How Josh and Jenna Escaped Cubicle Nation by Hitting the Life Reset Button

Every now and then, we should take a break from our busy lives. If we don’t stop running around and being busy all the time, our ability to perform each day will slow down over time.

One great way to refresh ourselves is through travelling. In this interview, long-term travelers Josh and Jenna explain how they managed to hit the life reset button and refresh their minds!

Below, they share all about their escape from cubicle nation, their wonderful travel experiences, stunning photos of their trip, life realizations, favorite gear and how their life reset all started with a bottle of wine!

Travel Amateurs

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hola! We’re Josh & Jenna from Travel Amateurs. Currently unemployed and driving from the Washington D.C. area to Ushuaia, Argentina. Before leaving, I worked as an auditor and Jenna worked in HR/Compensation for the Department of Defense. We both come from military families so we moved around every few years growing up.

Jenna and I have been together for 9 years, we’re engaged, and lived in Arlington, Virginia before quitting our jobs to travel. We were supposed to get married somewhere on the trip but I suppose we’ve been having too much fun to take the time to plan it. We’re currently in the small town of Caraz, Peru, which is just outside of the famous Cordillera Blanca. The hiking/climbing here is amazing!

We both love travel and food, especially street food. I love hiking, camping and basically everything outdoors. Jenna also loves the outdoors but her heart belongs to wine so she can’t wait for wine country in Chile!

Travel Amateurs

Our Rig: 2005 Four Wheel Camper – Hawk Model & 2006 Toyota Tundra 4×4
Rig Nickname: Tortuga (Turtle) – Our camper is the shell, the truck is green and we go sloooow 🙂

Trip: Washington D.C. to Ushuaia, Argentina (PanAmerican Highway)…and a little more if the money lasts.
Trip Start Date: July 15th, 2015

Travel Amateurs

How and why did you get into adventuring and traveling?

Jenna and I started taking small trips together the first year we met and became addicted immediately. We really love exploring new foods, learning about new cultures and, most importantly for us, meeting new people. However, each time we’d travel, we felt as though we were only scratching the surface. It takes a while to unwind and settle into a place, and by the time we started truly learning about a country, we’d be packing up to leave. We also realized that we didn’t really know who we were as people outside of a life dictated by work. In addition, we had both lost some important people in our lives. It was a sober reminder of how short life really is.

We started with a lot of questions and a lot of wine. We let ourselves talk about impossible ideas and silly dreams. Each step seemed small and inconsequential, a workshop of hypotheticals. Before we knew it, we were moving out of our apartment. Seconds later, we had quit out jobs. The original plan was actually to do a huge road trip loop around the U.S. and then work on farms throughout Europe. After reading a few blogs like PanAmNotes.com and Liferemotely.com we switched gears and focused on an Overland trip through Mexico, Central & South America.

We originally planned on a one-year adventure, but we’ve already been on the road for over 2 years! We think we’ll complete this trip around the 3 year mark. Feels crazy to say that and we feel so lucky for the opportunity to do so. Traveling through these countries has been a constant reminder of how fortunate we are and is something we’ll carry with us when it’s all over.

Travel Amateurs

Why is adventuring and traveling important for you?

The best part of traveling for us is the education. We chose the name Travel Amateurs not because we are travel rookies. We realized that even if we traveled every day for the rest of our lives, we would experience only a fraction of the people, culture and beauty this world has to offer. For that reason, we’ll forever be Travel Amateurs. I guess it’s “the more you see, the less you know” kind of thing.

We’re constantly learning from the people and cultures we encounter. Happy people with less stuff. Cultures that focus on happiness and relationships. So much kindness and hospitality given to us smelly travelers. The lessons are endless.

It seems like most people live fast paced and stressful lives nowadays. Getting outside is great at teaching people to slow down and focus on what’s important. When we were working, activities like camping, hiking and climbing were the best way to “refresh” our minds. We’ve definitely hit the proverbial reset button on our entire lives by taking this trip.

Travel Amateurs

What have been the best parts of your adventures and travels?

The obvious answers are things like not working, exploring beautiful places/cultures and meeting new people. But my honest answer is spending time with Jenna. Sharing daily, relaxing morning conversations while we sip our coffee has been amazing. We spend nearly every minute of every day together. We definitely argue and get on each other’s nerves but we realize that the opportunity to share these adventures together is unique and quite special.

Travel Amateurs

What have been the most difficult parts?

Planning does consume a lot more time than we expected. Turns out, when you’re driving through 15+ countries it takes a lot of navigating and research. 🙂

Safety was also a big concern of ours before we headed south but we’ve found that with a little research, there’s about as much danger as we’d encounter back home. It’s hard to explain this to friends/family who haven’t done a similar trip but my best answer is this: Atlanta, GA has pretty bad crime and can be dangerous at certain times, in certain areas. That being said, you’d never tell a traveler that Georgia is a dangerous state; and people visit Atlanta regularly without any issues. We don’t use blanket statements to describe our own states, so we shouldn’t do so for other countries. For example, San Pedro Sula can be quite dangerous, but Honduras was an amazing and friendly country. Our most popular article to date is our satire post about Mexico Safety, so we definitely understand that safety/danger is a big focus.

When you live in a space as big as the bed of a truck everything is ALWAYS a mess, and we do get tired. Tired of driving, tired of traveling and even tired of exploring these inspiring places. We’ve realized we need breaks so now we make sure to sit still and do nothing every now and then to recharge the batteries. Sometimes it takes couple days and sometimes it takes a week, but it’s important to have this balance so we can appreciate each new place.

Travel Amateurs

How do you eat and sleep on the road?

We sleep in our camper and cook most of our own meals to save money, and because we love to cook, but we love to try the new foods in each country. Street food is our favorite and nobody does it better than Mexico. (It’s well known that every overlander heading south misses Mexico.) Our favorite piece of cooking gear is our Omnia Oven, which allows us to bake bread, brownies, etc. on our stove top. Quality baked goods aren’t always easy to come by on the road so it’s fun to treat ourselves and friends along the way. For meals, our camper has a 2 burner propane stove inside and we also have the Camp Chef – Everest stove for cooking outside (love it!) when the weather is nice.

We sleep in our home (camper) about 90% of the time. Occasionally, we also stay in hostels/hotels/air bnbs when camping in cities, or on islands, is difficult. We both have Marmot sleeping bags for sleeping in the camper!

On our blog, you can read more about our gear and check our packing list.

Travel Amateurs

What is your best advice for new adventurers and travelers?

My advice would be to start completing steps now. If you look at the trip/adventure as a whole, it will seem daunting. Write down what you NEED to do and start checking the boxes. Daydream more often. Let go of those fears. And before you know it, you’ll be on the road!

We receive emails/questions from people wanting to do this trip on a weekly basis. Some just want a little help with planning/prep and we really love trying to help, but others want to know every single detail and a solution to every one of their fears. A lot of people also get hung up on having every piece of gear, the perfect rig and every answer. You can’t plan it all, and honestly, it would hurt the adventure if you did. As long as you’ve done enough to be comfortable and safe, get out there and start living!

Travel Amateurs

How do you prepare for your adventures and travels?

The big steps for our trip prep: Save Money, Move out of our apartment, Move in with Jenna’s parents, Buy Truck, Buy Camper, Prep/Modify Truck & Camper, Get Travel Immunizations, Quit Jobs, Hit the Road!

On the road, we don’t work out as much as we’d like…no beach bodies here! There always seems to be new friends and campfire beers getting in our way, or at least that’s our excuse. We dabble in yoga, walk a lot and hike quite often though. We just recently summited Pisco at 18,871 ft (5,752m) so I guess that counts as exercise.

To plan our route, we mainly talk to friends and locals to gather suggestions for each upcoming country. Every now and then we look at a Lonely Planet book. Instagram is also a nice resource to quickly take note of pretty destinations.

We use a phone application called iOverlander to find most of our camp spots as well as propane, food and other points of interest. This has been an invaluable resource to us and we can’t thank the developers of this app enough. Maps.me is an offline navigation app we also love.

Travel Amateurs

How do you finance your adventures and travels?

We saved up for two years and sold our cars and possessions to pay for the trip. We don’t have any sponsors and do not work on the road. Our website has a couple Amazon affiliate links but those barely pay for the cost of keeping the blog hosted. Recently we started selling camping koozies that we designed for friends and family, but that is more for fun than anything else.

We’ve averaged about $35/day on our trip. It took a long time to get used to our savings balance only going down. Now we’ve accepted the fact that it’s supposed to go to $0 and we can make more money when we return.

Travel Amateurs

How do you balance normal life with adventuring and traveling?

After two years on the road, this has become normal life. We’re away 100% of the time, minus a couple trips home for a wedding and a funeral. No children yet, but lots of family back home. We definitely miss out on seeing family grow up and important events…this is probably the hardest part of the trip for us. Jenna has a niece and nephew that seem to get bigger every minute and I’m the oldest of 10 children. We miss our families a lot.

Travel Amateurs

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100?

Going back to our morning coffee routine, we love our GSI Collapsible Java Drip. Takes up no space, easy to clean and something we’ll even use when we’re not on the road.

The more interesting answer is Jenna’s pStyle! The bathroom situation on the road, and in some of these countries isn’t always ideal, so being able to “stand like a guy” has been pretty cool for her. Other women we meet on the road always want one when they find out.

What other favorite gear do you have?

We love our Endless Breeze by Fan-Tastic Vent Fan. Haven’t used it much lately, but this thing saved us from killing each other in the heat of Central America. Our Eno DoubleNest Hammock is also a favorite, well, who doesn’t love hammock naps?!?

Travel Amateurs

What will the future bring?

The truth is, we really don’t know. We want to move somewhere west when we get back to the States, maybe CO, CA, or the PNW. We don’t want desk jobs, but we have nothing special in our sights, Walmart greeter? Once we save up again, we have our hearts set on overlanding Europe for a year or so.

Over beers and wine we also talk about opening a camp site for overlanders, building a tiny-ish house and maybe starting a food truck, but these are only dreams at this point. Then again, this whole trip started with a bottle of wine, so you never know! 🙂


MightyGoods share interviews that will help you upgrade your life!

  • Join our newsletter and get tips and tricks from top athletes and great adventurers every week.
  • You can also follow us on Facebook.
  • Make us do more interviews by visiting Amazon through this link. It costs you nothing (and helps us a lot!).


3 Comments

  1. Great informative and fun interview of our dear friends Josh and Jenna! ❤️✌Nicely done guys!

  2. Jorge Mena says:

    Amazing! Great interview! You guys rock!

  3. Amazing Couple!!!! My Family and I met them on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Montezuma to be exact in Oct or Nov 16 (not sure on the month to much wine since). We have been following their adventure, ever since. Inspiration for all of us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

377 Shares
Tweet
Share364
Share13
Email
Pin