What is the best road trip you have ever been on?

As far as road trips go, I have had probably some of the best road trips you can have. In fact, it was my job once upon a time. I used to be a tour guide, and I was a tour guide in one of the most beautiful and diverse places in the world, South America. While not your traditional road trip, done with friends or family, the tours I did were almost identical to what most people regard as a road trip. I did a number of long-haul road trips across the entire continent of South America. We started in Rio de Janeiro and spent weeks traversing the continent to end up on the Western Coast in Peru before heading north into Ecuador. As I mentioned, I did this many times, back and forth, but the biggest issue was that I did it without any time off, for over a year. Although exhilarating, it was extremely tiring, both mentally and physically, but it was truly a spectacular experience.

To delve a little deeper into what my tours were like, I would like to explain to you what a standard tour was like for me. My tours were completely operated on a large overland truck. The back of the truck was converted into a bus-like compartment and could seat 32 passengers. Underneath it was plenty of storage for luggage, camping equipment, emergency supplies and food. The front cabin could be accessed through a small manhole that you could crawl through to get to the cabin or the back of the truck. The front cab of the truck had 2 seats, one for the driver and a passenger, but there was also a bed behind the seats that could sit three people, so the cab could have up to five people in it while driving. We would end tours in a large capital city, where we would say our farewells to our passengers and collect new passengers and prepare them for the return journey. When we had a changeover of passengers, there was a lot of activity where we stayed, usually a hostel. Our guests, both new and old, were all in the same place, so they would spend 2-3 days together, in which they would party, chat and share stories.

It was very busy for me, as I had to take care of my passengers leaving, while trying to answer all the questions of the excited passengers about to embark on a journey that they had been excited about for months or more. We would leave Rio de Janeiro and head along the southern coast of Brazil to a small beach town for a few days. We would spend a few days partying and getting to know each other, relaxing but preparing for the adventure ahead. Next, we would head inland and north, which is the middle of Brazil. It’s a long drive, about 15 hours (actually, most of the journeys are extremely long) and tests the patience and fortitude of those on board. It was up to me to fill those long journeys with fun and enjoyable things to do. We would play games, quizzes, sing songs, watch movies, sleep, do whatever we could to pass the time. We would drive 12 separate super legs over the next 7-10 weeks, travelling through Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador on the longer tours. We would visit all the major landmarks along the way, build and break relationships and create memories that would last a lifetime. Some days were really tough, rarely were they easy, but they were generally always enjoyable. Those were the best road trips I have ever done, and I’ll likely never top.

Nick


Vocabulary

long-haul (adjective) – involving the transport of goods or passengers over long distances
traverse (verb) – to cross an area of land or water
exhilarating (adjective) – very exciting and great fun
delve into (phrasal verb) – to try hard to find out more information about something
crawl (verb) – to move forward on your hands and knees or with your body close to the ground
top (verb) – to say or do something that is better, funnier, more impressive, etc. than something that somebody else has said or done in the past

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