Lately we’ve had a lot of people asking us about our trip. Just about everything we do is in some way related to getting us out the door and headed south. Friends, family, the UPS delivery guy, dentist, insurance brokers, the friendly man at the hardware store... They all want to know what the hell is wrong with us. Responses range from "Are you crazy?!" to "Holy shit, do you have room for one more?"
You guys know how this FAQ thing works - below are answers to the questions we are asked daily. Feel free to comment or email us if you are wondering about anything else.
Where are you going?
From Seattle to Ushuaia, Argentina. You can see our initial route plan here. We will travel through the US, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, possibly El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. We also plan to spend a night or two camping in Antarctica.
How are you getting there?
We’re driving the entire way except for one small strip of land between Panama and Colombia. The infamous Darien Gap, the only piece of the Pan-American highway that is not complete. Our only choice is to ship the car in a container and fly from Panama to Colombia. We’ve roughly estimated 25,000 miles for the entire trip.
What kind of car do you have?
A 1997 Toyota 4Runner. We’ve added a fridge, lock box, power inverter, dual battery system, after-market alarm system and made some modifications to the rear storage area to better fit our gear. We chose the 4Runner from the short list of reliable mid-sized SUVs in our price range with spare part availability throughout the Americas.
When are you leaving?
We’re leaving Seattle October 6, 2011.
How long will you be gone?
The current schedule is just shy of 16 months. We’d finish early February, 2013.
Aren’t you scared of crazy men with machetes or jungle cats or Federales or R.O.U.S.'s?
Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist. Oh, you mean that? I hear they're good eating.
There are obvious security concerns, but it’s not much different than being at home. Don’t be stupid, be aware of what and where the dangers are. If we avoided travel for fears of the unknown, we’d never leave our house.
How much will it all cost?
Our vehicle cost about $12,000. Two thirds of that was the original cost, the rest was added expenses of the fridge, electrics, services and upgraded parts like shocks, tires and a roof rack. We’ve spent another $4,000 on gear, books, maps and car insurance.
As for the trip, we have budgeted $17,000 per person to cover food, lodging, gas and spending money. And an additional $7,500 to cover big expenses like ferries, tours to see some penguins and super old ruins, camping in Antarctica, visas and border crossings.
How can you afford that much?
We’ve been saving for the past two years, and lived fairly cheaply. We’re also planning to work remotely while we travel to help offset some of the costs, but we can make do with just our savings.
Where are you staying?
We’ll be camping whenever possible. Otherwise it’ll be cheap motels or hostels.
Can you speak Spanish?
Not really. Jessica is a bit better than Kobus or I. We do plan on spending two months in Guatemala at a language school, and we’ll be doing everything we can to learn on the road.
Do you have a plan/itinerary?
We have maps, GPS and guide books to help us figure it out while on the road but we don’t have a set schedule. Our only restriction is reaching Patagonia before the weather turns, and making it to Ushuaia in time to catch a ride to Antarctica. We have a pretty good idea of where we're going in the US and Mexico, but we are definitely not planning out every last detail.
What are you going to do along the way?
We have a few ideas of specific places we want to see, but not a definitive list by any means. Kobus and I are going to do a lot of fishing. Jessica is stoked to not do a lot of working. We are taking it slow so that we don’t need to over-plan things, and can afford to spontaneously spend extra time in the more awesome places we stumble across.
Why are you doing this?
One drunken conversation leads to another… Oh wait that’s a different story. 'Cause it sounded like fun. Also, it rains too much in Seattle.
Whose idea was it?
It was Jessica’s idea to go to Patagonia, Kobus’ idea to drive, and I figured we'd better make a website about it.
How are you going to get internet?
Pray to the internet elders (aka Al Gore), and hope that it arrives under our pillows in a nice black box. Other than that we're relying on local and international SIM data plans, and the abundance of internet cafes and hotels with free WiFi.
Do you have a blog? And, can I read it?
Yes, and I don’t know, can you read this?
What are you going to do after this epic adventure?
We have been considering things that start with the letter M. Like marmosets, masala, mmmmIndia on mopeds. The future is fluid, right now we have no solid plans, but if all goes well we will continue this adventure to another continent.