In other words, we are turning around and heading North. In fact, we have already started in that direction and we are back in El Salvador, now.
But, what about South America, you ask? STILL DOING IT. But we’ll circle back to that.
Karin and I have been on the road since November 11th, 2015. Originally, we planned this adventure for between 9 months and 1 year long. We are now going on Month 19. We have been on the road for 574 days, we have visited 9 countries (3 of them, twice!) and driven 27,390 miles. We have spent 50-55% of the time camping and 45-50% of the time in airbnb's, staying with friends or housesitting.
We had the insane idea that we would be to Patagonia and be back home by now. We knew nothing. It can be done, but not the way we want to do it. We knew nothing about what this experience would be like, how much we would grow or what would become important to us.
Somewhere along the way, we realized the cliché is truth, that the journey really is more important than the destination. Somewhere along the way, we realized this way of life doesn’t have an end date; That we weren’t meant to be distant observers of this world, taking it in small, sanitized doses by way of resorts and planned vacations all the while living in our safe little East Nashville bubble.
We stopped needing to impose ourselves on the experience by way of it being an “expedition” and started needing to let the world impose itself on us.
"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home" - Matsuo Basho
We have replaced the desire to complete this lofty goal of traversing three continents by car with the desire to just be in the world, experiencing it. All of it. In as real a way as possible.
Heading north, back to the States (which we call, the “Land of No”) was not an easy decision for us. The hardest part about this choice is that the universe keeps seeming to open up paths for us to continue south – housesit/care-taking options, offers of free places to stay, business sponsorships for gear reviews and advertising, etc.
We aren’t ignoring these messages, we are just taking them in as factors and weighing them out. . Along the road, we are staying open to whatever new paths and opportunities present themselves (hint, hint world). We are taking with us the biggest lesson we have learned and are both saying yes as often as possible.
In life there are an infinite number of doors. If you are diligent, you will open some. If you are brilliant, you will open many. But if you are vibrant, they will open for you.
Ultimately, for us, despite these signs, there are considerations we just can’t get past:
First, we took a deep emotional hit with the passing of our Gracie. She was a central member of this adventure team and we are both listening to our hearts and honoring our need for a fresh start before continuing the adventure without her.
Second, our Moms need us. It has been a long time since either of us have been home and they have each basically said, enough is enough.
Third, we need to make some changes to our vehicle and road-living arrangements before facing the much windier and colder South American climates.
Finally, and most predictably, we need to earn and save more money.
Don’t worry, we are still taking our time and there is plenty more to see in every country we are going back through. We can’t wait to revisit these places with a little bit of experience and insight under our belts (especially Mexico!).
We would love it if you would check out our new website – it still needs a lot of work but I’ve promised it for almost a year so here it is! It is best viewed on a desktop with a good internet connection. We have added a ton of information about overlanding, full time travel and life on the road – but keep checking back, or sign up for notifcations when there is new content because there will be a ton of it.
One more thing! To help us fund our trip back to Nashville, reintegration home (we sold everything so we are starting again from scratch), and our next adventures, we have started a few projects and we would appreciate your support:
1) Would you like us to bring back anything from Guatemala, El Salvador or Mexico? Coffee? Agave direct from the fields of Tequila, Mexico? A locally-made, Guatemalan hammock or pillowcase? Crafts or Souvenirs? Mexican Vanilla? Guatemalan Cacao? El Salvadoran coffee? We’ll post some examples of locally-made goods as we go through the countries. You name it, pay us through Paypal and we will bring it home! We do have limited space and there are customs restrictions so we’ll have to exercise some discretion in what and how much we can bring back.
2) We have launced a store with prints of our photos and multiple awesome t-shirt/sticker designs to choose from. There is a link to prints on the site now and we’ll let you know when the rest of the stuff is ready.
3) We will soon be offering consulting services for travel in Mexico and Central America along with assistance with sorting thru border/visa requirements. Soon, the website will have downloadable forms and a border document/organization guide for sale.
4) How can you help? Thanks for asking! We are so grateful for all of the support we have gotten from friends and family at home and new friends we’ve made along the way.
That support has come in a lot of forms, from emotional to financial to practical.
The beers and gas so many of you have bought for us through the website have helped buffer the unexpected expenses that have arisen on this journey and kept us on the road longer. We will never know how to express our gratitude for your generosity. We have added a “supporters” page to the new website and anyone who contributes in this way will have their name on it. You can find the “buy us a beer” button at the top right of several pages of the new website.
Giving us places to stay or safely camp along the way has made a world of difference to us and if you have or know of places we could stay in Mexico or especially in the United States between California and Nashville, we would have endless gratitude!
When we get to Nashville, it will take me (Sunny) awhile to re-build my practice and client-base. Any referrals you can send my way would be amazing. Also, for you non criminal defense attorneys out there, teach me what you do! I’m interested in learning other areas of practice, particularly immigration law. And if you are in some other cool field or know of a well-paying gig - I'm open to anything. Location independency and getting back on the road are my main priority.
Do you have building experience or knowledge about sustainable or tiny-home building practices? Come hang out with us while we build a bus to live in (and eventually rent out). It’s our next big adventure and we would love to buy you a beer and exploit your mad skills.
Finally, the transition home won’t be easy – be patient with us. We have each changed more than I’m sure we even know ourselves. We will want to talk endlessly about this experience. I apologize in advance. And yes, of course, we’ll be having a party. ;)
The bottom line is this: Our Adventure, has just begun.
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