The Pan-American in a Prius

In a few days myself and my wife will be setting off to Los Angeles (via NZ) to undertake an epic journey along the Pan American highway. The Pan American is a route that stretches from the Arctic Circle in Alaska all the way to the bottom of South America. Officially it traverses 14 countries, but several spurs can also be used to take in four other countries such as Bolivia and Paraguay. I won’t go into too many details in this post but our rough plan is to buy ourselves a car in LA, spend 3 months exploring the Rocky Mountains and National Parks during the US summer, then set off south through Mexico and the rest of Central and South America. We have no planned route whatsoever and only a vague idea that along the way there’s volcano’s, beautiful Caribbean waters, tall mountains, lost cities and drug cartels. Oh, and they speak Spanish, so we’ll have to start learning that language. I expect the trip will take 9-12 months in total with our end destination being Santiago in Chile as we have family there.

My thinking is to buy a Toyota Prius for the trip. They have amazing milage, the rear seats fold flat if we need to sleep in the back and having a huge hybrid battery means it can run air-con all night and a little fridge. There’s a whole community in the US who call themselves Prius Dwellers. They live and sleep in their Prius while having a minimalist and low impact lifestyle and enjoying a certain footloose independence that’s difficult to attain in the modern world. I’m not quite sold on the concept, but I’m keen to give it a go.

So, we’ll fly into Los Angeles, stay with some friends, buy a Prius, drive it around the US for a bit then set off towards Chile. Along the way we’ll learn Spanish, homestay with the locals, climb mountains, snorkel in caves, wander around ancient Mayan & Inca ruins and meet as many interesting people as we can. By the time that’s all done we should be deep into 2023 and either be desperate to return to a sedentary life in Australia, or do something even more epic. Hopefully it’s the later. I’ll keep posting updates as we undertake the journey. Stay tuned.

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