Marta and Santiago (The Roam Patrol)

Today's Explorers

Charles Forman
February 16, 2021
min read

Where are you from?

Marta is from Bergamo, Italy and Santiago is from Bariloche, Argentina

When did you start your interest in exploration?

Marta was 3, she grew up in the Alps and her parents took her hiking since she was able to walk. From there she has never stopped exploring new places and wandering around.

Santiago comes from Patagonia, but during his early years, his parents relocated to Europe and traveled in a small yellow VW Golf for camping adventures.

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

Marta is a Structural Engineer. In her last years of University she decided to leave everything and move to the UK to finish her studies. When she came back, a strong desire for freedom and adventure brought her to Ireland where we met and everything started.

Santiago is an Industrial Designer, worked for a Nuclear Engineer Company in Argentina for years, always enjoying the outdoors during weekends. Adventure and travels were always on the list, but work was the priority.

After losing his godfather, he realized time is limited and old dreams of big adventures came back stronger than ever. That's when he decided to move to Ireland seeking a new start.

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

Marta - as a good Italian - is very skilled around the cooking area. With very little she can make the best meals. Her navigation is as good as the food she prepares. She ends up finding the less explored paths possible, with great success. And she is always smiling, even under a storm.

Santiago was a Scout in his younger years, learned some navigation and first aid skills. He had the chance to put those in practice with friends from the Argentinean Army.

He is not a professional mechanic, but he has enough knowledge to keep the truck running or to find the problem source.

Where have you explored so far?

Marta traveled more around Europe, UK and some places in the US, Santiago had the chance to explore Patagonia and Europe. Once we met, we traveled most of Ireland where we are currently living.

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

We always try to find unexplored places around Ireland, immerse ourselves in a natural environment. Hiking and landscape photography are our passions. We feel free and extremely happy when traveling with our truck.

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

If everything goes as planned, we are on our way to the Alps for three weeks.

We have a pending trip to the Highlands and the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Our main goal is to do a one year trip, exploring from the remote lands of North Canada to Tierra del Fuego and Santiago's birthplace.

Where would you recommend others visit?

Explore the wild West coast of Ireland. Get lost in the Beara Peninsula and let the wind drive you towards the beautiful Dingle coast.

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

Bonny is a 2005 Nissan Patrol Y61.

Our philosophy is "Less is More" by Mies van der Rohe.

We try to keep it simple and light as possible.

The best mods until now are a full size bed in the back with plenty of storage, an awning to escape from rainy days in Ireland and insulation for cold weather.

What are five pieces of equipment you always travel with?

Icebox, gas stove, sleeping bags, hiking boots, camera gear.... and biscuits, always!

What inspires you to explore more?

There is always something new to learn, people to meet, beautiful places where to feel at home.

How do you engage with others?

A big smile.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

We feel it's important to break prejudgments and realize we are part of one big community.

What are your goals when you explore?

We explore because we enjoy it. Sometimes there is no goal, we just feel we have to go. Everything that happens during the journey - good or bad - is an enriching experience.

What are some challenges you have experienced?

Our biggest challenge was a broken fuel pump in the middle of nowhere. We ended up on a flatbed tow truck during the pandemic. Luckily we managed to get out of our wild camp spot idling in low range up to a paved road. We walked many kilometres with a big smile, before a friend could pick us up.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

Meeting the owner of a farm in our favorite overnight spot in a remote peninsula in West Ireland. It was the first week of freedom after the first lock-down. We were probably the first outsiders he saw after a long time. He was curious, and at the same time could not fully understand us. But he could not stop asking why we were doing that, and if we were happy. We ended up spending all morning chatting, to the point of him giving us his blessing for our marriage... (Santiago under pressure) We think meeting people and sharing life experience is the most meaningful part of the journey.

How has exploration changed you?

We are more open to new things. Not scared of the unexpected, that is always around the corner. And we learnt to know each other better, km after km.

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

Open your heart.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

Leave your fears aside, embrace what you are experiencing and be grateful.

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."

--- J.R.R. Tolkien

What are some comparisons you can make between exploration today, compared to what you know of exploration in the past?

There are huge differences, but one thing remains. The desire of learning and discovering new things.

No items found.
Today's Explorers