Karen Catchpole and Eric Mohl were nearly 14 years into their epic road trip across the Americas when COVID-19 completely changed the world. After meeting each other in New York City, the couple set off on an initial four-year backpacking adventure across Asia before returning home with a different project in mind; to explore as much of North, Central and South America as possible. This is the adventure that they set out on in 2006, and they have been on the road ever since. 

The couple has so far visited 18 countries across North, Central and South America, including the USA, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Traveling in a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 since 2007, the goal of the journey is to complete the ultimate independent overland road trip through the Americas, avoiding highways and focusing on the byways and back roads that include unique experiences. 

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Mano del Desierto at the Atacama Desert in Chile © Eric Mohl

Eric and Karen were in the Uco Valley near Mendoza, Argentina when the government began pandemic measures which included closing all land borders, mandatory masks, social distancing, and shopping and circulation restrictions. A few weeks ago they left the valley and moved into the city in order to be safe.

Having spent more than a third of their lives traveling, Karen and Eric have found the last few months to be a huge change. “For both of us, our love of travel comes from the freedom and the newness of every day, the feeling of constant curiosity, constant learning. In term of plans for the future, do any of us have any plans for the future right now? We, like all responsible humans, are taking things day by day while following all health precautions to keep us and our community as safe as possible. We’re also working hard to keep dreams of travel alive on our Trans-Americas Journey travel blog by telling stories from past adventures in the Americas. That’s as far as the future extends for us right now,” the couple told Lonely Planet.  The couple fund their travels by freelancing from the road, producing travel features and restaurant and hotel reviews for a variety of publications.

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A mother and daughter in the Lares region of Peru © Eric Mohl

With so much up in the air right now, Karen and Eric have been able to use the skills that they have amassed over the last decade to keep going. “Of course we are hopeful that a life of travel will be safe, smart, and possible in the future. But at this point we have no idea when Argentina and neighboring countries will open land borders and we also have no idea what travel will look like when we are free to move around again. One thing travel teaches you is how to be flexible and adaptable. We will certainly need those skills.”

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia © Eric Mohl

More information on Karen and Eric’s journey is available at their official website.

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