Where's the Gringo?

We’re Driving to the End of the World, and You’re Invited

Question A for the traveler:  “Where do I want to go?”

Question B (which requires less daydreaming & more planning): “How do I get there?”

Now I’m not talking about the vacationer.  Those who have 2-3 weeks/year away from work, that represent that majority of people.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the working class and their travel patterns, they make the world go round (and who doesn’t like to go to a resort?). But their traveling transport problems are usually solved with a roundtrip flight & guided tours/excursions.

I’m referring to people who travel more long-term, and those who may not use travel agencies to plan their trips.  Those with tighter budgets.  Those who have maybe chosen travel as a lifestyle.  For us, answering Question B can be, how do I say it…..a little more creative?

Besides the planes, trains, & buses, I’ve taken almost every method of transport imaginable. From a 2-day slow boat down the Mekong and racing tuk-tuks, to hitchhiking & catching Soviet passenger trucks loaded WAY over capacity in Cuba, I’ve done everything I could to get from point A to point B.

It’s been plenty of fun & I’ve gotten where I need to go, but you know what?  I’m tired of depending on other peoples’ schedules, time-tables, & defined routes.

So what ya gonna do about it, buster?

When I moved to Costa Rica 2 years ago, I sold my car back in the States.  I didn’t miss it because I didn’t need it.  I was too busy trying to learn Spanish and adapt to life in a new country. I didn’t have time to drive.  Shoot, I could barely catch the bus!

My best investment in Costa Rica: $40 for a bike

My best investment in Costa Rica: $40 bike

But after living & backpacking around Central & South America for over a year, my girlfriend & I had a realization on the beaches of Oaxaca, Mexico one day.  We decided that we wanted full control over where we go, when we go, and what we do when we get there.  We want to be able to truly get off the beaten “gringo” path.  We want the ability to find those communities & individuals in need that may not be on the internet or the church sponsorship list.

So I bought another car.  And we’re going to drive the Pan-American Highway with it.  


Source: Wikipedia

The Pan-American What?

The Pan-American Highway.  The ultimate road trip.  Driving the Americas.  Driving to the end of the world.

The Pan-American Highway is a series of highway systems that stretches the entire length of the Western Hemisphere – from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska all the way down to Ushuaia, Argentina – the southernmost city in the world.

All 30,000 miles (48,000km) of the Pan-American highway, EXCEPT the 60 mile (100km) Darien Gap stretch connecting Panama to Colombia (and North and South America) are traversable in a vehicle.  We went with Toccoa, Georgia for our starting point instead of Alaska, but we’ll be detouring around plenty of side, dirt roads to more than make up the mileage.


Who is doing this?


My girlfriend Giovanna and I, my brother from time to time, and as many of our friends who can muster up the courage to come join us for a week or 2 (I’m looking at you).

Where are we doing this?

AMERICA – North, Central & South.
We’ll be entering Mexico via Laredo, TX, then driving all the way down to Mexico City before making our way through Oaxaca to the Pacific coast.  From there we’ll turn east, roadtripping through the jungle & Mayan-ruin mecca of Chiapas up to the Yucatán peninsula before passing into Belize & continuing south through the rest of Central America and on to South America.

When are we doing this?

Below is the rough Itinerary.  You’ll notice only the shorter-term plans are specific.  The rest of the details will materialize the farther we travel down the road, and we’re keeping all our options open.

October 22nd – Cross border into Mexico via Laredo/Nuevo Laredo, drive to Monterrey & stay for 2 days.

October 24th-28th – Driving south to explore the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi (I dare you to Google image Huasteca Potosina)

October 29 – Drive to Mexico City in time for Día de Los Muertos

Día de Los Muertos in Guanajuato

Día de Los Muertos in Guanajuato

November/December – Central Mexico (missions work in Mexico City, Valle de Bravo, Christmas vacation in Guanajuato & Acapulco)

January 9th – Picking up my buddy from the Mexico City airport and then driving to Oaxaca.

January 10th-23rd – Road trip through the states of Oaxaca & Chiapas with Will Oliver of BBB Paddling fame. (hopefully the first of many friends to come meet up with us along the way)

Late January–Mid February – Volunteering in Chiapas (I dare you to Google Image Cañon del Sumidero or Las Cascadas de Agua Azul).  Or you can just watch this video below:

March/Early April – Temporary work in Playa del Carmen, road tripping Yucatán & Quintana Roo in our time off.

Mid April – Driving across the border into Belize

April–The end of 2016 – ¡Centroamérica! (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama)

End of 2016/Start of 2017 – Transporting the 4Runner in a cargo container on a ship from Panama to Colombia

2017 – ¡Sudamérica! (South America – Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay? Uruguay?)

End of 2017 – Trip ends where the world ends – Ushuaia, Argentina.  A massive cherry-on-the-top, celebratory trip to Patagonia with all the best outdoor activities & all the coolest people involved.

Why are we doing this?


These are a few of the words that come to mind.  As I mentioned before, having the ability to travel where we want to and when we want to is going to open up a world of possibilities for us.
We’re done with traveling for leisure.  Yes we’ve volunteered with various projects & charities over the years, but much of our travels have been for self-fulfillment & enjoyment.  Not that we’ve been selfish or anything, we just want to travel with more of a purpose.
We’re on a mission to plug in to communities & help people. We’re on a mission to serve the disenfranchised & needy, and we’re ready to get our hands dirty.
Various projects with organizations such as The Salvation Army and the Christian Missionary Alliance are on the books, but we’re also searching for the unknown.
Searching for the orphanage with no resources.
Searching for the indigenous family in extreme poverty.
Searching for the broken & desperate.
Searching for those places that may not have a website or any sort of awareness whatsoever, and we’re going to be very intentional about seeking out those opportunities.
With the "niños" in Bolivia

With the “niños” in Bolivia

How are we doing this?


Well, we haven’t got all that figured out yet!
Not that we’re totally broke and haven’t done any budgeting or anything, we just have giant aspirations & (very) limited budgets.  The good news is that we’re both experienced & resourceful backpackers, and confident in our abilities to make do and find a way.  How will we find a way? Here are a few “ways” we’ll find:
  • Online resources like Couchsurfing for local interaction & accommodation
  • iOverlander and Drive the Americas for community connections & trip resources
  • Workaway volunteer projects provide free accommodation & food as part of their model. Actually, most places are open to some sort of work-exchange agreement, even if they aren’t publicly advertising it.  
  • BlaBlaCar for ridesharing.  Rather than modifying my 4Runner by taking out the back seat & building a permanent sleeping platform, we’ve figured out a solution to have enough sleeping space by laying the backseats down.  This way we can prop the seats back up to carry 3 more passengers & offset gas expenses, whether they be locals, other travelers, or friends who want to come meet up with us on the road from time to time.
  • We got a tent.
  • We also like sleeping in our ENO hammocks.
  • We’ll be cooking with our propane stove as much as possible.  The Yeti cooler will keep the veggies fresh.
  • Speaking the local language changes everything.  As Spanish speakers, cheaper prices, better advice, & more friendly opportunities are sure to come our way.
  • Researching places before we go there & using guide books like Lonely Planet.  We won’t get conned into paying too much for a tour.
  • Wait a second, we’re researching beforehand AND we have our own car?  Come to think of it, we’ll be our own tour company (and yours too if you’re smart).
  • Working on the road.  Gio is an amazing artist.  She’ll be using her creativity to make pretty stuff that people want to buy.  By the way, have you seen her new website she’s starting up – www.coloringtheglobe.com?  I’ll be working odd jobs here & there (tour guide? translator?) and working on making this blog sustainable.
  • Of course our savings (this is a pretty good thing to spend your savings on, right?)
  • Last but not least, we have been fortunate enough to raise a little bit of support thus far. We won’t take this blessing for granted.

That all sounds great.  But aren’t you going to die?


At least 99% of the people I talk with about this trip think that we’re out of our mind.  They assure me that it’s far too dangerous to visit some of these places.  They “inform” me of latest drug cartel massacre.  They know someone who knows someone who had a friend who was kidnapped.

I’m not denying that various countries in Latin America have their problems with violence.  But are you denying that the U.S. doesn’t?  Sure some of the gang & drug cartel stats are brutally shocking, but entire countries shouldn’t be written off by a few sensationalist news stories.  Oh yea, things like not wandering around looking for drugs & using common sense go a long way too (see this article for more on this issue).  Despite what Donald Trump says, not all Latinos are murderers & rapists.  Just like you wouldn’t walk around certain parts of New York City alone at night, we too will avoid the problem areas & bad situations.

And as crazy as this trip sounds, it’s really not.  There are loads of people who have been taking this trip for many years.  Check out online communities like Horizons Unlimited & the afore mentioned Drive the Americas which are dedicated to overland travel.  These forums are made up of thousands of people who have traveled the Pan-Am highway, gone where others told them not to, and emerged on the other side with nothing but great stories & friendly memories.

Our road trip machine - "Cielito Lindo"

Our road trip machine – “Cielito Lindo”

Want to get involved?  Here’s how you can

As I’ve made clear, we are VERY OPEN to ideas, suggestions, tips, and direction as this trip unfolds.  We have made our fair share of connections already, but are always looking for more. We want to know:

Do you know anyone in these countries?  Friends?  Family?  Friends of friends?

Do you have any missions work/volunteering/charity contacts or experience in these countries?

Have you visited any of these countries before?  Any tips?  Recommendations?

Do you know anyone who may want to sponsor or advertise with us?


Do you want to come meet up with us?

I’m serious. 


One of my main goals with this travel blog is to convince people that traveling is safe, affordable, and important to self-growth & perspective.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone & traveling to a new country is an educational experience.  Especially when you mix in helping others, you’re in for some real personal development & life-changing memories.

I plan to eventually incorporate full package tours through Where’s the Gringo?

If I’m going to convince some of you guys to come traveling with me, I’ll need to help take some of the guess work out of it, right?  I’m planning my own trip in an affordable, yet fulfilling way, and can do the same for you if you give me the chance.

If you see a place you like and are interested to come traveling with us there, we can throw together packages that include all accommodation, food, transport and activities such as:

Spanish immersion

Surfing lessons

Getting your scuba diving certification

Volunteering, charity, or missions work

Community development

Culinary experiences

Salsa or other dance lessons


Hiking mountains, sand-boarding volcanoes, waterfall cliff jumping, any outdoor activity, etc.

Or some good, old-fashioned beach relax time

Keep in mind that both of us have already spent around 2 years traveling through Latin America, already have many friends & connections built up, and have experience in all of the activities listed above.  Those places where we haven’t been yet….well, we’re going there, and plan on doing more of what we love.  We’ll scoop you from the airport and be on our way!

In Closing

As some of you may know, my brother, my girlfriend and I embarked on a massive wild west road trip across the USA this past summer, and it was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be. We’re excited to combine the best of both worlds – the dynamics of road trip life, and the unique experiences that only Latin America can offer.

Looking at a map of the world, this route instantly jumps out as the ultimate overland adventure.  It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime, and if you’d like to be a part of it, please let me know in the comments below, or by sending me an email or a message.  If not, please keep us in your prayers or your thoughts, and of course, stay tuned as the journey unravels on this blog and at www.coloringtheglobe.com!







10 thoughts on “We’re Driving to the End of the World, and You’re Invited

    1. fordquarterman Post author

      Haha yea, I can barely afford a plane ticket, much less 7! Keep us in your prayers if you don’t mind Jon! Thanks

  1. Pingback: 10 Things to Learn Spanish

  2. Jordan Plummer

    Great trip! I’m starting from the bottom going up. Currently in Valparaiso, Chile I have to say if I were you guys I would NOT miss out on this place. My article about it is on http://www.stevieanna.com/#!Valparaiso-Chile-Life-in-Color/cmbz/568bb2230cf2b10de0545806 Feel free to hit me up with any questions, advice or hookups with friends couches or hostel work. I’ve already been here for over a month and am not planning on leaving anytime soon. It’s seriously addicting.

    Best of luck to you to! Maybe, see ya soon!:)


  3. Pingback: Pausing the PanAm: Introducing EUROTRIP 2016! - Where's the Gringo?

  4. Susan Fiebig

    I love reading your posts and seeing your beautiful photos about your travels. You are amazing and I am (the good kind of) envious of you! You are living a life I have only dreamed of. I pray for your safety every day. Continue on your wondrous journey. I am so proud to know you. (And your fabulous Mom and Dad too!)

    1. fordquarterman Post author

      Thanks Susan. I appreciate your prayers and encouragement. It’s not too late to live this life, you’re still breathing aren’t you? If you ever want any tips on how to get started traveling (hint just buy the dang ticket) let me know. Cheers, Ford.

  5. Susan Fiebig

    Thank you for the encouragement, Ford! Once my youngest daughter is safely planted at the UW-Madison campus in the Fall of 2017, I hope to begin my travels once again! I am still not as courageous as you are, but I definitely will step out of my comfort zone as much as possible. Safe travels! Susan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge