Zach and Jill

Names and ages
Zach - 28
Jill - 27

Hometown

Zach is originally from Portland, OR and I am from South Jersey. We met in college in Pennsylvania and have been living in Worcester, MA for the last several years.

When did you start your travels?

We moved out of our house in MA on June 15th and hit the road on June 20th.

Reason for taking this trip

Zach was laid off from his job as an engineer the same time I graduated from graduate school. We have always wanted to travel together and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Why did you decide to drive?

We definitely wanted the freedom that driving allows. In addition to giving us more control over our schedule and itinerary, our car is our home, equipped with everything we need, including a bed and makeshift kitchen, so we save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on hotels or eating out. .

What type of car are you driving?
2003 Chevy Astro Van 

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

· 4″ Suspension Lift
· Upgraded tires
· Zombie Proofing
· New floor
· Sleeping platform
· Custom cabinetry
· Custom kitchen
· Propane tank
· Water Reservoir
· Fridge/Freezer
· Auxiliary Battery
· Inverter
· Upgraded stereo
· Entertainment system
· Roof rack
· Retractable awning
· Bike rack

For more info check out the van page on our blog:
http://www.anywherethatswild.org/?page_id=33

For even more info feel free to contact us, we love talking about our home.

How did you save up or finance your trip?

We've been planning the trip for well over a year now, so we have been saving every penny possible. I worked two part-time jobs while in grad school and Zach has been working full time as an engineer for the last several years. We also live very simply and intentionally, so our expenses are low.

How long do you plan on traveling?

At least a year but we are open.

Where do you plan on driving?

The beginning of our trip will focus on the US. We'll head into Mexico in November and then travel around Central America after that. The original plan was to drive all the way to Argentina but we have some time restrictions so rather than rushing through each country we are setting our sights on Panama for now.

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

Most of our family and friends have been very supportive. They are nervous and excited for us at the same time. The most common reaction is for people to think we are crazy for traveling to Mexico.

Did you speak Spanish before you left your home country? 

Neither of us speaks Spanish fluently. I took several years of Spanish in high school but haven't practiced much since then. We have several Spanish programs, including Rosetta Stone, as well as some workbooks and other books in Spanish. We are hoping to self teach but we may also do a Spanish immersion class somewhere south of the border.

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

We have only been in the US so far but the theme seems to be that we love the places we have minimal expectations about the most. We had a great time in South Dakota, Idaho and Montana. Glacier National Park is the beautiful place we’ve been with the best hiking. Oregon is a favorite because Zach grew up there and some family still lives there.

What was the worst border crossing?

Only crossed into Canada so far, which was uneventful. According to what we've heard from other travelers, however, we expect to have some stories of our own by the end of this trip.

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

Definitely do it. We debated for a long time whether we could actually do a trip like this. There are a million reasons not to and you will lose sleep thinking about them. But when it really came down to it, we knew we would only regret not doing it.

Would you do it again?

Definitely. We don't expect the wanderlust to fade anytime soon.

Do you have a blog or a website describing your trip? 
Yes: www.anywherethatswild.org Check it out!