North American Voyage

Our Story:

In the fall of 2015 my boyfriend, Eric, finished his PhD. We both love to travel, and we had spent the last several years saving money to take an extended journey. So, once Eric finished his dissertation, we converted a small cargo van into a DIY camper and embarked on a 6 month overland voyage. We decided we wanted to travel by van because it gave us the flexibility to go where we wanted, when we wanted – and to bring our toys (like our surfboards and snorkle gear) with us. We carried almost everything we needed to live in the van: water, food, cookware, a table, chairs, clothes, a bed, tools, and books. We even installed a solar panel to provide us with electricity.

The decision to leave everything and travel was by no means easy, however. I had a great job working at the University of California Santa Barbara. I had the most amazing colleagues, and my work kept me engaged as I was learning new things every day. However, I knew that opportunities to take an extended period to travel are few and far between – and they would become even more rare the further down my career path I went. So I decided to leave my job. We began our travels in Santa Barbara, California, and began by driving east through the United States and Canada until we reached Madawaska, Maine.

Why Madawaska, Maine? Eric’s family is originally from Madawaska, and they still have a house in the area. We wanted to get a taste for life on the road, camping and sleeping in the van, and exploring some of the sites we had been reading about for so long. Our overall approach was to allow ourselves flexibility in planning our travels – as this was radically different from anything that we have done before.

After road-tripping across the United States, we decided we wanted to experience the challenge and adventure of traveling of traveling somewhere with a different culture and language. So we strapped our surfboards on the top of the van, and headed south to Mexico in search of El Nino waves. We started our southbound journey in Los Angeles and took our time camping at different sites along the coast of Baja California. After reaching the tip of the peninsula, we still had the travel itch, so we booked a ferry to the mainland. We kept surfing and camping as we traveled south down the Pacific coast until we reached the state of Oaxaca, where we went inland to see world-famous textiles and artisanal crafts. We then crossed over to the east coast of Mexico so we could explore amazing Mayan ruins and cenotes. By the time we reached the Yucatan peninsula, we had been on the road for a total of 6 months, and we decided it was time to start heading for home. As we have been traveling across the continent I have been updating this website with our experiences.

The map above shows the route that we took as we zig zagged across the continent. If you click on a specific point, it will provide a links to the blog posts pertaining to the area.

General Information :

Here are some of my top blog posts with general information for other folks who are interested in overland traveling through Mexico.