Trek 520 or any other touring bikes?

I dont have any experience with touring bikes but I am interested in purchasing one for treks. I have always dreamed of trekking on a bike. With a small luggage on my pannier and riding for about a month on the road to get to somewhere without relying on an automobile. Honestly I think that was the thought... show more I dont have any experience with touring bikes but I am interested in purchasing one for treks. I have always dreamed of trekking on a bike. With a small luggage on my pannier and riding for about a month on the road to get to somewhere without relying on an automobile.

Honestly I think that was the thought that brought me into cycling to begin with. Not Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France or the Giro. I just wanted to feel free. And as I get older the more I think about getting a touring bike instead of a regular road bike.

So what is your experience with a tour bike? Are they noticeably slower than regular road bikes? Is there anything worth noting before I purchase one? I only have experience with mostly road bikes and a few mountain bikes.
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