I suppose that question isn’t entirely accurate, but “To minimize expenditures by taking a few days to ride known territory and stay with friends to economize lodging expenses, or to utilize my indefinite time off by taking the Canada trip I’d originally intended despite the expense” doesn’t quite fit on a subject line.
But that is the crux of a question I’m pondering. I’m not planning to go to New Brunswick this weekend as I’d planned to before I lost my job. I canceled the trip to save money. I’ll be quite upset and disappointed if I don’t go on any trip at all sometime soon, but I do have friends in Maine and New Hampshire I could visit, stay with for free, and pay for nothing more than gas and food. It wouldn’t be anything particularly new to me, but I haven’t ridden in Maine in several years, and I know from having lived there for seven years that there’s some great riding and scenery there.
The alternative plan I’ve come up with is almost completely the opposite. My trip to Canada was originally supposed to go all the way out through New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, and the Cabot Trail, which is supposed to be motorcycling nirvana. I’d cut it short because I’d have to put in some high mileage days to do it in the four I was planning to take, and I’d probably miss a lot of great scenery along the way in the rush. But now, I have all kinds of time. Though I’m looking for jobs (when not procrastinating and writing blog posts instead), I don’t have things ramped up into a series of interviews that I need to be available and present for just yet. Once I do start a new job, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to take any vacation time anytime soon – possibly not until after riding season is over. While I do need to watch my spending while unemployed, I do have a pretty decent sum saved up in the bank which should last me for several months even if I find absolutely nothing. The amount of money a ride to the Cabot Trail would cost, especially if I camp along the way, shouldn’t make or break a month’s rent.
How to decide? The smartest thing to do is forget Canada, stay close to home, and focus on the work thing, because though it’s not as fun as biking, it’s more important. On the flip side, I’ve been a fan of Bill Caswell ever since he spent his unemployment building a $500 rally car in his mom’s garage and then racing it at a World Rally Championship event in Mexico. With the publicity and subsequent jobs and sponsorship he’s gotten, he hasn’t had to get a “real job” since. While it would be sweet if I could make a living by road tripping and writing this blog, I don’t see that happening.
I’m not nearly as crazy as Bill Caswell. And I mean “crazy” in the nicest possible way – he’s a good guy, and I’ve hung out with him a few times at rallies I’ve volunteered at. (I hated being the person who accepted and turned in his time card at the Empire State Performance Rally earlier this year, making his withdrawal from the event official.) But I do respect his philosophy that just because you’re unemployed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some fun. He took that to an extreme, but maybe, in my case, I really could, or should, just live a little and take the trip I’ve been dreaming of since winter. It’s not like I’d be throwing caution to the wind and doing a cross country trip (another dream of mine), then returning to an empty bank account and stacks of unpaid bills a mile high.
I don’t typically do a ton of budgeting for my road trips, but I think I need to crunch some numbers to see just how much my various options would cost, particularly the Cabot Trail one – not to mention taking into account exchange rates, gas prices, and such. If I get sticker shock at the price tag, I don’t have to go. But if it wouldn’t cost an excessive amount, I could probably swing that. Math is hard…