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About Anywhere That's Wild

Jill and Zach met as undergrads in 2003 and have been living in an amazing intentional community in Worcester, MA for the last several years. During this time, Zach worked as an engineer while Jill finished her graduate degree studying environmental policy and social entrepreneurship. When life afforded the perfect opportunity to leave their bondage days behind, they took it.This journey is a time to reconnect with nature and each other; to discover together the beauty of the natural world and its many cultures. We look forward to sharing our stories and photos with you.

Trip Start: 2013-06-30 Trip End: 2011-06-01 .

Author Archive | Anywhere That's Wild

Machu Picchu Through the Backdoor

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To most, Machu Picchu is a bucket list destination, right up there with the Great Wall and the Pyramids of Giza.  It is a destination that defines an entire continent.  But what often comes with such a designation are the precise things one tries to avoid when traveling: crowds, inauthenticity and price gouging.  If Jill and I were going to…

The End of the Road

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I know what you’re thinking.  How did you get from Peru to the End of the Road?  Aren’t there a few countries and several thousand miles in between?  The truth, it seems, is that we’re not very good bloggers.  Or, at the very least, we’re not very timely bloggers.  Despite this fact, we wanted to share an important milestone.  After 18 months…

Maintaining the Sanity

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The Cordillera Blanca is the highest mountain range outside of the Himalayas.  There are 16 peaks over 6000 meters including Peru’s highest, the mighty Hauscaràn.  Seeing as we like to hit the trail as often as possible we had looked forward to this section of the trip for as long as we can remember.  Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case…

Los Baños del Inca

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We started our day in Cajamarca in the same way Inca emperor Atahualpa did nearly 500 years earlier – in the soothing waters of the natural thermal springs that grace this area of the Northern Peruvian highlands.  Known today as Los Baños del Inca, the compound is a popular tourist attraction that supposedly gets hundreds of visitors daily.  After all,…

People of the Clouds

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The persistent fog was all around us.  It had completely enveloped the mountain landscape, stealthily hiding the thousand-foot sheer drops and allowing our location on this craggy peak to be forgotten.  Originally we were hoping for the dense clouds to clear but we had come to realize how perfectly fitting they were.  Deep in the northern Peruvian highlands, we were…

A Traveler’s Fantasy

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Most long term travelers have in the back of their minds a fantasy of a place that they imagine they could find themselves getting stuck in.  These fantasy scenarios often include opening up a hostel or some other small business to sustain a lifestyle abroad.  As we travel through city after city we have come across a great number of…

Surviving the Holidays Abroad

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There’s absolutely nowhere we’d rather be than with our families during the holidays.  One of the hardest times to be away from home for us is the week between Christmas and New Years.  No matter how much fun we’re having, no matter how much of a rhythm we have found on the road, being homesick during this time cannot be…

Things Heat Up in Baños

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From the jungle we continued west through the town of Baños, a touristy spot where the activities are dune buggy rentals and bungee jumping.  Not necessarily the things we go out of our way to pursue but we had half a day to burn and figured the hot springs were reason enough to stop.  If the city had positive attributes, the weather…

Jungle Jaunt

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I awoke from my slumber feeling relieved.  My fears of being violated by cockroaches during the night did not come to fruition and, to my surprise, I had slept peacefully.  Of course that could be due to my position in the hammock.  Zach might not have been so lucky, as he had offered to sleep on the bare wooden floor…

Milestones

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We had driven more than 30,000 miles up to this point.  We’d traveled for 14 months, through 12 countries on two continents and crossed the open sea.  Still, traversing the imaginary line that divides the earth’s northern and southern hemispheres is about as anticlimactic a milestone as they come.  Actually, on our first time across, I was sleeping in the…

Market Day

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The market in Otavalo, Ecuador was by far the most impressive we’ve seen since Guatemala.  On market day when the market swells with vendors from surrounding towns the produce market alone would challenge in size any that we have seen in South America so far and that was just a third of what they had to offer.  In addition to…

Zen and the Art of Pirate Camping

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We spent two days in and around the town of Salento just on the outskirts of the zona de café.  The draw to Salento, aside from its charm, is the Valle de Cocora.  The cocora are the world’s tallest wax palms and can crest over 200 feet.  The valley is home to groves of these spindly trees that stand tall…

Nuestra Familia Colombiana

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From El Cocuy we made our way to Bogota with a few choice stops along the way.  Let me start by saying we didn’t come close to giving Bogota the attention it deserved.  It is a huge city with countless museums, cultural events and pleasant strolling opportunities.  We didn’t do any of this though.  We had one focus and reason…

The Peaks and Valleys of El Cocuy

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Due to our four month hiatus in the States, we’ve had to accept the reality that we will be passing through many countries during an unfavorable time of year.  In Peru, we’ll face rainy season in much of the highlands and by the time we reach Patagonia the summer days will be dwindling.  So when we realized we’d be in…

That Dreaded “Shipping” Post: Part 2

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After four days bouncing around the Caribbean, it was back to reality and back to work.  Our van was still in a container in the port of Cartagena and in order to drive her off we had miles of red tape to unravel.  Before beginning the process there was the matter of getting ourselves from Capurganá, a small Caribbean village…

The Darien Gapster

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While our car was making its way across the Caribbean to Colombia, it was up to us to find our own way.  We could fly from Panama City, take a sail boat across the ocean or go for the cheapest option which involves a number of outboard motor boats followed by a series of long bus rides.  The motor boat…

FLASHBACK: San Jose Guayabal

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We left the the war torn hills of south eastern El Salvador to meet up with family of friends in a small town just outside of San Salvador, the capital city.  Mayte and Luis are the aunt and uncle of a former co-worker of mine back in my Henkel days.  Mayte is a professor of English at the University in…

That Dreaded “Shipping” Post: Part 1

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We’ve been lying to you all along.  The truth is we can’t drive from the US to Argentina.  No one can.  The Pan American “highway” is a network of roads linking the majority of nations in the Americas and totaling nearly 30,000 miles.  It stretches from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the farthest reaches of South America, ending arguably in Ushuaia, Argentina. …

Broken Down in Cerro Punta

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A late lunch was quickly turning into an early dinner as Jill and I wandered through various small towns looking for the right place to eat.  Our hunger was distracted by the beautiful scenery of the mountains surrounding Volcan Baru in the NW corner of Panama.  We entered the one horse town of Cerro Punta and soon passed what looked…

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Part II

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It seems that each “start” of the trip for us comes with a test of our convictions, a “prove yourself” diversion that would make even the most confident travelers question whether they could hack it (remember our first series of unfortunate events).  After four cushy months living in CT, our first few days back on the road did just this. …

A Long Time Coming

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We woke at 2 am to begin our travels back to our home, which has been in storage for four months in San Jose, Costa Rica.  On a list of things the van has hopefully withstood during this time are a 7.6 magnitude earthquake and the bulk of Central American rainy season.  While waiting for our first flight, Zach looks…

Prohibition and Pizza Hut

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After our hike in El Imposible, we decided to stick together as a group a bit longer and visit the renowned feria gastronomica, or food festival, in the small mountain town of Juayua.  I mean, who doesn’t crave some freshly grilled iguana after a long hike in the sweltering heat?  We arrived in town just in time to watch the…

Not All is Lost

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Hi there.  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Though I (we) have failed to keep up on my promise to fully update the blog during this hiatus, not all is lost.  We have both accomplished something this summer:  

Many thanks to our family and friends for their support through this process!  We both had our own fan clubs come…

One Year on the Road

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One year ago today, Zach and I pointed Blue Steel due West and began the adventure of a lifetime.  We started our trip in CT so it seems only fitting that we are back here today celebrating one year on the road.  It is also fitting that the northeast is experiencing somewhat of a heatwave, with record temperatures and brutal…

On Food and Friendship

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From Caye Caulker we continued our travels through the small country of Belize, heading west towards the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.  We had heard good things about the Belize Zoo and, even though zoos are really not our thing and even though it was expensive ($15 USD/person), we decided to stop.  The zoo is filled with over 100 rescue…

Reflections on Mexico

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When our trip was in the early stages of planning our timeline was frequently debated.  Unlike me, Jill had the advantage of a reference point.  She had spent many hours on other travelers’ blogs and had a feel for a slow pace versus a quick pace.  Envisioning what kind of travelers we would find ourselves to be Jill estimated accordingly. …

Anything is Possible

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Our plan to make it to Parque Nacional El Imposible before dark seemed reasonable enough.  Distance-wise, it wasn’t far and the border crossing into El Salvador went smoothly, leaving us plenty of daylight for the trek.  Between the four of us we had three maps and a handheld GPS.  The fact that the road to El Imposible was in a…

Catching Karma on the Upswing

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We departed Antigua early in the morning with plans to hike Volcan Pacaya.  Well under a half day’s drive from Antigua we planned to get there early enough to hike to the summit before the clouds set in.  Fast forward 3 hours and a number of U turns later we still had no idea where the hell we were.  As…

Lent in Antigua

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Antigua is a “can’t miss” stop on anyone’s route through Guatemala.  It is a beautiful colonial city, known for its crumbling churches and towering volcanoes, both being somewhat related.  Antigua has paid the price for its beautiful skyline with various earthquakes throughout the second millennia.  Like other colonial cities in Latin America, Antigua’s streets are lined with single story buildings…

Back to School: Part 3

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We were both annoyed when our alarm went off at 4:50 am on our first Saturday in San Pedro.  Sleep weighed heavy on our eyes and we wanted nothing more than to roll over and ignore the incessant beeping.  Still groggy, I forced myself out of bed and began preparing our packs for the day.  We had to hurry if…