Name and age: Cam Matthews 35, Summer McLennan 33
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Reason for taking this trip
We like an adventure and were tired of the city life.
Why did you decide to drive?
So we could stop where ever we please and to have a quasi home.
Are you also taking along pets?
Our little cachorra Toka is travelling with us. She is a 6 months old Alaskan Husky / Black Lab cross we picked up in Tok Alaska.
What type of car are you driving?
We're driving a 1995 Mitsubishi Delica named Delilah. It's a Japanese import that is a 4wd diesel van. It's also a right hand drive.
Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?
We removed some of the seating in the back so we could fit our custom built storage box that also doubles as our bed. We added a roof box to increase our storage space and we wrapped it to look like a bumble-bee
How did you save up or finance your trip?
By spending the money we saved for a house
How long do you plan on traveling?
We initially planned to travel for a year but it looks like it will be longer. Since we both quit our jobs we have no real timeline for our return. We say we'll keep going as long as we're still having fun (and still have money).
Where do you plan on driving?
We drove up to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and are now making our way down to Ushuaia.
What were your family’s and friends’ reactions when you told them about your trip before you left?
My boss told me it would be more impressive to do it on a bicycle
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 spoke zero spanish before starting out. We've been listening to Michel Thomas audio-lessons along the way (highly recommend) and took two weeks of school in Antigua Guatemala. You really need to put in the effort outside of class to get the most from it...we shopped for christmas gifts and fixed our car instead. We plan to stop again along the way for more classes.
Do you have a favorite place or country that you have visited during your trip?
Dalton and Denali Highways in Alaska
San Juanico in Baja, and the Baja in general
All the small towns in Guatemala
What was the weirdest thing you experienced on your trip?
Exploding cigarette that Cam bought from a market in Flores, Guatemala, that he thought was real
What was the worst border crossing?
We spent 19 hours (including sleeping in no man's land) at the El Salvador border due to our right-hand drive vehicle. Apparently they are banned there and would grant us a 24 hour transit permit.
We also spent 17 hours (including sleeping in no man's land) at the Honduran border due to disbelief that our vehicle registration doesn't expire in B.C. They were certain our AirCare expiry represented our registration expiry.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?
1. If you have the space, take a Canon Selphy Photo printer and spend the extra money and get the battery for it. It has brought us so much joy taking pictures of people in villages and giving them a print of their family. Plus its a good way to get great pictures of people, but its best if you have the printer on hand to help explain what you want to do (Hence the battery)
2. Taking a dog has caused almost no hassle. Most restaurants and hotels have no problem with them and so far the borders have been easy, provided you have a recent certificate of health (less than a month). It is however, sometimes hard to find good places to walk her in crazy cities and on shoulder-less roads.
3. Doing your homework regarding the borders can save you money from handlers
4. We have a camera mount that suction-cups onto our windshield to get great video of beautiful roads and chaotic cities.
5. Talk to everyone. Its amazing the opportunities that can come about. Our best info is 80% from talking to travellers and locals and 20% from our guide books
6. Don't believe the hype about the dangers of Mexico. We haven't met anyone who has had a problem.
Do you have a blog or a website describing your trip? If so, what is its address?
thejoyhunt.com **All Travellers: Please feel free to contact us for advice or to meet up somewhere**