking accounts, refundable ATM fees, and no foreign transaction fee. Quite a deal.
15,000+. We would take the pictures off the camera card and in to our computer. Then after leaving each country we would take the pictures off the computer and put them on a portable hard drive. We’d also send home a thumb drive with our pictures from each country. Even with all of that ‘insurance’ we still lost about 1/2 of our pictures from Australia and most of our pictures from Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Grrr.
11. New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, India and Nepal.
Time spent camping
Roughly half of the nights on our trip we camped. We camped almost every night in New Zealand and Australia (8 months!), the exception being when we got to sleep in a locals house. We camped a lot in China, India and Nepal; and a fair amount in Laos. We did camp in every country at least once, I think Malaysia gets the token for only 1 night. When we would stay in a hotel the average price we paid was about $7 per night, sometimes including breakfast. With prices like that it’s kinda hard to sleep in a tent, but sometimes we would get fed up with the filth and choose our nice clean tent and sleeping bags even though we’d often have to deal with curious locals and a lack of privacy all night long.
Flat tires and other wheel issues
During the first 5 months or so of our trip we each had about 20 flat tires. Then we got a new set of tires and we each had 2 flat tires each for the remaining 18 months! Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour tires are awesome!
We went through a total of 11 wheels, 4 tires, and lots of tubes. The wheels are the surprising thing. Reading books before we left I read about wheels splitting in half along the spoke holes. That never happened to us. What did happen was the rim would split around the perimeter where the brake pads rub.
2. We rode with a spare chain for each of our bikes. We swapped chains in Bangkok after 11 months. We cleaned the old chains in an old water bottle with some gasoline in it, then carried that chain with us through the rest of Asia. Somewhere in western Nepal we swapped chains again and donated the dirty chain to a guy along the road. 2 chains, not bad.
Lots, and they’re not as easy to find as you’d think. If there was one thing we’d change about our bike setup, it’d be to go with disc brakes. Less wear on our wheels is the primary reason. Of course if we did this we’d need to carry all of our spares and know how to fit them.
About 10 million. Well that’s probably an exaggeration, but we did eat a lot of them. Mostly in China, India and Nepal.
2. We used Nemo tents and eventually both zippers failed on our first tent. When Emily was back in the States in Dec 2010 they gave us another tent at no charge. Both zippers on that tent failed as well…