Their cycle of life starts Wednesday at noon.
North Vancouver couple Andrew and Amanda Prenty are preparing to spend the next 10 years circumnavigating the world by bicycle. he idea was born at a café in France at the end of a cycling tour vacation.
T "It was heartbreaking to think: 'We have to go back to the rat race," Amanda recalls.
Andrew agrees. "One of us looked at the other and wistfully said, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could keep doing this?'" Over the next three years the easy riders thought more and more about escaping their jobs and mortgage to spend life on the road.
Andrew, 35, was working as a salesman while Amanda, 40, made her living at a utility company.
"We were very comfortable. We had a house, we had a car, we had money, ski trips," Andrew says. Their careers weren't demoralizing or dehumanizing, but they weren't fulfilling. Andrew started working with a life coach and contemplating his purpose. "When we thought about what it is we would love to be doing, it was riding bikes," Andrew says. "Instead of being cat people, we had bikes." "We've become explorers together," Amanda explains. "Neither of us were that before."
Their apartment was replete with bicycle art and bicycle couch cushions. They started learning survival skills and training to build the endurance it takes to cross a continent at 15 kilometres per hour. The couple shed pounds and possessions in anticipation of their new life on the cycle path.
Despite recently selling their house and car, the "biggest thing" was parting with 10 bicycles, recalls Amanda. In a blog posted a week before the trip, Andrew mentions the "angry words and tears" that accompanied that day.
But despite the frantic final days of preparation, Amanda discusses the trip with an excitement reminiscent of a kid on the last day of school.
She adds they haven't had time to fear potential dangers of the vagabond life.
"We could get robbed along the way, but in my mind as long as we come out alive and unscathed. .. we'll move on," she says. "For me, a more long-term fear is running out of money." Spending 10 years on two wheels will cost more than $100,000 - provided their estimate of being able to live on $30 a day holds up.
"We hope and/or assume that health care won't break the bank," Andrew says. "Once we're past the U.S. we should be OK." The couple plans to carry travel insurance during their first year. They'll also bring a GPS unit, a tablet and a tent. The trip starts in Inuvik, North West Territories, where they'll sustain themselves with trail mix, dehydrated food and jerky. From there, they plan to wheel through the Arctic
Circle, pass through the United States and spend Christmas in Mexico.
The trip is mapped out over several years, although plans are subject to change based on weather, energy, and whether or not they'll be allowed in Tibet.
Sometime around 2022, the couple plans to "take a left at Turkey and go in and around Europe," Andrew says.
The last stretch of the tour is a straight ride from Montreal to Vancouver. Andrew says they haven't thought about what they'll do when they return and don't have answers to all of the questions that naturally arise. "Where are we going to live? What are we going to do for money? What about our families? What if someone gets sick?" The couple chooses not to be ruled by fear, Andrew says.
Before the couple met, the trip would have been unthinkable, according to Amanda, recalling her previous ambitions to get a good job, a house and retire at 65. "We certainly expect that we'll be very different people when we're back," she says. "I certainly hope to gain a greater appreciation for mankind and what the rest of the world has to offer."