Funding Your Trip
Fund raising is always a difficult one! Simon and I worked flat out for many years in order to save for our trip.That money ran out after the first few years on the road, by which time we knew we were hooked. We needed to see and experience more of the world, in a way we'd not imagined before we'd left. With a decision to continue made, we looked to sell off the possessions we had in the UK. With the help of family we sold most of what we owned, furniture, cloths, jewelry. The last big step was our decision to sell our house. This, for us was massive. Our home was our bolt-hole, our sanctuary and our last sense of financial security and normality. When it sold we were officially nomads. It was as scary as it was liberating. It also meant we could travel for a few more years. Fast forward a decade and that money has long gone. Today we face a daily/weekly struggle to find ways of paying the bills, the fuel, the accommodation and the transportation. But the reality is, that most people face that struggle, most people want more than their current economics will allow. The difference is, that instead of wanting a better car, a snazzier watch or a more fashionable pair of shoes, we want another country and to ride another few miles down the road.
Money makes The World Go Round
There's no getting away from the fact that the money side of things is always a big concern for Simon and I. We support ourselves financially having sold all of our worldly goods. It's not the glamorous, easy or exciting answer many expect to hear after asking the question "how?"
I can't afford it
Over the years we've spoken to thousands of people around the world and discussed their ambitions, goals, dreams and hopes for their futures. Where they want to be, the mountains they want to climb, the body-weight they want to loose and sometimes, simply the better future they hope to provide their families. We've all have desires and wants that remain unfulfilled. Wanting to go an a big bike journey is just another desire: It's also possible.
If it's important to you, you will find a way. If not you will find and EXCUSE.
Among our global conversations, especially in the developed world, one comment raises it's head more than any other and it sounds like this "Oh, I'd love to, but I'll have to wait unitl I can afford it". Here's the kicker, most people can't afford to simply buy the happiness they crave. If you want to embark on a longer ride, either around your country or around the world and you think, or know, it will make 'you' a happier 'you', then there are ways to make it happen. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution but there are more than a few options and techniques that you can use to begin to raise the funds you need before you set out.
The Big Picture - Overviw
You're busy, I get it, so if you don't thave time to read to the bottom of this page here's the 'snap-shot' of options to raise the cash.
Strategy #1: Curtail non-essential spending and use the saved money to pay for your ride.
Strategy #2: Take out a loan. Interest rates are the lowest they've been for years.
Strategy #3: If your trip is less than a month, use a credit card to pay for your trip, and apply for a new Credit Card that offers either no or very low rates when you transfer a balance from your original card. Some cards are now offering zero rates on balance transfers for the first 36 months.
Strategy #4: Sell your stuff. De-clutter your life and sell items that you don't use on a regular basis and use those funds to pay for your trip. Larger stuff like furniture, bikes and vehicles are the easiest to sell tvia garage and yard sales. For other items there are specific online sites that can help.
- Genral items and home stuff: Try letgo.com
- Tech and electronics: Try Usell.com
- Kids Cloths: Try Thredup.com
Strategy #5: Decide if your journey can appeal to an audience and use sites like crowd funding to raise cash. Remember, you should be able to offer your patrons something of value at the end of your trip. Maybe a book, a video or something that improves lives.
Strategy #6: Take a second or a third job, work your arse off and raise the money the old fashioned way. Hard work always pays.
Strategy #7: Find and motivate a corporate sponsor to fund your journey. Almost unheard of but not impossible. The downside is you will have to hand over a part if not all your journey to that sponsor. They are going to want you to earn every pound or dollar they provide.
Sponsorship - Overview
We still find that 'sponsorship' is a tough nut to crack, and after 450,000 miles, we both feel extremely privileged to have the support of firms like Touratech, SENA, LXV Outdoor, Continental Tires,REV'IT!, and many others. Remember, no matter how tremendous your goals maybe, or how accomplished you are, no one owes you a thing!
Sponsorship is an interesting arena and needs to be understood keenly. Our first five years on the road were without any kind of support. We'd sold what we needed to, kissed family and friends goodbye and rode out into the night, without fanfare. Back then (2003) there was no Facebook, The term ‘Adventure riding’ had only just been coined (by Chris Scott) and it was another two years until Google Maps would go live. The journey was and remains to be, for us.
We wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.To quote Henry David Thoreau
To find and keep sponsors of any kind, financial or otherwise, is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Even with our popular website, social media channels and our proven track record, we're working harder today than ever to obtain and retain the support of sponsoring companies.
For the firms that support us, we supply high quality media both still and video, social media content, along with info, product reports and reviews and more. Truth be told, we only know of one ‘professional’ round the world motorcyclist who has been given cash in the form of sponsorship and he's been doing it for 26 years!
Firstly, think long and hard if you really need sponsors.
Let me tell you a story of a real conversation that happened a few years ago. At a presentation we chatted with an audience member who was planning a ’big trip’. He’d specifically come to the show to ask our advice on sponsorship. He explained that he given his planned ride a name, created an identity, and spent time designing a professional sponsorship pack. He'd produced a letter of introduction, and even drawn up a press release. He’d written half a dozen times to an outdoor company who manufactured a specific camp stove. All this without a result.
“What am I doing wrong” he’d asked “can you help me get this stove”? he’d asked Simon desperately.
“What do you do for a living?” Simon asked.
“Oh, I’m a lawyer”
“Do you make good money?” Simon continued
“yeah, I Make about $130 an hour” our new friend stated proudly.
Simon paused before giving this sage advice...
“you need to just buy the stove! You’ve already spent 4-5 hours creating the material you’ve sent to the stove manufacturer right!” Our friend nodded in agreement.
“The stove you want cost $130 in the store. So, the minute you spent more than an hour trying to get it was costing you. You’ve now spent $650, which is what your time is worth, trying to get a $130 dollar stove given to you. That doesn’t make sense”.
Simon could have delivered his words of wisdom more gently, but it wouldn’t have altered the validity of his advice.