Who's out there now?

Who’s Out There Now? Jason & Aracely

Written By: jeff

Posted On: May 10th, 2010


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Jason & Aracely on the salt flats in Northern Argentina. Copyright Twobackpackers.com

In our first ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Jason and Aracely, who are also known online as Two Backpackers. These career breakers have been out traveling since August 2009 and have so far been through Central America, currently can be found in South America and are heading back to the United States to explore the huge country they never did.  Aracely took a career break from American Express and Jason from Mercer.  They´ve amassed a large internet following with their stories, photos and videos of their trip.  And, they´ve gotten the attention of the likes of Lonely Planet and Trip Films.  Here´s our ¨out there¨ interview with the Two Backpackers, Jason and Aracely.

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

We are currently in Salta, Argentina couch surfing with Leigh (from the blog The Future Is Red) and her family who have been incredibly welcoming, and we’ve truly enjoyed staying with them. We are headed to Bolivia tomorrow night, so our time in Argentina is over.

2.  So far you’ve explored Patagonia, played in mud volcanos in Colombia, and been tattooed in Guatemala.  You’re really missing your corporate life, aren’t you?

The irony is that we remember being frustrated with our routines when we were back home living our corporate life but now we sometimes wish we could have a little bit of a routine. Meaning, being able to workout a few times a week or going to the same bar where we know the bartenders.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Hiking Torres Del Paine in Patagonia, Chile. Copyright TwoBackpackers.com

3.  What was the most important thing you wanted to get out of your career break? And, are you achieving that goal?

Jason felt he could accomplish two things with this trip. The first is to get to know the world beyond his comfort zone and the second is to find a new career path while doing it.  Aracely wanted to achieve the dream of travel.

4.  What was the biggest fear or concern you had in planning the trip? Knowing what you know now, was it a valid concern?

The biggest concern was making sure we had everything we possibly needed packed in our backpacks.  No, it was not a valid concern.  Believe or not, there are stores in other countries.  Electronics are often hard to come by and very expensive compared to the US, but don’t waste your time packing clothes for every possible occasion or climate.

5.  Backpacking, flashpacking, career break. How do you characterize your trip?

None of the above!  Our trip is a journey that has us carrying backpacks with lots of gadgets inside so we can document and share all of it.  We like big cities, small villages and multi-day treks.  We enjoy using the Lonely Planet Guide and get excited when we have no guide and stumble into a local party.  We try capturing the perfect picture, but sometimes decide to leave the camera in the hostel.  I think we try to experience it all. Therefore, we don’t really fit into any of those categories.

6.  What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas (Hoboken) anymore¨ moment?

Probably when we were woken up by roosters in the early hours of the morning at our hostel in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, 2 days into our trip.

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

Spending time with Aracely’s family in Chone, Ecuador. We ate homemade meals every night, visited the family farm and were the only tourists in town.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Aracely & Jason With New Year's Doll. Copyright TwoBackpackers.com

8.  What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Jason had an incident at a bar in El Salvador. A much older lady tried to molest him with her sexy lap dancing.  She was very drunk.

9.  What makes a place memorable and special to you.  What are some of your favorites so far?

I think it’s all about the people you meet, which is why Guatemala and Colombia rank high on my favorite places list.  Jason is most intrigued by nature and finds Semuc Champey in Guatemala, Chile’s Northern Altiplano and Patagonia most memorable.

10.   You recently had a friend come out to visit you in Argentina. What was the difference traveling with him from when it’s just the two of you?

Expensive and exhausting! Our friend Kevin was on a 2-week vacation, so of course he wanted to get the most out of it, which he should.  Jason and I are on a yearlong trip, which means lazy days are a must.  During his visit we did something every single day and flew more flights than we had this entire trip.  But, we still love the company and it was a really fun time with him.

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

Travel slow.  For us it’s not about how many passport stamps you can accumulate; it is about getting to know a place on a more meaningful level.  When you can learn details about the culture and environment, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.


travel advice, career break advice, travel the world, career break travel

Jason & Aracely With Southern Elephant Seals. Copyright TwoBackpackers.com

12.  How do you take, edit and manage all those great photos and videos on the road?

We don’t stress about staying current, especially with the videos.  They require a lot of time to produce and we just launched our last episode about Guatemala, which we visited 7 months ago.  In February we began a new project, “Photo of the Day.”  We created a nightmare task, but it has been personally rewarding to read people’s thoughts on the photos through Facebook.  All the equipment is very heavy, and we consider ourselves lucky that we still have all of it, except for the stuff we lost because we forgot it somewhere.

13.  Finally, our lightening round.

a.  Best dish you´ve found so far:  Jason – Filet Mignon in Buenos Aires. His favorite snack is yuca bread from Ecuador.  Aracely – Fish in coconut sauce Cahuita Beach, Costa Rica. Her favorite snack is arepas from Cartagena Colombia.

b.  Most exotic food eaten:  Cui (guinea pig) in Latacunga, Ecuador and something that looked like slate and tasted like rocks in Puno, Peru.

c.  Most breathtaking moment: Reaching the other side of the John Gardner Pass and seeing the Glacier Grey ice field on the backside of the full circuit at Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

d. Biggest disappointment: None. Even when things don’t go our way there is an adventure to be had or a story to be told.  Oh, maybe the fact that Argentina has no small bills or change.

e.  Most memorable place: There are too many to pick just one!  Of course, where we got engaged in the middle of nowhere in Northern Chile’s Altiplano will always be special.

f.  Most memorable person: Two brothers we met in Juayua, El Salvador.  The first brother was our tour guide for the 7 Waterfalls.  His brother Douglass worked the night shift at the hostel we stayed at.  I have kept in touch with Douglass through email, which I had to teach him how to use on the hostel computer.  We are trying to help the Martinez family of four brothers run their own tours, outside of the hostel.

g. Best thing to have on a long bus ride: An electric plug, which unfortunately doesn’t exist. We would probably be caught up on our videos if they had electric outlet plugs on the buses.  Otherwise, we recommend snacks and toilet paper.  And always keep your important belongings, day pack, with you.

h. Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: Diarrhea.  Bathrooms are not very clean, there is limited toilet paper and it is usually located right near other passengers that can hear you doing your business.

i. Best thing you packed: Aracely: My windbreaker rain jacket. I was so amazed at how it performed in the crippling Patagonian winds.  Jason: My basic fleece

j. Dumbest thing you packed: Too many high-tech hiking clothing. We really didn’t need all that and looked a bit dorky too when walking around town.

k.  Funniest travel habit of the other: Aracely has an addiction to downloading and watching The Office through iTunes.  I am concerned what will happen when she has finished every season.

l. Place you wish you could´ve stayed longer: Colombia, we had to rush to be in Ecuador for the holidays to meet family (which was great) but we really wish we could’ve been in Colombia longer. We were there for 23 days and loved it.

You can follow Jason and Aracely online at TwoBackpackers.com, on Facebook and on Twitter @twobackpackers.


Tags: travel advice, career break travel, career break advice

Jason & Aracely in Cachi, Argentina. Copyright TwoBackpackers.com

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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5 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now? Jason & Aracely”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Jung. Jeff Jung said: Read our new weekly #travel feature: Who´s Out There Now. This week it´s @TwoBackpackers http://su.pr/63XIcihttp://bit.ly/cq3Ukl [...]

  2. Adam says:

    Great interview!!! So many things you guys said rang true when remembering our RTW. Believe it or not, other countries do have stores and clothing, haha, hilarious. I can’t believe how much time and money we spent researching fancy travel and hiking clothing only to wish we had a plain old cotton t-shirt soon after we were on the road. Also, the fact that you now sometimes crave a routine, that is definitely something we went through a lot on the trip And it’s quite ironic because that’s precisely what we were wanting to get away from. And now that we’ve been home for 7months, we are DYING to get back out on the road again, not knowing what we’re going to do that day and what we’ll come across. Keep up the good work, you two, and enjoy every minute of your journey. I know I can’t wait to do it again.

  3. Leigh says:

    Yep, Jason and Aracely were sitting at our kitchen table when they gave the answers to these questions. I only heard a tiny bit here and there, though.

    Love the questions and answers!

  4. Jeanne Castellani says:

    May 16, 2010 at 12:33pm

    Yes, this was a great interview. Being Jason’s Mom, I like to hear that they miss the routine back home sometimes. I think what they are doing now, is wonderful, though. I wish I had the opportunity to travel like this at their age. They will never forget this adventure and I am sure there will be many more to come.
    I miss Jason and Aracely a lot, but with Skype and Facebook, it hasn’t been too bad. Of course, I look forward to them coming home, but I am thrilled they are able to do this!

  5. jeff says:

    @ Jeanne, Thanks for reading and commenting. Trust me when I say that it´s always good to have the support of your family back home while you´re out exploring the world.

    @Leigh, so I´ve been in contact now with a couple of your former houseguests, Jason and Aracely, and Dan and Audrey. Any time you make it up to Colombia, let me know.

    @Adam, thanks for the comments!

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