Following this dream is extremely daunting. Selling everything and hitting the road isn’t too difficult, but planning everything out for the next year is. I have been doing a lot of research over the past weeks in order to determine exactly the direction I will go, some sights to see, what gear to bring, and exactly how to enter each country. That last one is the biggest hurdle and can be quite intimidating.
Fortunately, Central and South America are fairly easy for Americans to traverse compared to other continents. As it stands, only Venezuela and Brazil require a VISA prior to arrival. A few others, like Argentina, require a reciprocity payment or arrival fee. Beyond those few, however, I can simply show up to the border and do all of my paperwork there. It is expected to take several hours crossing borders, so I will plan to hit the borders early in the day in order to have time to get some distance into the country before finding a place to stay.
Within the next week or so I will visit the Venezuelan Embassy to apply for a VISA. It is only good for a year, but is expected to take a few months to process. I will be going down the eastern coast first, so the VISA expiration date isn’t much concern. Brazil will be the crucial VISA. Once it is issued, I have 90 days to enter the country or the VISA is then void. After I enter it is good for a few years. Because of this, I have to plan directly around Brazil.
The idea is simple, in theory; I will submit for the Brazil VISA as soon as I change my residency to Utah or Texas. Ideally this will be early May. I will have to use a company for this, which will cost extra money, but they can have my passport shipped to Dallas. This then allows me to gear up everything in Utah and ride to Dallas. Once there I can hang out with family until the VISA arrives. As soon as it comes in, the timer starts and I need to get to the border. I will skirt past most of Central America, with plans to see it all on my way back. Depending on how much time I have, I will either spend a little bit in Venezuela then hit Guyana-Suriname-French Guiana before crossing into Brazil or cross in to Brazil to get my check mark on the VISA then cut back over into the other countries. This variable will be addressed while on the road.
The hard part will really be getting there in a smooth manner. I will have to go through multiple countries, check points, hardships, and lessons learned. But the biggest challenge will be the Darien Gap from Panama to Colombia. This portion of the trip I will have to find some form of water transportation to get me there. That’s a concern for another day though.