Tag Archives: south america

Our Wedding Goals

Standard

Sitting on a park bench in Lima, Perú, drinking some beers while waiting for a night bus to leave, we decided to brainstorm and write out the goals we have for our wedding.  We hope these will help us remember what’s important despite how easy it is to get swept away in the little details and nonsense.  This way, if we’re struggling with a decision down the line we can come back to the goals and use them to help us make the right decision.  That’s the idea, at least.  Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Pay for our wedding ourselves and not go over $2500.

2. Agree on decisions together so that our wedding truly reflects our personalities.

3. Make our wedding more like a fun reunion than a showy formal event.

4. Be selective about our creative projects so that we don’t get obsessed with or overwhelmed by the details.

5. Make our wedding reflect our values: vegetarian, eco-friendly, etc.

6. Have a meaningful and sincere ceremony.

7. Handle any conflicts with courtesy and maturity while still standing up for ourselves on what really matters.

8. Have quality time with everyone at our wedding and involve our guests as much as possible.

What do you think?  Can we accomplish all of these?  Did anyone else sit down and write goals for their wedding before really beginning the planning?

Happy New Year from Peru!

Standard

Hey friends!  Happy 2012!  We celebrated in a grand fashion in Huacachina, Perú, by taking a dune buggy/sandboarding tour, camping at a place with a pool, and getting ripped off by outrageous holiday prices everywhere!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Seriously though, the journey is going great despite it’s many challenges.  Reflecting on 2011, Zach and I both decided it was the best year of our lives.  And it’s only going to get better!

I updated my Thirty by 30 today and was happy to cross four things off the list!  That’s pretty good for one year, I’d say!  So here’s a goofy picture of me out on the dunes on NYE.  Yes, I have dreadlocks now; call me crazy if you must.

Photo Favorite: Llama in Royal Dress

Standard

Popping over from La Aventura Project because I just HAVE to share this picture with you.  We found this llama in the parking lot outside Las Lajas Cathedral near the Colombia/Ecuador border.  I have no idea what his purpose was, other than to have his picture taken.  HUH-larious!

Keep reading over at my travel blog!

Standard

We made it to America del Sur!!!!  So posting on this page will probably be a lot lighter while we´re traveling.  I´ll still write on here at times when I have something not directly trip-related to say.  But you should definitely add www.laaventuraproject.com to your Google Reader or bookmarks and keep following me over there!  Thanks!

Occupy Wall Street

Standard

I have been a horrible blogger lately.  But life has been crazy, yo.  We finally arrived back in Ohio last Sunday, after six weeks on the road.  There wasn’t really any relaxation in sight though, because we promptly took off to New Jersey on Tuesday to trade cars with my sister.  She bought mine so I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping up on payments on it while in South America.  Thus the complete cross-country drive from San Francisco to New York City was complete!  While on the East Coast we had whirlwind day of galavanting around the city (Occupy Wall St, Williamsburg, etc.) then drove to Nyack that night to see my dearest college roommate, Erica.  The boxed-wine-drinking and Big-Lebowski-watching was glorious.  On the way back to Ohio we stopped in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania to hang out with my brother at his college for a night.  Went hiking and had a grand old time there.

I still have so much to catch up on as far as recapping our big road trip, and now we are in the throes of final South America preparation!  So this is where I throw some pictures up just to make this post seem less lame.  I’ll write more later, I promise.

For now here are some pics of Occupy Wall St.  What does everyone think of this movement???  I’m undecided about it and would love to hear your views!

So long, Arizona

Standard

Do me a favor.  Start here.  Meg’s post about doing things we’re afraid of is so well written and TRUE.

There was a short but bright rainbow in the sky tonight.  A sign of good luck for the start of our journey tomorrow!  It’s been a weekend of goodbyes and wrap-ups.  Packing sucked.  As usual, I found myself with a way-too-big pile of “essential” clothes and a way-too-small suitcase.  Trying to convince myself that I don’t need these, I really don’t need these, I don’t!  Who cares about variety?  The car is packed to the gills with camping supplies, clothes, food, and camera equipment.  But I’m sure we’re still forgetting something.  The rest is in boxes in a closet here.  So of course I’ll come back, because after a year of only what I stuffed in one suitcase, I’m gonna want to see the rest of my clothes again!

It’s been a year.  A seemingly quiet one compared to last year, but I still can’t believe all that’s happened.  I’ve learned how to live with someone in a real, day-to-day, “in this for the long haul” relationship, survived our first real fights, and found myself more in love than ever.  I’ve worked two new jobs and started my own business.  I’ve learned to snowboard, tried rock climbing, hiked long distances, cliff jumped from 50 feet, and climbed my first two mountains.  I’ve been to Mexico for the first time.  Biked many miles, saved many dollars, made new friends, started to integrate into a whole other family.  Tasted western microbrews and Spanish wines.  Shared so many homemade pizzas with couchsurfers from around the world.  What a year.

The next one is going to be even better.  A circular journey that will take us through two continents and back.  The western US, Ohio again, all of South America, and back to Ohio by August 2012.  After that, who knows?  These next six weeks we’ll be living out of the car, couchsurfing, exploring new national parks, and going to Burning Man.  I do have several goals for our time on the road:

1. Study Spanish every day.

2. Hike or run every day.  Work my way up to running a 10k.

3. Dumpster dive.

4. Keep the car clean and organized.

5. Take amazing photographs.

6. Keep up this blog.

7. Eat healthy.

8. Enjoy myself!!!!!

So tomorrow we begin.  First a quick stop in Las Vegas, for Zach to sell some of the scrap copper wire he’s collected at work.  Yes, we really are that poor.  And as Zach said “What great story doesn’t start with driving to Vegas to sell something?”  Lol.  Then to Death Valley NP in California, where apparently the highs can be over 120 degrees this time of  year.  Yikes.  Now it’s time to share a bottle of wine in hopes of being able to sleep tonight.  I’ll catch up with you again from somewhere in California!

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”-Christopher McCandless

Support Letter for La Aventura Project

Standard

Hi all! This is an easy post, but important. We finally got our fundraising underway for La Aventura Project.  I figured the easiest way to share this is just to copy and paste the same letter I sent out to family and friends detailing what we’re doing and what we need.  Of course you should also click over to the La Aventura Project website (link in the right sidebar) to see the trailer and more.  And please, please ask questions if you have them!  I’m feeling the vibe of a lot of doubts expressed by non-supportive silence by certain people who are close to me.  And it really hurts.  I’ll probably write more about that later, but for now, here’s the letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings!  I hope you all are well!  What is going on in your lives???   Since I’m fairly bad at keeping in touch, I wanted to write to you about what is going on in my life at the moment.  I’ve been living in Williams, Arizona (near the Grand Canyon) for almost one year now with my amazing boyfriend Zachary Minnich.  This is the first time for both of us to live out west and we’re loving it!  The many mountains, creeks, and canyons to hike and explore keep us endlessly entertained and active.  Most of our time is spent working, however.  We both work in Flagstaff, Zach as an electrician and me as a server at a nice restaurant.  We are saving as much money as possible for travel.  We both have the same desire to see the world.

That brings me to our other main activity right now, which is planning a year-long backpacking/filmmaking/volunteering adventure in South America.  On October 27, Zach, our good friend Melissa, and I will be departing from Chicago and flying into Colombia (which I assure you has become very safe and pleasant for tourists recently).  We plan to work our way around the continent in a counterclockwise direction through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Venezuela.  We have budgeted $17 per person per day for an entire year of travel.  In order to live cheaply and really learn the language and culture of these countries, we will be doing lots of volunteering, mostly through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (www.wwooof.org).  We so look forward to building relationships with locals this way, and to learning about and contributing to sustainable agriculture on our planet.  We also will be finding other volunteer opportunities at orphanages and schools along the way, couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org), and camping.  To finally put my film degree to use, we will be filming our experience every step of the way, telling our personal stories and searching for everything else worth documenting.  Because it’s hard to predict what will happen on a journey like this, it’s hard to say exactly what our film will be about.  Right now the working title is La Aventura Project and we are focused on telling the personal narrative of our journey and showing how travel and exposure to different cultures affects three 20-something Americans.  I am hoping to tell our story and eventually edit a feature-length documentary to show in film festivals.

And now the part you probably knew was coming and that I hate to write…the request for money.  Although Zach, Melissa, and I have all been working hard and saving, leaving on a year-long trip is quite expensive.  We are each trying to raise $7000  for travel and living expenses, plus cover our loans and US obligations for the year, plus purchase some filmmaking equipment.  Our film equipment alone will be about $6000 once we have everything we need.  We are so, so close to having the money ourselves, but we need just a little bit of help.  We are trying to raise just $5000 to split between the three of us to assist with equipment and travel costs.  We really feel that this project will make the world a better place by enabling cross-cultural learning, challenging and growing ourselves, and telling what is sure to be an awesome story through film.  We believe that world travel is the best education you can get, and that explorers and artists have and continue to change the world for the better.  If you believe this too, and can spare even $1 to help La Aventura Project, we would greatly appreciate it.  We are accepting secure, tax-deductible online donations via indiegogo.com.  Our project link is www.indiegogo.com/LaAventuraProject.  You can get some awesome perks for donating!  Please also visit our website, www.laaventuraproject.com, where you can find our film trailer and blog updates throughout our preparation and travel.  If you know anyone who would be interested in our project, please pass along those links!  And if you have any questions, please reply and ask away!

Thank you all so much!  And for those of you in Ohio, Zach and I will be back in early October and would love to see you before we leave!

Sincerely,

Carrie Hoffman

“What’s the difference between exploring and being lost?  The journey is the destination.”  –Dan Eldon

Nomadic Tendencies

Standard

How does one become a nomad?  Especially after being raised in the USA?  Sure, we have mobility between cities and states but we are definitely not a nomadic culture.  In fact, I think very few cultures are nomadic in the sense I feel nomadic.  I want to constantly be on the move, exploring new cities, countries, continents.  I know there were small signs as I was growing up, like when I declared at age 11 (half-joking, half-serious) that I wanted to be “a hobo” when I grew up.  The fact is, I’ve got the itch and I’ve got it bad.  It’s now been over a year that I’ve been back in the US, 10 months that I’ve been living here in Arizona.  The mountains, deserts, rocks, and beauty of the southwest is great, and we’ve had amazing day and weekend trips out here.  But I’m getting to that inevitable point I always reach, where I just feel done with it.  I’m done working, done coming home to the same house, I’m ready to GO!  Unfortunately this point usually hits a good few months before my actual departure date, and this time is no exception.  Zach and I have a little over two months before we’re bookin’ it out of this town.  This is necessitated purely by finances; if they were not an issue we’d be long gone by now.

We have such insatiable wanderlust. Our happiest times have been on the road, on the trail, approaching a new city or mountain or anything NEW.  There is nothing like the thrill of constant movement.  We can’t stay in one place for long without feeling stuck and beginning to desperately plan a new adventure.  And now, we are so, so close to get-up-and-go time.  On August 22 we will pack the car and drive to California–camping in Death Valley, Yosemite, then Lake Tahoe before swooping down upon Black Rock City to experience another world at Burning Man.  From there we’ll head back west to spend a week in San Francisco and NorCal wine country.  Then Salt Lake City to see all the Mormons, and a good two weeks in Colorado for lots of hiking and brewery tours.  Iowa City and Chicago will be our final stops in the midwest before arriving back in Columbus.  This will be our longest road trip yet and it is only the prequel to our big adventure, the escape to South America.  We’ll be back in Columbus for a few weeks, just long enough to pack it up and say goodbye to friends and family before our flight to Medellin, Colombia, on October 27.

It takes a certain kind of person to really understand wanderlust.  We’re lucky that although our families and many of our friends don’t get it, we’ve found a vast network of other wanderers through Couchsurfing and are sure to meet more at Burning Man and in South America.  Honestly, I would be fully open to the idea of NOT coming back to the US after a year down there.  Who knows what opportunities may present themselves?  The ultimate dream is to find a way to travel indefinitely.  Maybe that dream will change someday, but for now we are embracing it and chasing it at full speed.  We’re young.  What better time than now to live out of a car, a backpack, a tent, to watch the man burn, to hike the Andes, sail the Amazon, and create countless other stories?

April (Snow) Showers

Standard

Zach and I were both supposed to work Saturday, but when we woke up at the dreadful hour of 5:45am, there was a foot of snow outside.  By the time we got the car down the driveway there was no hope of Zach making it to work by 7 so he called off.  I was determined to still make it to my new job so Zach somehow drove all the way to the interstate on our crazy unplowed roads.  I was already questioning whether I should even try to make it when we saw the highway wasn’t even plowed yet.  Oh, and it was still snowing.  So I called off.  Criollo didn’t care, they knew it would be dead anyway.  Phew.

Yay!  An unplanned but much-needed day off!  Since we had already braved the treacherous roads and were awake from digging out the car we decided chow-time was in order.  We had some delicious breakfast and coffee at the Pine Country Restaurant but what I really got excited about was this:

Look at that plethora of PIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alas, apparently normal people do not eat pie at 7am, so our server dropped the check without even asking if we wanted dessert.  Don’t you know we’re not normal????  Don’t worry, we ordered a huge piece of Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie to go and enjoyed it at home later.

When we got home Zach made these:

Don't they look professional? He makes the best Bloody Marys ever!

Then we proceeded to watch the final 3 episodes of Big Love (what will I do without those crazy Mormons in my life?????), cuddle, nap, and make more yummy food.  So as crazy as a foot of snow in April is, we were both grateful for the day off.  We live together but we don’t often get enough time to just chill out.  We end up arguing more when we’re both so busy that we don’t do anything fun together.  It was a much-needed day to reconnect and it got us rejuvenated to face another crazy week.  We can’t wait for South America when we’ll be together 24/7 for a whole year.  We like each other way too much.

And Carrie squealed and did a happy dance at work!!

Standard

In case you can’t tell from this crappy iPhone picture, I’ll just go ahead and tell you why I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

I BOOKED OUR FLIGHT TO COLOMBIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who haven’t heard about La Aventura Project, click the link over in the sidebar to the right to learn about why me, my boyfriend, and my friend Mel are taking off on a one-year backpacking adventure through all of South America. 

Those of you following the project know we’ve been planning this forever but weren’t planning to buy our flight tickets  until May or June.  Well, today I got to work (where I get paid to surf the internet) and found a deal that seemed too good to be true (*knockonwood*)!  After some frantic texting between myself and Melissa I just threw caution to the wind and booked it.

We have our flight, y’all!!!!!!!  (I’m not really southern, but that’s meant to be heard in a Waiting for Guffman accent.) 

I’m going to surprise Zach with the printed-out confirmation tonight.  He knows nothing of this.  So shh…don’t tell him before I do!