Crossing Borders – Many Faces Many Places

Crossing borders around the world vary by country. You can just walk in, no questions ask or there is a border patrol officer that actually stops you and you have no choice but to stop and answer their questions or sometimes you have to know to stop.

Patrick & Carmen have been together since they were 19.  They thrive on experiences and traveling.  They both grew up in South Africa where they met during university while studying education. Once they graduated, they ventured off to Taiwan to teach English in order to help pay off their loans. They fell in love, they traveled over the holidays and as part of their marriage together they went off to a 7 month around the world trip.

One of their challenges during their travel was when they had to cross borders from Ecuador to Peru. Patrick & Carmen were traveling overland.  The mode of transportation they decided to take was to go by bus. During the early 2000s, the internet was not as big as it is today. There were not as many forums, blog posts on how to cross from one country to another.  Today, we google it and there are more than 1 million results!

They hop on the bus and fall asleep.  The bus driver did not wake them up when they crossed the border as they thought he would. Once they woke up, the bus driver realized that they did not have the stamps needed on their passports.  When crossing the Ecuador/Peru border, you need one stamp that exits Ecuador and another stamp that enters Peru.  The bus driver dropped them off on the side of the road. They had to walk back to the border, which was a good miles away.

Once they got to the border, they had to go back to the Ecuador side. They took a taxi to the other side that overcharged them. The border agents knew what happened and they decided to take advantage of the situation by charging them more money than needed. At this moment, Patrick & Carmen were both desperate. They needed to cross the border to get to Peru, there was no questioning that. They knew that there was nothing they could do especially when being in a position with people in authority.  You have to bite your tongue and pay what is needed. What got them through this entire situation was patience and remaining calm.

I was in awe at the end of this conversation, that is a scary situation to be in. Patrick did summarize it well – when you travel, even your experiences are not the best, but they are the most memorable. Stuff that seems the hardest, especially when you are about to give up when you are at that moment beyond final despair. Your end goal is that destination and he would not change anything if he can go back in time.

You can follow Patrick, Carmen & Chloe (the new addition to the traveling family) on Instagram via carlsonadventuring.