we are luke + madalyne
This big adventure actually started about five years ago when both of us decided to spend a semester away from our respective colleges and instead study abroad in Southeast Asia - Chiang Mai, Thailand to be exact. After knowing each other for about a week - and deciding that neither of us was likely a serial killer - we decided to head out of the city and look for some waterfalls. And what would you know, we got lost.
After scouring Google Maps, asking a couple of roadside restaurants, and finally just going with our gut, we found the waterfall we had been looking for. While this mishap easily could have derailed our whole day (and likely our burgeoning relationship) in the end, we remember this adventure as the first of many that wouldn't go to plan - but would end up being even more magical (we both also quickly learned that Madalyne is often right when it comes to directions and Luke is the superior moped driver).
Over the years we have learned that travel doesn't often go to plan and that more often than not you just have to roll with the punches that it throws at you. While we have had our fair share of, how would you say it, less than optimal experiences (like getting a bad case of hives in the middle of the Peruvian jungle), we have also learned a lot about travel and ourselves.
And one of the most important lessons was when we realized we didn't actually enjoy flitting from place to place in rapid succession. This is where our love of slow travel came about. And it is likely that if you have made it this far you feel similarly (or are at least curious to know more). If you want to learn more about our adventures, check out our Blog, if you want to learn more about slow travel, check out our Travel Better page, and if you just want to learn more about us, keep scrolling.
Hi I'm Madalyne.
Madalyne is the organized, stubborn half of Backroad Packers. She loves nothing more than getting up early to watch the sunrise, heading out for a trail run and eating a hearty helping of chips and guacamole.
She also loves to write - and even got a degree in Journalism from Colorado State University. And to travel. A love that began with a high school trip to Italy & Greece, and was confirmed after interning at a magazine for a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Hi I'm Luke.
Luke is the more spontaneous, imaginative half of Backroad Packers. He is all about meeting new people, hitting the trails on his mountain bike and ending the day watching the sunset - usually with a cold drink in hand.
He is also an amazing drone pilot - all of the aerial shots are courtesy of him and our drone, Kylo. Luke got his first taste of international travel while studying abroad in Thailand, an experience that totally changed his outlook and life and future plans. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly.
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a couple (more) things to know about backroad packers
\\ For us, protecting the environment and doing our part for the planet is a key facet of who we are. Learn more about this here.
\\ We chase the sun. For us, more daylight means more adventures, and more adventures mean more happiness.
\\ We spend months in a place instead of weeks. Why? Because we want to feel it, breathe it, live it. We want to personally get to know a place. And while we will never likely become "locals" of a country, we definitely want to become more than just "tourists." This is what we like to call "slow travel".
\\ We want to inspire people to get off-the-beaten-path and have memorable adventures. Similarly, we want to help people combine their passion for adventure with their work requirements - specifically remote workers & digital nomads. Find more info on adventure digital nomads here.
"Nageire-do is made of stories. That's where its magic lies. And people are made of stories too. That's how we make sense of the world. All the worlds."
- Dan Richards, "The Outpost"
We are passionate about exploring and adventuring in off-the-beaten-path places and having authentic, sustainable experiences. This means we focus on being as environmentally friendly as possible (i.e. staying in a place longer, eating locally, reducing our plastic and carbon usage), diving deep into a culture and not just staying surface level, getting off the tourist "trail" and instead seek out places that aren't found on popular travel itineraries, and focusing on natural outdoor adventures. Similarly, we want to help inspire and educate our fellow explorers to become more sustainable travelers for in the end, if we want to keep adventuring on this wonderful planet we need to take better care of it.
Our mission is to create a community of travelers that are focused on being good stewards of the planet, who want to have amazing adventures and who want to see the beauty of this wonderful planet. Because travel has become easier, it is now up to us to decide how we want to travel, not if we are going to travel.