Written by Jay Tuttle, Burley Marketing Team
Ever thought about quitting your job, selling your stuff, and travelling the world? We we’re curious how to accomplish this, so we caught up with the Long Haul Trekkers for an interview to get the lowdown on how they’ve been traveling and living on their bikes since 2015 with their trusty pup Sora, the true star of the show.
As modern society prescribes, Dave and Jen spent time behind a desk in corporate America trying to make their way up the so-called “ladder”. They tried some new things with the launch of a startup that didn’t pan out and what they thought were dream jobs, only to find out it was the same grind. Getting up every morning at 5:30 to make it to work around 7:00 was quickly losing its appeal. Finally, Dave came home with an idea, “Why don’t we just stop everything and take Sora on a cycling tour around the world?” Jen’s initial response, “No!! That’s a terrible idea!” After careful consideration, the seemingly impossible became probable. Jen was in!!
“Most people in the states work a lot and play a little. We just sort of realigned our thinking and thought, ‘What if for a period of time we could sort of shift the percentages to be more about play and less about work. We never know when we’re going to get into a car accident or have some tragic injury or cancer or something that just cuts life short.’ So, from our perspective it was oh well, we have the time, let’s see if we can make it work financially and just go see the world, because that’s what we want to do right now.” – Dave
Let the pairing down begin! Old books from college were sold, Jen loaned her treasured Vitamix blender to a friend, Dave gave away his original Nintendo with 50 games to a friend, and they rented out their Portland home. They were committed; everything came together. There were hurdles, but there was always a solution. With their tickets in hand, bikes packed, route planned, and a Tail Wagon in tow, the transition was real. They waved goodbye and said hello to their new life of adventure.
“You figure out how to make it happen financially. You figure out how to bring your dog. Or, in our case, what to do with our chickens, cats, and our dogs. You figure it all out. You make that conscious decision ‘okay this is what I’m doing going forward’, and then you do the problem solving.” – Dave
In May 2015 the rubber met the road, Jen, Dave, & Sora unloaded their gear at the airport in Oslo, Norway with their visas, vaccinations, and a general plan to head towards Istanbul. Other countries were on the list, but their plans would evolve and they would continue to pedal. Friends and family have continued to support them with emails, Facebook comments, many Skype sessions, and the occasional visit to deliver much needed bike parts. They were fortunate enough to spend the Holidays in Greece with Jen’s family, so life has maintained some of its normalcies.
Much to their surprise, complete strangers have been a lifeline and a joy for this curious trio while on the road. Families with little money and dirt floors wanted to hear their story, offer advice for their journey, a place to rest their head for the night, feed them the local favorites, and share in the excitement of meeting new people. It’s a simple idea they’ve dubbed “The Authenticity of Humanity”.
“Meeting complete strangers who are so interested in our journey, so interested in learning about us often times have invited us into their homes and given us beds, food, showers and they’ve known us for 2-minutes. That’s just…It’s really refreshing to have those experiences and know that you can ask for help when you need it and that someone will be there to help you and just give you everything you need.” – Jen
The kindness and support of others has certainly become contagious. They’ve made it their mission to help out by stopping along their way to volunteer at animal shelters offering support to Sora’s friends one at a time. The Long Haul Trekkers are currently in Colombia paying it forward by Pedaling for Pooches to raise money and awareness for Defenzoores, A Colombia based non-profit that promotes respectful coexistence with animals and their environment. Pedaling for a cause and seeing the world one pedal stroke at a time can’t be any more inspiring!
Don’t be afraid to dream and let your mind wander. Trust your gut. The world is full of adventure, kind people, and beauty. If it’s only for a long weekend, a week, a month…a lifetime…make the time and effort to discover the wonderful world we live in. “The Authenticity of Humanity” is out there, you just have to be willing to let go and explore.