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I Wish Gap Year   July 13, 2010
Blog Focus: Trans-Americas Journey

Since April 2006, Eric Mohl and Karen Catchpole (a photographer and journalist, respectively) have road-tripped across North America before heading to Central and South America. Since they’ve been traveling, they’ve kept a blog called “Trans-Americas Journey” detailing aspects ranging from where they’re currently located, what sort of adventures they’ve encountered, and various items they packed that proved to be quite helpful. Join us this week for our blog focus on the Trans-America Journey with Eric and Karen…

Eric and Karen’s blog is part of a larger website that details many interesting components of their journey – including the mileage they’ve put on their trucks and gas they’ve used since April 2006 as well as the highest point they’ve reached on the road, hours driven, and number of borders they’ve crossed. It seems like with all of the milestones they’ve achieved, they should clearly be in the Guiness Book of World Records sometime in the very near future, if not already. They don’t really have an itinerary, but have focused on stopping in as many of the 850 national and state parks, preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries as well as the 136 Biosphere reserves as possible.

While this daring duo left the conventional 9-5 North American lifestyle, they’re still making money on the road by covering and photographing various aspects of their journey in periodicals and magazines like Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Everyday with Rachel Ray, and ELLE, as well as reviewing places they’ve stopped and stayed online. As they claim on their site, “this trip is our job too!”

The blog is image-heavy and loaded with interesting site-specific content. In their most recent location, Belize, they outline what their experience in San Pedro was like in a readable, traveler-friendly style that can inspire just about anyone to make a lifestyle change that would allow them to do something similar:

“Modern San Pedro is a developed tourist destination with all that implies from guest houses to coffee shops to souvenir stores to guides plying their services to drink specials and ladies’ nights. It is not unpleasant–the streets are still walkable and the vibe is still low key and the beach is still gorgeous. And, at the end of the day, Ambergris is still the kind of place where the local greeting is “Smile! You’re on vacation!”

One other helpful element of this blog is the fact that Eric and Karen offer the reader a wide range of activities to get involved with, if he or she finds him or herself following in the authors’ footsteps. In Belize, for instance, they talk about their experience SCUBA diving:

“There are many dive shops on Ambergris Caye but we chose to Ecologic Divers for a number of reasons including the fact that they really are trying to be a green diving company–they sponsor clean-up projects and offer free dive instruction to  local high school students who participate, for example. We also liked the large number of locals they employ at every level and the playful professionalism of the owners and dive masters.”

Other recent posts have included an overview of local wildlife in Belize City and a list of their top 5 ice cream treats in Mexico. Overall, this blog provides good details about the locations they’ve visited (perfect inspiration for selecting a gap year or planning your next excursion), and the blog as a whole is a refreshing reminder that there is no “set” way to go about making a living – vacation days don’t need to be limited to 2 weeks per year!

For more information about Trans-America Journey, check Eric and Karen out on twitter and don’t forget to head to I Wish Gap Year for resources in planning a gap year or more detailed information about the locations Eric and Karen have visited!

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