I have always had travel envy towards people who can take a couple of months off and hit the road and vowed that if I ever had the opportunity I would take it. Well now it is either follow the dream or let it die so after much plotting and scheming I found a way to do it.
I have never been a "normal" person, the dream of the house in the burbs, the 2.5 kids and driving a mini van makes me cringe and want to run far far away. I have done the career thing making it as far as Marketing Manager for a software company however I found that the corporate world was also not for me. So about 4 years ago I started building a website after a couple of years of total frustration from trying to learn ASP programing and a few billion cups of coffee I finally got it finished and launched it. It is a free site so it doesn't make much money but it does bring in enough that it should cover the food costs for my trip. The site is an international people search site called Lost Trekkers, if you are looking for someone feel free to drop by my stomach thanks you. I have been lucky enough to find a job working for the City as an auxiliary employee that allows me to pick up work when I need it which is the money I have been able to put away to pay for my adventure and something I will be able to go back to when I return... until itchy feet syndrome strikes again.
The adventure begins in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and ends in Costa Rica. I am going on the trip by myself and will be backpacking it and busing it. I have my footprint guide to Mexico/Central America and have been doing a whole lot of research on the Internet. Being a single female traveler has a few draw backs but I have found the forums and other peoples blogs a great resource for information. I plan on visiting Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, I have 3 1/2 months and from the research I have done I'm thinking I will spend a large part of the time in Guatemala. It seems to be the least expensive country and I want to take Spanish classes for about a month so I think it will be a great place to live for awhile.
In preparation for the trip I have been doing a lot of shopping. The backpack was the hardest item to get and involved trying on many different kinds in all shapes and sizes. This being my first time doing this I'm sure I'm going to find that I don't need one this large but I'd rather have extra room than not enough. The trouble being if I actually do fill it up I won't be able to pack it around without the aide of a Sherpa :-) I have visions of falling over backwards and doing the turtle... The pack does have a detachable day pack which I think I will find very useful. I'm not sure if I'll need it but I also got a "pack protector" which is a steel mesh that can go over the pack to prevent anyone from slicing it open and getting at the stuff in it. I actually got it more because it has a tether on it so if I need to I can lock the pack to a stationary object for short periods of time. The info on the Internet from folks went both ways on the need for it so I'll see how it goes. All in all I dropped about $300.00 in Mountain Equipment Coop including purchasing a water proof case for my laptop, re-chargeable battery's and charger and the Canadian flag patches to attach to the backpack.
I am very much looking forward to the start of the trip.. For those of you who don't live in Vancouver..... We don't normally get snow however this year has been some very freaky weather, it started on Dec 15th and has not let up. Vancouver people don't know what to do in the snow, we get rain in the winter and maybe a couple of days of the white stuff, most folks can't drive in it, no one has snow tires, the city's don't have the plowing/sanding/salting equipment to get rid of it so all in all it has pretty much shut down all of southern British Columbia as well as a large part of Washington State. My dreams are filled with sun, sand and warmth. I am pretty sure that it is the only thing keeping me sane at this point. Someone turn up the heat!