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Who’s Out There Now? Erica and Shaun

Written By: jeff

Posted On: March 6th, 2012


In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Shaun and Erica, the young fearless couple behind, OverYonderlust.com. I met Erica last year in Austin at the 2010 Meet Plan Go event where she served on the panel. Shaun hid from me, I mean, he was ¨working.¨  But no more, they’ve left their jobs at a big gaming company to tour around Central and South America. They’ve got great energy and I can’t wait to meet up with them soon in Bogota. Without further ado, here’s the interview.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

We are currently in Copacabana, Bolivia, making our way down to our final destination, Argentina. Scary!

2. How did you come up with the name of your site? And, how does it describe your travel style? 

When we first started the blog we had a few of my friends brainstorm with us to figure out the general mood we wanted to convey with the blog. “Over yonder” was something my (Erica) grandfather used to say all the time growing up. Seeing as my grandparents were such a motivating factor in my travels, it seemed perfect.

3. You spent a lot of time in Mexico, not just the Yucatan, but also Oaxaca, the state of Chiapas and Mexico City. How did you find the safety and security situation. And, what advice do you have for someone who wants to go, but isn’t sure if it’s safe or where to go to be safe. 

Like any “dangerous” place in the world, you generally just want to use your head. We had no issues anywhere we went and didn’t feel threatened at all. If you’re not buying drugs and staying our of the cartel’s business, they will leave you alone. Just don’t go perusing around the border towns thinking everything is hunky dory. I haven’t even seen family in Juarez in years due to the political and drug climate there.


4. You’ve got an impressive set of photo posts on your site. Have you always been shutterbugs? Or is this a new hobby/profession?

Thank you! I (Erica) picked up a camera about 3 years ago and haven’t set it down since. I’m a notorious hobby collector and this is the first thing in my life that I’ve felt connected to. I went to college to study film so it seemed like a really natural progression. Since then I’ve picked up jobs doing burlesque shoots, engagement photos and second shooting for weddings. I’ve also become a Getty Images Contributor with some of the travel photos I’ve taken on this trip.

5. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trips?

It definitely has changed over the course of our current trip. We were definitely looking for something different in our lives and we started out just wanting to take a career break. We’re part of the generation that is currently struggling with finding our career path in the world so it seemed like a great time to take the opportunity. Now that we’ve been on the road for 10 months we are not really looking forward to going back home and back into the grind. This is definitely a lifestyle that we want to keep up and we’re currently looking for opportunities to become permanent nomads.


7. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?  

By wandering away from the touristy centers you can find super cheap, authentic restaurants that will not only give you insight to what the local culture dictates, but you will be surprised at how delicious some of it can be. We spend so little on food now that we know this travel secret.

8. So, Cuba. It looks like ¨Eric¨ and ¨Shauna¨ had a great time there. Did they happen to tell you what the biggest surprise was that they found while traveling there? 

Yeah, they had mentioned a few things. One of the most influential experiences had to be what they learned from talking to people. As many people know, the media that the United States is quite biased and we are lead to believe certain things about certain countries. While people aren’t happy all the time with the current situations, many Cubans are happy – and PROUD.

9. What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

It had to be our first experience with chicken buses in Guatemala. Not only is it “3 to a seat” on a 2 seater bus seat, but then add dogs, vendors, backpacks, luggage, corn, flowers, and unpredictable weather in non-air conditioned pimped out school buses blaring salsa at a deafening volume while screeching around curvy mountain roads.

10. What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

Our favorite and most local experience was staying with our good friends in Medellin, Colombia. Not only did they make us consider moving there but we got an insight to part of the culture we wouldn’t have seen. We were invited to spend Christmas launching illegal paper lanterns and went dancing all night on the holiday chiva buses. We were living like true Colombians. We loved it.


11. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

This one was early on in our trip and I’m so glad we got it out of the way quickly. Shaun and I had some very serious travelers diarrhea when we were traveling through Mexico. I think it lasted almost 2 months.  One day when we were walking back from a bar in Playa del Carmen, Shaun all of a sudden started gurgling and popping. We needed to find a bathroom stat. There was a beacon of hope as there was a bar open on the main strip, their lights glowing as an invitation. Shaun literally sprinted past me, told the waitress he would buy something, and ran into the facilities. When I arrived I bought a Coca Cola and the waitress eyed me nervously. “I called the cops on your boyfriend for using drugs in the bathroom. I don’t want any trouble.” Oh man, Shaun really must have looked bad going into that bar. After 10 minutes of trying to explain that no, we don’t use drugs, and yes, we have been really sick due to the copious amounts of street food we had been eating, Shaun finally exited the bathroom and we were “politely” kicked out. And by politely I mean that she said that the cops were on stand by, ready to bust into the bathroom while Shaun was on the toilet and we were asked to never show our faces in the bar again. I was mortified, scared, and embarrassed.

12. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Honestly I think that you just need to be good humored about everything (with a nice side of patience). Plans often don’t work out. You will end up stuck somewhere you never planned to be. Just remember that you are privileged to be traveling the world and experiencing all these amazing things. Little things shouldn’t get in the way of having an amazing experience.

13. Finally, our lightening round. 

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: (Both) Tacos al Pastor
  • Most exotic food eaten:  (Both) Roasted Cuy (Guinea Pig)
  • Most breathtaking moment: (Both) Walking up to Machu Picchu
  • Biggest disappointment: (Erica) Panama Canal  (Shaun) How expensive Peru is.
  • Most memorable place: (Both) Medellin, Colombia
  • Most memorable person:
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: (Erica) Patience. (Shaun) Dramamine
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: (Both): Travelers Diarrhea
  • Best thing you packed: (Erica) Outlet adapter (Shaun) skateboard
  • Dumbest thing you packed (Erica) All my business cards. (Shaun) A Gameboy game that doesn’t fit in my DS
  • Funniest travel habit you have (Erica) Shaun spends 8 hours packing due to his crazy OCDness. (Shaun) Erica always puts her dirty, unkept backpack on our hotel/hostel beds.
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer (Both) Medellin, Colombia

You can follow Shaun and Erica online at OverYonderlust, on Facebook and on Twitter @OverYonderlust

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.  

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2 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now? Erica and Shaun”

  1. Really enjoyed this interview. Longing to get out there myself. Alas, time off work is so limited in the U.S.
    Jeff Dobbbins recently posted..Shirley Chisholm – Political Pioneer

  2. Carlo+Geneva says:

    They are amazing! Most definitely an inspiration to all us traveling nomads!
    Carlo+Geneva recently posted..Photo Essay: Guate Rooftop BBQ

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