Vagabonding Case Study: Dylan Drake


Dylan Drake

Age: 37

Hometown: Missoula, Montana

Quote: “Don’t be afraid – it’s only the unknown that is scary.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?

I found out about it from other travel bloggers on Facebook. I don’t have a lot of time to read at the moment as we are caring for two young toddlers while traveling. But I’m hoping to read the book soon!

How long were you on the road?

My husband and 2 little ones have been on the road for 8 months and counting!

Where did you go?

Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and heading north!

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?

I am a graphic designer working for clients back in the US, my husband is a photographer and has done some work along the way. We also have some property in Buenos Aires and Montana that is rented.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

We plan to volunteer once we get to Nicaragua; we work remotely on the road.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?

That is a tough one! I loved Chile, but we were there in the winter so we didn’t stay and explore as much as I would have liked. Peru was amazing for the history, we could have spent months there learning about and visiting the amazing amount of ruins. But I think Ecuador is my top so far – great climate, great infrastructure, friendly people, small enough to explore it all but so many diverse areas. Beautiful coast, mountains, cloud forest, jungle, volcanoes, lakes, indigenous peoples… we really fell in love!

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?

Bolivia was very challenging. It is a very poor country and the people live with so little. I felt a lot of empathy for the living conditions of the locals. It was very challenging navigating the country and the roads were pretty terrible.

Which travel gear proved most useful? Least useful?

We aren’t gear-heads and we started our trip with very little resources so we just brought what we had. Every day we use our little electrical hot-plate in the hotels or hostels, our French press, a Swiss army knife, a bucket for washing dishes/clothes, a peeler for peeling carrots, etc for the kids, our tent and sleeping bags and sleeping pads, a rechargeable flashlight, and our GPS of course! Least useful: Our satellite phone – even though my husband says he’s glad we have it. We have never used it once and it was very expensive!

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

We have grown as a family together as we explore, have fun, and face challenges each day. We take the best from each culture that we learn about and integrate it into our new reality, so in that new possibilities are always opening up to us and we know there is no “right” way to be or live. The more we learn and the more amazing people we meet, the more we understand what really matters in this life, and it’s not our possessions, social climbing, or getting promoted in our jobs. It’s people, experiences, and living… really living! Because we only have this one life.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

As a mom, I’m sacrificing having a safe and secure “nest” for our family. My children are sacrificing going to swimming and dance lessons and having regular friends. My husband is sacrificing his career to a certain extent because he put it on hold to travel, though we are hoping for a career change if/when we settle down again.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

Take as little as possible. Your possessions are a hindrance, so only bring what you really need! Also, when taking advice from others on where we should go, always pay attention to the source. People often try to scare us about places that may not be dangerous, or tell us about a great hike that is completely unsuitable for little legs.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?

In the beginning we were not true vagabonds; we had a set time frame for an arrival and a general course we wanted to follow. We started very driven, but in fact were missing many amazing things because we weren’t open. Now our path is more like little circles as we tend to follow our hearts a bit more in choosing our next destination, which is ending up being a bit more consistent with nomadic behavior!

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid – it’s only the unknown that is scary. The world is so full – overflowingly full of life and so ready for you to set out on your path of discovery, and through this discovery you will be forever changed!

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure? When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?

Don’t be so concerned with the preparations. Just go, and bring as little as possible! What you forget you can find along the way, but bringing something you don’t need will cause you stress as you try to decide if you should part with it or not. Our next long-term journey (once we arrive in the US) will be to return back to Argentina, possibly with electric bicycles! TBD!


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Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Case Study: Dylan Drake  | May 2, 2014
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

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