Reflections of a nomad – 21 months of Sprinter Life

Sprinter Life has officially been living on the road for 21 months! During that time we’ve explored North and Central America where we collected some incredible memories. Through our maturation as nomads we decided that we will not be returning to the United States for many years to come. Our mission now is to drive around the world. Here is a recap of the last 21 months living in a Sprinter Van, starting with our favorite countries…Disclaimer – Stevie and Kiki refused to participate in the ranking of countries, so the list below was created by myself. Whether or not you agree with me will determine if you are right or wrong. My opinion is that my opinions are 100% accurate 99.9% of the time. End Disclaimer. 1) Cuba – This is the coolest place we’ve been, period. Email us if you want details on how to get in and where to stay (it’s against the law to go as a US citizen). view photos from our trip

2) Mexico – Wow, what a total surprise. Originally we planned to drive straight through in 1-2 weeks, but instead we spent 4 months zigzagging our way south. Highlights included Baja, Sayulita, the Pueblos Magicos tour, tequila tasting, butterfly sanctuary, Oaxaca, and Palenque.

3) Guatemala – This is the most beautiful country we drove through. Breathtaking landscapes and warm friendly people. Our favorite, Rio Dulce.

4) El Salvador - Most people would not rank El Salvador very high, but this is where we got married and it’s where we had the best waves of the trip.

5) Nicaragua – We had a good run here. It was extremely safe and the roads were good. Everything was remote. Highlights included the Boom WaveLago de Apoyo and Ometepe Island.

6) Honduras – We consider this the most dangerous and corrupt country in Central America. But with that reputation comes excitment and I love excitment! (read more). And for the record, Honduras is ridiculously beautiful.

7) Panama – Super cool country and a nice change after spending so much money in Costa Rica. It is beautiful, the food is great, and the beaches untouched. We loved Bocas Del Toro. And Panama Passage is legit.

8) Costa Rica - I would have ranked this higher back in the early 90s, but now it’s WAY to expensive. Are you serious, $10 for a brick of cheese? Get real. Beautiful country that has clearly been tarnished by foreign investment. Having said that, we loved Pavones and Uvita.

9) Belize – We really enjoyed our time on the island of Caye Caulker, and the western slopes of the country were beautiful. It offers world class scuba diving as well.

10) USA – The only reason we ranked the US so low is becasue we already knew it so well. But don’t let the ranking fool you. Our 4 month wine tasting tourwas nothing short of epic. Seriously, I’m still buzzed. Our highlight was the 16 day solo trip down the Grand Canyon where we got engaged!

11) Canada –  F’ Canada. (read more)

Panama City in the distance…


Best buzz – It’s a tie between Napa Valley wine tour and Tequila school in Tequila, Mexico
Best beer south of the border – Belikin from Belize
Best food - Mexico
Best sunsetsPlaya Aserradores, Nicaragua
Best wavesTunco, El Salvador, Trestles, CA
Thuggiest surf line-upTunco El Salvador
Most beautiful countryGuatemala 
Buggiest countryPanama
Prettiest lakeLago de Atitlan, Guatemala
Coolest activityWaterfall jumping in Hondurasor Pacuare River Costa Rica
Most inspirational - the French overlanding families
Best kept secretBaja, Mexico and El Salvador
Best tacos - Bull Taco, Cardiff California
Best pizza - El Triunfo Mexico and Pavones Costa Rica

Worst roads – All of Mexico, and the road driving into Pavones CR
Worst border crossingCosta Rica to Panama
Worst cops – reportedly Honduras, for us Mexico
Most nervous – Crossing the border into Mexico. We had no idea what to expect!
Scariest moment - Narco gang, Honduras
Most frustrated - Shipping the van in Panama

Biggest myth – Mexico is dangerous. It’s fine
Hottest – the blacktop in Jaco, Costa Rica
Coldest - Oregon coast in July

Should have, would have, could have…
Gone zip-lining, done the hot springs at Rio Dulce Guatemala, visited Crater Lake in Oregon, gone to Mexico City, gone to the Caribbean side on Honduras.

Living on the road:
Hardest part - diet/eating well
Most complicated part - finding dog friendly hotels
Best part – different view every night
Saddest part  - being very far away from family and friends
Most useful itemthe funnel
Most useless itemsMalaria meds, stun guns
Most under used item - bikes
Most appreciated – refrigerator
Most under appreciated - refrigerator

Missing in my life on the road:
Stevie - full length mirror
Kiki - squirrels
Tree - consistent surfing

Biggest Sprinter Life fans measured by posts read, and quality/number of comments on the blog: Angela Polito, John Simko, Alexis Schulman

Sprinter Life Boosters – helping through finances and logistics: Cyndi and Brian, John Sr, Indra Trujillo, Angela Polito, Jen and Steve, Cheryll Anglin, The Simkos, Panama Passage, Outdoorplay.com

And so one epic chapter closes and a new one opens. This afternoon we fly to Cartagena, Colombia where we plan to spend the next two years exploring every country in South America. The only thing we know for sure is that we’re going to need more pages in our passports (see photo above). Adios North and Central America.

Thanks for following! TREE, Stevie, Kiki

Track Sprinter Life’s exact GPS location!

Comments

  1. Lachlan Hubbard says:

    awesome list, makes me want to go back so badly

  2. LOVE the plan…keep on going.. we can not wait to get back on the road and assure you, next time we won't be finished at 14mths!
    Rhonda

  3. Tim Wilson says:

    Good stuff you guys. Now if they made a sprinter that was also a sailboat!

  4. Monica Ann Kelly says:

    a life ship

  5. Mark Nilsson says:

    Glad you guys are continuing to travel because I love keeping up with your posts! Amazing!

  6. Val Vanderpool says:

    I love it that Tree included Bull Taco in his best of list — I love that place!!

  7. you guys are rad. thanks for sharing the adventure. I love checking the blog. keeps me sane on mondays

  8. Thinking of you too. Hope your passage to South America goes well. Love following your travels. See you in August.

  9. Anonymous says:

    great recap. love all the links.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Fu**ing awesome post. Stevie and your blog posts really help to give me a new perspective (or at least you try). Love it. Love you guys.

    Did you leave the gps in the van or is it with you?

  11. Anonymous says:

    ^^^^That was me….

    Simko

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hard to believe its been almost two years. Your lives are what most people dream of but never attain. You are fortunate Beings!
    Enjoy.

  13. Simko – the gps is with us. The van is still in Colon Panama. We're hoping it ships on Monday.

    Deb – We can't wait to see you this Aug! Lets drink lots of wine.

    Eric – stay sane!

    Val – Bull Taco's Lobster burrito is amazing as well!

    Mark – we'll be in Hood River for a visit in Aug. Maybe we'll see you

    Lachlan – you should hit south america on your next trip. Great surfing in Peru!

  14. Rhonda – when is your next trip? Hope we can meet out on the road someday!

    Tim – yes, a sailboat with a little climbing wall. Love it!

  15. good luck guys!

  16. Anonymous says:

    what a list, what an experience. I can't wait to see what adventures you guys find in south america. Be sure to spend lots of time in peru. that country is gorgeous.

  17. Veronica G says:

    Does this mean it will not be until 2013 that the Sprinter will be for sale?

  18. Hi Tree… well, we're hoping to be heading out w/in the next 2 years and following the route you're on now..however, who knows where life may lead! We're in PDX so would also be fun to meet up, in the meantime, next time you fly home to check on family and biz.
    enjoy Columbia..everyone seems to love it!
    Rhonda

  19. Rhonda – I didn't know you were in PDX. We'll be there the first 2 weeks of August (in Hood River). Lets connect! Shoot us an email as the time approaches. We'll have dinner. cheers

  20. ahhh those belkin are really good beers. see you made it to the canal as well. looks like a fun trip so far. good luck in the next phase

  21. shipping around the gap is really challenging, and frustrating. but you guys are doing great. You're almost there, and after that the borders in south america are easy. Congratulations and good luck. Ron

  22. Tatiana says:

    What a beautiful life you three lead :) Sitting here in my San Diego cubicle living vicariously through you for a few more months. I hope our paths cross someday soon!

  23. mamatuyas says:

    Wow. And, looking at the map of what's to come – you have some SERIOUSLY HUMUNGOUS countries to drive through! Those Central American countries are teeny-tiny compared to South American territory! Fasten those seatbelts, Nomads! The adventures are just beginning!

  24. I love cartagenia!! You must go to nearby parque tayrona- one of my fave places on earth. Heavenly beaches. I love reading your blog!"

  25. Logan & Brianna says:

    Love the list… Hard to do, fun for us to read.

    Stay on the righteous path and we shall see you soon!

  26. Logan & Brianna says:

    Love the list… Hard to do, fun for us to read.

    Stay on the righteous path and we shall see you soon!

  27. abeautifullife.ca says:

    incredible and so inspiring!! i know I haven't been following your blog for that long so still catching up on all your adventures but htis was a great recap.

    And as a cdn, i'm sooo sorry you got turned away at the border. Our border guys can be real jerky sometimes and they're super strict about the booze. I do hope if you ever come up to vancouver you'll give me a shout!!

We want to hear from you! You may comment as 'Anonymous' to hide your identity if you don't want to leave your name. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speak Your Mind