The only thing that one really needs to do in order to take an overland trip like ours is to make the decision to do it. Once that’s done, the details will begin to fall into place. In our case, once we had made that decision, we started reaching out to the overlanding community and asking their advice. The number one piece of advice was along the lines of “don’t over plan”. Some people took that to the extreme and advised against planning anything at all.
I have enough experience with having travel plans come unraveled that not planning anything seemed rather appealing. We did plan for a few things before we started. The question of how we will get around the Darién gap, for instance, had an impact on the rest of the decisions that we will make. Would we drive through the Baja Peninsula or northern mainland Mexico? Aside from making decisions about those two things, the only other plan we have is to go generally south.
Mexico is a surprisingly large and diverse country. We knew going into this that we wanted to take in as much of Mexico as we possibly could. We had lived in Mexico for a year and a half before even starting this trip and we had experienced but a sliver of what this country has to offer. I had this idea that if we had complete control over our route that we would be able to take in everything that we wanted to in the six months covered by Moby’s temporary import permit. I was very wrong about that. I’m not saying for a minute that I would rather have moved faster over the past few months. I wouldn’t trade the the snail’s pace at which we have traveled for a chance to glaze over more things.
We crossed the Sea of Cortez by ferry more than a month ago. We had a vague idea of where we wanted to go on the mainland. I think this screenshot of how little distance we’ve covered sums it up fairly well.
We haven’t really gotten any closer to Ushuaia, Argentina in six week’s time. We’ve been to the beach until our tolerance for bugs and sweat had been surpassed. We then went to the mountains to escape the heat. Thinking that perhaps the weather had improved on the beach, we returned only to find that the heat was still intolerable. We had plans to take a coastal route south to Zihuatanejo. Those plans were scrapped when the heat index in Puerto Vallarta was 39 (celsius, 102 F) at 9PM. That was the end of our time on the beach at least for now.
We’ve passed the halfway point of Moby’s allowed 180 days in Mexico and haven’t seen anywhere near half of what we had hoped to see. We have found ourselves in the unenviable position that requires that we plan, at least a little, our next moves. I’m already saddened about having to leave Mexico. Our plans aren’t meticulous, mind you, but they are semi-rigid and aim to take us further south over the next couple of months. We’ll be in San Miguel de Allende for Thanksgiving after which we’ll go visit the Monarch butterfly sanctuary. After that, we’re heading to Oaxaca where we’re going to immerse ourselves in learning everything we can learn about mescal and we’ll spend some time at the famous Overlander Oasis where we hope to finally catch up with some of our fellow overland travelers.
Like many of my blog posts, I really don’t know what my point is, so I’ll leave you with this:
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”