WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita man and his son have returned home to Wichita from a nearly 8-month long adventure.
Meredith and Ian Dowty traveled from Argentina to Alaska with only what they could carry on their backs, a guitar and a limited budget.
“When I realized there is this whole world out there and it’s not small-town Kansas, I was like, you know, I want to find a way to see as much as possible, experience other cultures and this is a way of doing that,” said Ian Dowty.
Ian, 23, had been planning a trip like the one from Argentina to Alaska for some time. His 56-year-old dad, on the other hand, was somewhat skeptical about the idea, but he eventually came around.
“I was without an excuse. I’m a retired city fire fighter and so it was a perfect opportunity to go,” said Meredith.
“I said, ‘you know what, this is the time. You only get one shot, just go for it,'” Ian said.
The pair set off on their journey in November of 2016. They flew from Wichita to Ushuaia, Argentina, which is known as the southernmost city in the world. From there, they were on their way.
“We left here, it was 75 degrees. We arrived there and it’s in the single digits with a wind chill and I was like, ‘ugh I think I made a mistake,” Meredith said.
“We asked the lady at the airport and I’m sure she was like man, you guys are not going to make it,” Ian said.
The duo visited some of the most spectacular places on earth including Machu Picchu. They learned how to make cigars in Nicaragua. They went anaconda hunting in Bolivia, sandboarding in Peru, salsa dancing in Colombia and snorkeling in Belize.
“I don’t think there was one best thing in the whole adventure because it was one after another,” Merdeith said.
Meredith and Dowty took many different modes of transportation to get from one place to another. They said they took 70 different buses in total. They also stayed in a variety of places including hostels, tents and even a U-Haul during their trip.
“It’s cheesy, but it’s really true that when we struggled with something it was frustrating in the moment and then you look back and those are the most memorable times,” Ian said.
There were some frustrating moments, according to Ian. At one point during the trip, Ian caught a stomach bug. He was sick for about 12 days and lost a significant amount of weight. He said it was also difficult to find affordable housing once he and his dad entered the United States.
“We were kind of homeless then,” said Meredith. “It did kind of give you a feel of that because a lot of times we hoofed it on the West Coast.”
After about 230 days, the pair returned to Wichita on July 3, 2017. They said they returned with a respect for one another, a boatload of memories and most of all a new perspective on life.
“The machine, the society where you wake up, you go to work, you go home, you have two hours and you go to bed and you wake up and do it again, that’s not real life. Real life is exploring who you are, what it means to be human and making those shared experiences with special people on this planet,” Ian said.
Ian documented the pair’s trip from Argentina to Alaska. He is now putting together a documentary showcasing the two’s adventure. Click here for more on the adventure.