This year my sister got me possibly the coolest gift that I have recieved in a long time. Those who know me understand how important maps are to my life. Along with a good photo, they are in my opinion a fanstistic form of art. So this past season my sister got me a map that allows you to scratch off the places you have been to.
Scratch Map gift from my sister! Best Gift Ever!
Now the question is, What determines where I have been? Some countries are small enough that visiting one or two major cities would be enough to say you have been there but in the large countries such as Canada this just is not the case. So in order to know where I should scratch there needs to be some rules.
In order to determine if I have visited a place I need to have spent a night there or have traveled through it via some land based transportation (on my motorbike trip to Alaska I rode across Manitoba twice without staying the night…. I think I can still count Manitoba on my list of visited places though!). For countries large enough to show up on a world map with separate provinces or states entire countries can not be crossed off. This means that while I have been to the USA many times there are still some states I need to go to still as well as some provinces and territories in Canada. The final rule in this process is that there is no time frame that restricts this, in other words my travels as a kid with my parents count.
And so, today I have spent an amazing time scratching off the places I have been. Each place has a story based on fond memories. And what have I learnt? Well beating my sister in our race to get to all 7 continents first will be a challenge and second is that for a person that some think travels a lot there is way too little of the world that I have been.
If you are interested in your own map check them out at scratchmap.com
Amazingly enough it seems like the idea of Overlanding is not that well known in popular circles where I live. I guess that the type of travel I want to do is the thing that most people will never be able to accomplish due to time or expense. That said, there are many people driving the Pan American Highway or heading to more out of the way places. Many of these travelers have been writting about their adventures and they are where I have been getting much of my information. Here are just some of the websites that I have found useful.
When I first started traveling by motorbike I found this community. The website and forum on this site are run by Grant and Susan Johnson who have a wealth of round the world tripping experience. They also run meet ups in various places around the world and have a how to series of videos about travel by motorbike.
Life Remotely & IOverlander
This blog is a very interesting one. When the idea of heading south along the Pan American Highway I found a website with the ebook ‘Don’t Go There. It’s Not Safe, You’ll Die’ free to be downloaded. At the time that I downloaded it there blog was talking about how they were in the process of creating a travelers app. I have had the app on my phone for a while now and it is an amazing resource for on the road information such as the locations of campsites, hotels, food, propane and fuel, mechanics, shipping companies. There is not much info for the area around me but in other areas there is a lot.
This website is your typical Wiki. I am not sure who runs it or why but it seems like an interesting site. The info seems to be well edited and in terms of other sites limited but that also means that it is not as overwhelming. The other nice thing about this site is that it seems to be keeping track of an on again, off again ferry service between Panama and Columbia which would be very helpful for all sorts of travelers between the continents.
Expedition Portal & Overland Journal
The Expedition Portal is a forum and online magazine that supports overlanding. As with all forums there is a series of posts on travel methods and destinations. The Overland Journal is a print magazine that is published 4 times a year, I haven’t recieved my first one yet but I am looking forward to it.
Truck Camper Magazine
Having started to look into truck campers more seriously I have stumbled across this site. The site is an excellent source of info for camping with truck campers. The most interesting articles have been about modifications to the campers that people have made. The website seems to have links with many of the major truck camper manufacturers so it will be a place to help determine what rig to get in the end.
The recent exam “break” has sort of put a pause on my travel planning for this summer but its timing coincided with some very interesting deadlines with my work. January 31 was the deadline to apply for one year leaves. There are some very interesting benefits of being a teacher and one is that taking a sabbatical is a very real possibility. The other very nice thing is that my board will help out with this by allowing you to deduct money for a certain amount of time to help pay for the year that you might be away. For that reason I have put in my application for a 4 over 5 meaning for the next 4 years I will have a reduced income to help pay for the sabbatical.
I now have two trips to look forward too. So what to do for an entire year off? 2020 / 2021 is 4 years away and plans may / probably will change but the current idea is one that I have talked about for a little while…. Drive or ride the motorbike down to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina!
The overall idea is to leave Milton the start of July 2020 and make it to the end of the road in South America by January 2021. From there if the money and everything else allows jump on a boat to Antarctica. After that I would have about 7 months to get back up to the GTA area by July of that year possibly by heading straight through the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest.
A more comprehensive planning map will come soon but according to Google Maps the entire South American part will only take 126 hours ;).
Google Map of South American Route