Traversing The Pan American Highway in a Yellow School Bus

Oct 17, 2023 | Adventure Ideas

As the only female co-founder of Global Convoy, an Adventure Media company, I wanted to share our current adventurous tale and shed light on the wonderful women I have on my team for this expedition of a lifetime. For a little over six years, I have been hitting the road, designing adventurous road trips, and focusing on logistics across the world alongside my two fellow co-founders, Joel and Max. Our down-to-earth, adventurous routes take us and those willing to join off the beaten path to delve deeper into a country, nation, or continent to better understand its people and culture. Our community and self-funded adventures encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, take part in a team-driven adventure, and, as a result, grow and change for the better. We are currently driving the Pan-American highway from Alaska to Argentina, following in the footsteps of many adventurers to complete a journey on the longest road network on the map.

On the first of August 2023 we set off from Anchorage, Alaska, to drive to the furthest point north, Prudhoe Bay, to then start our seven-month-long journey south to Ushuaia, Argentina. With an American School bus as our noble steed, we invited our community members to join us on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and to be a part of a unique project. With the goal of filming a documentary along the way, we encouraged those with a filming background and relevant adventurous skills to join us. It is really important to me to get women on board as I think they are often unrepresented in the adventure travel industry. From my personal experience, I have seen this after attending many events in the industry, and sometimes, it can feel like a man’s world.

Luckily for us, this wasn’t hard, as we had many adventurous women approach us to be a part of this journey. From journalists to videographers and those who work on film sets, as well as paramedics, we drew the attention of many interesting characters. After many phone calls, we formed the perfect team to hit the road, and preparations began. Some contenders could not commit to the full seven months, so our team will see some people come and go, but I am proud to say that we have a film team of five, three of whom are women and two paramedics, one of which is Vanessa Reitel representing the girls! In total, we are travelling with up to fifteen teammates from all over the world, some who are just here for the ride, others who are committed to documenting our journey.

The purpose of this expedition is to bring a new challenge to ourselves and our community by tackling one of the longest roads in the world in one of the biggest vehicles possible. The yellow school bus is iconic to the Americas; they are used from north to south, and this, for us, was the perfect vehicle choice. As we make our way south, we are analysing the changes and similarities we see in culture, infrastructure, and more. Asking locals how the road has impacted their lives, for better or for worse, and what this connectivity of continents means to them. There is a somewhat fascinating contrast of culture, of countries physically connected yet so distant in their beliefs, traditions and landscape. Myself and fellow teammate Ciara Sheridan have been seeking interesting stories and elements along the road to shed light on the topic. We have been comparing our journey to the first crew of the Sullivan C. Richardson expedition, who carved their way down to Argentina in 1940-41. We are looking at what has changed since their adventure and if their predictions of the Pan American Highway becoming the world’s most iconic route have come to light. Our head interviewer and Spanish translator Mie Van Meldert, has been speaking with locals to delve deeper into this topic, asking them a selection of questions to better understand a local opinion of the route.

A key element of this journey is the Darien Gap, the jungle that connects Panama to Colombia that is still currently unpassable. A handful of adventures have passed safely, but it is unadvised to even attempt to enter this somewhat of a no-man’s land. With unpredictable weather systems, dense jungles inhabited by endless wildlife, and dangerous paramilitary groups and gangs, it really is not possible to pass through. So, for this segment of the journey, we will be shipping the bus to Colombia while we sail to some of the most unique islands in the area on our way to meet the bus.

We wouldn’t be able to make this project happen without our amazing community, and this is a shout-out to everyone who has supported us and made this a reality. A special thanks goes to our awesome team for supporting this journey with a focus on the strong and determined women who make up our on-the-road family.

This blog post was written by Guest Blogger Becca Marsh

Becca is a Brighton-based adventure travel writer and road trip planner. She has a passion for culture, history, and art, which tend to be her main focal topics when writing. She loves cooking and watching being outdoors in nature.

Follow Becca and Global Convoy on instagram: @beccamarsh_ and @globalconvoy 

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