The Big Trip: Mexico, Central, & South America



Our big trip is fast approaching. Ben and I are cherishing some last minute creature comforts, while simultaneously bracing ourselves for extended pack hauling, sweat soaked wardrobes, and new parasitic friends.   All in all, we are super stoked to begin our trip South!

Let me give a little overview for those who are not familiar with the details (there are surprisingly few details).   Basically, Ben and I recently quit our jobs in order to allow ourselves the freedom to explore other interests and potential career paths (shoutout to The Nature Conservancy for a stellar two years). For me, this means traveling, photography, and blogging about the two.   Oh and I also built this photography website from scratch:, so there’s that.

We only have vague notions of our actual plans for the upcoming months but most concretely, we have a one-way ticket to Mexico City on September 3rd. After that, we plan to backpack through Mexico, Central, and South America for however long it takes (…or until we get tired of traveling). This means we have decided not to rent a place while we are gone, so we are temporarily homeless. That said, we sold most of our things and will put the rest in storage (clothes, sentimental things, books, skis, bike, etc.)…In case you haven’t heard, I’ve become an Ebay and Craigslist connoisseur in recent months.

Yes, that also means we do not presently have an income. Which is why we saved… a lot. And also why we plan to live and travel very frugally. We are only bringing the bare minimum with us (what we can carry on our backs), and plan to stay in a cheapy mixture of hostels, Airbnbs, Couchsurfing (free!), and WorkAway stints in various countries (also free!).

Why are we taking such a dirtbag-vagabond approach to this trip? Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t do it any other way. I want to be able to follow the suggestions of people we meet along the way, travelers and locals alike. I want to travel light so that I don’t have to think about what shirt to wear- there will either be “the dirty one” or “the dirtier one”.  I want to be flexible, free, and frequently outside my comfort zone. I want to push my limits, lean into discomfort, and leave constraining thought patterns and behaviors behind. I want to meet local people and speak their language and learn about their culture, perspectives, and customs. I want to make friends with other travelers and explore beautiful places that are beyond my imagination.

What we are doing might be seen as lunatic for some and inspiring for others. No matter your perspective, our decisions require a leap of faith, self-confidence in our ability to support ourselves, and knowledge of the fact that we will invariably grow and change.   In other words, it is both terrifying and thrilling.

There is an excerpt from the book I’m currently reading that really resonates with me. This is coming from the best friend of a woman about to embark on a dangerous but epic solo trek across the Australian Outback in 1977.

“I really like what you’re doing. I didn’t understand it before, but getting off your butt and actually doing something for yourself is important for all of us. And although I can’t say I won’t miss you like hell, and won’t worry about you often, I can say that what you’re doing is great and I love you for it. It’s important that we leave each other and the comfort of it, and circle away, even though it’s hard sometimes, so that we can come back and swap information about what we’ve learnt even if what we do changes us and we risk not recognizing each other when we return.”

(Tracks, Robyn Davidson)

Fingers crossed that everyone will recognize me when I return (namely, that I don’t get fried to an unidentifiable crisp), but I agree with the sentiment that it is important to keep learning and evolving. My aim with this blog is to share the beauty we stumble across, the knowledge we gain, and the challenges we overcome with those who want to follow along. I plan to post about once weekly with travel updates, short stories, photo essays, and travel tips.

I invite you to come along for the ride! (i.e.: If you want to get an email every time I post, please subscribe on the right!).

And most importantly finally, if you know someone who knows someone’s uncle’s girlfriend who has a cousin that lives in Oaxaca or some mountain town in Peru, and you think they’d be open to hosting us or giving us tips, then please feel free to reach out. We would be very grateful for any and all connections, suggestions, advice, and tips!

🙂 Caitlin

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