Planet         Backpacker
  "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him."-- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier
  "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him."-- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier

Travel tales for those born to wander

Click on the photo for a short video about Planet Backpacker.
 "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him." -- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier

"I just finished it about an hour ago and thought it was freaking amazing." -- Backpacker Peter Richards
  "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him."-- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier
  "From flying monkey gods and amorous donkeys to tales of a bus caravan speeding through a terrorist-infested desert, Downes puts you right there with him."-- Ben Gohs, Charlevoix Courier
Welcome Travelers
   Thanks for checking out my website.  My site offers stories about travel to cool places around the world -- places you've always dreamed of visiting.  It also includes excerpts from my book, 'Planet Backpacker.'  As you can see from the menu, there are stories about bumming around the world, cycle tours, and backcountry experiences, often with my wife, Jeannette Wildman.
   Look for a new book, 'Travels With My Wife,' to be published in the spring of 2014.
   Wishing you many fine adventures -- Bob Downes
New from the Wandering Press: Biking Northern Michigan
Packed with funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!
  
Packed with funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!
  
Packed with funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!
  
  Packed with more than 35 routes and 56 maps & illustrations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you ready to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
  Veteran cyclist and traveler Bob Downes guides you along the 'best & safest' bike routes in northwestern lower Michigan with a mix of funny stories, history and dining/shopping recommendations of interest to cyclists.  
   With easy-to-follow maps, "Biking Northern Michigan" includes:
  • Getting the most out of Traverse City's TART Trail system and Petoskey's Wheelway;
  • The best rides in Benzie and Leelanau counties;
  • Epic trail rides from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Petoskey to the Mackinac Straits;
  • The best routes around the inland lakes: Crystal Lake, Glen Lake, Torch Lake, Walloon Lake and Lake Charlevoix;
  • Beaver Island, Mackinaw Island & much more...
funny stories, cycling tips, history and dining recommendations, "Biking Northern Michigan" will have you itching to ride one of the top cycling destinations in the world.
    When it comes to cycling, Michigan is at or near the top of the list in America with 109 rail-trail conversions totaling 1,311 miles.
   But as any cyclist in the state knows, the "best of the best" trails and routes are found in the northern lower peninsula, where the backroads of Traverse City, Petoskey and Leelanau & Benzie County are music to the ears of adventurers on two wheels.
   Blessed with an abundance of rail trails, Northern Michigan is also rich with forests, wildlife, beaches, lakes, quiet roads and some of the state's best cuisine, wineries and brewpubs.
  Veteran cyclist, traveler and award-winning writer Robert Downes guides you down the region's best and safest bike routes, including such offbeat treasures as:
  • Epic rides to the Mackinac Straits from Gaylord, Harbor Springs and Alpena.
  • Beaver Island and Mackinac Island.
  • The backroads of Benzie and Leelanau counties.
  • Getting the best out of Traverse City's TART system and Petoskey's Wheelway… and much more!

Coming this Summer -- 2014

'Travels With My Wife' - a book that's as much about marriage as it is about traveling 7 months around the world.

Have you ever dreamed of driving up the east coast of Australia?  Backpacking the mountains of Tasmania?  Bumming around Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia? Exploring Sri Lanka and India? Rowboating down the Ganges?  Circling Turkey?  Biking through Croatia... and more?  'Travels With My Wife' will get you there!
The Original:  A solo trip around the world...
  Warning: This book could cause your feet to wander...
   But if that's no problem, "pass the goat dick, please," and lean back for laughs and low adventures with "Planet Backpacker: The Good Life Bumming Around the World."
   Thebook by Robert Downes celebrates the backpacking lifestyle enjoyed by an estimated 100,000 travelers out wandering around the world at any given moment.
  'Backpacking' is a style of travel that involves using native transportation, staying in local digs (guest houses, hostels, pensiones), and visiting exotic destinations on the cheap.  In America, 'backpacking' tends to mean a backcountry camping experience, but in Australia and Europe it more commonly refers to the kind of trip that college kids take during their gap year.
   Increasingly, backpacking is a passion for travelers of all ages, and certainly the best way to see the world at the lowest cost.
   In 2007, Downes set off on a solo trip around the world, biking across Europe on a mountain bike and backpacking on through Eastern Europe, Egypt, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.  The resulting book got its start as a blog, written one excerpt at a time in more than 100 of the grubbiest internet cafes on the planet.
   Downes notes that backpacking around the world is one of the last epic adventures possible for the average person to achieve.  'Planet Backpacker' offers plenty of hard-earned wisdom on that score, along with advice on how to make your own trip a success.

Check out my book -- signed copies available via PayPal!
Click on the logo to order 'Planet Backpacker: The Good Life Bumming Around the World" from Amazon Kindle -- $4.99 for the illustrated ebook.
Click on the logo to order 'Planet Backpacker: The Good Life Bumming Around the World' as an Apple iBook from iTunes.  With more than 75 illustrations, $4.99.