Traveller interview: Our Trans-Americas Journey

Our friend, travel blogger Brendan van Son has interviewed Karen and Eric from the Trans-Americas Journey blog. Find out why they love El Salvador so much, what a cow's udder tastes like and how they came to live and work on the road:

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.  Who are you? Where are you from?
Karen is a freelance travel writer raised in Northern California but transplanted to New York City (via Sydney, Australia) where she helped start a magazine for teenage girls called Sassy when she was 20. She basically hasn’t stopped writing and editing for magazines, newspapers, TV and websites since. Eric is a former corporate lawyer turned freelance photographer who was born in New York City. Dying for more (or just bored at work)? Check out the About page on our website.

Tell us a bit about your journey.  You're driving across the Americas?
Yup. In April 2006 we left our jobs and apartment in New York City and embarked on the Trans-Americas Journey, a 200,000 mile working road trip through North, Central and South America.

In December 2008 we wrapped up in the US and Canada and crossed the border into Mexico where we spent 18 months driving nearly 25,000 miles through all but three of the Mexican states. We then spent nearly three months in Belize, more than four months in Guatemala and nearly three months in Honduras before entering El Salvador where we are right now.

The coming years will be spent exploring, photographing, writing and driving our way through the rest of Central and South America until we literally run out of road in Tierra del Feugo.

I'm going to put you on the spot.  What is the favourite place you've visited?
We’re sorry. Can you repeat the question? As a different question? One with a plausible answer? With nearly a quarter of a century of travel between us we lack the will and the way to pick one favorite place.

Having explored nearly all of Central America what is one off the beaten track destination that should be popular but isn't?
All of El Salvador. We just can’t figure out why El Sal is not on the beaten path for so many Central American visitors who seem to think it’s fine to skip El Salvador.

For our money, it’s got more natural attractions to offer (beaches, volcanoes, cloud forest, coffee fincas, surfing) than Honduras and the food is better. Plus you can’t beat the hospitality of the people which is reminding us of the kind of welcome and assistance and general generosity we got when we were in Mexico.

El Salvador is also tiny so it’s remarkably easy to get from tip to tail in no time especially since El Salvador has the best roads in Central America. We’ve even been able to use the cruise control on our truck without fear of being gobbled up by a pot hole/crater or bounced to smithereens over a hidden speed bump.

What do you do to stay sane on the road?
Who said anything about sane? Seriously, since ours is a working road trip we spend at least half of our time sitting at our computers busy pitching, researching and writing stories and cataloguing tens of thousands of digital images, producing fresh content for our website and generally planning our next moves.

This means we have to take it slow and most travel insanity is caused by biting off more than you can chew.  Nothing worse that the traveller who wants to “do India” in two weeks.

What is the strangest food you've eaten?
We just had sautéed cow udder with a bunch of people having a cook out and a party at Villa Limon between the town of Metapan and Parque Nacional Montecristo here in El Salvador. It was a bit like chewy, spongy foie gras but way tastier than that sounds.

If I closed all the world's borders (and believe me, I have that power), which country (other than home) would you travel in for the rest of your lives?
Mexico or Nepal.

What is one non-travel related item that all travellers should pack?
Their common sense. Too many travellers have obviously left theirs at home.

What has spending so much time on the road taught you about human kind?
There’s a reason our species isn’t called Human Mean.

This is your time to brag.  Where are you now and where are you heading?
We are in El Salvador and will be here for at least another month. Then we’ll explore Nicaragua a bit before hurrying to Costa Rica where Eric’s family is meeting us for the holidays followed by some friends. After Lord knows how long in Costa Rica we’ll probably need to return to Nicaragua to finish up there, then head into Panama followed by all the countries southward until the continent ends.

Got a question for Karen and Eric? Leave it in the comments section below. If you've got stories and images of your own to share, head over to twitter or Facebook. We love hearing from the Peregrine community!

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