Several years ago we decided to leave behind Austin, Texas. With no family within 2000 miles of us, it was no longer the place for us to call home. It was a great place for us both to begin our careers and gain experience, but we want to live closer to family. Unfortunately our family is split between North Carolina and Washington state. At some point we hope to start a family of our own, but for now we couldn’t help but ask ourselves: why not take advantage of this career transition and explore some of the world? This pivotal moment in our lives would give us the time to gain some valuable experiences and grow from them.
In 2012 we left Texas expecting to be gone for one year. Traveling in our 1987 Toyota 4Runner, we set out on an undefined journey with few expectations. We did know it would be a rare opportunity for self-growth and a chance for us to strengthen our bond as a couple. We started with a cross-country "shakedown trip" across the USA, then we headed south across Mexico and Central America. The Ruta PanAmericana or “Pan-American Highway” is a series of routes that connect Alaska to Argentina but it technically has a large gap in between Panama and Colombia just south of the Panama Canal. The only viable option for vehicles is to container ship around the “Darién Gap” on a massive freight vessel, a couple hundred miles south to Colombia. Which meant we had to organize a sailing expedition to get from Panama to Colombia. Once that was completed, we continued our journey south until we eventually reached the southern tip of South America. After 2 years of traveling with our 4Runner, we shipped it one more time from Buenos Aires to Miami.
Eventually we returned to the United States so we could start the next chapter of our lives near Shannon’s parents and siblings in Asheville, NC. Brenton went back to his career in the fire service and Shannon went back to nursing. We started a family of own, with our daughter Emmeline being born in 2015 and our son Charlie in 2017.
This journey has also led to many amazing opportunities helping others with the logistics and preparation for their own travels abroad. If you have any questions about the PanAmerican journey or the possibilities of your own adventures, please feel free to send us an email or contact us via social media.
After 2 years, 28 border crossings, and over 31,000 miles later.
we got married (twice!)
spent 24/7 together for 711 days - more than most couples would in 7 years of the daily grind
began to understand each other on completely new levels
became fluent in Spanish
experienced countless mechanical issues
mastered the art of self-sufficiency
became professional problem-solvers
learned that the world is actually a very friendly place, despite what the news may tell us
discovered we can conquer the world with "the Three P's"; Patience, Persistence, and Politeness...you can also add Planning and Preparation for a successful journey
spent countless nights sleeping in hammocks, tents and the back of an old Toyota
learned how to graciously accept the hospitality from strangers, even when it felt like we didn't need or deserve it
broke out of our shells and became fearless in uncomfortable situations