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 were likely serial killers - 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).
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 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 not only changed his outlook on life, but also his future romantic plans (Madalyne also happened to be in the same program).
let's get social
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.
\\ We chase the sun. For us, more daylight means more adventures, and more adventures means 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" and it all started when we studied abroad in Chiang Mai for six months.
\\ We want to inspire people to search out authentic places that likely won't be found in travel books, or on the web even. The world is a big place - so don't be afraid to seek out its lesser-known (but no less beautiful) places.
"Nageire-do is made of stories. That's where its magic lives. 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 while still making sure we follow all "Leave No Trace" Principles. 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 focus on being good stewards of the planet, who want to have amazing adventures and who want to see the beauty on 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.