Sep 20, 2012

Fellow Travelers


Once we started searching, it was amazing how many similar stories we discovered online.  We're obviously not the only folks who decided it would be fun to drive the Americas...

We have found so much inspiration through their stories. Facing their fears and leaving it all behind, they've found the courage to explore the darkest corners of the earth and find out what is waiting over the horizon. Against inconceivable odds, these individuals have designed the life of their dreams...and for that we salute them.

There are hundreds more out there.  If you don't see your adventure listed below, please add it in a comment.  Don't be sad if we left you out, it's obviously a HUGE list...We hope to see you on the road!

Here's an ongoing list of Pan-Am travelers on the road in 2012

To find more past and current travelers, visit the PanAmerican Travelers Association


The Webbs are a family of six that we met on near Volcán Arenal in Costa Rica.  Hanging out with these guys was a blast and they motivated me to someday take our future kiddos on some epic road-trips.  They left their home in Arizona and are heading to South America in a F-250 with a utility bed for extra storage and a monster camper for extra comfort.  They have a cool little Honda Ruckus that hangs on the back, waiting for day runs into town.  Hence the name "Family Ruckus".

Four Sprinter Vans, loosely affiiliated while they head south.  They left in October 2012 and are making their way thru Central America before they reach South America.  We love the fact that they're a rolling block party.

We saw Reid and Logan's rig parked at the fire station in Granada, Nicaragua so we e-stalked them using the website on their bumper.  Later that night we bumped into them after we realized the couple having dinner next to us looked strangely similar to the couple traveling in that sweet truck camper.  Next thing we knew we were caravan-ing our way through Nicaragua together with their badass dog Zephyr.  They started in Reno and are heading to South America in a '04 Chevy Duramax with a Northern camper.

La Vuelta Al Mundo
Starting from his home in Costa Rica, Erick is driving the Americas in a newer Nissan Frontier with custom camper, affectionately named "Dora".  His blog is in spanish and you can also find him on Facebook.  A great source of information in Costa Rica.

Overland The World
Jeff and Monica are driving the Americas in a decked out '97 LX450, basically Lexus' version of an 80 series Landcruiser.  They officially left Phoenix in August and after a little of sightseeing in the US they'll head south.

30 for Thirty
After a thorough discussion about the importance of family, travel, and the fact that they were both turning 30 in 2012, Ken and Anaka decided to go on an epic journey. We can't think of a better way to ring in the dirty thirty.

Joe and Kylee, also from the Northwest, are in a '99 Tacoma with a cool custom camper that they found on Expedition Portal.  They've put some of their own tweaks and custom touches on the rig and they're on their way to where?...Patagonia of course!

Kaytie and Christian are heading out for Central America in a Mitsubishi Montero.  Their blog name is inspired by some chosen words from a favorite book, "The car goes where the eyes go".  We're looking forward to finding out more about their trip soon!

Colin and Carrie are leaving Oregon to travel the US for a while, then they'll hit the road south in an awesome '87 Westfalia Synchro (one of our dreamcars).  Colin also left his dream job as a firefighter, so Brenton feels a little better, knowing that he's not the only crazy person to make that decision!

Nate, Sarah are high school sweethearts traveling from Maine to Argentina with their dog Brady, in a beefy 1996 Dodge Ram 2500.

HP do the Americas by Bus
We met Hadleigh and Paula in San Cristobal de Las Casas.  Brenton couldn't help but start a conversation with them, considering they are driving in a sweet Westfalia camper.  We had a few beers and a few laughs with them before they took off.  Hopefully we will bump into them again soon!

Also known as 1 Guy 1 Mini-van...we had the pleasure of meeting Kiel in Antigua and enjoyed chatting over beers before he headed further south.  He's driving a lifted 2004 AWD Chevy Astro van from San Diego to Ushuaia.

In July, Bryan, Jen, and Karma the Wonder Dog in their super-smooth '67 Type II VW bus, known as E.  We love their style and we also love their adopted last name, the Dangers "just because it's cute, but also a little badass".  We can't wait to see how badass you guys get on your journey to South America.

A group of 5 friends (24-29 years old), traveling together in a Nissan Frontier and sleeping on top in two RTT's.  They started in Sao Paulo, Brazil and recently reached Alaska.  After Alaska they'll head southbound to Tierra del Fuego, and then back home to Brazil.

Originally from Spain, Miguel is a writer and filmmaker.  He produces an online car series called Open Roads, which you can watch on his website.  Miguel is driving a Mercedes W123 300TD

Carl and Heather are the backpackers who bought 'The Beast' from Logan & Brianna of PanAm Notes.  These two backpacked and bus'd their way from the US to South America, and now they're heading back north by vehicle so that they can get a little further from the tourist destinations.

After a "shakedown" trip thru Europe and 3 months in Morocco, Merv and Sarah shipped their Unimog (the Moglander) to Argentina in July and they're slowly making their way north.  The Moglanders are working with the Ted Simon Foundation along the way, sharing their experiences with the world.

Meet Jason, Angela, and Bode…our heroes.  They've been on the road for over 3 years now and they're taking family life to a whole new definition (Bode is 7 years old).  They're traveling in a "generally restored" 1971 VW Westfalia bus.  Bodes Well when we "generally" grow up, we want to be just like you guys.

Starting in El Paso, Texas...Alex is driving a 2007 KLR 650 first to Alaska, then he will head south again towards Argentina!  Alex sold everything and is riding for charity, on behalf of children of Uganda.  Safe travels Alex!

This South African family (Graeme, Luisa, Keela, and Jessica) are shipping their Land Rover to Argentina and driving overland to Alaska, to raise awareness and funds in support of Malaria eradication in Africa.  After that they will return their Defender 130, known as "Mafuta", back to Africa for round 2 continuing to Aberdeen, Scotland.

We met Aren and Serafina while volunteering through the Muskoka Foundation and Mayan Families in Panajachel.  This married couple is exploring the Americas by KLR 650's and through local food, taking a ton of film along the way.  We can't wait to see the finished product!

We met this couple from the Netherlands while we were camping at the Tourist Police headquarters in Antigua.  We enjoyed some wine with them and they had tons of helpful information to share.  They're currently on a world tour in a custom Ford 550 Camp built by Global Expedition Vehicles.  These guys stay very busy, writing two blogs just so you can read it in english...so you'd better read their blog!

Another amazing resource for "Location Independence".  Rich is a digital nomad, traveling from Canada to Patagonia in a 2001 Jeep Cherokee known as Mister Boxy.  We've only recently discovered his website, but it already came to our rescue when we needed to renew our Guatemalan visa and our CA-4 vehicle paperwork...thanks Rich!

We keep bumping into Zuzana and Kamil...first in Mexico City, then Oaxaca, and again on Lake Atitlan.  We wouldn't have it any other way.  This fun couple from Czech are cruising in "The Getaway Van", a 1989 Dodge Ram 250 van.  They're currently taking a short pause to refill their savings account, then hopefully we'll see them again in Panama or even South America.

Fanny and Chris are driving Bip Bip, a very cool '96 Mitsubishi Delica 4WD van, from Canada to South America.  Their blog is mostly in French, so we only know so much...

Jessica, Jared, and Kobus are driving a '97 4runner named Blue down to South America...oh yeah, did I forget to mention, they are probably THE most useful blog to follow and they work hard to keep it that way.  They post WiFi/cell-phone reports by country and detailed info for every border crossing.  They are THE experts on how to stay connected or work from the road.  They're also great folks to chat up if you have any travel related questions...Life Remotely, we salute you.

We met Aaron and Aneta in Oaxaca and went on a mini-adventure in the Sierra Norte mountains.  Starting from Steamboat Springs, CO they're driving to South America in a '99 Pathfinder that was outfitted with some custom storage by Aaron.  They're currently taking a pause in Guatemala, then they should be back on the road later this winter.

Brad and Sheena have been kicking ass in a 1984 VW Vanagon affectionately named Nacho.  Their plan is to circumnavigate the globe, but they've had their fair share of mechanical issues. They just keep on keepin' on, no matter what obstacles cross their path.  When Nacho's transmission died in Colombia with no feasible options for a replacement, what did they do when they do?  They chose option #4 and flew back to Arizona, refocused on their mission for a couple weeks, then flew back to Colombia with a brand-new transmission disassembled in their backpacks!  Innovation at it's finest.  We love you Nacho!

Jeremy and Paula left London-life to drive the Americas in a '97 VW Eurovan.  They are heading southbound from Mexico and writing articles along the way, their blog really makes for a great read.

Joe and Erik are two buddies driving to South America in a 2000 4Runner.  In the summer of 2012 they had to take a vacation from their vacation, due to medical reasons, but they're scheduled to hit the road again in mid-October.  We hope to see Erik hiking in Central America's highlands soon!

Thomas is a Swiss gentleman driving a very impressive Landcruiser HZJ 78 with a custom made pop-top.  He's slowly making his way to Argentina, taking lots of photos of the Toyotas he sees along the way.  You can see his album of interesting and beautiful Toyotas here.

Mark and Sarah realized that retirement is too far away so they bought "The Beast", an ex-military Daf 4x4 flatbed and outfitted it into a beast of an overland vehicle, then shipped it across the pond for a short drive from Alaska to South America.  Their journey is very well documented and there is loads of info to be found there.

Jill and Zack are driving south in a 2003 AWD Astro van on steroids.  Their journey is "a time to reconnect with nature and each other; to discover together the beauty of the natural world and its many cultures."  We hope to see them on the road south.

Cesar and Danni did the career thing for years in Washington D.C., then they decided to head to all destinations south.  They are driving a 1995 4Runner, known as Roscoe, which they outfitted with some camping and comfort mods, like a Maggiolina roof-top-tent and an ARB awning.

Jon and Alison are also driving south in a 3rd Generation 4runner, but they're doing things a little different.  Their plan is to drive to Panama, sell the 4runner "then hit up Colombia, Peru, Easter Island, French Polynesia, other South Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, a few countries in Africa, Turkey and Spain."  It sounds like the list may change, but we can guarantee that they're enjoying the surf somewhere in between.

Andy and Dunia are driving a Dodge 50 shuttle-bus named Jigsaw...around the world, with no clear plan or mission.  Which is just how they like it.

Kellee and Jamie, "a couple of lovebirds" are also driving south in a 1988 4Runner, volunteering and getting to know every place they visit on a more intimate level.  1st Generation 4Runners represent!

James and Lauren are a fun couple that we met up with in San Francisco. They're both from Florida, so they drove from CA to FL on a test run, then on their way back towards Mexico they stopped and hung out with us before crossing the border...as chance would have it, they are also driving an '87 4Runner (although James likes to beat his up a little more than we do).  Hopefully we will catch up to them at some point!

Sean picked up a 1987 Honda C90 Cub (a teeny scooter) from a little granny in Ireland.  He named it Burrito and shipped it to Canada, and with no motorcycle skills he's driven it to the Arctic Circle.  Now he's heading south for Ushuaia...we bumped into each other in Guatemala, and Sean's story has been an impressive adventure so far.  He's shown that you can take any vehicle, anywhere, and push the limits beyond anyone's expectations.  Go Burrito!

Jed & Meg are headed south from Wyoming in "The Hood Rat", a 1998 Tacoma with a Phoenix Pop-Up Camper.  It looks like they are really enjoying the beaches and getting tons of surf along the way.

These three dudes are insane...Keith, Kevin, and Daniel drove from Denver to Argentina in a break-necking speed.  They started in April, drove to Ushuaia by August, shipped their 1995 4Runner "Bessie" to Florida...now they're road-tripping the US for a bit.  These guys must be driving around the clock!

We met Paul and Helen at Overland Expo in 2011, and they have slowly made their way to South America (and circumnavigated the globe) in a well traveled 16 year-old Land Rover they appropriately dubbed, "Landy".

Eric and Karen are doing what most of us dream of...as a journalist and photographer, they've actually been working and living on the road since 2006, contributing to Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Outside, Travel + Leisure, and other noteworthy forms of media.  As of 2012, they're currently somewhere in Central America heading towards Tierra del Fuego.

Meet the Dennings. A family of seven, with 5 children, the youngest is a 1 year old and the oldest is 9. They sold everything to travel and learn about the world. The Dennings are homeschooling their children, using the world as their classroom. Their latest adventure recently began in Alaska, heading south to Argentina.

Tree and Stevie are our heroes.  Not only did they get married while driving the Pan-Am, they're having a baby in South America!   Alternating between living in their Sprinter van and apartments along the way, they've been on the road since 2010 and at this rate they'll reach Ushuaia in 2013?  Better make that 2014.

In 2009, Luis & Lacey left California heading south. They planned on only being gone for one year...well they spent over a year just in Mexico alone.  Several years later and a couple US vacations from their vacation, they're still in South America with no sign of giving up anytime soon.

Coen & Karin-Marijke have been driving their 1984 BJ45 Landcruiser around the world for over a decade, capturing some incredible photos and writing some great travel articles along the way.  In Bolivia, they even had to stop and do a frame-off restoration of their vehicle after the many kilometers had started to take their toll.

We met Joachim and Bärbel in San Miguel De Allende.  They are driving south in a custom MAN kat RV, although they've been on a 3 year pause in Mexico.  If you ever camp in the San Miguel RV park, there's a good chance you'll see them.  Be sure to say hello, they're very friendly and helpful.  You can find TONS of information on their website, which has a growing list of travelers (mostly european) who are heading north or south, GPS coordinates, listings for mechanics, and dog travel information.


Previously Completed Pan-Am Trips...

Back Road Ramblings
We met Shane in the mountains of Guatemala's Petén region.  While we were cruising along with the breeze rolling in our windows, we saw this sweaty guy from Colorado pedaling his ass off in the heat of the day.  We offered him a ride to Cobán and got to know him over the next couple of hours.  Really nice guy.  Shane had originally planned to pedal to South America, but due to time constraints he finished in Costa Rica.  Hopefully we'll see Shane pedaling the Death Road of Bolivia around the same time as us?

Belacasami
We met this incredible family of Belgians while we were in San Miguel de Allende.  They are a very inspiring group indeed, traveling with three young girls and their dog in a Land Rover Defender with two RTT's.  They gave us the gift that keeps on giving, a Central America & Mexico Footprint Handbook, along with tons of helpful tips.  They may be done with the Pan-Am adventures, but I believe they are still out there doing their thing and being awesome.

Named after the ex-police Mercedes 911 that they converted into an RV, they have just completed the South American portion of their trip in 2012, after 3 years of traveling.  The Nessie crew even traveled thru Venezuala, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana, which most overland travelers tend to skip.  Before the Americas, they traveled thru Asia in a Land Rover Defender 110.

Australians Yasha and Juergen traveled from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego in a '94 F250 with a Bigfoot Camper (2006-2009).  They compiled a list of GPS coordinates for campsites and their website is filled with helpful information for other travelers.

Kathy and Rick traveled the Pan-Am between 2001 and 2009, zig-zagging several times and seeing as much as possible.  They didn't stop there, since they're still living on the road (going on for more than ten years now) and they're currently somewhere in Europe.  These two are a wealth of knowledge and their site has a lot of helpful info to comb thru.

In 2007, an Iraq veteran drove a '80 Mercedes W116 300D turbo diesel from Los Angeles to Ushuaia with plenty of adventures along the way.

In 2007, Shreesh and Neena drove an FJ Cruiser named Quixote from north to south across the Americas.

These guys are true Pan-Am pros, in 2009 they drove for 19 months over 60k miles from north to south (and north again) in a Provan Tiger CX Motorhome/RV.  Along the way, they put together a very helpful camping log for other travelers to download, along with tons of other info.  They're now planning a big multi-continent trip in a 2003 Unimog 500 built by Global Expedition Vehicles.  Find out about their current journey here.

During on of his six drives up to Alaska, Dave had a chance meeting with a retired couple who had driven their old Packard up from Argentina.  Just a quick look at their license plate was all it took to plant the seed.  Several years later he decided to drive the Americas, and in 2007 he left from Salt Lake City to British Colombia, then headed almost 40k miles south to Argentina, before shipping his vehicle back to the states.

4 friends (Eric, Sean, Kevin, and Bill) took a 40,000 mile road trip from Newport Beach to Tierra del Fuego in a veggie-powered 2000 F350 with a Six Pac Camper.

Time 2 Get Lost
Ryan left the states in August 2011 in a Land Rover Defender 110 to South America with a friend. 

Adventurous Spirits
From 2009-2011, Tom and Janet traveled 65,000 km in a '09 Nissan Titan with a Caribou 6.5 Camper. Before that they traveled Africa overland in a nicely outfitted '97 Landcruiser 80 series.  There's now rumors of an upcoming adventure through Asia...adventurous spirits indeed!

Logan & Brianna travelled to Ushuaia in a Toyota Tundra with a pop-up camper, then sold it to backpackers in South America. They got married while they were in Costa Rica, so this has been an unforgettable honeymoon.  After the trip they were ranching in the midwest, then they moved to Aspen for a while, and they are now prepping for a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.  Go Logan & Brianna!

These two from Norway drove from Alaska to Patagonia in a very drool-worthy Nissan Patrol. Their website has been a joy to read and they have been doing everything from climbing mountains to trailblazing through overgrown jungle roads.  After South America they spent a few months working in Antarctica and they are now in the middle of an adventure in Africa.

Dan drove the entire 65,000km in a 2000 Jeep Wrangler with a soft top, spending less than $28,000 dollars. We really enjoyed Dan's outlook on life and his knack for "enjoying the moment".  Back in Alaska, Dan has since devoted his spare time to creating WikiOverland, an invaluable online resource for overland travelers around the world.  Thanks Dan, you rock!

ADVODNA (Adventures of Dave and Ann)
These honeymooners drove their Nissan Xterra with a RTT to Panama, then shipped their vehicle back to Los Angeles. They have since bought a farm, had a beautiful baby-girl and are living the good life outside of San Francisco.

Nick, Rochelle, and their adopted pitbull Domino drove in a heavily modified 1988 4runner from North Carolina to South America. A month after they returned stateside, they eloped in Vegas and since then they've released a book. They've given us some really good tips and they were the original inspiration for our trip.

Another classic 4runner! Jeff and his dog Nota drove to Panama in a mostly stock '86 4runner. Jeff has been a HUGE help with our trip preparation. Keep your eyes peeled for a book he's writing about traveling with a dog through Central America.



Other inspiring adventures from around the world...

Nicholas Rapp left his job as a writer with the Associated Press so that he could circumnavigate the globe in a Landcruiser. Well 35k miles and 15 months later he had accomplished just that...and he only spent $50,240 for the entire trip! Very impressive story...

Andy Campbell was paralyzed in a climbing accident 8 years ago.  He is setting out on a 30,000 mile journey around the world, mostly powered WITHOUT the use of his wheelchair.  He will kayak rivers and oceans, paraglide and ski over mountain ranges, kite-buggy across deserts, and hand-pedal across the backcountry to cross the finish line.  Andy is working hard to fund mobility equipment for people affected by spinal chord injuries around the world.

Another impressive story, Amanda and Richard traveled for 3 years, through 36 countries, over 60k miles for less than $50,000 in a VW microbus.  After their return, they wrote the book Wide Eyed Wanderers, a highly recommended read.

This amazing couple we met at Overland Expo 2011 has traveled all over the world on motorcycles, 4x4's and a large custom offroad RV. They taught us a few great lessons about being a happy couple while traveling together during extended periods.

Another incredible married couple, Gary & Monika Westcott have been traveling the world together since 1972. Over the years they've gotten it down to a science, picking up several sponsorships and writing for travel & offroad publications. We were fortunate to learn from them also at Overland Expo.  The Westcotts are in the beginning of a Silk Road adventure and we're looking forward to seeing what's next.

Sean is spending a year driving around the world in a Vespa! It looks like his blog is a little behind, last I heard he was in Panama!

Another group that was at Overland Expo driving a very cool Unimog with a custom camper. They were in the middle of an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, but their story was cut short due to a climbing accident in Argentina.  Our hearts go out to Joerg and Ingrid.

From the North Pole to South Pole by foot, ski, and bicycle!

A school bus salvaged from a junkyard, rebuilt with reclaimed materials, driven around the world on waste vegetable oil for two years! Very impressive feat with a great message about recycling.



Inspiring Films & Documentaries

This documentary follows Jeff Johnson as he retraces the 1968 journey of Yvon Choinard and Don Tompkins to Patagonia from Ventura, California

Rode solo from the Netherlands to Cape Town, South Africa on a big green tractor. With a dog she adopted in Tanzania, she completed her trip in 2009 and published a book. She has since become a motivational speaker, and is working on another book and a film about the second phase of her trip. She is preparing for her tractor expedition to the South Pole.Landcruising Adventures