John and Mandi

We sold everything we owned, quit our jobs, and started our journey from Alaska to Argentina on May 2, 2015. We are traveling slow so we are expecting to reach Ushuaia the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019. You are welcome to follow along at www.johnandmandi.com

Hometown: 
Tallahassee, Florida
When did you start your travels?: 
05/02/2015
Reason for taking this trip: 
We had been planning a life change for some time and went through several iterations before settling on driving the Americas. We had very little exposure with other cultures so starting with our neighbors just made perfect sense.
Why did you decide to drive?: 
We prefer to visit and stay in remote places, something a vehicle enables us to do. It also gives us the flexibility to change our plans at any time, capitalizing the best moments.
Are you also taking along pets?: 
No
Are you also taking along children?: 
No
What type of car are you driving?: 
2001 Ujoint Offroad 4x4 7.3L diesel Ford E-350
Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?: 
We converted the van to a camper ourselves and worked with Ujoint Offroad to make all the mechanical upgrades and fixes necessary before we set off. Our van build is documented in our blog.
How did you save up or finance your trip?: 
We had been planning a change for 7 years so during that time we started to cut all unnecessary spending, shared one car, worked two jobs when possible, and sold everything we owned except for a couple boxes of photos and important documents. John does work remotely but not enough to finance the entire trip. Eventually he will need to make enough or we will pause to get jobs either back in the states or in whatever country we are in (if possible).
How long do you plan on traveling?: 
Right now we have only planned on driving the Pan American, maybe as long as 4 years, but if we can figure out a way to make enough money to break even we would like to continue driving around the world.
Where do you plan on driving? : 
Florida to Alaska then eventually reaching Argentina, hugging the western side of the American continents.
What were your family’s and friends’ reactions when you told them about your trip before you left?: 
Mostly perplexed and confused. While we have made several close friends that have completed the PanAm, the concept is still foreign to most. It is hard for many to digest the act of leaving stable jobs to live out of a van. Many of our family and friends are beginning to accept our decision, several contemplating or taking shorter trips of their own. It grows on them, as does most things once exposed.
What languages do you speak? Will you learn more on your trip?: 
English and very poor Spanish. We are learning bit by bit, not as fast as we had hoped.
Do you have a favorite place that you've visited?: 
Every place has an essence that is captivating. A couple highlights so far are the stretch of land from the Grand Tetons up through Jasper, the Dempster Highway, Redwoods, Bahia de Concepcion (Baja), Puente de Dios (San Luis Potosi, MX), Las Nubes (Chiapas, MX), Uxmal (favorite Mayan ruin in MX), Mountain Pine Ridge (Belize), and Lake Atitlan (Guatemala).
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?: 
Leaving was the hardest part, once on the road you will wonder why you didn't start sooner. We feel it is essential to read several blogs of previous Pan Am trips, the ones that resonate the most will be similar to how you will travel and will provide the best advice.
johnandmandi