How do you decide what to do with your life, or where to go, when the whole world is available as a possibility?
After leaving our 'perfect job' in India (due to the expectation of baby #5), we drove to Alaska to welcome him into this world - but we knew it wouldn't be a final destination, only a temporary stopping point.
So we asked ourselves, "What would come next?"
Should we start a youth counseling program in Hawaii? Should we teach English in Thailand? Should we move to Colombia?
After asking ourselves a lot of questions, pondering, praying and considering - weighing pros and cons, likes and dislikes, passions, interests and values - we were able to prioritize what was important to us about life and decide how we wanted to spend the next several years...
Those plans include sailing the South Pacific, road-tripping through Europe, exploring Asia and other such adventures.
And those plans begin right where we are. Here in Alaska.
I don't know where it will end. (Perhaps it won't.)
But a monumental milestone will be when we reach El Fin del Mundo, The End of the World - Ushuaia Argentina.
We're planning to drive there. In our veggie powered truck. And with our five kids. (Update 2/2014: Now six kids, our last born in Costa Rica along the way!)
A Two Continent Tour - With Five (Now Six) Kids?
Hawaii, Colombia, or Thailand are all places that we considered moving to. It would be cool to live in any of those places.
But we've discovered something about ourselves.
We don't like just living. We love exploring, discovering, wandering.
We love the thrill of arriving in a new place, unearthing all that it has to offer, learning from it, creating new friendships, trying new foods, immersing ourselves in the culture - and then doing it all over again.
And again, and again, and again.
It's the exhilaration of exploration, the intoxication of discovery, the pleasure of pioneering.
To travel slowly with inspiration as our guide - free from the confines of restraints on time and location.
As Thoreau says, 'to live deliberately, live deeply and really suck the marrow out of life'. That's what we want.
When we lived in Costa Rica, we had the freedom that came from owning our own vehicle. We explored remote beaches and spent long weekends wandering through jungles.
When we lived in the Dominican Republic, we didn't have that same freedom. We loved our time there, but our travel was limited to the distance we could walk, or the route of public transportation. It was a very different experience.
We want the freedom that comes from having your own wheels. And we don't want to live in only one place.
We contemplated doing the 'RV thing' - wandering North America in our own mobile home. There's a lot to see.
But we really love being abroad. We want to explore South America.
We're fond of the people, the culture, the food. We want our kids to solidify the language.
Flying there is an option. But how do we explore the continent like we want?
Our first road trip from Utah to Costa Rica with four children gave us enough confidence to know we can do it, and enough experience to know how stinkin' fun it will be!
Why not drive there?
How You Know It's 'Your' Adventure
The seed was planted, the idea sprouted, and with it grew our excitement.
Yes, why not experience the Monarch migration in Mexico, explore Mayan and Aztec ruins, investigate volcanoes in Guatemala, pick up surfing in El Salvador (okay, Nicaragua), examine wildlife in Costa Rica?
All other ideas, plans and designs slowly fade from our mind, until all that exists is this one all-consuming conjecture.
Teach English in Thailand? Yeah, that would be awesome.
But what about Machu Picchu? What about the Panama Canal? What about new countries on a regular basis?
The more we thought, the more we planned, the more destinations we added, the more we KNEW that this was our adventure.
It was no longer a matter of IF we would do this trip, but only WHEN.
(This epic expedition began April 2011. Click here to see where we've been and where we're going!)
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OOOOOoohhhhh…. of course you know we LOVE IT!!! What a great adventure! You’re going to have a blast, the kids are going to learn a ton and it’s going to be ahhhhhmazing!! Rock on Dennings!!
Thanks Jenn! I’m disappointed that we’ll miss meeting you in Guatemala though- perhaps somewhere in the Earth we’ll catch up one day 🙂
Oh, I got to get to know you guys better. My new family of personal heroes. Wait til I tell teh wife and kids tonight, we might have to follow you.
Fantastic! Can’t wait!
Thanks Justin! I’ll be checking out your site.
This is great!!!!!!! So excited for you. Do you know when you’re takin off yet? Costa Rica is one of the top destinations we’re considering right now and I would love to drive there and explore on the way. I’m still workin on the husband with the driving thing so we’ll see.
Not sure if our goals and timing would ever line up but it would b so fun to caravan part of the way with you guys.
Anyway good luck with the planning. You guys are awesome!
Tentative departure date April 25. Caravaning would be tons of fun. Maybe we’ll see you in Seattle end of May/first of June?? if you’ll be there.
We should be back in Seattle by end of May:)
That will be an epic adventure! My husband and I did a smaller version, just driving from our home in BC down to Guatemala and Belize, it was such a fantastic journey. I can’t wait to hear all about your trip!
Awesome Amy, I’d love to hear about that trip 🙂 How long will you be in BC? Maybe you’ll still be there when we come through???
Still waiting for the house to sell so we don’t know how long we will be here. But if we are still here when you guys are driving down we would love to host you!
YIPPEEE!!!! I can’t wait to follow along! Now if only you were doing it on bikes…
We’re still looking for that tandem seven seater bike – as soon as we find it… 🙂
How awesome! I dream almost everyday of driving through North and South America. I know it will happen one day soon…
I hope you guys have an awesome time.
How’s your road trip going? Aren’t you traveling Australia right now?
dear Rachel and Greg how awesome this sounds a great adventure for you 7, I love it I will follow you through your blog we are planning to reach the Dominican driving from Canada I ll let you know.You are really awesome guys.
SO exciting! What a great way for your kids to grow up – seeing and exploring the world.
This is great. I was secretly hoping your next big adventure would involve New Zealand, but hey, you’ll just have to sail across when you get to the bottom of S. Am.!
Sounds like a plan 🙂
I can identify with your feeling of the ongoing adventure. We had thought we might move to Ecuador, or Costa Rica. But now that we’ve travelled Canada and USA, and lived on the east coast for a couple of years (we’re BCers), we think we might just do the 3mths here, 6 mths there sort of deal, and migrate south as far as we desire. A catamaran is another idea in the wings.
The catamaran would be fun!
We just moved to Ajijic 3 weeks ago from Tulum where we lived for the last year. I was playing with my big yellow lab Kona when I recognized Greg’s truck parked 2 door down. I ran across his family’s trip online last week. Small world.
Awesome trip I will see if I can offer some help to find advertisers.
Don’t ever sacrfiice your dreams, stop making excuses and start living like Greg & Rachel.
Life’s a journey get out and see some of it.
Greg told me about meeting you. He’s excited to talk with you more (as soon as I’m over this stomach bug 😛 )
so intesting to read about you all. we are traveling the C. and S. Amrerica these days. where ar you currently. still staveling?
We are currently in Lake Chapala, Mexico. Where are you?
Alaska to Argentina,that awesome! you inspired me ! i going to make a plan for a trip “Alemania to Japan”
Oh, I got to get to know you guys better. SO exciting! Do you know when you’re takin off yet?
Hi Greg and Rachel,
We love keeping track of you and the adventures. Your kids and blessed to have parents like you to show them the things of other cultures besides our stereo type life styles. We are enjoying the big snows of Anchor Point. Got charged by a moose while skiing the other day. Pretty exciting for a few minutes as I fell in the process of the charge. She changed her mind about me. Had bad breathe maybe, but actually God was watching and had plans for me yet. If I had been in the house not enjoying God’s wonderful creation I would not have had an exciting experience.
You guys take care and God Bless.
Ann and Don
Sweet! Sounds crazy 🙂
I wanna go for a trip too and I recently went to one last week which was a very short trip in comparison to yours but was a fun experience. I enjoyed the interview. What is holding me back is my studies for now and I would see if I can go for a trip when I finish my studies. Keep on posting about your great adventures. They are really inspirational!
Just discovered your blog today – we’re planning to take our small 2+2 family on an adventure driving from Alaska to Argentina in 2017 so we’re keen to follow your adventures. We’re based in Australia and will either ship our vehicle over or buy a rig similar to yours over there. Anyway, off now to catchup on your escapades!
Very cool! Keep us updated!
[…] his wife, Rachel, are living a long-term travel lifestyle. Currently, they’re driving from Alaska to Argentina via Europe. Impressively, they’re doing it together with their six […]
[…] Denning writes from the road as she travels with her husband and five children overland from Alaska to Argentina. She's passionate about family, education, travel, photography and dreaming big. You can […]