Adventure Planning and Budgeting – 13,200 Miles to Santiago!


Adventure Planning and Budgeting

Nothing gets the juices flowing hotter than visualizing an adventure! I’m not talking about a daydream of what might await you but actually planning the adventure beyond your destination. In planning my adventure to Galt’s Gulch in Chile, I of course turned to Google Maps to plan my route, and assure I see the people I need to see on my way to our new life. Selecting places along the way to bid “farewell” to people and places that have enriched your life is part of the adventure, it allows you to move on without regrets or unfinished business. So who, and what do I feel compelled to bid farewell?

  • My daughter Alexi, who at 21 years of age has taken the life lessons I’ve shared with her and risen from a Hostess at Applebee’s to a general manager of Jimmy John’s in less than a year;
  • My brother Gary, who owns The Hot Spot Coffee Company a string of Bikini Barista coffee shops;
  • A few of my ex-wives; I’ve been blessed to maintain friendships with most of them;
  • The dear friends who have shared life’s journey with me over the last couple decades;
  • My dear friend, camping buddy and fellow adventurer, Bryan Brown of Lincoln county, Mississippi, who is presently a campground host in Minnesota, but who’ll likely be heading south with winter on the way;
  • My Cajun family that adopted this Damn Yankee when I spent nine months living in the wilds of Kissatchie National Forest in Louisiana;
  • And those special places in Nature that have healed and raised my spirit over half a century – The Huron River, Lake Erie, Pinckney recreation area, and of course, Corney Lake in Lousiana.

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Aside from these considerations there are of course more mundane matters, such as:

  • Liquidating all my household belongings, collectibles and artwork;
  • Trading my Ram 1500 for a truck of like value with an extended cab;
  • Obtaining a Canadian passport (both my parents were Canadian);
  • Repairing or replacing camping gear for the adventure;
  • Getting required vaccinations for Max, New Moon and myself;
  • Getting the truck looked over by my mechanics of 15 years – I’m gonna miss having mechanics I know and trust and who always complete the work for less than the estimate;
  • Purchasing a few Go Pro video cameras and accessories to document the adventure.

My Fellow Adventurers

Who are Max and New Moon, you ask? Maximus is my 80 pound Black Lab who has shared my adventures from Michigan to The Blasted Lands (Arizona), New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana. New Moon is a Loozi-anna Corn Dog. Someone dumped a litter of puppies and left them to die in Kissatchie National Forest when Max and I were living in the wilds in 2010. It took three days of food and water brought to them for Max to get the pups to trust us enough to follow us back to camp. It took three weeks to get them healthy, and an hour and a half to find them all homes. Max wanted a li’l sister, so New Moon joined our family.

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The Itinerary 13,200 Miles One Day At A Time

On most of my adventures, time was of the essence. I’ve driven from Los Angeles to Detroit in less than 60 hours; from Detroit to Phoenix in 52 hours, Phoenix to Lake Charles Louisiana in less than 30 hours (it would have been quicker if I hadn’t left late in the afternoon). But on this adventure, endurance is far more important than speed. We’ll also be documenting the Bootstrap adventure with video and Blog posting, so the pace will allow for rest and recreation along the way.

The pace I’ve set is approximately 500 miles a day which means that I’ll only be driving eight hours a day on average, so that I have time to break camp, hit the road, setup camp and get a good night’s rest regularly. The first leg of the adventure will put us in Mississippi or Louisiana after about two days on the road. I’m hoping I can reconnect with Bryan and my Cajun family in Louisiana so that we don’t have to make two stops to say farewell. A few days to visit should be enough, then it will be onward to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to meet a fellow Dollar Vigilante, Jim Karger and family. After that, Max, New Moon and I are heading into unknown territory. Here’s the breakdown of major legs of our Quest for Galt’s Gulch:

  1. Great Lakes to Corney Lake, Louisiana – 1100 miles
  2. Louisiana to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -1200 miles
  3. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to Guatemala City – 1700 miles
  4. Guatemala City to the Panama Canal – 2200 miles
  5. EEEEK! There appear to be no roads between the Panama Canal and Colombia! So we’ll have to either find a ferry or will have to sell our truck and replace it in Colombia. We are resourceful.
  6. From Necocli, Colombia to Ipiales on the border of Ecuador – 1300 miles
  7. Ibarra, Ecuador to Macara on the border of Peru – 900 miles
  8. Macara to Lima, Peru – 1400 miles
  9. Lima to Arica on the border of Chile – 1400 miles
  10. From Arica to Galt’s Gulch near Curacavi, Chile – 2100 miles

Including planned layovers, I expect that it will take 36 – 40 days to drive and camp from the Great Lakes to Galt’s Gulch in Chile. While I’m sure we’ll capture and document a lot of adventures along the way, the next great adventure will begin once we arrive in Galt’s Gulch and build new lives from scratch.

Expense Budget – Initial Estimates

Bootstrap Expat Budget – Travel


Bootstrap Expat Budget – Equipment


Bootstrap Expat Budget – Miscellaneous


Bootstrap Expat Budget – Passport and Documents


Estimated Total Expenses


Contingencies – Shit Happens – 10% of Budget


Grand Total


So with a planned duration of 40 days, the costs/day works out to about $211.50, inclusive. The above line items are the subtotal for each category which includes

  • Fuel, Food, Camping/Lodging,
  • Truck maintenance, camp gear to be repaired or replaced,
  • Video equipment and accessories,
  • Estimated Passport and Visa costs,
  • Required vaccinations, both Human and K-9
  • Plus a 10% cushion because Shit Happens.

For Background on this Adventure, see my posts –

Boot-Strap Expat  2013/09/13 Background

Please consider being a Sponsor for this adventure,

To support my efforts directly, donations through PayPal can be made to:

Please be aware that all writing and images on this site are copyright protected. By all means, do share or reblog posts, but always credit them to Alexander Zayachkov and link back to this website. Thank you! © 2013


12 thoughts on “Adventure Planning and Budgeting – 13,200 Miles to Santiago!

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  5. This is a trip my friends and I have only dreamed about… some have talked seriously about it, but the Panama Canal usually is enough to halt conversation for a while. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out!

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  7. I think the priority list should be flipped up-side down. Prolly better to put 90% in the “shit happens” budget, and take a plane to Chile! seriously… Yer big killer on travel expenses is fuel. While I know the journey IS important, resources (ie: money) can run out quick. I know this from experience, especially if you have family (dog is family). Have to consider mundane shit like border crossings. Each country has its own rules about what’s considered a bio-hazard, and what isn’t. If you go US to Chile direct, you might just be able to keep your pooches. However, by driving, you might run into some stupid, bureaucratic mess about crossing into Peru, or something, where your pets must prove vaccination, or something stupid like that. Having moved to arguably the most difficult country to bring any animal into (new Zealand), it cost us more to bring these smaller members of the family than the human type! Had time-lines, vaccinations, microchips. I had to make a Gant chart to manage the paperwork and time-lines! For example, there was one parasite that we had to pay extra for, to measure if the dog was infected with an obscure African bug- because there was ONE instance where a family moved from South Africa to Canada, who didn’t check for it, then the family moved to New Zealand, making everybody now have to check for this obscure, African bug.

    Now it might seem that because you are going to South America, they might not be “up” on all of this, but you might be unpleasantly surprised to have some kind of unexpected thing, like this, that you never considered, when crossing into Guatemala, let’s say. And the last thing you want to have to handle is a decision whether or not to stop your journey, and do the paperwork, or leave your friend behind. Pets are a whole different kettle of fish (as they say here in the land of the Kiwi). It is the little things, that you didn’t see coming, that will catch you every time. My suggestion is direct flight to Chile, and buy a car there. It will probably be way cheaper, and you’ll arrive with your family intact. Only have to learn the rules for importing animals from one country, not 5 or 6.

    • Just had a look at basic Chile regs for animals, links below. I would plan on it costing easily the same for each pet as it does for you to travel to Chile. It’s still cheaper than driving. What you have is basically 2 adventures going on, that I can tell. You have the adventure of seeing/driving/camping in South America, on your way to a new adventure of life in Chile. What I’m afraid of happening is an adventure that you had not planned for, and life getting REALLY interesting, along the way. Adventures like “getting held up by Bandito’s in the jungles of Guatemala,” or flat tire in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere, or “having to go home before making the half-way point, cuz I’m broke and had to eat my dog.” You know what I’m talking about. All priorities change when you are setting up in another country, especially if you have no income, and you have family to look after. In fact, I would even recommend getting your pooches to a trusted friend for a few months, while you get your feet on the ground and get established, THEN bring them over. Your friend can put them on a plane to you. While they are family, they will also be a major inconvenience in the beginning as you figure out such mundane shit like how people feel about animals, or where you can keep them. Last thing you want is to have the door shut because you have pets, even if you were only passing through. As the link says below, if you go from the US or Canada, the rules are X, but what if you traveled through Guatemala, and zamanthypus parasite is known to be there, and Chile wants none of that? Now you’re screwed, and your dogs in Quarantine, and now you can’t get them out. So they put them down, or offer to ship them back to Guatamala, where you can pick them up (great, and I just got to Chile). I’m serious. It happens. This shit can make life hell, real quick. Governments do exist in other countries, and they can make life difficult there, too.

      Just checked Kayak- you can get a ticket to Santiago from LAX for about $800. Would expect each pooch to cost the same or more- call Cargo dept for any airline and ask a price. It ain’t cheap, but you may be surprised to find you can buy a bigger cage and put 2 dogs in the same one. There are rules.

      • Thanks for all the great insights and additional resources David! I’m tied up with Liquidation activities this weekend but will certainly follow-up on all your recommendations.

        Thanks again,

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