“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
2013-2015: Asia and South America Tour
In 2013 I left – riding a fully loaded bike for my very first time – with a plan that ended up changing dozens of times over the course of what turned out to be a two-year tour through the USA, Asia, and South America. I started out solo (for the first nine months) before being joined in Nepal by Kevin.
Countries we have visited along this trip:
–Pacific West Coast USA (5 weeks)
–India (seven months)
–Nepal (five months)
–Georgia (10 weeks)
–Turkey (three months)
–Patagonia (three months)
–Bolivia (two months)
–Peru (two months)
Since then, we spent our three month honeymoon in New Zealand, did a 5 week tour in Oman which turned out to be one of our all-time favorite counties, and did a stint in Norway which got cut short due to Kevin’s knee injury.
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Where do we sleep? At home in our tent! We can set it up just about everywhere; in fields, next to gas stations, in school yards, or best of all, in the middle of the mountains. Living outdoors 24/7 has become one of our favorite aspects of this lifestyle and a key factor in how we choose which countries end up on our bucket list. We do occasionally stay with people through warmshowers, and have been known to work for a free room at various hostels in different countries as well. Lastly, and most importantly, we have also been taken in by an incredible amount of generous and hospitable people in every single country we have visited: homestays which have allowed us to really experience the culture of a place while solidifying our love for the world!
What do we eat? Everything, seriously, anything and everything in our path. Our diets vary greatly depending on what is in season, what is cheap, and what is available so with each and every country comes a different set of food norms. That being said, pasta, as well as oatmeal, bread, soup, rice and lentils, and whatever else we can cook on our petrol powered backpacking stove. We have learned that popcorn makes a wonderful snack, that a cheese grater is more than worth the extra few ounces for grating everything from veggies for a soup to cheese for an omelet, and that there is no such thing as too much pasta.
How do we pay for it? By living cheap! We have no phone, no mortgage, no debt, and no expenses except the five to ten dollars a day we spend along our travels. Check out the money section for more information about this one.
Isn’t it dangerous, don’t you have to be a professional athlete, don’t you get lonely, isn’t it hard…?? Here is a post I wrote a while back dispelling common myths about cycle touring. The hardest part is stepping out of your front door, and despite what non-cycle tourists are going to tell you, the rest really does come naturally.
People are always curious how this works. How do you pack up everything you own into storage, fit what you need for a year (or three) on your bike, and leave.
Well, that’s just how you do it.
You pack the essentials and make do without all the extras which tend to clutter our lives. Then you start your life as a snail; with your home packed on your bike, you can pick up and move whenever you please.
How do you plan it? Well, you don’t really. I rarely know the name of more than one or two cities in a country before I arrive, and I have found the best way to travel is just to find out about the interesting places once you are there. My route has changed dramatically multiple times based on what I have heard from other cyclists, so it is best to leave your route somewhat open so that you can accommodate for these changes. Though it is hard to imagine for some, this kind of travel really does mean you buy a one-way ticket to a country and go. The hardest part is deciding to leave, once that is done, the rest is easy!
Feel free to check out this fun question/answer interview which may very well answer some of your own questions about this journey!
For more information, make sure to click on the tabs at the top of the blog which will lead you to detailed sections about us, our trip, our finances, and of course, our blog! Also, feel free to find us on our facebook page in order to follow updates and a photo of the day.
Shirine, do you have a donation site where friends can help you along the way? I know we would love to contribute a small amount as often as we can! Lots of love!
I don’t, not yet anyway. I have been asked many times about it now though, so it might appear eventually!
Hi! We met your friend In Bangkok the other day. We are also cycling and hope to meet you somewhere in the Stan’s. Life on a bike is so awesome, living your blog. X Jude & Astrid
Hi Shirine, I love your site and I’m so inspired with your free traveling spirit! I, too, took off in my 20’s and traveled around the world with my camera. It was a journey that expanded my consciousness and changed me forever! Not a day goes by that I don’t dream of traveling again. I am so blessed to have found an amazing husband and best friend to travel with me. We now have a 5 year old and I plan to show her the world! Please keep writing and posting photos so I can keep up the excitement. Also, will you add a donation button to your page? I’m sure there are many of us that would love to support you! 🙂 Thank you!!!
Great to hear from you! And yes, traveling with a family is in my eventual plans as well.
The donation button will probably appear at some point, I haven’t done a very good job putting it up (though I have tried a few times) but Ill try a bit harder in about a month when I get some good internet!
I love what you do! Such an adventure. And as a 20 year old WONDERFUL! GREAT! FANTASTIC!
You describe perfectly why it is so special to make these kind of trips!
When you can, please visit our country The Netherlands!?
I know you love mountains, this is not something we have here, but it is considered heaven for bicyclists! We have a very flat country with more bicycles than people!
Have fun, enjoy and be safe!
All the best,
I will indeed be making my way through Europe, and quite possible the Netherlands! Though it will take me a while to arrive…
Hi Shirine, love your blog and your project and I wish you luck on your future travels. If you make it to Belgium, you’re always very welcome in my house. Find me here: https://www.couchsurfing.org/people/mayawitters/. All the best, M
it’s really nice trip, just keep riding and don’t give up, me too i want to travel around the world on my bicycle, but i have some obligation to finish first after that i will think about the trip
soo if u caming to africa don’t forgot to visit algeria, u are welcome to my house
and u can find me here if u came or i don’t know or u need anythink u can send message here on my facebook, and i will help you with what i have
Love your philosophy. I am in my mid-30s and am just about to set off in the hope of doing exactly what you are (i.e. traveling with minimal plans – not your route) for the rest of my 30s and maybe into my 40s.
let me know if you come to the UK
wishing you the best of luck,just cycled from Seattle to Washington DC and know the experience of meeting so many kind and generous people. Maybe someday Sweden and you will find me on the warm shower host list in Gothenburg Lars Fasth
You´re an inspiration 🙂 If you manage to come to Portugal, please let me know!
Enjoy your way 🙂
I will! IT will take me a while though…
I’m new to WordPress and blogging, and your blog is the first one I have visited. I have to say, you are so inspiring for choosing to live life and exploring the world in this way. I wish I had the guts to do the same. I look forward to reading through your blog and catching up on your travels! Good luck with your travels!
And, you don’t need guts. No thinking, no rationalizing, you just step our the door and the rest comes naturally! It’s a wonderful way to experience the world, you should do it as well!!