My family has been walking off the beaten path for as long as I can remember. We have never been eccentric or weird by any stretches of the imagination – in fact, we’re a pretty normal family. All things considered, our life in Durham, NC is not exceptionally out of the ordinary. Our travel habits on the other hand, are a different story. The one thing that sets us apart from the average family is our love for spontaneous adventure.
Now, we certainly had the standard family trips to the beach and the mountains and what not. Hell, we even went to Disney World at least once. The difference, though, between my family and the rest, is the stops in between. Largely spearheaded by my father, the Fowler family has been out searching for the bizarre and unknown for my entire life. Searching for wagon ruts in Wyoming? Done it. Shad festival in Grifton, NC? Check. Petroglyph hunting in Utah? Child’s play. I’m not going to pretend we’re the only ones, but I’m willing to bet that not many people have seen some of the wide variety of random Americana that my family has sought out over the years.
After years of detours and explorations, the adventure is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it has only been growing. Our recent journeys have taken us by car across the US, to South Africa, and most recently throughout southern France, each having kept our family tradition alive. My father passed away in 2004, but we have done our best to fulfill the tradition he instilled in us: the love for adventure, the thrill of the open road, and the thirst to experience life off the beaten path.
So why Brazil? The basic answer is simple: the biggest adventure we have ever faced. Despite our various travels, we have yet to take on something of this size, something that will push us outside of our comfort zone. This is a trip that will provide us with a huge challenge, as well as an incredibly rewarding experience. But that’s just the easy answer.
A few years ago, my mother gave by brother a book for Christmas. It was about a group of guys who drove the Pan-American Highway on motorcycles: an epic, multi-month journey from Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. This was my mom’s first mistake. Already intrigued by grand adventures, my brother and I easily came to the conclusion that we were going to do it. Not with motorcycles (we’re not that cool), but we were going to traverse the Pan-American Highway.
Being as it were, we were both still in college at the time, so unfortunately, it became a dream deferred. However, that didn’t last long. My brother and I are avid soccer fans, having played the beautiful game since we were very young. We were in Germany for 2006 tournament, although we did not see any games, and four years later we made the trip across the Atlantic again, this time to South Africa for the 2010 tournament. It was at our first match in Johannesburg that we converted our mom, a long time soccer fan by default – due to her role as our personal chauffeur – into a true fan of the sport. She loved the game and the atmosphere so much, that by the time we returned to the US, she was already talking about Brazil.
You can probably start to see where this is going. I, on the other hand, did not. We had talked about going to Brazil in 2014, but the tournament was several years away, too early for any serious plans. Or so I thought. I was sitting in my dorm room in Medford, Massachusetts when my brother called. “David, we’re driving to Brazil.” Oh hey Grant, how are you – wait what? It caught me completely off guard, but he continued without hesitation. Pan-American Highway, World Cup, Brazil. He rambled on for a little while before I picked up what he was putting down: an improbable, yet fantastic trip to both drive across continents and see the World Cup. Needless to say I was interested, but my inner skeptic was quick to surface. It seemed like another amazing, yet impossible dream. A plan that sounded great, but would never actually come to fruition.
Yet here I am, writing the first post to our website. We already have a vehicle, a route planned, and a tentative route schedule. If you had asked me a year ago about this trip I would have given you a maybe at best. But it is happening. We have a ways to go before we are ready to set out on the road, but we are already on our way and the clock is ticking.
So there you have it. The shortcut version and the drawn-out version of the very long road we have already been on leading up to Brazil 2014. The dream of the ultimate adventure, aided by a lifelong passion for soccer has set us on this path, determined to see it through to the end. Whether you’re a travel veteran, or have barely stepped off of your front porch, we hope that we can inspire others to understand our dream and get out there and make their own adventure.