a panamerican sabbatical

November 21 — December 21: Central America (from Chiapas to Costa Rica; on December 21 la bestia departed from Puerto Caldera in a container bound for Guayaquil, Ecuador)

centroamerica map route 15Dec


October 4 — December 2: Mexico and Guatemala

mexico 2Dec15


August 10 — October 12: 20,000 km (12,427 miles)

20,000 miles


July 2 — August 9: 10,000 km (6,214 miles)

map from dc to alaska


Prologue: It all started in 1995. I was reading an autobiography by a guy who had circumnavigated the globe on his sailboat. I had already passed the test for an Austrian license for lakes and rivers at age 12, so why not offshore sailing, sometime in my twenties? Fast-forward to 2000: living near Buenos Aires as an exchange student, I got invited to join a regatta from San Fernando de la Buena Vista to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. I joined — and ended up barfing so hard that I thought I’d die right there on the Rio de la Plata. No more dreams of a me on a yacht. And yet, my stay in Argentina was memorable not just because of my seasickness. For the first time in my life (and with steadfast encouragement by my porteño host family), I cautiously embraced uncertainty. It was both scary and liberating. I ended up dropping out of college and instead ventured into a professional field that I was truly passionate about: international development. I’ve run with it ever since. Before joining the faculty of American University‘s School of International Service in the fall of 2009, I rewarded myself with a long weekend at the Llao Llao hotel in Patagonia. The day I left, I promised myself that I would return. Then, shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., I watched an Alaska Geographic documentary on the Gates of the Arctic. A new idea was born: how about a panamerican road trip from D.C. to Patagonia via Alaska?


12 thoughts on “a panamerican sabbatical

  1. Safe travels, my friend – I am sure that two of you will have an incredible journey. It is such a terrific idea doing this trip, and I am sure you will have lots of fun. Keep me posted on how you are progressing…. Wishing you all the very best for the first days on the road, Andi

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks crazy! If you have a chance to get an audio book and listen to it try: “last chance to see” by Douglas Adams

    Hugs and safe journey wishes from Barcelona.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vamos hermanito!! Te deseo lo mejor en esta aventura que emprendiste.
    Y muchas ganas de seguir leyéndote! Sos groso!! Te queremos mucho y te esperamos con los brazos abiertos como siempre!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When will you find yourself in CA? I’ll be out there (San Francisco) a couple of times this fall/winter and I’d love to catch up (largely to get your advice on finding an academic gig with the opportunity for this sort of sabbatical)…
    Safe travels!


    • Hi Linden,

      I hope to be in the Bay Area in early September, maybe a bit sooner. It depends partly on the wildfires in Alaska; they determine how far north I can go. Would be lovely to see you, and I’d of course be happy to offer advice on tenure-track positions…



  5. Gute Reise, mein Lieber! Und sag bescheid, wenn Du im Silion Valley halt machen moechtest. Wuerde mich freuen, wenn’s mit einem Treffen klappt.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: August 10: in Denali, waiting for the rain to stop | From DC to Patagonia

  7. Pingback: April 17-26: Bariloche, San Martin, and back to Chile | From DC to Patagonia

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