2 Years, 30K Miles: Couple Hits the Pan-American Highway

Some people travel on a slightly grander scale
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2015 6:51 PM CST
In this 2012 photo, a man bathes at dawn in Panama's Darien province on the border with Colombia. The Darien Gap is the only interruption in the Pan-American Highway.   (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
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(Newser) – There are road trips crammed with whining about bathrooms, personal space, and whether we're there yet, and then there are road trips five years in the making, crammed with two continents' worth of open road, sunsets, impulse detours, beaches, ruins, and not knowing what's around the corner. Sam Christiansen and Erica Victorson, formerly of Utah and currently of the Pan-American Highway that stretches from Alaska to Argentina, are on the latter sort of road trip. As KSL reports, the couple set off on their 30,000-mile odyssey in June 2013 in an XPCamper truck, their travel bug frustrated by that thing that bugs most of us, "that most of our life is spent working," says Victorson. "Time is what we craved, and it was the one thing money could not buy."

But what you can't buy, you can save for, so Christiansen and Victorson did: For the aforementioned five years, they worked hard, scrimped, saved, and paid off debt. "And then," says Christiansen, "we took the leap of faith. "In the year and a half since, they tell KSL, they've logged swim time with whale sharks, hiked glaciers, navigated some pretty precarious roads, and gotten what they term "intensive" Spanish lessons. Traveling by truck gives them "the ability to get off the beaten path," says Victorson; the couple keep a blog at Song of the Road. "Some of our favorite experiences have been exploring hard-to-get-to places and we just kind of stumble into these amazing adventures and meet lovely people who are not used to tourists." She laments a society that labels outside-the-norm dreams as "frivolous, irresponsible, or selfish," but says simply: "I've never been happier in my life." (If this road trip sounds too big, try one of these.)

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