The Pan American Highway overland community is tight-knit, and the four founders of Women Overlanding the World connected as a result their own overland travels, and through the magic of social media.
Sunny is a criminal defense and intellectual property attorney who travels with her wife, Karin, as the Vagabroads. She and Karin traveled for two years throughout Mexico and Central America in their FZJ80 Land Cruiser with their dog, Gracie. After turning around and taking a similar route back to the States, they spent a few months exploring their home country, stopping in Canada along the way. Along with Karin, she wrote a book profiling women overlanders titled “I Can. I Will.”
Karin is a systems architect in Nashville, Tennessee, and makes up the other half of the Vagabroads. Karin became involved in the off-roading community at the young age of 15 when she bought her first ‘78 Jeep CJ-5. She has always loved cars and enjoys seeing what they are capable of. She and Sunny are now planning a South American adventure. Follow their adventures on Instagram @thevagabroads.
Taylor traveled the Pan American Highway from Oregon to Uruguay in a ‘05 Chevy Silverado and Grandby 4-Wheel Camper. She is an active member of the off-road and overlanding community across the U.S. and internationally. She competed in the all-female navigational Rebelle Rally twice, placing in the Top Ten both years, and is registered to compete again this year with an eye on a First-Place finish. See what Taylor is doing on Instagram @taylorpawley.
Ashley completed a 30,000-mile overland journey from Vancouver, Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina with her husband Richard as Desk to Glory in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota Pickup. Ashley currently lives in the Rocky Mountain town of Canmore, Alberta and most recently traveled through the Sonora region of Mexico, as well as a quick jaunt from British Columbia to Utah with the Expedition Overland crew. Check out Ashley’s adventures on Instagram @desktoglory_ash or on her page with husband, Richard, @desktoglory.
Women Overlanding the World began as a Facebook group for female overland travelers. The group, founded by Sunny, Karin and Taylor, was created in response to a need for a welcoming and inclusive space for women to discuss freely the ins and outs of life on the road. The group has grown to over 2,300 active members.
The Instagram account @womenoverlandingtheworld is an extension of the Facebook group, which provides daily inspiration and photography shared from female travelers. The account also features a female overlander each week, with links to full interviews and videos on the Women Overlanding the World blog.
The Facebook Page
As photos and stories rolled into the Facebook Group, the next Women Overlanding the World’s project was born. I Can. I Will. Women Overlanding the World is a photobook and collection of stories and life lessons from women traveling the world in their cars, trucks, vans, and on motorcycles and bicycles. The book features stunning photography, inspiring stories and profiles of fifty women overlanders. You can find I Can. I Will. through Amazon and on womenoverlandingtheworld.com.
Women Overlanding the World Retreats are ten-day all-inclusive overland trips in Costa Rica. The retreats address the desire of women to experience overlanding without leaving their careers or living on the road full time, and provide women with an opportunity to travel overland in a foreign country with other like-minded women and experienced guides. If you are a woman, have a driver’s license, can climb a ladder, hike a mile and enjoy a fireside cocktail on the beach, this trip is for you.
These trips provide you with everything you’d need or want on an adventure trip. Included in the ten-day all-inclusive excursion are the accommodations, which include a shared rooftop tent, luxury hotel, and boutique hostel stay, with optional upgrades to cabins and safari tents for those who like a little more creature comforts. All ground transportation is included, as well as transport to and from the airport upon arrival and before departure. Delicious meals, refreshing beverages, tasty snacks and drinking water are provided, with dietary restrictions easily being accommodated whether you have allergies, are vegetarian or vegan or on a gluten-free diet. A small group size is guaranteed with each trip, maxing out at 12 people. All the fully guided sightseeing and activities are also included. And as if that wasn’t enough, you also get to enjoy an expedition swag bag filled with goodies to complement the trip.
While the trip is laughter-filled and fun, you’ll also be getting valuable hands-on knowledge about overland travel. You’ll learn basic off-roading skills through hands-on driving in Costa Rica, which includes river crossings and multi-vehicle convoys. Along the way you’ll be taught about native wildlife, plants and cultural practices. By the end, you’ll know all about on-the-ground international overlanding.
Driving is not the only highlight of the trip, there’s much, much more to enjoy. Morning yoga sessions are available, enjoy a private kayaking tour through mangroves, hike to waterfalls and go swimming, go on a fruit/garden tour in the Costa Rican rainforest and get a tasting of the land’s treasures. There is plenty of beach and pool time available or if you want, you can go sightseeing in local areas. There’s also an optional guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park.