In 1996 two friends and I undertook our first backpacking experience. We traveled from Costa Rica to Guatemala in six months. We originally planned to travel for a year, but half way decided to do something more useful with our presence in Central America and applied for volunteer jobs in Honduras and Guatemala. The travelers we met during our adventure traveled from South to North Central America and were very different from the travelers you would meet now on the same route.
Most people were, like us, looking for a real escape. It would have been rare to find anyone traveling for less then three months. As a matter of fact, most people had started in the northern region of the continent, or often in Mexico and were planning to travel as far south as Peru or Patagonia. They would give themselves eight months or more to do so. The main reason for their trip was not so much traveling in itself; most backpackers were looking for a different lifestyle. They had already found the lifestyle they were looking for and had been successful in becoming accomplished adventurers.
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