The road from Squamish to Central and South America is a long one, but two local people are making the trip on motorcycles.
Todd Lawson and Christina Tottle won't be the only people from Squamish in Central America. At some point during their trip, the pair will meet up with a group building a medical centre in Guatemala as part of the Squamish Rotary Club Centennial Project.
"We both love to travel and doing it on a motorcycle is the ultimate way to travel," said Lawson. "We want to experience and discover every ounce of life in Latin America."
He and Tottle will meander down the continent to take in as much of it as they can. "We don't have any expectations, no time limit, no schedule, no agenda," Lawson said.
The couple has planned the trip since January, and both have been working four jobs each, including at The Chief, where Lawson worked as a reporter and photographer until this week, to pay for it. Their goal is to visit every country in South and Central America.
The trip is partly dedicated to Lawson's brother Sean, who died from malaria in Africa in 1999 while the two brothers were on a motorcycle trip. They had covered six countries in South Africa and 10,000 km before Sean passed away.
"Without him, we wouldn't be doing this today," Lawson said.
Lawson and Tottle are stopping in Guatemala to help with the Squamish Rotary Club Centennial Project. The medical centre is being built in Nuevo Eden, a small village near San Juan La Ceiba.
"We want to help. We know we wanted to do some charity work. This is a great opportunity for us to help out and to stay linked with Squamish while on the road," Lawson said.
Lawson wasn't sure when he and Tottle would be arriving in Nuevo Eden or exactly what they would be doing, but it doesn't matter.
"We'll be happy sitting on the end of a shovel for eight hours if that's what it takes," Lawson said.
Tottle and Lawson are also focused on what they will learn while travelling, and how they can help others.
"The trip is really about discovery and learning," Lawson said.
The road down the continent won't be an easy one. The trip is 30,000 to 40,000 km, and the pair plans to travel 200 to 400 km per day. "[There's] going to be a mixture of regular paved roads, gravel roads, small pot-holed, rutted dirt roads in bad condition" Lawson said.
The most important tool on the road is the repair manual for the pair's motorcycles - a set of Yamaha XT350 on- and off-road bikes. "Undoubtedly, things will go wrong at some point during the trip. At least we'll be ready," Lawson said.
They plan to camp most of the time, and stay in hostels to use showers or do laundry. They have a water filtration system, and will also rely on boiled or bottled water.
But the adventure won't cause them to forget about Squamish. "I'll definitely be missing the mountains," snow, clean water and raw foods," Tottle said.
"We'd like to thank Brad Lawson for his generosity, Masao at Windbell Motorcycles, Harvey at Diamondhead Yamaha, the boys at Channel Fabricating, Myrna at Sew What, all the staff at The Chief, Taylor Smallwood from Houndstooth Puters and Design, Patagonia, Trevor and Cathie McDonald and all our other friends and family who've supported our dreams," Lawson said.