Border crossing days ~ no one relishes the chaos and confusion of attempting to exit one country and enter another. Now, we have done a lot of border crossings all around the world. But driving ourselves, and with black dog in tow, requires a bit more thought. And yet, we had somehow done almost zero research on what would become only our second country, but fourth border crossing in nine months. Finally, a mere 24 hours before the big day, we actually fired up the laptops to find out what the hell we were getting ourselves into.
Overlanders depend on their gear. After all, most of us are homeless in the traditional sense. The road is our home, and the gear we travel with can make or break the trip. As very active campers even in our old life, we were quite certain what cooking gear was going to make the list for the PanAm. Although we quibbled over and considered a few items, one item never in doubt was our Lodge Dutch Oven.
What drives us, we nomadic types? What causes us to leave stable jobs, lovely homes, friends and family, to throw ourselves out into the world? To force discomfort upon ourselves by the mere act of having no home base, no tribe to reach to for comfort? To live a life outside our comfort zone, both mentally and literally?
It’s that time again~ one more year on this trip around the sun. In past years, I have had the privilege of celebrating my birthday in some rather astonishing locations, both near and far; Paris, Mexico, Australia, and most often, the stunning beaches of Oregon. I have celebrated on a backpacker budget, and in high-style. I have celebrated with only Jim and the pups in attendance, with my dearest friends and family, and with virtual strangers.
I was beyond THRILLED to be asked by Truck Camper Magazine to write an article on camp cooking in our Adventurer camper. One of our biggest draws in traveling is experiencing food all around the world. However, as someone who loves to cook, the idea of another extended trip without access to a kitchen was unacceptable, and one big reason we decided to drive this time.
If you missed it, check out the article, and be sure to subscribe for our new Newsletter that we will be putting out monthly with travel tips, recipes, and travel inspiration!
Let me know what you think, and what sorts of articles you’d like to see!
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10
10 days of blogging daily. An admirable goal, and a challenging one since I had three days of travel within that 10 day period.
Here, one day late, is my final post to Natalie’s blog challenge. I am so glad I participated. So glad it got me into a habit of writing a bit every day, even if it is a short post. I find myself often bogged down, on a time limit, and having SO much to say about a particular site or place, that I would wait until the perfect time to get that post up and published.
Going forward, my goal is not to undercut each experience, but to focus more on consistency of sharing, rather than making sure each post is fully rounded. Perhaps I’ll do more than one post on each spot we visit. Perhaps one post will be about our experience, and one about the ins and outs of visiting. I’m not sure exactly where this new theory will lead, but I”m excited about it.
In a mere 6 days we change countries for the first time in NINE MONTHS. There will be new challenges, a new currency, a new way of thinking. All exciting and, yes, a little intimidating. Viva la Mexico… watch out Guatemala.. here I come!
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9
I know, I know.. I”m a day behind in my challenge quest. My adventure challenge turned into a two day jaunt between the mountains, and a surf camp on the Pacific!
Now I am back in the land of the internet and ready to continue my blog challenge! I expected Natalie’s 10 Day challenge to become more, well, challenging as it progressed. In my case, what to write about is getting easier because I am already living a nomadic, location independent life!
And here is what I’ve learned. It’s HARD. Life balance is a mystery to most folks, even if that life involves a 9-5, and relatively set schedule. Something always seems to take a back seat in the quest to make 24 hours last longer. Often that is exercise. Or seeing friends. Or spending time with your significant other.
Magnify these challenges with life on the road. Now, as Natalie states in her video for day 9, there are many ways to live a location independent life. Whereas at this time we are very, very nomadic, our end goal is actually to start making a good enough living to live anywhere we want in the world, at any time we wish.
However, for now I will just address my life as it exists today. These last two days is a mere snippet of what our daily life entails. Travel days are simply hard. We do our best; we have the camper nearly ready to go the night before. We get up early. We eat a quick breakfast. We start the day with a positive mindset. Often, it all goes well. Yesterday, it did not.
Two days ago, we spent over three hours attempting to send money to our house rental in Guatemala… unsuccessfully I might add. We are still trying to work it.
After a lovely evening at Hierve de Aqua, high in the hills of the Oaxaca Valley, we prepared to head towards the state of Chiapas, which requires heading to the Gulf of Mexico, or the Pacific. We chose the Pacific and spent seven hours driving a mere 180 miles, along endlessly scenic, but also endlessly winding roads. The views were stunning, but by hour 5.5, as the heat index rose, and the exhaustion of Mexico driving kicked in, crankiness ensued. By the time we reached camp the temperature on the dash read 102 degrees, and I think the temperature in the truck may have been even hotter as tempers flared.
We had been advised the camp had internet. I needed to check emails and write this post. It didn’t. Aspen was melting into a ball of black fur. Sweat ran like torrential downpour down my body as we got a quick camp set up. I was angry. Angry at the lack of internet. Angry at the 10 minute walk to the actual ocean. Angry at Jim, for no other reason than I couldn’t very well be pissed at Aspen right? Angry at the heat.
And then we took some deep breaths. We had a tequila shot. Then an ice cold beer. We found a place in the shade where the breeze hit and spent some time reading. I took Aspen into the shower to wet her down, and reduce her panting. We chatted with the surfers in residence, mostly about the heat. I started to focus on the joy of not “having” to do anything, at least for now.
Today, we were back on the road. After a warm night, we headed first to the beach so Aspen could fetch coconuts in the Pacific. We once again headed to the verdant green hills to Chiapas state. The feared roadblocks and protests failed to surface, and the road was smooth, and relatively straight. Tempers stayed in check, and the temperature at camp was manageable. Back in the land of Wi-Fi, the laptop once again reigns as I return emails, check work deadlines, and write this post while we catch up with the last couple of weeks of Master Chef.
The life nomadic requires the utmost in flexibility. It requires ordinary challenges made extraordinary with language barriers and cultural differences. It requires discipline and the ability to deal with slow, or nonexistent, internet. It requires patience and tolerance and a very, very strong desire to make it work.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. That dream of “location independent” is real. The ability to choose when and where I work is a treasure like no other. After decades of being forced to pretend to work until my shift was over, after having to go to work the day after Thanksgiving, even when nothing would be happening. Those days are over. Yes, I am now working at 8pm on a Monday night. But I am sitting in Chiapas, Mexico. I am cozy in my camper with my husband, watching Master Chef and dreaming of new dishes to create. Aspen is nestled in for the night, after finishing off a special chew bone reward after being extremely patient herself these last two days.
At some point, my version of location independence is bound to change. I envision a continuation of my globe trotting ways, but perhaps house rentals for several months at a time. Perhaps a set location, with multiple trips each year to exotic destinations. Where the road will lead, I am uncertain. What I AM certain of, is there is no going back!
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8
Well, this is an easy one, since our life is generally one big adventure these days! Today, we pack up camp after nearly three weeks in Oaxaca. We say goodbye to new friends, and challenge ourselves and our limited Spanish by heading to Walmart to send a Moneygram to Guatemala!
Just making the drive is an adventure all it’s own, as we are finding Oaxaca to be one of our very least favorite towns to drive in. The road planners were surely smoking something with weaving lane changes and intersections with six or eight entry points. Arrogant bus drivers and aggressive collectivos nearly cut us off repeatedly. This will be a challenging adventure, but an adventure nonetheless.
Next up, we head to the hills at Hierve de Aqua, a remarkable set of mineral springs, set on a mountain ledge, with amazing views. The “camping” there is rustic, with merely a set of bathrooms available to use, but the site is powerful. Once the day users leave, we are hoping to have the place to ourselves, under a full moon.
We will not have internet, so I won’t be sharing on Instagram today… but look for photos to come soon! Now go out and enjoy your own adventure!