Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

About Our Crew

Brianna at Mara's Place on Caye CaulkerBrianna Kietzman

I believe in the interconnectedness of all things.  I believe in deep, true, and honest love for everyone and everything around us, and I believe that at our core, we are all goodness.  It is perhaps from this, that I have the trust and freedom to choose to live as a Vangabond.

I am a Jayhawk at heart and have been since before I could differentiate between red and blue.  It is at the University of Kansas that I both lost and found myself, where I made some of the best friends of my life, where I met a man far beyond what I could conjure up in my silly dreams, and of course, where I experienced the greatest basketball program in the history of the world.  The 18 years before my life in Lawrence were spent in Emporia, Kansas, a small-ish town 90 minutes south of Kansas City.  When I was 6 I wanted to be a radiologist, and that was the last time I remember really knowing what I wanted to be when I grow up.  How fortunate I have been to have such an incredible family and lifelong friends who offer support always and constructive criticism when needed.  They are my roots, and I hope to become one beautifully branching tree.

I am feisty and energetic, bossy and exaggerated, loving and sincere.  The only time “small” can be used to appropriately describe me is when speaking of my physical stature.  I like to think that in my most natural state, I am rather laid back and relaxed, but I would bet I’ll get some arguments on that one.

Ian at breakfast in BelizeIan Kietzman

While generally an introvert — I’m an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale — my curiosity about the world and desire for knowledge are what drive me.  The scientific method is forever in my heart (er, mind [er, brain]) and supplies my general framework for how I view the big picture.  A disenchanted former corporate laboratory biologist, you could not pay me enough to ever return to a cubicle.  Over time the dual realizations that life is shorter than we want it to be and that the world is a bigger place than we imagine have taken over my psyche and liberated my outlook on life.  A whim got me into the web in 2010, and it has proven to be an impeccable fit.  You can check out my professional life at Alchemy Web Marketing, which I founded in 2012.

Big props to my parents and my brother Dane – they helped make me who I am.

A lifelong fan of sport, I am reserving a small amount of space in the van for as much equipment as I can cram in, both for personal enjoyment and to aid in making new friends.

I like warm beverages in the morning and cold ones at night.  Perhaps we can share one of those together someday and talk about your story and everything that would not fit into this space.

Maya and Olmec in our backyardMaya and Olmec

Maya and Olmec are our dogs and travel companions.  They are siblings, half Australian Cattle Dog and half English Pointer.  Maya came along first, a sweet puppy whose cute appearance was entirely misleading.  A National Geographic that we read on a plane supplied us with her name.  She is at the same time brilliant and bullheaded.  Our connection with her is such that we understand each other as the closest of friends, and she has enough of her own ideas to keep things interesting.  Olmec came to us ten months later, and his name was a natural extension of the Pre-Columbian civilization theme that we had started (it didn’t hurt that both of us watched Legends of the Hidden Temple when we were younger).  He was the only puppy from the litter that had failed to find a home.  Alone in a cell at the shelter for most of his young life, his lack of social skills (i.e. he tried to bite both of us on several occasions those first few weeks) led us to seriously contemplate giving up on him early on.  What a mistake that would have been!  One could not ask for a better behaved, gentlemanly, teddy bear of a dog.  In summary:

Maya – Female, shorter, stockier, darker, smarter, trouble.

Olmec – Male, taller, leaner, lighter, simpler, a true gentleman.

9 Responses

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  • Rhonda says:

    Hi guys! Just found your website through our friends at Ruined Adventures and LOVE that you’re traveling with two dogs! We have previously done a backpacking RTW for 14mths and are now back in Oregon, plotting and saving to drive down the PanAm with our two dogs, Aspen & Porter. We’re looking forward to devouring your website and seeing how traveling with the dogs is going for you. Enjoy the traveling!
    Cheers, Jim & Rhonda

    • Brianna says:

      Hi Jim and Rhonda!

      Thanks for reaching out – so fun to hear and read about your next big adventure! We’re appreciative of the opportunity to pay forward the resources to you guys from all of those who have helped to prepare us. We typically rent small casitas for a month at a time, so our experiences may not be much help on the camping side (though Playa Santispak was awesome), but hopefully some of the border crossings or cultural things can be useful. Please also don’t hesitate to shoot us an email if you have any specific questions. Our dogs seem to love the life, devouring all of the new sites and smells and swimming spots with every chance.

      Looking forward to seeing how your journey goes!

  • Ramey says:

    Very much enjoying your blog as we prepare to head down the PanAm with our dogs in a 1988 Toyota RV next year. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    • Ramey says:

      And, PS – one of our mutts is an ACD/Pointer mix, too. She is a huge pain in the ass, but we love her anyway. ;)

      • Ian says:

        Very cool. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We had a hard time finding people traveling this general route who 1) had dogs and 2) were actually responsive to questions about traveling with dogs, so we’d love to answer any queries that arise.

        Where can we see a pic of your pooch?

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