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Drop and travel: from Neuquén to Alaska

Laura and Mariano overcame the fear of leaving their jobs and a predictable routine to go on the route and dedicate themselves to fulfilling a dream: travel.

Who did not ever dream of leaving everything and dedicating himself to travel? For fears, affections, lack of determination, most people end up postponing such a dream. Laura Benavides (27) and Mariano Candiotto (28) challenged all kinds of prejudices and were encouraged to fulfill it.  They set the departure date  for Sunday 12 January 2020 at 9, from the Plaza del Bicentenario in  Neuquén . Friends and family were invited to the farewell, including a minicaravana that accompanied them to the route. Where are they going? Nothing more and nothing less than to Alaska.

 First drop 

For Laura and Mariano everything was about letting go in search of that dream, leaving aside the daily routine and giving himself to a discontractured and different experience. The story of the couple is told in “ Drop and Travel ”, their Facebook page and Instagram. They tell how they met on January 12, 2017 at the Hielo Azul mountain refuge in El Bolsón. Laura lived in Neuquén and Mariano in La Plata.  He had always dreamed of going out on the route to live a long adventure around the continent . That's why, once she found her soul mate, she insisted until she got Laura's yes to get on a combi together and tour America.

This story has two main characters. Each one recounts the sensations and experiences from their own perspective. “I always wanted to do something like that,” says Mariano. “I was tired of working all year to be lucky enough to take 15 days of vacation and spend a lot of money. I always wanted to say 'I'm going, 'and I proposed it to Lau,” he concluded. “And I, of course, said no, no, no,” Laura recalls. “ I had another idea: to meet me, the car, the house. That was my plan, but Mariano opened my head . At first we discussed a little, until I understood that I was inviting myself to  think about  another life option. I started following people who traveled, people who were doing it. And yes, I started to realize that it was possible,” she added.

Finally, one day they released the job they shared. Both had a school  transport  in Centenario (Neuquén), it was a family venture. He also made substitutions as a physical education teacher and she worked in an accounting firm (she holds a degree in Business Administration).

 Then travel 

From the beginning,  the dream was in the form of a combi . They found an 88 model for sale in Buenos Aires. She was black, well rocker, with fourth box, original 1.6 boxer engine, naphthera, top speed 80 km/h. “We brought her on foot,” she says. And, once in Neuquén, they began to transform it. They made it veneer and paint, painted it in light blue and white, insulated it, covered and even put furniture on it.

The  itinerary  began by Bariloche,  Villa La Angostura ,  El Calafate  and  El Chalten  . And then to Ushuaia to start climbing the coast. The idea they have is to stop by La Plata to fire Mariano's family. Then they will continue to travel to Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador on the Pacific route. “We want to know so many places,” Laura says.

Finally, the fate that will close this great adventure will be Alaska. However,  the couple makes it clear that the most important thing is the road before the destination. 

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