“I’m not ashamed that I don’t like to work,” a 35-year-old cyclist adventurer told Business Insider two years ago. “It’s just very unnatural.”
He “works” (or plays) as a fishing guide on his dad’s charter boat back home in Connecticut about six months a year and travels the world by bicycle for the rest, living on about $10 a day.
“Benedict” (another name he calls himself for “tax reasons”) is not sure how much money he makes (he refuses to count it), but says he can live comfortably on about $10,000 a year. He keeps most of his cash buried in plastic bags and keeps a bank account only so he can buy and sell bicycle parts on eBay.
“I went to college and got the degree and was trying to … do the hustle right out of college,” Benedict told Business Insider. “Then it was like, I gotta get a house, I’m 24, I got all these student loans … Before you know it, things work out and you meet the right girl and you settle down and buy the house and have the mortgage payment and the cars.”
“But ultimately that was not going to be me.”
“I don’t like to work. I like to ride my bike and I like to camp … I’m not going to spend the best years of my life doing something completely meaningless.”
Instead Ultra Romance decided to model his life – in part – after hunter-gatherers, who he says took an average of 9 hours a week to procure everything they needed to live. “The rest was all leisure time,” he said. “This is what’s natural to us.”
“Paperwork and bills don’t work for me,” he said in the interview. “They were a big stressor in my life.”
So he eliminated them. He pieced together a bike and hit the road.
It took Benedict about six years to figure out the right work/play balance to support his ideal lifestyle. He’s not into budgeting, but says as long as there’s money in his bag he knows he “must be doing something right.”
Benedict likes to “maximize relaxation” when he’s on the road (or trail). “I have no real goal. I just ride. It’s riding, setting up a hammock, taking a siesta, and chilling out.”
He prefers sleeping outside, sleeping indoors for only about two weeks per year.
As a mostly vegetarian nutrition major, Benedict has no problem feeding himself. He loves foraging for berries and “nutrient-dense weeds” and gets whatever he can’t find – including loads of yogurt and dark chocolate – at Whole Foods.
“If I’m near the coast I can get seaweed and crabs,” he said.
Without a mortgage, car payment or other bills, Benedict has been able to bike-tour beautiful landscapes all over the world, from Norway to New Zealand. Sometimes he rides alone, sometimes he rides with friends – old and new.
What inspired the name Ultra Romance remains a mystery. It could be the woman he almost settled down with before he broke free from civilization, the woman he currently wanders with, or his adventurous life in general (including all the women in between).
What is not a mystery is how much fun he is having. All you have to do is scroll through the breath-taking photos on one of his or his girlfriend’s Instagram accounts and look at their smiling faces: