Tag Archives: tinyhouse

Where to next: El Salvador and a drive through Honduras, visa deadline coming in hot.

We spent over two months in Guatemala most of that time was spent in Antigua where we were taking spanish classes and I was catching up with good ol’ buddy.  When we entered Guatemala we were given a 90 day visa for four countries called the CA-4, which includes Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  We had to do some trimming and quick moving to get to Costa Rica in three weeks.  I had a list of to do’s that I wanted to check out in Nicaragua and two weeks was barely enough time.  The plan was to spend about four nights on some beaches in El Salvador and drive through Honduras in one day in order to get to Nicaragua in five days.

es2
El Tunco, El Salvador.   A black sand beach.
es3
Sunset at El Tunco
ES 1
The night Christian wanted a van-kitten

When looking at the map and our route we had to stay on the Pacific side in order to make this timeline.  After a little bit of research it looked like all of the cool places and things to do in Honduras were all on the Carribbean side.  Unfortunalely we spent only four hours in Honduras and stopping once for gas.  Most of our time in Honduras was spent driving to and through the two borders or waiting in lines.

We arrived in Leon, Nicaragua after a nine hour drive from El Cuco, El Salvador driving through Honduras while crossing two borders and three countries in one day.  Here in Leon, Nicaragua we found one of the hottest and most humid places on Earth.  Let’s find a parking spot and a very cold drink, like one that has ice in it!

Advertisements

Part 2 Guatemala Adventures continue to… TIKAL

Just a short two day and eleven hours northeast from Antigua is Tikal, now a National Park that was once a Great Mayan City set way back in the jungle.  Cheers to Guatemala City for showing us the worst traffic that we have seen in five thousand miles.  We got so far behind schedule that it turned dark before we could get anywhere safe to stay the night, for hours we were in the middle of nowhere.  We did our first nighttime drive for three hours and with great luck the road was in decent enough shape to make it ro Rio Dulce without getting a flat.  I was stressed!

We finished the long drive to Tikal the next day early afternoon.  We found a great little spot to camp just outside the park gates to rest up for an early sunrise hike in the morning.  5:15am still dark the alarm goes off and I hear the jungle breathing above the van.  We gathered the camera, a fresh made thermos of coffee and a couple of granola bars to make the long trek through the jungle alone and looking for the tallest ruin.  There’s no short of wild animals on our walk; greeting us right away were a couple of coatimundis wrestling eachother on the trail, then a colorful wild turkey guarded the restrooms, and a couple of monkeys accidentally I assume drop mangoes a foot from our heads.  After an hour and a half through the mayan city, Tikal we arrive to the tallest ruin Temple IV there standing 212 feet high.  We climbed the side of it, grabbed a seat at the highest step, opened the coffee and took in the unprecedented view.  We were sitting above the clouds and waiting for the sun to appear while toucans were flying below our feet.  Virtally we had this park to ourselves, there was a quiet moment had while listening to the howler monkeys travel around us and off deep into the jungle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Christian descibes the sound of the howler monkeys like this “imagine King Kong angry and ripping through the jungle heading right for you!”  Their sound together is like one giant beast, it was beautiful.  No jaguars were spotted on this adventure.

On the way back to Antigua we stopped at Rio Dulce for a few nights during a monsoon.  However it’s hard to complain when you camp at a place on a river with a pool, bar and restaurant in the jungle.

Antigua part 1

Hello Antigua, Guatemala home of Laurel Baker!  Eight years ago Laurel/Lori left Chicago to “visit” Costa Rica for awhile.  She made her way north eventually landing in Antigua, Guatemala and has been there ever since.  Eight years ago I promised my great friend that I would visit her someday.  After a move to Sitka, Alaska and San Diego, California Christian and I built a van and drove six months and a few thousand miles for a long overdue reunion.  Within hours of arriving to her city I was on her bar/restaurant schedule for a full weeks worth of shifts.  The same day Christian signed himself up for spanish classes and was looking for temporary housing for us.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our plan was to park the van and stay in Antigua for about a month.  We found a cool communal spot to live in called La Casa Gitana (The Gypsy House) with every wall painted a different color and four other housemates.  It was a six minute walk to work and a ten minute scooter ride to spanish classes. Two weeks later I signed up for classes as well while contining to work.  Classes took place in a garden and we each had our own private teacher.  I loved the scooter ride to the garden five days a week down the cobblestone roads, pass the ruins from an 1877 earthquake all the way to the garden.  We spent twenty hours a week with a private teacher, Christian took seven weeks and I took five.  Halfway through we talked our teachers into a Nacho and Micheada party for a class.  We convinced them that with a little alcohol we could speak a way better spanish, and they went for it.  It ended up being more of a party with five students and five teachers joining in.  Mostly the party was in spanish until the class moved to a nearby pub with more beer, more nachos and tons of dancing.  With that recipe we all started speaking some rediculous spanglish.

Weeks before Christian and I made the descion that Antigua was where we will drag the scooter up to and try to sell it.  The weight of the scooter was destroying the van; shredding the back tire, ruining the suspension and breaking the shocks.  So for our last few weeks  we took it on many mini adventures through the colonial city, up to tiny mountain towns, through the nearby villages and out to organic farmers markets with live music.

We were able to meet up with a handful of friends here since we stayed put for ten weeks: Micheal and Izabella (kocovnici kocovni), Josh and Jenna (Travel Amateurs), Miles, Aaron and Nietzsche (Totoro the Van), Joe and Josee (Joe and Josee’s Journey) along with making new friends from school and housemates.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Several times a week we would take the scooter to the mercado for some fresh fruit and veggies, which was always a colorful errand.  I didn’t want to forget to share the chicken busses here, they are retired american school buses that are bedazzled to the nines and take on king of the road role, however because we had the scooter we missed the opportunity to take a ride in one.

On to Guatemala, it only took 4 months

We took a two hour drive from San Cristobal to get to the chaotic insane small border of Guatemala, after spending four months in Mexico.  The border town was wacky and swamped with vendors leaving us barely enough room to squeeze The Globe Trol through.  It it two days to get to Lake Atitlan.  Our midway stop along the highway was at a fancy hotel’s gravel parking lot for the night.  In the morning I watched their gardener mow the entire site with a weed wacker for hours.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I read ahead and told Christian that the road down to our next campground in San Marcos, Lake Atitilan might be narrow, steep and in complete shit condition.  So we decided right before it goes to shit we will take the scooter down and drive them seperately.  I was more than nervous to drive the van-haus so I opted for the scooter.  OH MY LORD!  Driving the scooter down a mountain covered in trees, surrounded by Volcanoes heading towards a lake…was phenomenal to say the least.  On top of that I was manuevering around pot holes a foot-two feet deep some the size a small car could fit into.  Total breeze on the skoot-skoot.  An hour later we make it to a sleepy little town called San Marcos and head just outside the square down some “road” of holes and gravel to a incredible campsite with an even better view.  The owner of the grounds Pierre sells steak, prawns and a great priced wine.  Sweet we never have to leave.  The next afternoon we hopped on a water taxi and shimmied off to another little hippie town called San Pedro that you could tell had been overran with gringos.  Ah whatever lets buy some souvenoirs and grab a drink on a deck.  It rained everyday we were there and we could just barely see the volcanoes that surrounded the lake.  After a few hours we hopped back on the water taxi and rushed to take shelter when the storm came in.  The storm was here for the night so we grabbed a bottle of wine, sat under the awning and binged watched on some Game of Thrones.  After three more days of dodging the rain we were ready to head to Antigua and finally meet up with Lori, eight years waiting to visit her here.

Our Last Bit of Mexico, Chiapas

 

We left the insanely hot beach of Oaxaca, Mexico and headed straight for the Aguacero Waterfall in Chiapas.  It’s 742 steps down in 98 degree weather to a creek bed.  We walked through and across the creek bed and looked up at a breathtaking waterfall.  It pooled in several places covered in moss, plants and purple flowers.  The water was crisp and cool.  “We found Fern Gully!”  Christian gave me a hand and helped me up the slippery moss covered boulders to make our way to the bottom of the cascada.  We played under the chilling fall until our feet went numb.  Okay Chiapas, you got our attention, you are beautiful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That night we took a short drive to find the Sumidero Canyon.  We arrived after dusk and when everything was closed so it was diffilcult to find secure parking right away.  After an hour we found a locked gate fence where some guys where chatting under a street light near possibly the opening.   They figured out what we needed through some rough spanish and whislted for the night guard to let us in the parking lot of the canyon because we wanted take a boat ride the next morning.  We read other overlanders had done the same in the past and it seemed like a safe camping option for the night.  The next morning we headed down to the dock for a giant speed boat tour through the canyon.

The walls of the canyon were towering above us at 3,280 feet in some places.  This canyon is thought to be as old as The Grand Canyon.  The canyon was started by cracks in the earth’s crust and the Grijalva River dug its way for 35 million years.  Flying through the canyon our captain would abruptly stop for wildlife and the first stop was “Vulture Island.”  I don’t know, but to stop for a hundred vultures at once was probably the least appealing thing for me.  Moving along our next stop was a tree where two monkeeys were wrestling and showing off.  This was our “first monkeey sighting of the trip!”  Half way through the two-hour tour I notice that all of our life jackets have crocodiles on them and we haven’t seen one yet.  We get all the way down to the dam and pull up to a boat that is selling fruit, chips and soda.  Latin American culture “never miss an oppotunity to sell something” I believe is their moto.  For the return the captain speeds back through the canyon and then all of a sudden we come to an aggressive hault and a sharp turn.  I’m thinking “Hell yes, this must be it, the Crocs!”  This captain has laser eye sight or something?!  He pulls the boat right up alongside the croc so we all can bend over the side and take a million pictures, and nicely enough the crocodile stays motionless.  “How cool, it’s like he is posing!”  Them we speed off and head to another favorite spot for the captain where the next croc is out of the water and is also posing for more pictures.  A few minuets later a crocodile is actually moving and he swims by our boat for 10 seconds and then poof, gone.  The group is now satisfied and we head back to the dock.  When we got back I couldn’t let go of how strange our crocodile show was and I mentioned to Christian ” Do you think those crocs were real or staged? ”  Oh well if they were fake, they were really good ones.  Weeks later we ran into friends who had also done the tour a week prior and we compared our photos and had the exact same two crocs, same spot, same pose, same same.  However they never saw a crocodile swimming, Yea we saw a real one.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our last stop in Mexico was a spanish colonial town called San Cristobal de Las Casas.  It’s set way up in the mountains so the air was a lot cooler, and less sweating for us.  It rained a few hours every late afternoon, just enough to cool you off.  We found a campsite a mile outside of town and took the scooter back into town for sightseeing, groceries, chocolate and beer runs.  Our campsite was underneath tall evergreens, I absolutely loved it here.  I loved being in the woods but also only a mile to town, five days here flew by.   Chocolate shops, cheap decent wine and coffee everywhere, my little heaven and not a bad spot to spend a few dollars and a couple of days.

Next stop…Guatemala here we come.

Zipolite, I can’t quit you

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We rolled up to this mystical beach late one hot mexican night.  Looking for a perfect spot to set up shop for maybe two or three days we lucked out and found Habana’s Cabanas.  Ok, sounds kinda cool let’s go talk to the boss.   For $7 USD a night, you can park behind the cabanas 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean, a few feet away are the bath/showers, WiFi incl, cold beers and water in the office and shade underneath the cabanas.  That’s not all, our hammocks hung underneath the cabanas and fresh food will walk-by you just in case you’re too lazy to move to get snacks or dinner.  A margarita guy will pass-by, the ice cream man delivers and chocolate croissants show up at just the right time.  Pizza calzones, taco lady, herbal pastries  you name it, they make it and deliver to your hammock all day long.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This place made it feel like we were on vacation, not a trip that takes a lot of work; straight-up, kick-back.  We took long walks on the beach, starred at the sunsets, laid in the hammocks for hours reading, telling jokes and stories.  Oh did I mention this was a clothing-optional beach, we may have tried it out or not.  We planned on two nights and it quickly turned into ELEVEN awesome days.  Friends were made here and other friends joined the scene a day later.  With nothing but time on our hands I decided that I would try making almond milk from scratch, after ton of messy work it turned out great.

Christian loved catching happy hour everyday and taking a walk down the beach for a brick oven pizza or a plate of Al Pastor tacos for about $1.  On semi-windy days he would bust out the kite and attach the go-pro to it for our make shift version of a “drone shot” along the beach.  It’s been a few months since we were here but this is a place we will return to.  We still talk about our time in Zipolite, in our six months of traveling this ranks as top 3 favorite moments.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

A few times we took the scooter out for great adventures and sightseeing, why not.  We headed out on the scooter for a gorgeous twenty minutes ride towards a lagoon called La Ventanilla Mangroves where we tour a small boat tour to check out some crocodiles, birds, Iguanas and turtles.   The next day we went to the Turtle Sanctuary in Mazunte the town over from Zipolite with our friends in a teeny tiny taxi and 6 of us crammed in an almost clown car while it was around 100 degrees.

The rest of our day was filled by sitting in our hammocks and people watch.  Naked old  guys would wear flip flops and a back pack, nothing else.  One occasion a chic was holding hands with two guys one on each hand and making the men walk backwards naked the entire length of the beach.  So as you can see we were entertained sitting on the beach for a short eleven days.

 

 

 

 

Retreat for a quiet Easter weekend.

It was Good Friday and we thought that we should skip Mexico City because it would be way too crazy during Easter weekend.  So we headed southwest to look for some water to cool off and a quiet place away from the crowds and craziness of Mexico’s biggest holiday of the year.  We found out later that the best week to visit Mexico City is Easter weekend because everyone leaves the city and heads towards the beaches.  Pro-tip: Visit Mexico City on Easter weekend, perfect we wanted to come back soon anyways.

We got another pro-tip from fellow travelers that there was a quiet swimmable river on the way to Oaxaca City.  It turned out that we made a right instead of a left at that quiet river, however we only paid 50 cents per person to enter the river area to camp during the holiday.  Sweet, that’ll work!  We nestled in a perfect corner of the river and improvised some slow-cook rib recipes in our dutch oven that Christian would tend to for four hours.  After an hour of rib-nurturing a large front and backhoe loader crawls over our campsite/home for the weekend.

DSC_0062
Let’s slow cook some meat

We love cooking in our dutch oven and just cooking in general.  The night before we fit an entire chicken in this dutch oven and had an awesome kick-ass meal. Saturday we had slow-cooked ribs and potato salad very “‘Merican.” We shared a plate with locals parked next to us.

DSC_0064
INCOMING…!!!

However the river and its tractor conductor had a different plan for our Easter.  The regulars and tractor conductor decided that in front of our site was the PERFECT place for a new hole, GIANT HOLE!  At this point we spoke very little to no spanish, the conductor of this machinery said little to us and laughed.  A kind family walks over to us and says “he is going to dig up this area and put it on top of your dinner, you should move it.  He wants to put a giant hole right here.”  It felt intentional and we weren’t  sure if we were intruders at this point or if they were trying to force us out or not.  By this time the river was packed with a hundred or so people who came here every year for this weekend.  We had set up camp in the prime spot and also the place where everyone wanted a large swimming hole placed.  Not going to lie, guilt started to swell.

DSC_0069
The Aftermath 1/2 way done.

So, they got their swimming hole and fifty people ran towards it as soon as he finished and were jumping off large rocks into it.  On the plus side he made us a wall so we didn’t have a view anymore but it lead to a teeny bit of privacy.  We manufactured a new fire for our slow-cook dutch oven ribs and continued our own celebration among our fellow Overlanding friends (Here Until There) all while laughing at the situation. The family next to us brought us a “typical Mexican dish” for us to try which consisted of rice, beans, mole and chopped up hot dogs.

Next chapter…Mainland Mexico

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Things have been anything but dull on the road with The Globe Trol.  Our first week on mainland we spent in Mazatlan with some of our favorite fellow overlanders who we traveled with for about a month and a half.  We feel so lucky to have met so many great travelers and locals on this trip so far.

While in Mazatlan we camped on a beach that for the most part we had to ourselves in front of a “pizza” place that only sold coconuts.  At night it had a different vibe, it was an open air place where people sat in the dark with piles of weed in front of them while they rolled and smoked joints all night.  We were never offered any, but we camped there for free.  One person per vehicle was sick for most of those days, strange odds.  We took a golf cart taxi tour of the city together that promoted day drinking.  Since we camped on an island while in Mazatlan we would take a water taxi back and forth to the city for 43 cents per person.

We finally move south down the coast and end up in a tiny fishing village called Santa Cruz/Miramar.  We found a beautiful resort like grounds to camp at for four days.  This place was originally built a few hundred years ago for German miners who stole the land and the natives eventually took it back by force or so the legend has it.  We stayed there for four days, a gorgeous garden with five small pools looking over the ocean for $11.  Awesome.  Time to find some free camping again though.

Strolling down the coast a little further we stumbled upon San Pancho just north of Puerto Vallarta.  The RV camp spot tell us it’s 300 pesos for a dirt lot and cold showers, no thanks!  Well what about the town plaza and for free?   Yes that’ll do.   We end up hanging out in this swanky town where we find 50 cent killer tacos, a free music festival all weekend in our new backyard(great timing), bathrooms and showers at a near by fish house!  What a blast.

We came to Puerto Vallarta to get some major errands taken care of.  Our fridge still isn’t working properly, recharge the a/c and pick up a new credit card because ours was compromised.  Lesson learned: Dont use ATM’s in dark alleys. It’s also been pretty warm here so we decided to get our A/C recharged and find out that the compressor had a leak and needed to be replaced.  Luckily for us we met a mechanic named Jair who spoke great English and had tons of recommendations for destinations while traveling in Mexico.   Jair is almost finished with his law degree and then he said he was going to take the same trip to Argentina was he is done.  He gave us bottle of Don Julio to take down to South America after he fixed our van.

Christian is screaming “I love Mexico, I never want to leave and if that clown Trump is elected I’m buying a house here!”

Food! Food in Baja…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everyone loves food!  I would consider ourselves as amature foodies, who also love to cook and creating new drinks.  In our tiny home on wheels we made sure there was enough room for a two burner stove top, sink, full spice rack and the Vitamix.  We also brought a dutch oven along, which is a new for the both of us.  Food in Baja has been great whether we made at home out of the van or gorging on street cart tacos.  Surrounded by water the fresh fish, seafood and shrimp have been plentiful.  So much ceviche! A regular stop for pastries is new to our diet; cherry turnovers, chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls, cakes, donuts and obviously much more.

Breakfast usually consists of last nights dinner plus eggs and all wrapped in a tortilla.  I figured out a really easy pancake for us and now that it’s turning out consistent I’ll share: I mash one banana (the soft old brown ones are the best) until it is like baby food, add and  whip two eggs with the banana.  Next I throw in about 1/4c of flour (I use coconut flour), a tsp of vanilla ext and sprinkle some cinnamon in and mix it all together.  Chocolate chips are awesome in these  but it’s hard to find chocolate chips here in Mexico.  We have been topping our pancakes with peanut butter and agave maple syrup.

 

 

Cheers to Hector, we have a new fridge!

Researching for a week we found that there’s a man name Hector in La Paz, who works on marine refrigeration.  Christian called every marine store, or refrigeration repairman within all of Baja California Sur.  He called the other two shops owned by Americans and they laughed at him, told us to go back to San Diego to get what we needed.  Hector said he was in Cabo working and that he would been in at the end of the week and he would figure out a way to help.  Yesterday we showed up to his hard-to-find shop, explained our issue and he said he would call us later to see if he could make something.  A few hours later he custom built us a mini fridge that fit our cabinet with a Dan Frost compressor, flipped the door, converted it to a two-way AC/DC  and installed it.  Within the five hours of meeting Hector and his crew we were on our way with a much more efficient and real refrigerator this time.  Amazing, Thank god for Hector and Mexican engineering.  My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture of the magic that happened yesterday.

La Paz, update

IMG_20160205_012410
We are in La Paz hoping that Hector(local refrigerator repairman) who we met today will be able to help us with our inefficient “cooler.”  He said he will try to build us a new one that will have a compressor in hopes that it will cut the energy it takes by half or more. We will find out if he can help us tomorrow, keep your fingers-crossed for us. After that we need good calm weather to get on the ferry to mainland, apparently women are not allowed to board during swells. If everything goes well; a magician named Hector will build a fabulous fridge that fits and works properly, the wind will die down, the Sea of Cortez remains calm and this woman can board the ferry in theglobetrol.  We will head to the ferry terminal on Sunday to ask to be put on the TMC to Mazatlan for Monday.
Inner thoughts that I have today, when will I get my next warmish shower in a place that has a drain?  Tonight we will take a PVC-shower on the beach in our bathing suits which is exciting because it has been a few days, but I will still dream about a warm one.  I don’t see real shower in our future for at five or six days.  On the upside after almost a month of irregular showering my hair doesn’t really get grimy as fast.
In the meantime its Carnaval La Paz until Tuesday.

Still in Baja, we could stay forever…

These are from Baja California (the northern half)

He tested out the AWD…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After Cabo we took a dirt road for an hour to a secret beach thanks to “Here Until There” to meet up with a few Overlander buddies (Travel Amateurs and Kocovnici Kocovni).  It was an awesome FREE place to camp for a few days.  I rode the skooter on this rocky road to soft sand cliffs while Christian drove the van.  As soon as we pull up to the camp Christian tests out the AWD on our Astro through the soft sandy beach, don’t worry I grabbed the camera immediately.  With a little help from a few friends, boards and shovels we were dug and pushed out in no time.  We set up camp and found Josh and Jenna (travel amateurs) were in deep with a Hermit Crab Coliseum getting ready for a big race.  Everyone picked out a crab to race, however our crab took twenty-five minutes to come out of his shell and move.  We were disqualified based on our crab seemed more like a rock than a racer.

The next morning we were greeted by a heard of goats and it’s herder, a puppy we called Goat.  Goat left his heard and hung out with us for most of the day, maybe because we provided shade or more than likely because we fed him steak.  To pass sometime Josh decided to go into battle with what he thought was a few wasps and bees but turned into hours of war.  Christian and I took a walk down the beach practicing our spanish and watching whales breach.

On the road and on to the next, Los Barriles where the term “active at any age” thrives.  Our newest neighbor 70+ was doing sit-ups for an hour or so, before he went kite surfing for the rest of the day.  Right now we are trying to figure out how to fix our fridge, it’s inefficient and sucking the life out of our house battery.  Tomorrow we will head back to La Paz to search for a new fridge just in time for Carnivale.  Should be mayhem for the next five days, stayed tuned.

mucho amor and until the next wifi -tgt

The Globe Trol is finished, but an artists’ work is never done.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We finally finished our van-haus, at least enough to try to head south. So we set out for our first border crossing on Wednesday and turned around just one mile before Mexico due to some cell phone accounts being swapped, boring story. No worries though, we found a parking spot near the beach in the most southwestern city in the US called Imperial Beach during an insane storm. Early the following morning we arrive at the border where they find our paperwork is inconsistent with our scooter that we have attached to the back of the van. Little did we know that the title we received when we bought the scooter almost a year ago did not match the actual scooter, ergo the registration was also incorrect. It cost us a few hours waiting in Mexico at the border but they escorted us to the US border where they searched us and eventually let us go to get everything sorted out. Straight to the DMV we went to spend another few hours to get the scooter inspected, an updated registration, and a new title that will now take 2-4 weeks to get sent to the Midwest. AGHHH. “Everything happens for a reason.” The new plan: We are going to forge on without a scooter title for now and hope for the best. We are back in San Diego for a few days to work out a few more kinks that we found with the van-haus while staying in it during the storm, nothing major. So Tuesday at 8am is our next attempt to get to and through the border.
Here are some updated pics of our home, enjoy. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here. mucho amor- tgt

The vehicle…The Globe Trol

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our favorite little blue bungalow where our street turns into sand a block from our door.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is the vehicle that we converted from a family mini van into a van-haus (van-house), that will travel from San Diego to South America.  It’s almost finished and we are excited to get this on the road.  The plan starts with leaving San Diego in early December 2015 and traveling  down the Pacific Coast through Mexico, and then making our way to Guatemala.  From Guatemala on further south to possibly Patagonia in less than a year and back north to The U.S.  We were living in southeast Alaska for a few years and decided “Let’s really travel.”  First lets get warm and hang out in southern California for a bit and start planning an epic trip somewhere.  How are we going to do this?  Backpack?  Sail?  Let’s do this out of van that we can live out of!  Hours of research led us to buy an AWD small van in July.  We gutted it and then started rebuilding a sustainable small living situation out of a 1997 Astro van.

The rebuild has been anything but easy, however I mostly was the photographer and not the builder.  Christian did a lot of the work himself, I was his aide.  Friends helped along the way and we are thankful for every bit of it.  Right now we are in the Midwest visiting as much family as possible before the epic trip down thru the Americas.  Soon we will be back in San Diego in a few short weeks to finish up a handful of projects, and then we move into a van.

We quit our jobs indefinitely to travel until one of us is sick of it, or until we run out of money.  We sold all of our furniture, gave it away, and donated the rest.  We stored non-replaceable and pricey possessions back in the Midwest near family.  I am from Chicago originally and I packed up and shipped myself out for an adventure to Alaska in 2011.  I promised myself then this will be the beginning of life full of adventure, after never traveling outside of the U.S. for 29 years.  Christian was in Florida in the Coast Guard working on helicopters before being stationed in Sitka, Alaska.  We met in Alaska about three years ago.  A year and a half ago we left Alaska to keep traveling, we ferried back to the mainland and slowly drive down the coast from Seattle to San Diego.  We were in no rush since we quit our jobs to start traveling and stretched 2000 miles out for three weeks soaking in the Pacific Coast Highway all along the way.  While in San Diego we regathered and relaxed in a tiny beach bungalow a block from the beach for over a year.  It was easy to fall in love with our new temporary home in a  neighborhood called “OB” where we made great friends.  It was difficult to leave the tiny blue beach house and move just a handful of things into the van-haus.