Hannah Kacary: On Route 66

The Great American Road Trip

Storyteller: Hannah Kacary, UK 

White van in an empty parking lot.

What were the reasons for your road trip?

My partner and I were due to move to Canada in early 2017 but wanted to spend a few months traveling before we settled down and found jobs. We decided to fly to Toronto and convert a van into a campervan which we’d use to travel across America and over to Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast. We didn’t have any real plan as to where we’d go so when people asked it was just “we’ll go down, across the south and up the west coast”. I was super excited to see more of America and, in particular, the National Parks! We converted our van in the freezing cold temperatures of Toronto in the winter and left for the US in early March 2017. 3 months, tens of thousands of kilometers and almost as many photos later we arrived in Vancouver. 

Woman overlooking canyon landscape.

What compelled you to take these images?

Both myself and my partner enjoy taking photos of the places we travel to. I also have a travel blog on which I share our adventures and photos are a big part of this. If nothing else, taking all these photos of our road trip is a great way to look back and remember everything we did and saw. There are definitely a few photos in our photo book that reminded me of places I’d forgotten about and the process of going through and picking the photos was really enjoyable because of this! 

Forest trees in foreground with snow-dotted mountains in background.

What is your favorite image in the book and why?

My favorite images are those of Mt Rainier National Park in Washington. We drove through the park around sunset and the colours were just beautiful with the mountains going a purple-y tone. 

Hand holding a UK passport.

What is your favorite story behind a single shot in the book?

One of my favorite stories is to do with the photo of our passport. At the time that photo was taken we were all smiles as we celebrated being reunited with our previously lost passports. If there's one place you don't want to come up against border control without a passport, it's in America on the US-Mexico border - which is exactly what happened to us. We hadn't even realized we'd lost our passports until a day earlier when we checked into a hotel in order to pick up some post. We couldn't find our passports anywhere. We called the gym in Florida, the last place we remembered having them and they said they also didn't have them. The next day we decided to carry on towards L.A. where we could then get an emergency passport sorted at the British Embassy. No one had needed to see our passports up until now anyway. We carried on towards New Mexico but, as we reached Del Rio, we drove past US Border Control on the other side of the road. A quick Google showed there was no way we'd get out of Del Rio without going through a checkpoint. A frantic few hours passed where we found a copy shop, printed off copies of our passports saved in our emails and called the gym again who this time DID have our passports! But we still had to make it out of Del Rio. We started driving back on ourselves towards Austin where we'd arranged for the gym to send our passports. An hour passed and we still hadn't seen a checkpoint, we thought we were safe, but then we saw another border control on the horizon! "Where are your passports? When did you enter the country? How many people are in your van? Why do you have copies of you lost your passport? What are these police certificates for? So Canada did checks on you?" "Yes, Canada checked us before they gave us a visa" "Okay, you can go". And then, four days later we were finally reunited with our passports in Austin and snapped this photo in celebration!



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