Michelle Tupy from www.andoffwewent.com recently took the time to share her families amazing travel story with us. If you’ve ever just felt the urge to get up and go and leave everything behind then you will love Michelle’s story.
What were you doing before you embarked on your journey from South America to Canada in a VW Kombi?
Prior to heading to Cusco in Peru we were living a relatively standard life. My husband was working full time managing a hotel and I was working part time as a ghostwriter as well as looking after the 2 kids. However we felt a change was in order and we planned a trip to Cusco for 3 months to experience the Peruvian culture and visit Machu Picchu. At the end of the 3 months however we felt we were not ready to head home so we started managing a hostel in Cusco for 12 months to lay down some roots and experience life in a foreign culture. It was toward the end of the lease that we bought the Kombi and started planning our big South America to North America journey.
“We were living a relatively standard life”
What was the reason for deciding to leave this perceived safety and take the family vagabonding? How long have you been on the road and do you know when you will be back home?
We were keen to try something different – we were fairly well travelled having lived in Australia, China, Canada and Peru but we had never done a big road trip other than from Ontario to Saskatchewan in Canada. We left Cusco about 7 months ago and in that time we have seen some pretty amazing sights. While we are not sure of our exact route at this stage, we do know that our next stop is Bolivia where we will be visiting friends in the jungle in Ixiamas and volunteering for a couple of organisations in and around Cochabama. We anticipate that we will hit Canada in under two years but we don’t have a real timeline at this point in time.
“We were keen to try something different”
I imagine throughout this journey you must have some pretty incredible stories. What have been some of the most exciting things that have happened along the way, and on the other side of the coin, what have been some of the biggest challenges?
We took the kids to Puerto Maldonado where we stayed in jungle style accommodation and rode a boat up the river. In Huacachina we all went sand boarding and dune buggy riding. In Nazca we got to see the Nazca lines and visit the Cahuachi pyramid. All of these were pretty exciting and far removed from our normal life. In terms of challenges, that would have to be when our van broke down – it happened quite a few times at the start of our journey. One night we had to camp in the van because we were stuck in the middle of nowhere in a small Andean village. Once daylight came we managed to find someone to assist us with our vehicle but it was definitely challenging. Finding a good mechanic on the road in Peru can be quite difficult.
What do you think your kids, and family more broadly, have learnt from the experience that would not have been possible in your previous lifestyle?
We have learnt to become more accepting of things and a little bit more patient. Travelling also opens us up to other cultures and the way others live. It is so easy to become settled and stuck in our ways and travel is a good way to keep the mind open and teaches tolerance for others.
“We have learnt to become more accepting of things”
Last, but certainly not least, are there any tips you have for people wanting to go on a similar vagabonding experience but aren't quite sure where to start?
Pick a destination and take it from there. Sometimes the best way is just to go and see what opportunities open up. The longer you spend in a country or location then the more you learn about certain traditions and cultures and of course spending longer in a country becomes more cost effective as you can start to live like a local rather than a holiday maker. My advice - just do it!
“My advice - just do it!”
Thanks to Michelle for taking the time to chat with us. If you want to learn more about her families amazing story click here