“Wanted: individuals seeking the adventure of a life time. Must be willing to sell all possessions and leave home, family, and friends behind. No experience necessary, but rudimentary knowledge of hitchhiking a plus.”

It is safe to say that there are very few people who would respond to such a want ad, should one exist. Yet that is basically what one couple from Montevideo, Uruguay has done.

“Wanted: individuals seeking the adventure of a life time. Must be willing to sell all possessions and leave home, family, and friends behind. No experience necessary, but rudimentary knowledge of hitchhiking a plus.”

It is safe to say that there are very few people who would respond to such a want ad, should one exist. Yet that is basically what one couple from Montevideo, Uruguay has done.

Two years ago, Johana Cadavid (who goes by Joy) and Washington Berrey (who goes by Wa) began the journey of a lifetime when they decided to see the world by hitchhiking. “We started in July of 2018,” said Joy.

Joy and Wa are in their mid-thirties, and have known each other a long time. Joy said: “We are boyfriend/girlfriend; We’ve been together almost 16 years now!”

Every journey begins with a first step, and once the couple took that first step in Montevideo, they haven’t looked back. “Since Uruguay is a small country, we started by going to Argentina,” said Wa. “By the first night of our travel, we were in Argentina. We could not cross the Andes, so we crossed the southern part of Argentina to get to Chile.”

After passing northward through Chile, the couple crossed back into northern Argentina and hitchhiked through Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

Wa said: “In Ecuador, we traveled by various local boats through the Amazon jungle on the Amazon River and through Brazil. After that we traveled through countries like Guyana, French Guyana, and Suriname, which are very different from typical Latin countries.”

When the couple reached Colombia, they were forced to hire a plane to fly them to Bogata because there were no roads through the jungle. “After Bogata, we hitchhiked through Colombia to Cartagena,” said Joy.

There were only two countries in South America that they did not visit. Wa said: “We did not go to Paraguay because arrangements there were very complicated. Also, we did not go to Venezuela because it was too dangerous there.”

Leaving South America to travel through Central America also proved to be challenging. “Even though South America and Central America are connected, there are no roads, so we once again had to travel by plane,” said Wa.

“Or take a boat,” said Joy, “but the boat was four times more expensive than the plane, so we flew to Panama City.”

Joy and Wa traveled through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, San Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. “From Guate­mala, we flew to Baja California and hitchhiked to Tijuana, where we found the border closed,” said Wa.

Most people would think that hitchhiking across a continent, let alone two or three, would be a difficult proposition. “It is very hard to believe, but it is really easy to travel while hitchhiking,” said Wa. “For example, in Central America, it only took five or ten minutes to get a ride; shorter than waiting for a bus!”

The couple reached the U.S./Mexico border just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “We had to spend some quarantine time in Mexico,” said Wa. “While we waited, we decided we would fly directly from Mexico to Minnesota because this is one of the places we really wanted to visit!”

“We came into America on the 22nd of August,” said Joy, “so we have been here about three weeks now. We flew from Guadalajara and made a stop at the Denver Airport, then flew to Minneapolis.”

Upon arriving in Minneapolis, Joy and Wa were met by Marc Dissel. Dissel is hosting the couple while they stay here in Montevideo.

“We connected with him by a phone app which some travelers use to meet local people who are willing to be hosts,” said Wa. “That’s the reason we met Marc, and the reason we can stay so long here!”

“The nice thing about this app is that it has a rating system that helps us find people we can trust,” said Joy. “Sometimes we meet people who will let us stay with them, but most of the time we meet hosts through the app.”

Hitchhiking across continents isn’t for everybody, so it does make one wonder why anyone would want to do this.

“We were searching for a change,” said Joy. “We no longer wanted the typical life we had been living.”

Wa said: “We had traveled with friends before, and we found that we liked traveling.”

According to Joy, they had gone on an extended hitchhiking trip with friends through Australia. When they returned, they were beset by a string of problems. “Everything happened in the space of a month, so we felt like we needed a change in life, she said. “We thought we might like to live by traveling to meet people and learn about other countries.”

Wa said: “At the beginning, we were not convinced we could do this, because we are from Montevideo, a big city. We were typical city people who would not think of doing something like this.”

“Before, we never imagined ourselves traveling; on our weekends, we always stayed home,” added Joy.

It took two years for the couple to save money and plan for this journey. “We sold off all our things and left,” said Wa.

“And here we are now!” said Joy.

The couple hitchhikes with backpacks, a tent, and a sleeping bag. “We are very low budget,” laughed Wa. “We could spend less than five dollars a day for us to survive.”

Joy said: “This way of living is cheaper than living at home; we don’t have to make a lot of money on this trip.”

“Our budget is seven to ten dollars a day for both of us. Most of the money we spend is for food,” said Wa.

The couple’s original plan for this trip had been to hitchhike to Alaska, but those plans have changed. “Because of COVID, we decided that maybe we’ll leave Alaska for another time,” said Joy. The couple plans on staying in Montevideo for a couple of more months. “With the COVID situation, it is not too good an idea to keep moving around so much. This was the city we wanted to visit most in the U.S. We like visiting big cities, but we like these little towns more,” said Joy.

“This is the kind of town we’ve seen in many shows and movies. Although we can’t say it feels like home, it almost does!” said Wa.

Both Joy and Wa have been impressed by the many people they have met on their journey. “We have met so many people,” said Wa. “Sometimes the people who have less things are the ones who give you everything. It is wonderful to see such kindness in the world. It really is like a cultural exchange: you are staying with families in different countries and exchange stories.”

“A lot of people want to host us because they want to hear our story,” added Joy.

Their journey has been a learning experience, and as so often happens in life, there are sometimes bad things mixed with the good. “Honduras is a country with a bad reputation; it was surprising for us to see very hungry children in Honduras,” said Wa. “But it is also where we spent very little time waiting to get a ride. The people were very willing to help.”

While traveling through Ecuador, the couple witnessed locals fighting with employees of an oil company. “They were fighting for the land. You have to be there to see these things. It was very educational,” said Wa.

At this point in time, the couple’s plans after leaving Montevideo are up in the air. “If Canada does not open its border, we want to go to Florida, because a friend from my childhood lives there,” said Wa. “It is also the only place that is currently flying to Uruguay, so we are forced to go there. Also, Joy wants to go to Disney World!”

Joy said: “After that, we plan to return to Uruguay and stay for a few months there. Then we’d like to keep traveling and see Africa.”

Their incredible journey is certainly a life-changing experience, and one that many people will never know. Make no mistake, this hasn’t been a vacation for Joy and Wa. “When you go on vacation, you go to rest from your job,” said Joy. “When you travel like we do, it is not like everything goes well all the time, and it is not nice days everyday.

“We just want to travel the world. We may do this for five more years. We may get tired of traveling in two years. We are open to changes, but right now, we are planning to keep doing this for a long time!”

Joy and Wa are documenting their journey by posting the photos and stories of their travels online; those who are interested may follow their story at <www.viajeinterminable.com>