The Earths population is growing larger and larger, and with so many people it can be hard to find places that are still quiet - unknown - uncharted. While some places have miraculously stayed out of the travel spotlight (here are a couple for example) many spots have officially been “discovered.”
Luckily, even in the busiest of places and in the most well-known countries to visit, you can still find some true hidden gems - you just have to be willing to look.
That is where we thrive. We love getting off-the-beaten-path and discovering places that seem untouched by outsiders, modernization and time. Places that you probably won’t find in a guide book. Places that you would easily walk or drive by without a second thought.
We like to take those backroads.
The two of us both feel like we were born in the wrong era. Today, almost all of the places on a map have been filled in. There seems to be no more lost cities, buried treasure or hidden civilizations left. All swashbuckling, slightly-terrifying-adventures have already been done. And that fact makes us just a tad bit sad. It is easy* to discover any place on Earth from the comfort of your home from your computer. Simply get on Google Maps or Google Earth and discover away. We have officially gone back to the age of armchair explorers. *while discovering a place from your computer verse actually being there are entirely different, today it is relatively easy to find almost everything you need to know about a place without visiting.
But luckily, even in this age of computerization, you can still find some truly remarkable places. That is, if you decide to get off the highway, take that random forest road, and head out into the unknown.
For example, last year we decided to take a motorcycle across the Southwest and all the way down to the Florida Keys (which we never actually reached because, well, Covid #2020). We made a promise to each other (and our parents) that we would stay off the interstates and even major highways as much as possible, that we would take random dirt roads as much as possible, and that we would be open to new and unique experiences , both good and bad.
And that is exactly what we did.
We spent 8+ hours riding on a dirt forest road through middle of nowhere New Mexico, seeing only cows, vultures and one cowboy (and his two very cute dogs). And it was absolutely wonderful.
If we had been in a big hurry to get to Carlsbad Caverns National Park (our eventual end goal) we never would have considered taking a dirt road instead of the highway. If we had only been worried about reaching our destination, then we never would have stumbled upon historic ghost towns, seen the areas geology up close and personal, or learned about the history of some of the pioneering women in the state.
Taking backroads is a sure way to experience a place more deeply. To get personal with its features, history and people. To find those hidden wonders that won’t appear on a map.
"Backroads are the key to discovering places that feel untouched, uncharted."
In the same vein, we had an equally magical experience of taking backroads in Peru, a country that still holds so many wonders, many of which have yet to be fully explored.
But first, a bit of backstory.
For some reason when we landed in Peru we were not given the usual 90-day visa, instead we were both given 60 days. Not a huge deal. This just meant we would have to leave the country once before our trip was over (bummer). So we headed down south to Chile for a week. Seven days of laying on the beach, walking around the town of Arica, eating ice cream while watching sunset and somehow actually considering boogie boarding with jellyfish (we ended up not doing that, but that's a whole other story).
But after those seven days in the desert - and one of the driest deserts at that - we were ready for a change. So we simply looked at a map of Peru, found a spot that was very green (meaning it actually had vegetation, something we were sorely missing) and then booked the first local bus to it.
And that is how we ended up in Oxapampa for a little more than a week.
Without actually researching the area, or really having any idea of where it even was, we simply trusted our gut and knew that no matter what the place was like, we would find something to do. And in the end, that part of Peru was one of our favorites: incredibly off-the-beaten-path, wild, stunningly beautiful, full of wonder.
Now what does this have to do with taking backroads? Well glad you asked. We easily could have just gotten back on the Tourist Trail of Peru - which hits all the major points: Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Arequipa, etc. But after doing that for all of two weeks, we realized we weren't getting a genuine view of the country. So we hopped off and headed to more unknown locations, with Oxapampa being top of that list.
It is easy to visit known tourist spots - no one ever complains about how hard it is to reach Cusco, or even Machu Picchu. But ask people about Oxapampa and they probably won't have any idea of what you are talking about. That is what we mean about taking backroads: taking the road less traveled, taking the road that does not lead to the next "must-see" destination (we missed Lake Titicaca for a reason).
That mantra is what we want this site to be about: helping you find those hidden wonders along scenic, stunning backroads. If dirt, all the better.
We want to inspire you to get off the tourist track, hit the road less traveled and have real, unique, authentic experiences.
We hope this site does that, and if you have your own backroads experience we would love to hear about it :)