Kelsey and Tom

Hometown

  • Kelsey - Calgary, Canada
  • Tom - Kaikoura, New Zealand

Reason for taking this trip

We have both done a bit of backpacking and were looking for a different type of trip. Learning Spanish was important to us and we really wanted to see and surf Central and South America.

Why did you decide to drive?

To be honest neither one of us can remember how it came up. Tom suggested driving one day and we just went with it.

What type of car are you driving?

A 1991 VW golf named Marlin.

Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?

Actually we only modified it slightly, we had a kill switch installed meaning that once it is turned off the car cannot start even if you have the key. We also had the windows tinted in Guatemala which has been great.

How did you save up or finance your trip?

We saved up for two years and then were lucky enough to land a great design contract and we spent 5 months working in Baja California which really helped us afford this trip.

How long do you plan on traveling?

Close to two years.

Where do you plan on driving?

From Calgary, Canada to Tierra Del Fuego.

What were your family’s and friends’ reactions when you told them about your trip before you left?

People were pretty mellow about it. Everyone thought it was cool if a little bit crazy.

Did you speak Spanish before you left your home country? How much Spanish? Are you taking more Spanish lessons as you travel? If so, where and for how long?

We had both done some study before, both in University and private classes but we had never really put it into practice. We did two weeks of Spanish immersion in Cuernavaca, Mexico and five weeks in Xela, Guatemala. Still doesn't feel like enough.

Do you have a favorite place or country that you have visited during your trip?

Can't say quite yet as we still have a long way to go but Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas are both up there.

What was the weirdest thing you experienced on your trip?

Javier the singing taco vendor in Cabo – he was sweet!

What was the worst border crossing?

Honduras wins hands down as the worst border crossing.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?

Be polite and respectful when dealing with officials in other countries. Things go smoother when you are nice to people---kind of a kill them with kindness thing.

Would you do it again?

Definitely.

Do you have a blog?

Joydrive.ca