TerraTrek…The Beginning

By Dave Santillo, TerraTrek Coordinator

October 4, 2020

The Stage is Set

The months of conceptualizing, planning, talking, and dreaming have brought the TerraTrek team and expedition to the actual beginning. We have the wording to our mission just the way we want it. We’ve taken just the right photographs and polished our sound bites. The finishing touches are done on our first documentary and on our first social media short videos and photos. We’ve done our first television news interview. We’ve worked to instill some anticipation and mystique among our friends and acquaintances.

Yurtle, the expedition flagship van, and the support vehicle “Buru,” are packed and provisioned, and ready for the countless road miles to come. Today we leave for a flurry of filming and interviews in the mid-Atlantic.

From here on, it will be largely in the hands of the public as to how we’ll be received and how much we can inspire action. We’re ready for whatever concoctions turn up in the pot we plan on stirring up: encouragement or criticism, support or controversy, smiles or grimaces.

Our Goals

Everyone sets goals in life, right? The goal of TerraTrek is nothing short of chipping in on the absolutely critical effort to avert environmental disaster. We intend to remind people why a healthy environment and stable climate matter to them and everyone else, while at the same time presenting some hard truths about the current state of environmental affairs and what sacrifices will need to be made.

We’ll be seeking common ground and shared visions literally in every person we meet, regardless of income bracket, social background, race, gender, political beliefs, and all the other categories that “they” attempt to messily divide us into. There is no “us and them” with the environment. We intend to show people that it’s in all of our selfish best interests to support environmental causes.

It’s OUR environment…and when the environment wins…WE ALL WIN.

Are any or all of those things achievable?

We Have No Idea

The best we can hope for is to inspire discussion and action on everything and anything related to the environment. It’s all on the table. We want to get a dialogue going…listen to people, not preach to them…We want the story of the TerraTrek to be about the people we meet along the way.

We fully expect that what we look back upon as the TerraTrek in our rear view mirror next year will not look very much like what we think we are looking at out our front window at this point. There will be unexpected twists and turns, opportunities we didn’t see coming that we need to seize. We’re ready to adapt.

If you have something to say about our content or want to be heard on your own environmental issue, or want to be part of this cause and expedition….don’t hesitate…REACH OUT!! This expedition and our content isn’t intended to be a diversion while you’re sipping your morning coffee. It’s intended to rock your world.

We promise to approach our expedition with positive spirit and high energy. We invite you to follow along. It would be even better if you reach out to us, and maybe even meet us on the road.

It’s a road we’re all sharing…the road surrounded by the air we’re all breathing, the water we’re all drinking, the scenery we’re all gazing upon. And it’s up to all of us whether that road is a pleasant one, barely drivable…or if it will become beyond repair.

We’ll be out there working to fill some potholes!

Addressing the TerraTrek Footprint

environment beginning roadtripThe TT expedition will have an environmental impact. Our vehicles will consume fossil fuel and emit carbon dioxide – we estimate about 7 metric tons of CO2. Our website and computers use energy. We’ll largely be eating food we purchase instead of growing our own.

To offset our footprint, there are about 2,000 trees that need to be planted.

We planted 100 ourselves during the planning stages. We intend on planting more during our journey at every opportunity we get. However, we’ve already donated funds sufficient to plant 2000 trees to an organization that does just this. (See our TerraTrek Pledge)

We will avoid single-use plastics. We intend on using only recycled paper products for the materials we generate. We plan on approaching our travels with efficient planning that avoids retracing our path.


It’s already taken a monumental effort to get the TerraTrek even to the launch point. But a huge effort literally is what it will take from everyone if we are somehow able to avert severe impacts from global warming, catastrophic reductions in biological diversity, and all the other environmental crises that have either already started, or we stand on the brink of.

We have to try…. Doing nothing is not an option.

The opportunity and potential to make a difference makes putting our lives on hold a reasonable sacrifice. It will all be worthwhile if we’re somehow able to help convince others that it’s necessary to alter behaviors and consumption habits sharply, change our values system from one that prioritizes stuff and accomplishment to one that values simplicity…living well as opposed to an endless drive for more stuff and greater recognition.

Each member of the TerraTrek team has personal reasons for being part of this expedition. In my case, it’s children.

The logic and path forward all seem so clear to me. All I do is have to think about the children and young people I know in my life, and any and all sacrifices I need to make to secure their future become a modest price to pay.

I dedicate my involvement to the cause and hopefully the effect of the TerraTrek to my granddaughter Illari (and everyone elses’ grandkids), to Oliver, Jia, to Matty, Emma, Colton, and all the other kids in my extended families in the U.S. and Peru, the young folks dedicating their time and energy to the TerraTrek project (Angie, Mike, and Emma), the kids I see flying kites at Bug Light Park in South Portland, and every other kid in the world…kids that deserve a safe and happy future.

On behalf of Angie, Mike, Emma, Will and all of the people behind the scenes working to make this expedition happen…

Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you on the road!