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After the big trip They came, went... and did it! But where are they now? DID that big trip change their lives? What to do with all the travel experience and how to use it? How to get a job afterwards! Was the trip the best - or worst - thing you ever did?
Photo by James Duncan, Universe Camp, Uyuni Salt Flats

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by James Duncan,
"Universe Camp"
Uyuni Salt Flats



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  #16  
Old 2 Mar 2010
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i went backpacing in asia when i was shiping my bike from russia to the usa i was having some of the thoughs of the paper work cost type thing but when i opened the container door and seen my bike waiting there for me it was one of the best days and i then new it was $1200 well spent. all those miles of freedom are well worth it and i dont think i could go without a bike of some sort now
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  #17  
Old 5 Mar 2010
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I rode my bike for over 5 months,from the US down to Ushuaia,put bike on a ship to Canada,had 3 weeks to fill in so went back packing around Argentina and Chile. Bloody hell never again,suffered acute withdrawals systems from riding.Some times waiting up to 4-5 hours on the side of the road for buses. Should have spent money hiring another bike..I would walk along the streets of towns and cities,drooling over all the bikes,from 125s and up.
Ben
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  #18  
Old 23 Mar 2010
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I'm also having this problem at the moment. Having done a couple of big overlands now, even being without a bicycle seems impossible.

I want to do West Africa this summer (rain ) and the cost of getting a bike there, disposing of a bike there etc. etc. (it's only for a month) is almost too much to bear. Want to end up in Ghana and at the moment it's looking like the backpack option is the simplest....but i just cna't bear the thought ot it!
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  #19  
Old 9 Mar 2011
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wow, the thread that haunts me, seriously. Some great comments here.
after years of backpacking I discovered the delights of motorcycle adventure four or five years ago and have never looked back.
as much as i used to love staring out of long distance bus windows daydreaming endlessly and having strange unexpected conversations with strangers, those memories pale into insignificance when I look back on the constant buzz, riding challenges, decision making and pure independence of adventure biking that still give me goosebumps.
backpacking, sadly, has become an unwanted compromise, when logistics, availablitiy or costs conspire to force you to the bus terminal at ungodly hours and submit to the over-subscribed tourist trails with the lumpen sightseeing masses. Each new adventure without a bike fills me with a frustrated disappointment in myself and a renewed need to reform and redeem myself with another unforgettable bike misadventure.
Backpacking, it's a rite of passage, without question, but I wish i could confine it solely to rose-tinted glasses nostalgia of youthful pursuit.
Paperwork, parking, security, accidents and break downs are the necessary evils we must endure to experience the ultimate adventures available to us on our iron horses. Tourist attractions are just dots on maps we aim our bikes towards.
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  #20  
Old 9 Mar 2011
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Somewhat off topic, I'm sort of playing with an idea of combining the two. I like low powered, simple bikes (MZ's). I figure that if I can pare down the dreaded "stuff" to the point where I can carry it on my back, I'll have a grab and go system that will work equally well with engine, pedals or even the dreaded peasant wagons. I've got it into my head that days when the prospect of another puncture (or conversation about either how MZ are not CZ, or the fact I did see the thing with the actor and his mate) fills me with dread, are exactly the days I'll fancy a walk and there is nothing like spending 3 1/2 hours on a train talking about Martians to a bloke drinking your stove fuel (I kid you not) to cure you of any notion that bikes are a bad idea.

I'm playing with ex-army webbing which might not be a great idea in the rougher-tougher parts of the worlds, but we'll see, maybe it can be dyed. At least next time something that can't be fixed with duct tape, cable ties and a can of coke goes pop I'll be ready for the walk.

Andy
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  #21  
Old 9 Mar 2011
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I did three weeks backpacking in Burma simply because there is no other way of travelling there and would not like to make a habit of it, compared to the freedom of motorcycling or cycling it felt very restrictive and I did not enjoy sitting on a bus travelling at somebody else's pace. Not something I would do unless there is no other choice.
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  #22  
Old 9 Mar 2011
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Heh, forgot about this thread!

I'm currently on another big trip ... but since I can't take a big bike into Vietnam I'm backpacking it right now.

Today I took a tour of Cu Chi tunnels outside of Saigon on a bus that first stopped at a POS "Handicraft goods from handicaps" mandatory shopping trip. Then spent all day touring around with the masses.

I miss independent travel.. REAL indepenant travel, not lonely planet "independent travel".

Can't wait to rejoin my bike tomorrow in Bangkok!!!
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  #23  
Old 21 Oct 2013
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So I laughed, I apologize! I'm way too old and too dang lazy to carry all the good stuff I "need" these days! If I can't ride to the top of the mountain, I am happy to take a picture from down below! I'm too impatient to wait for buses, boats, trains or planes, When I want to go, I love to crank and roll! When I want to stop, it is time to stop, for whatever reason! If you gotta hike someplace, why not stow a day pack on your bike and take a wander out thru the trees or along the coast? Hiking and backpacking are fun, just different...
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  #24  
Old 5 Jan 2014
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I've backpacked Australia, South East Asia, Nepal, China, India for a year and a half, Mediterranean Europe and Mexico (P.S. I must plug Mexico for being an awesome country and wonderful people, Estoy lleno de amor por México!!! Hasta Pronto!). It wasn't until India when I accidentally mixed backpacking and motorcycling together. I wouldn't go back and change anything, and I had a really good time -especially in India, but my next big trip to South America is going to be a mix of volunteering and touring by motorcycle. The plus side of this is that it gives me a good excuse to return to SE-Asia, Australia to see it again on two-wheels!!

As other people said, being stuck in tourists bus with a bunch of gap yah's and getting shuttled to one overpriced hostel, to the next attraction, and eating pizzas in expensive, restaurants aimed solely at tourists, is absolutely no ones fault but your own. Though I admit, sometimes, especially in parts of S-E Asia, Eastern Australia, and parts of central America, the tourist trail is well established and in your face, but use some imagination, and it is not difficult to avoid.

If anyone ever said backpacking is boring, I would suggest they go to India, Nepal and Bangladesh for six months! I've hired and bought Enfields in India and it's a great way to travel and get yourself in the thick of it, but that said, not exposing yourself to local buses, trains, rickshaws or walking, would be missing a very essential part of that country, especially the trains! An overnight train journey in India in sleeper class will be unforgettable, and Indian train stations are absolutely fascinating in themselves.

It was similar in Central America, although I spent a fair amount of time wishing I had a bike, getting chicken buses from Panama to Mexico, and then coaches throughout Mexico to Austin Texas, was a fantastic experience. Although they are uncomfortable, you really see a lot life whilst riding in those Chicken Buses, they are a great experience. Only once did I take a tourist shuttle, from Antigua to the big lake in Guatemala, and it was just me and five super sexy Canadian girls fromQuebec who invited me to party with them

The best travellers I met were the ones who could go trekking in remote pats of the Himalayas, and then next week go crazy in some cheesy surf swimming pool hostel and have fun. The latter isn't for me, and getting drunk to cheesy music trying to shout pickup lines down girls ears never really has been, but when I look back and see myself sitting at the bar, chain smoking, being a bit aloof and miserable, whilst everyone around me was partying and having fun, I think I finally learnt that sometimes you ought to just let go of yourself and your prejudice. After all, isn't that what dedicated travelling is about?


Last edited by ridetheworld; 5 Jan 2014 at 23:05.
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  #25  
Old 6 Jan 2014
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I did a lot of backpacking for years, Ireland (when I was 18) , lots around France, Vietnam, several countries in South and central America, Sri Lanka…. But we became very quickly frustrated with it. You cannot stop on the way, go where you want, you depend on the train/bus. You go from one very touristic centre to another very touristic centre. The restrictions were very annoying. If you want to visit some places you need to hire a car with driver …

Then a few times we went on holiday and rented a car locally (Jordan, Turkey) it was better but…. Once I started biking it was just another world. I wanted to travel with my bike.

I like the challenge of the roads, the feeling of being out there, and the connection it gives you with the country and the locals. Also the fact you can go pretty much where ever you want, stop whenever you want, go to places where backpackers cannot go (unless hiring a car or taxi…) not relying on a stupid time tables etc….

The feeling of freedom is fantastic. Every time I go somewhere without my bike (my family lives in France and my mum is in Spain, so I usually fly over for a quick visit) , I just stare at bikes and bikers and wish I had my bike with me…..

So for us, unless we go visit family for a quick weekend trip, I don’t think I would go to backpacking again. It’s on a bike all the way!
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  #26  
Old 9 Nov 2014
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I'm gonna say like Maria. For me traveling by motorbike has opened a totally different way to relate to the territory I'm traveling to. It's the difference between visiting a place and exploring a place. When I travelled as a backpacker I felt like a tourist, but when I travel by motorbike I feel like an explorer. There is something about making my own way, moving by my own means, me versus the world.

I have great memories of backpacking, totally awesome experiences that are not in any ways less precious then my motorcycle adventure memories, but I can't imagine myself going back to the buses, trains and boats of a backpacking trip. I'm totally open to the idea that this is a highly personnal preference, but for me a motorcycle (or any travel by my own mean wether walking or pushbike) is synonym of liberty and I need that liberty, I need that fix of total independance from the system when I'm lucky enough to escape from my working camp.

That being said, the last thing I would like to do is to project the idea that traveling by motorcycle is "better" then backpacking or that somehow motorcycle travelers are "more badass" then backpackers. Wether you travel by motorbike or backpacking or going from hotel boutique to hotel boutique with your rolling suitcases for the bellboy, if your attitude is good, you're nice to people, you are ethical and you try to bring something good to the places you visit, then you are the best traveler and deserves respect and admiration. Period.

Last edited by Guillaume; 9 Nov 2014 at 18:42.
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  #27  
Old 9 Nov 2014
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Backpacking is quite a bit different than motorcycle tourism. I rode to Alaska and the rest of the states except Hawaii but also thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and kayaked the length of the Mississippi. Variety is the spice of life. Oh yeah, I leave for Ushuaia on a KLR in a week.
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  #28  
Old 16 Jul 2015
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I just Got back from Thailand and Laos where I found the happy medium because it was a short trip to do both. Act like a backpacker from the airport to hostel/ hotel and once there rent a bike and take off on your own adventure. I flew from Bangkok to just below the Laos boarder and took a bus across to Vientiane with the locals .. it was cheap and you got the feel of the place and people a little from it then rented a bike the next day. It was a crf 250 .. it did the trick ( unlike the helmet)and was about 50 (US) a day . After a week I had to fly back to Bangkok for a day then I decided to go to Chaing Mai and rented another bike and rode up to the Myanmar boarder .. golden triangle etc. The nice thing is I only took a small pack on the whole trip that was the size of a carry on for the plane rides and little organizing. All I know is that it has planted a seed for a longer trip to South America with my own bike but that's going to be a much longer trip.If you only have a short time either way you are going to have fun .. shit you won't be working will ya :P
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  #29  
Old 16 Jul 2015
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something in the middle (folding bikes)

Backpacking as in doing a complete trip on public transport. No thanks. Not anymore.

Tired of being condemned to public transport, zipping you from one place to another with nothing inbetween...

What we have liked alot since, is traveling with our bikes. Pedal bikes that is (the one that's using your muscles iso an engine). We've been traveling with Bromptons (folding bikes) in Serbia, France and Cuba. It's a squeeze, but you can carry all your luggage, including camping gear on them, they're good enough for 100km days, you can fold them and take them on a bus, train, taxi, fellow travelers car, ... . You can take them as checked luggage on plain, .... .

It's an incredibly flexible travel medium. It's different than a motorbike. You tend to go slower, sleep better, eat more. No hint of feeling locked up in the backpackers scene. At times, you'll feel even more freedom compared to a motorbike... .

Rob
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  #30  
Old 17 Jul 2015
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While in Malaysia I found out that the short run buses no longer existed I was in despair,64 yo, I never was a hiker n not in the mid 90's both temp n humidity. Buying a bike,which is waiting for the next trip,was the first vacation of retirement answer. the only back pack we use, is to escape having to wait for our luggage at the turn stile. Some airport are a real hike to n thru customs beware of Seattle currently,they must have really blown a review or something
4 different lines to go thru,well over an hour.
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