That is a great question…
First, like playing poker, you have to be all in. Quit your job.
I know, scary! In all honesty I did quit my job but only after spending approximately two years preparing. Preparing means saving, and to this end we accumulated savings in cash sufficient to cover one year with no income plus another 25 to 35 percent emergency funds for the unplanned events in life like basement floods (yes this did happen and will be title of subsequent blog “Headwinds”).
Necessary to the savings are some critical decisions like “Is this a totally supported tour where I carry my tent and supplies, or is my wife Jane joining me to support but not bike?” My wife enjoys a short ride but doesn’t want to live on 2 wheels, yet she wanted to be part of this journey …. Our decision: more wheels in the manner of a small 15-ft camper driven by Jane and pulled by our Ram truck. She will support my ride, participate in the journey and travels while I bike every inch of the trip across country, and she’ll do local biking. We both win!
With this decision, we spent last fall finding a used camper at reasonable price ($5k) that Jane would be comfortable towing and backing (Jane’s note: I haven’t yet backed it up) and would provide a simple roof over our heads at night plus a shower and facilities to cook. Jane insisted on shower/toilet requirements. It certainly will be better than sleeping on the ground and possibly cheaper than hotels.
Back to That Quitting Your Job Part …
So quitting a job is not as easy as I imagined…walk in, hand boss letter, walk out and celebrate. I found the preparation to quit to be significant. Yes, you have to save the funds, but you also have to explore and select a new health plan which is a confusing process (we decided on Medi-Share). Lots of items required attention from disconnecting myself and my accounts from my employer to email to 401K rollovers. The details take all the fun out of quitting! Plus I truly like my job … I just need to accomplish this 30-year-old goal with the aptly named Kick Up Some Dust sabbatical. I fully plan on heading back into the work world after this ride.
Think I’m ready after the above preparation? No way. I just spent the winter in Indiana with too little riding, too much email and ice cream for the season. This means I can barely ride around the block, let alone on a cross-country endeavor. So I chose to quit work at the end of February and to spend one month in Florida to facilitate training for an April tax day send off.
Where am I at now? With less than 2 weeks until go date, I have shed nearly 15 lbs and have been doing almost daily rides from 20 miles to 50 miles. I’m getting anxious to Kick up some Dust!!!
Next week we’ll be prepping the trailer by cleaning it and organizing it for daily use. The day before we leave we’ll buy groceries for a few days and then hit the trail. We have the first eight days mapped out with an included rest day. We’ll adjust as we go; after all, some things we’ll just have to figure out as we get going. I’m sure that will make for some interesting blog posts!
Kick up some dust!
*By the way, the picture at the top of this post is our son Jesse and his friend Tim on day 1 of their bike trip from Indiana to Colorado back in 2012. Mark rode with them the first day.