An Overland journey through the Americas 2015-2020
Five years ago today, on May 5th 2015, after selling all our possessions and a long preparation, we were leaving Florida to embark on this amazing journey of driving from Alaska to Argentina aka the Pan-American Highway. We had no clue what we were getting ourselves into, we had never camped, never owned an RV let alone a rigged up expedition vehicle. What motivated us was our desire to try a different way of life and to see the world. We never expected that a Nomadic lifestyle would bring us so much happiness and a total different outlook on life.
Now that we have time to reflect, we just can’t believe everything we’ve seen, the countless experiences we had and all the amazing people we met along the way. From North Americas great National Parks and Alaska’s wildlife to swimming with whale sharks in Mexico to the beaches and rainforests of Central America, from the Andes Mountains and the Inca wonders of Peru to the Moais of Easter Island, falling in love with the Colombian people, the Salt Flats of Bolivia to the magic of the Galapagos Islands, excursion in the Amazon bassin and the Brazilians wetland, housesitting on a vineyard in Chile, having our grandchildren join us in 4 different countries, living like a local in Buenos Aires, the wonders of Patagonia, even a Penguin Safari to Antartica … meeting locals and travelers who have become friends for life … the list goes on and on …
What we’ve learned:
- A simple lifestyle with less stuff brought us freedom.
- Living in the moment and appreciating the small things has become our new normal.
- The best plan is no plan. Sure there is planning involved but being guided by our feelings determines how long we stay in one spot.
- People are fundamentally good and we ultimately all want the same things, being recognized and loved.
- Being close to nature keeps us healthy physically and emotionally.
- Learning about new cultures has made us more tolerant and aware.
- An open mind, lots of patience and a big smile is really all you need.
- There is a lot of different travel styles, wether you prefer mountains, beaches, cities, tourists attractions, national parks, wild camping, paid campgrounds, airbnb, hostels … we’ve learned that there is no right or wrong, it just comes down to your personnel preference. We didn’t know this when we started but after 5 years we know that we like a mix of all that; after time spent in a city we crave solitude and wide open space, after being alone for a while we seek the company of other travelers in campgrounds and one thing we know for sure, is that slow travel is what we like the most.
- Just like there is no right or wrong style of travel, there is no right or wrong overland vehicle and what we’ve learned is that there is no perfect vehicle, there is always a compromise between comfort and size. It comes down to your budget, what you feel comfortable in, how many people are traveling and for how long, do you need a 4×4 to go off the beaten path etc. Since we had no prior experience with Overlanding we’re happy that Silver turned out to be an excellent choice for us. We had the space and comfort we needed to be on the road for such a long time but also the capability to go pretty much everywhere we wanted and stay for as long as we wanted.
When this crazy pandemic started we were almost at the end of our trip, we had to come back to the US seven weeks before our planed date. Now, like the rest of the world, we are learning to adapt to a different reality but are dreaming about our next adventure. Silver is also in “quarantine” inside a container on a cargo ship somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and should be arriving in Florida by the end of May. It’s with a heavy heart that we are realizing that our journey with Silver is pretty much over, so he will be for sale. At this point we’re not sure what will be next, but one thing we know is that our journey is far from over … Stay tuned!
A few funny statistics:
- Miles driven: 52,626
- Border crossings: 36
- Countries visited: 18
- Continents visited: 3
- Vehicle shippings: 2
- Trips back to the US: 3
- Flat tires: 5
- Set of tires: 2
- Car accident: 0
- Mechanical breakdown: 1
- Emotional breakdowns: a few
- Times we stepped out of our comfort zone: 578
- moments of pure happiness: 679
- Encounters with pups: 473
- Photos taken: 43,870
- New friends: countless
- memories: enough to last a life time
- Roberries: 0
- Shakedowns: 2
- Bribes paid: 0
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama