I wish I could tell you that the inspiration for our drive down the Pan-American highway was completely original–that one day we just decided to hit the road and keep driving south until we couldn’t any more.
Unfortunately, I can’t. The real story goes something like this: we were talking about buying two around-the-world plane tickets and taking a year off to travel. One day, Erica told me she had found a new travel blog — PanAm Notes. She explained how they were driving from the USA to the southern tip of Argentina. I remember my thoughts: “that’s possible? People are doing that!? How??” Incredulous. I knew we would have to do it.
Over the last year on the road, we’ve run into several Overlanders with similar stories. Whatever the original inspiration, once you start planning the logistics of a trip like this, it can quickly become overwhelming. While there are great guides for camping through the USA, Canada, and Mexico, there just aren’t many resources when you get to Central and South America.
Fortunately, bloggers have stepped into the void. PanAm Notes, Life Remotely, and dozens of other blogs have published the lists of places they camped during their trip. The problem was that the information was scattered around the web in dozens of locations and in dozens of formats. I decided to attempt to compile all the lists of campsites in Central and South America floating around the web into a single master list.
I announced my intentions on a Facebook group filled with other Overlanders. Almost immediately, there were volunteers offering to help (especially Jessica of Life Remotely). One thing lead to another, and soon the little project to merge several campsite lists into a master campsite list had become something much more:
- A full-fledged database filled with all the most recent camping lists that we had found on the web.
- An iPhone App that would allow you to find places in this database without requiring an internet connection.
- A way to record and add new places to the database on the iPhone, using the built in camera and GPS.
Although this launch is the culmination of a lot of hard work, in my mind we have just reached the starting line. And just as it takes a village to raise a child, I need your help in order to develop this simple website and iPhone App into a mature product.
What we have created so far is just a set of tools. Without a community using those tools and helping to improve those tools, it won’t reach it’s potential. If you are ready to join me on an adventure in developing some amazing software that helps you as an Overlander, here is my commitment to you:
- iOverlander will be free. To be clear: my goal with this project isn’t to make money–it’s to help and encourage other Overlanders. Unfortunately, it costs money to run iOverlander, so at some point, we will need to figure out how to cover those costs (advertising maybe?). Regardless, my commitment remains to do everything possible to keep the service free.
- I will take the technology in any direction that the community wants to take it. Sure, I’ve got opinions, but I don’t pretend that I know everything. Most of all, I know that what we create together will be better than what any of us could create individually.
- If there ever comes a time when I’m not able to continue development of iOverlander, I’ll be ready to hand it over to someone who is capable of continuing the effort.
Are you ready to help me turn iOverlander into something truly unique and wonderful? Let’s get started! Join me now over on iOverlander.com!