Fleeing Work for the Open Road to South America

Why would a seemingly intelligent young professional couple sell all of their belongings and move out of their downtown Vancouver,


adventure journal overlandia desk to glory 05

Why would a seemingly intelligent young professional couple sell all of their belongings and move out of their downtown Vancouver, B.C., condo to move into a truck? That answer’s obvious. The tougher one is, how to overcome the inertia and get on the road?

My husband Richard and I had steady jobs, a downtown condo, and great friends and family, but we realized that there was something missing in our lives and we weren’t happy about it. We felt like zombies stumbling through our 9-5 jobs, living for the weekends and holidays. We are goal oriented and the next logical step in our lives was to have kids. Since that idea scared us more than anything we decided on a second option: leave our jobs, hit the road, see the world, and find glory (whatever that means).

adventure journal overlandia desk to glory 03We rented out our condo, sold a bunch of our belongings, stored the rest at our parents’ house (thanks!) and saved as much money as we could before our self-proclaimed departure date. We hit the road on October 5, 2013, leaving from my hometown of Kelowna, B.C., and pointing our truck south. After a quick stop to BCAA for our travel insurance (see, we ARE responsible) we aimed for the first of many border crossings in Osoyoos, B.C. We will very vaguely follow the PanAmerican Highway with the eventual destination being the southern tip of Argentina – Ushuaia.

Depending on our location, we wake up each morning in our rooftop tent to the sound of crickets, waves crashing, roosters crowing, dogs barking, or church bells ringing. As the sun rises we climb down the ladder of our new bedroom (a rooftop tent), open the tailgate of the truck, and boil water in a pot on our Coleman stove for coffee. Our new home is a 1990 Toyota pickup truck adorned with a solar panel, rooftop tent, and electric fridge. The bed of the truck is filled with Rubbermaid containers housing bathroom items, kitchenware, dry food, and extra blankets. Our entire life is now easily contained within these seven containers.

adventure journal overlandia desk to glory 01For days, weeks, and months we have driven south. We passed through apple trees in Washington State, the coastal rain of Oregon, the stunning mountains of Yosemite National Park in California, and finally crossed the border into Baja, Mexico. On the Baja Peninsula we camped on the beach, visited the cactus-filled deserts, and watched the incredible Baja 1000 off-road desert race all with nary a conversation with any drug cartel. Crazy. We crossed the peninsula back and forth multiple times, meeting generous locals, eating copious amounts of tacos, and thankfully dispelling the stereotype that the entire country of Mexico is dangerous.

We recently shipped our truck from the Baja peninsula to mainland Mexico and are currently smack dab in the middle of the country in the colonial town of Guanajuato. 12,000 kilometers of pavement, washboard, and gravel roads have passed us by and we are happier, healthier, and more passionate about life than we ever have been. Life on the road suits us…that is a good thing because we expect to drive at least another 30,000km before reaching Ushuaia.


Photos by Richard Giordano. Read more at desktoglory.com or on Facebook.


Overlandia is the art, science, and romance of driving in the dirt. To see more, visit the Overlandia channel page.


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Showing 43 comments
  • Harald Rishovd
    Harald Rishovd
    Reply

    I miss my old Hilux Pick Up:)

  • Samuil Plamenov
    Samuil Plamenov
    Reply

    Plamen

  • Dawn Finicane
    Dawn Finicane
    Reply

    every year this kind of life gets more and more tempting

  • Melindwr Williams
    Melindwr Williams
    Reply

    Feet itching, Nick?

  • Alberto Huber Martins Fontes
    Alberto Huber Martins Fontes
    Reply

    Olha a Toyota Liziane Mangili!

  • James Blackhall
    James Blackhall
    Reply

    Better known as, “Lording”.

  • James Blackhall
    James Blackhall
    Reply

    Better known as, “Lording”.

  • Koku Chu Chu
    Koku Chu Chu
    Reply

    Quien se apunta ??? Jijiji

  • Koku Chu Chu
    Koku Chu Chu
    Reply

    Quien se apunta ??? Jijiji

  • Neli
    Neli's Big Adventure
    Reply

    When are you going to catch up to us, Desk To Glory?! Great article!

  • Neli
    Neli's Big Adventure
    Reply

    When are you going to catch up to us, Desk To Glory?! Great article!

  • Christine Weimer
    Christine Weimer
    Reply

    Oh this is were I want to live!

  • Christine Weimer
    Christine Weimer
    Reply

    Oh this is were I want to live!

  • Richard Giordano
    Richard Giordano
    Reply

    If you slow down Neli’s Big Adventure, we’ll see you soon!

  • Richard Giordano
    Richard Giordano
    Reply

    If you slow down Neli’s Big Adventure, we’ll see you soon!

  • Philip J. Maschke
    Philip J. Maschke
    Reply

    I doubt hey aren’t doing anything in return for money (like writing these kinds of articles or a book etc)

  • Philip J. Maschke
    Philip J. Maschke
    Reply

    I doubt hey aren’t doing anything in return for money (like writing these kinds of articles or a book etc)

  • Jose Del Borracho
    Jose Del Borracho
    Reply

    Nice whip!

  • Jose Del Borracho
    Jose Del Borracho
    Reply

    Nice whip!

  • islandgardener
    Reply

    Did you learn Spanish before you left for Mexico?

  • Trish Winn
    Trish Winn
    Reply

    Brian, Mandi, this will be you guys soon!

  • Mark Robins
    Mark Robins
    Reply

    this you Brett Ratell? 😉

  • Tony Bailey
    Tony Bailey
    Reply

    Burleigh Sunflower

  • Brett Ratell
    Brett Ratell
    Reply

    Close! I did have a pic of my truck pop up on some survival Facebook page a week or so ago.

  • Stephen Messina
    Stephen Messina
    Reply

    Daniel McNulty P Rice

  • Laura Williams
    Laura Williams
    Reply

    on my bucket list….. wish wish wish.

  • Laura Williams
    Laura Williams
    Reply

    on my bucket list….. wish wish wish.

  • Jay Long
    Reply

    Great story. I can only imagine that first day after embarking on this journey; it had to be somewhat intimidating. Like, are we sure we can do this? Very inspiring stuff.

  • Dave
    Reply

    Yawn… Weekly now we get to hear about another dude, two dudes or in this case a young husband and wife ditching the 9-5 to find adventure and inspiration on a road trip through wild places. It’s a nice sentiment, but are we just celebrating some privileged yuppies’ extended vacation? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for travel and adventure, but these trips (aided no doubt by their heavy social media coverage) are becoming a bad cliche.

    • Mason Eley
      Reply

      They seem like great people that have worked hard to find their freedom and quench their thirsts of adventure.

    • chuxdeluxe
      Reply

      jaded and judgmental much? Maybe you frequent the wrong websites. If you’re looking for guilt-addled, dispiriting but sobering views on how “life really is for the rest of us” try Grist or Mother Jones maybe.

      • Andrew
        Reply

        Go fly a kite Dave- respect the decisions of those around you and you will learn to appreciate the life in front of you. In a lot of cases like this people give up great career opportunities and live by the string of their pants sacrificing their “yuppie” lifestyle for freedom of the road.

  • Ifa Nisa
    Ifa Nisa
    Reply

    if ihave that car,i can the endless road….

  • Chase Hagman
    Chase Hagman
    Reply

    Chelsea Hagman

  • Christopher Byars
    Christopher Byars
    Reply

    Kathryn Greene!!!

  • Rachael Farricker
    Rachael Farricker
    Reply

    Ha ha, I see Ash’s pants are becoming even more famous! X

  • UPFlies.com
    UPFlies.com
    Reply

    This is my dream vehicle!

  • Ed
    Reply

    Great trip. Have fun. Keep writing. Be safe. Come home and have kids.

  • Kathleen Rock
    Reply

    Wait for me! I’ll bring the snacks!!

  • Kelly Neylon
    Kelly Neylon
    Reply

    This is my dream life!

  • JonnyCanuck
    Reply

    Memories.
    In Vancouver, 1976, age 30, relationship ended, kids weren’t in the cards. Sold house I co-owned, quit career-type job.
    Hit the road – I’d long had an itch to travel (not be restricted to vacations). Drove my VW, hitched by car, hitched by plane, rode local buses, flew. Travel took me from Alaska to Caribbean and from Guatamala to Cape Breton (and many places between). Plus Europe and east Africa. Lots of settings, regional cultures, and languages to stumble through.
    ‘Settled in’ each winter to ski (BC, CO, MT, WY, UT, ID, CA). Years of mountain life, all seasons.
    Covered my LOW costs by picking up any kind of work. My back was never against the wall because I always had a grub-stake in the bank – a couple thou in RRSPs, I laugh about that now.
    Met my wife who’d ‘dropped out’ and was having an adventurous life in CO. Together 33 years now.
    At age 41, I returned to school, switching to a field that fit my passion (so I actually worked very hard).
    Finally returned to a ‘real’ (career-type) job at age 47. Looking back now, at age 68, I’m really glad I followed my heart, and enjoyed those 17 years off-the-career-track.

    Ashley and Richard – I’m with ya. GO for it! To all – life’s short, if you hanker for a break from the grind, git after it.

    • NickOmanPhotography
      Reply

      Awesome response JonnyCanuck. I long to follow a path similar to yours of reverse retirement.

  • Andrew
    Reply

    Thanks- your article was so simple yet so impacting. My wife and I have done month to 6 week long road trips but reading this reminds me of our ultimate goal of road side living for a good period of time. Wishing you safe travels and a rewarding journey-

    A&E

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