How Much Is Your Freedom Worth?

By Egle Gerulaityte.

When I feel inspired, I’m usually a very curious fur ball of dreads: I’d always talk to other riders while waiting for the ferry, having coffee at a gas station, or taking photos of the Transfagarasan road; after all, the beauty of the world is that everybody cooks their breakfast differently in different corners of the earth, and I want to find out all about it.

But recently, I’ve noticed that people don’t want to know about scrambled eggs; neither do they ask about riding Tajikistan, or inquire about the heavenly Caribbean mojitos: instead, they want to know about…money. It’s never a comfortable subject, but it always comes up when people find out I’m on the road indefinitely. ‘How the hell can you afford it, you little weasel?’ – is what they usually wonder; but the thing is, people have very peculiar ideas of what a round the world motorcycle trip actually costs.

Motorcycle Round the World Budget: How Many Millions?

‘Trust fund bourgeois’, ‘Have you won the lottery?’, ‘Are you a millionaire?’, – that’s what people usually assume when they hear I’m riding round the world. None of these statements are true, but let’s go back a little and have a look – see at some ideas of how much a motorcycle RTW journey really costs. How much money do you need to travel all five continents, including motorcycle shipping, visas, carnet de passage, and insurance? Have you already got some behemoth amount in your head?

Good. Whatever sum you’re thinking of, you’re mistaken, brother (sister?): traveling is cheaper than the cost of living. That’s right: even if you include bike shipping across the oceans, worn out tires, malaria shots, lazing around in Bali and having bear paw steak in Magadan, traveling round the world on a motorcycle is still cheaper than living in London, New York, or Toronto. Of course, if you’re only touring North America, Europe, and Australia your pockets will empty faster than you can say ‘Heidenau’; but if you also ride South America, Africa, and Asia, the average monthly sum is rather non – threatening. How non – threatening? Well, how much do you spend on rent, mortgage, groceries, holidays, clothing and going out with your chums on Fridays? Voila.

Motorcycle Round the World Budget Again: Five Stars and Ditches?

‘Oh, well, then you probably sleep in ditches, eat pot noodles all the time and have gear made in China’, – thinks your average civilian upon hearing that travel is cheap. Wrong again, friend: yes, having a tight budget means you won’t be sleeping in hotels all the time, having restaurant surf & turf dinners or wearing the newest Klim gear. But with some imagination and willingness to improvise, you can get by just fine camping often, making your own food, and buying good quality second hand gear (example: my Reusch jacket and pantalones cost me 160 euros second hand; the jacket has a hole in the shoulder after one spectacularly moronic dismount off my bike, but otherwise, it’s still good). Besides, you can feel like a king when you’re traveling in the poorer regions of the world: a heavenly beef steak in Argentina will cost you around 15 euros, a hotel room in La Paz – probably around 20, a jug of moonshine in Kyrgyzstan – three fifty, and a night out in Nairobi – around 12 euros. So the principle is simple: when in Norway, New Zealand, and Switzerland, buy supermarket food, sleep in the tent, and drink water; when in Nicaragua, Uzbekistan, and Cambodia, stuff your face with lobster, have Cuba Libre by a bucket, and sleep in a proper bed.

Round the World Budget One Last Time: Where Does The Cash Come From?

Fine, so it‘s cheaper than I thought; but you still need money – so how do you finance the journey, witch?‘, – asks a grumpy weekend warrior. Who finances my journey? Me!

How? One sweet little world: freelancing. I‘m a writer by calling and profession, so that‘s what I do: write my way around the world. I write for bike and travel magazines, but I‘m willing to sell my soul for lifestyle mags, too; I‘d say yes to ghost writing, translations, and copywriting as well. In other words, I travel and work. It‘s not easy – you‘re constantly terrorizing people about the speed of their wi – fi, hounding editors to pay you your dues, and harass publishers to buy your work, but it gives you freedom to go around, diagonally, or in a leisurely zigzag round the world for as long as your soul desires. Online freelancing is amazing. And you don‘t have to be a writer or a blogger to do it – these days, almost anyone can transfer their skills online. Consulting, teaching, virtual PA, selling buttons – anything is possible.

Of course, there are other ways to finance your round the world venture: for example, saving and then traveling without a care in the world. The thing is, when the money runs out you‘ll have to head home – and I don‘t want to go home, I want to go round the world indefinitely. Besides, I have no patience, willpower or other virtuous features to be able to save that much money, anyway. I‘m not saying it isn‘t a good idea – it just isn‘t for me.

​And finally, there‘s sponsors. Where do these magical sponsors live, and how to talk to them, remains a mystery to me. I have a feeling that to get sponsorship, you need to sell yourself as this incredibly badass ADV meister who will be riding the weirdest bike imaginable round the world backwards, wearing nothing but shorts dotted with panda bears; naturally, such an individual would also ride for peace, collect money for charities, save an endangered frog species, and complete the journey in record time while elegantly blogging about it from the peaks of the Himalayas, combing his immaculate YOLO beard with grace and skill. Sadly, I don‘t remind of such an individual even remotely; there is a Donate‘ button on my page, though, and sometimes, people feel like contributing. Press that button, friend! And in return, I‘ll keep the storytelling, the blabber and the photos up making your Monday morning coffee that much better.

So what do you really need for an epic motorcycle journey? Imagination and a sense of humor; the rest falls into place as soon as you hit the road. Get off the couch and ride! And if you‘re still a bit woozy and unsure, here‘s a few ideas to help you ditch the matrix and discover freedom on two wheels:

You think you need a fancy bike and fancy gear to go round the world? Guess what: you don‘t. While quality gear and a trusty bike do help, you don‘t need a brand new BMW and the best Goretex stuff: Ed March has done it on a C90 with a Morrison‘s basket; I‘ve done South America on a Chinese 150CC; Sean Dillon‘s ridden half the world on the Honda Cub. Need I continue?.. The shiny stuff doesn‘t matter: what matter is the desire to ride.

The slower you go, the less you spend. It‘s fact. The slower you travel, the slower money leave your pockets; you spend less on fuel and usually, lodging. Racing round the world is costly…and kinda blurry, I‘d imagine.

Don‘t be shy and accept invitations for lunch, overnight stay, and/or beer. People want to hear about your travels: they offer to help you because they think you‘re onto something great, not because they pity your hobo ass.