Two bicycles leaning against a road sign in Baja Mexico that says, "Precaucion Disminuya Su Velocidad." In English, "Caution Reduce Your Speed."
Dennis and Scott take a break in Baja California, Mexico. The sign says, "Caution Reduce Your Speed." We're not sure we can go any slower without falling over.

Planning

How to make an adventure

Resources & advice for adventures of any kind — even baking cupcakes

I get a lot of emails asking for advice. When I began planning my trip back in the early 90’s, there were hardly any books about cycle touring and almost nothing online. Now there is an overwhelming amount of information online, and self-proclaimed experts popping up in every niche. Even I get lost. Anyway, I can make this easy for you. My answer to planning an adventure boils down to the following:

I began my trip feeling afraid and lost, but I didn’t know that the very best adventure, by definition, is unimaginable and impossible until it is done. And I didn’t know that humans instinctively fear the unknown. Life is not easy. This is good news! Not only is the world a constantly changing place, but you can actually change it—you can create the adventure you are looking for, you can create the world you want to live in, and you can create yourself to be a hero; therefore, I need to give you no advice except, If you have the passion and the courage—you will find the way.

~ Scott Stoll

Since the world is a constantly changing place, my main advice is pretty simple — Enjoy the journey. That may sound simplistic and easy, but how many people really enjoy their journey through life? Also, remember someday, you will return to living a “regular” and “ordinary” life, so enjoying the journey will mean everything, and simply achieving some monumental goal or notch on your belt may mean nothing at all. Learning to enjoy the journey is insulation against failure. Learning to enjoy the journey is your first defense against taking yourself too seriously. Enjoying the journey is the reward.

Now that I have told you to ultimately rely on yourself, I will give you a few useful stepping stones:

What is an adventure?

Is it poor planning? How is it different than traveling or a vacation? Is an adventurer a special kind of person?

The top 4 important factors when planning your travels.

In order of importance:
My table display for my Falling Uphill book tour with globe, maps, bookmarks, bike and more.
Bringing a map to show people your journey is almost an essential item. Kid’s will love an inflatable globe, but — careful — it will turn into a game of football.

Top Ten Travel Tips:

  1. Just do it! If you choose to bicycle tour, get on a bike and go. You’ll figure it out fast.
  2. Bring an open mind. Remember you are not the only one on this adventure. Everyone you meet may be just as excited to explore your life.
  3. Enjoy the ride. This may sound cliché, but I was surprised by how many people complained. Travel is not easy, but if you choose to do it, have some fun.
  4. Go Slow! You are not on “the amazing race” around the world. Spend more time living with the locals, say a week or two or even several months with a family off the beaten path.
  5. Learn the basics of the local culture. What are taboo subjects and actions? What morals would you adopt?
  6. Learn the basic words of the native language, such as: excuse me, please, thank you, how much, where, left, right…
  7. Chronicle your adventure.
    • Take more photos and videos than you ever think you’ll need.
    • Make lots of notes and trip updates for your friends.
  8. Drink lots of water. I recommend adding some fresh lemon or lime juice to keep you hydrated. They are full of natural electrolytes.
  9. Stay out of the sun. Bring a wide-brimmed hat for the sun, and use organic (no petrochemicals) sunscreen.
  10. Leave a place better than you found it.
  11. Bonus tip: Create a backup plan for emergencies.

More Travel and Adventure Resources

Even more practical advice:

Falling Uphill Anniversary Edition: One man's quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle. By Scott Stoll.

Kick start your dream

Relive the adventure

Learning by doing is my preferred method. Second best is learning by example. If you want to learn all my major lessons and start a journey knowing everything I did, plus adding it to everything you know, please read my book. Why make all the same mistakes, when you can make all different mistakes? I truly believe it will enhance the value of your experience and bring your journey to a level above mine.

Relive and reimagine the journey. More info about the journey. More info about the book.

The Bicycle Touring Survival Guide

Bike Touring Survival Guide

Falling Uphill is about the inner journey we all travel through life, but if you choose to make a real adventure by bicycle this is the guide you want once you start pedaling. It has a lot of info that I wish I knew and even teaches you how to grow a garden on your bike. Best of all, Scott played a very small part to inspire and edit this book, along with a lot of other notable cyclists. More info.

Bicycle Traveler Magazine

Bicycle Traveler Magazine

Here is a really great magazine that you can download for free. The photographs are truly spectacular. And the stories are truly inspiring, featuring people living great lives on the bicycle. This will entertain serious bike tourers and armchair travelers alike. Get yours here.

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