The Panamerican – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘We hitchhiked down California’s scenic route 1 which skirts the coast, and spent the first night out camping off Big Sur. The first time in what was to be our new home, our green nylon tent. The next day we were right away given a lift by a lawyer from L.A. who put us up for the night and the next morning dropped us off at the bus station where we bought tickets for Tijuana. We went as loaded down with preconceptions as we did with equipment. Having prepared so much for this trip we had of course unearthed a million and one horror stories about Mexico’s thieves, police, germs, dogs, etc. When we got off the bus in Tijuana and looked around us at all that confusion of travelers, loiterers, vendors and colors, paranoia set in and we panicked. As if pursued we drag/hauled our way through the terminal and right away caught another buss to Mexicali where the Mexican train line begins.’
Genie Bermudez was born in Cuba in 1954, moved to the US at age 7 and ended up attending Boston University. After her marriage to her husband John, they both decided to take a sabbatical. They would start in San Francisco, California; travel through Mexico and into South America, ending up in Quito, Ecuador. They mapped out their travel plans by way of the Pan-American Highway. So, with their plans made, the couple set out in 1979 with $2,000.00 to their name and back packs that were filled beyond the brim.
As a teenager I grew up during the hippie years. During that time I met people that seemed to be unafraid of anything. They did what “felt” right to and for themselves. Many times I wished I had their courage but lived in such a structured life that it simply wasn’t possible to develop that feel of freedom. After reading The Panamerican I’ve come to the conclusion that Genie and John are two people that started out a bit late for the hippie generation but still had the bravery to follow their dreams by way of being “free spirits” to the end. The obstacles that they were faced with and overcame would have scared most of us enough to turn us around and head us back into the direction we came from.
I have to admit that I don’t normally read personal travel memoires, but The Panamerican was one book that I simply had to keep turning the pages just to see what Genie and John would encounter next. I say to both of you… you were two brave young adults to take on such a trip.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com