A few years ago, American Leland Hirschel came upon a book entitled “12,000 miles by Land Rover“, a story of a family embarking on a road trip from Brazil to Canada. Inspired by this book, Leland suggested his Peruvian wife, Kathy Hirschel, to embark on a similar adventure. She thought it was a crazy idea. Leland and Kathy had recently moved to Peru, after living in Quincy, Wa, for eight years. Leland, however, had not forgotten his “insane” road trip idea.
Two years later, when it was time to return to the US, his wife agreed to the plan: “Yes, let’s do it!”
“After living with my wife for ten years, I spread my madness and she went crazy like me”, Leland said. The couple designed a trip traveling across the Americas driving a Kia Sorento 4×4 diesel over 220 different cities, in an odyssey covering nearly 20,000 miles. They named this wonderful project “Enrutados“
Enrutados: “Our Desire was to Unite Peru and the United States Through Driving”Image Source: Enrutados
“Our desire was to unite Peru and the United States by driving in our car”, the Hirschel said. They began their adventure on January 5, 2016, crossing 14 countries in a period of six months. Some of the countries they visited were Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. They arrived in Wenatchee, Washington, on June 17th, 2016, bringing their dream to completion.
Leland and Kathy confessed they were pretty nervous at first. They knew various dangers were in the offing. They said:
“Like any journey, not everything is rosy. During the 6 month trip, mechanical failures happened due to altitudes higher than 11,000 feet in Puno (Peru), Quito (Ecuador) and Bogota (Colombia). In Ecuador, a car smashed the cab we were riding and Kathy was hospitalized for six hours (with a slight wound and a neck injury). Our car “Kiara” broke down in Medellin (Colombia) and, afterward, it was stored in a shipping container for a week to reach Panama… We both had a stomach ailment in Panama. For a few days, we totally ran out of money. After serious difficulties crossing the Guatemalan and Mexican borders, we seriously thought our dream would end. We were asked for money bribes in three countries..We encountered landslides, broken roads, creeks, we saw a trailer fell off a cliff… We were close to death when we almost collided with other vehicles at full speed. But that’s the journey, there are good days and bad days.”
Leland and Kathy, brought their children along for most of the trip, their daughter Gaby (9) and son Daniel (7). Both had a brilliant time, particularly in Mexico, which they aid reminded them of Peru. They were also particularly happy to check out many of the museums along the way which, I might add, is a wonderful reminder that pre-teens do love to learn.
The greatest life enjoyment can only be found in living dangerously, and building “your house on the slope of a volcano”. Leland and Kathy achieved the same feat in their staggering trip.
Fortunately, this daring couple ended their trip on a good note, grateful for the wonderful people they met.
Image Source: Enrutados
Our fears faded away day by day, with the affection of the people who gave us a hand and good vibes, offered their homes for the night, inviting us to eat or visit their cities, offer us their friendship and whom we can now call friends.”
Before embarking on the trip, they tuned their vehicle and assembled a first aid kit. With the purpose of decorating “Kiara” (their vehicle), the couple purchased sticker flags of the nations included in their itinerary. The emblem of their project “Enrutados” was printed, too. They created a website for their journey and updated their own blog, detailing their adventures in each country.
Let’s see some images of their trip
Titicaca Lake, Puno, PeruImage Source: Enrutados
Huacachina Lake, Ica, PeruImage Source: Enrutados
Colca Canyon, Arequipa, PeruImage Source: Enrutados
Panama Canal, PanamaImage Source: Enrutados
Ometepe, NicaraguaImage Source: Enrutados
Tikal, GuatemalaImage Source: Enrutados
Costa RicaImage Source: Enrutados
Chorros de la Calera, El SalvadorImage Source: Enrutados
BelizeImage Source: Enrutados
Hierve El Agua, MexicoImage Source: Enrutados
Chichen Itza, MexicoImage Source: Enrutados
Yellowstone, Montana, U.S.AImage Source: Enrutados
Leland and Kathy said: “Before leaving, our goal was to unite Peru and the United States driving our car. We made a list of “must-see” places in each country. However, our planning didn’t help much, because we kept a fixed “road trip” itinerary (How inexperienced we were!). The road, the route and the trip itself taught us there is nothing better than living day by day without following guidelines and enjoy every place, and every corner with no time limits and let the route surprise us…We both definitely seek to serve others as an inspiration…to inspire others to do the same route in the future”
If you want to find out more about their exciting trip. Visit their website, and fabulous blog at:
Now let’s watch a video of Leland and Kathy and get inspired!
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