Welcome back to van life…

Last week we finished packing the van and left Lima! The morning of our departure was filled with both excitement and sadness. It’s always hard to say goodbye to friends.

And the thing about being married to Stevie is that there are ALWAYS a lot of friends.

Nobody escapes her net. She is the ultimate kind, warm, open, loving person. She bakes cookies for the guy who washes cars on the street. Makes tea for the night watchman. Warms a croissant for the housekeeper and then helps her fold the laundry. Invites the taxi cab driver and his wife out to dinner. You get the picture? This is my life being married to Stevie. And I love her for it. She makes community wherever she goes. She makes a place for everyone, knows their name, how many kids they have, and all about their life. She is the best human being I know.

Below, Miguel, our trusted taxi cab driver and friend, shows up to say farewell and to personally lead us out of Lima.

(This photo also gives you a look at the back of the van. I managed to get the remaining 3 surfboards under the bed along with 6 big bags of gear and clothing. It all ended up fitting in. The bikes now ride outside on a hitch.) 

Below, our housekeeper Maria tears up saying goodbye to Soleil.

A group photo with Miguel and Maria. At this point we’re really not sure if Maria is going to let go of Sol.

Stevie saying goodbye to Ebert, the deaf mute who washes cars on our street with an old rag and bucket of water. He took great pride in guarding the van every day for Stevie.

Our last shot in front of the apartment where we spent the last 6 months. Words can’t explain how great it felt to pull out of that parking spot. We did it. We popped out a baby in Peru. And now it’s time to move on.

Goodbye Lima

Our first goal was to drive south to track down Marco, one of the best whitewater kayakers in Peru. I knew that tapping into the kayaking scene down here was going to mean hooking up with the right people, and when I sent out feelers to my crew in the US, Marco’s name kept coming up. So we were out to find him.

Below, Sol and Kiki had no problem settling into Sprinter Life. We’ve got Sol’s car seat bolted down between our two seats where Kiki use to sit. So now Kiki kicks it right behind Sol and keeps an eye on her.

Below, taking a road break to feed Sol.

I had made contact with Marco on email. He lives in the Sacred Valley in far Southern Peru, but fortuitously he was at his parents beach house only a couple hours south of Lima. He told us to come down and meet his family. The open generosity of Latin Americans is one thing keeps us in these countries!

What he had failed to mention was that his family’s beach house sits RIGHT in front of Pico Alto, one of the most famous big waves in the world. (Remember the Pico Alto post from a few months ago here)

To say I was stoked when we pulled up would be an understatement.

This is the balcony view from their house. It looks straight out on a famous left point break called Caballeros. Off to the right is another wave called Senoritas. This may well be one of the best surf locations in all of South America, and our new friend has a pad right in front of it!

The family welcomed us in as if we were their own. We were instantly treated like family. What amazing people.

Below, Sol gets to know her new Peruvian cousins.

Of course everyone fell in love with Soleil, including the maid. They really love babies down here. A lot.

Marco and his wife took us to a fabulous ceviche lunch and we discussed our kayak plans.

Below, Stevie diving into some really, really amazing fish!

Marco and I hit it off right away. I had been super excited to meet the guy who pioneered kayaking in Peru, including doing the first descent of the world famous Cotahuasi River, a run I have my eye on for later this spring.

I told him I was fired up to run some rivers, including the Cota. He wasted no time inviting us on his next kayaking trip, which he was leaving for in 4 hours! He was heading up into the mountains for a few days of boating on the Cañete river. Originally we had planned to hang on the beach and surf for a while, but I couldn’t resist this opportunity to jump right in with this guy!

Given that we had 4 hours to kill and that Caballeros was breaking head high, I decided to catch a quick surf session before we left.

The wave was great, although it did break over a fairly shallow rock reef. The locals also had the place on lock down so I only caught a couple waves, but it was great to be out there.

After the surf session we busted a three hour drive into the mountains where we posted up at one of Marco’s friends house. We parked in the front yard and spent our first night in the van with Soleil. How exciting! Our little nomads first night on the road!

Stevie and I have been wondering for so long how it was going to be to live on the road with an infant. Now we’re getting to know. Is it easy? Most people would probably say no, but we’re loving it, and Soleil seems to be born for it. She is taking to it instantly!

This is what Sprinter Life with baby Soleil looks like at bedtime! 

So, we’re back on the road and the cards are falling our way. More updates soon!




  1. Glad to see you guys are out on the road doing what you love! I’m sure it’s more of a challenge with Soleil now, but you guys always seem to rise to the occasion.

  2. Auntie Alex says:

    I miss that little face!!! She can hold her head up now!! Give her lots of kisses from me!

  3. Good for you guys! Love the view from your friends family’s house…nice. Enjoy nomadic life yet again. Can’t wait to hear all about wherever you end up

  4. Nonituyas says:

    I was getting worried that Lima was going to do you in,( health-wise), before you made it out of there, so I’m glad you are on your way. You all look happy, which makes me happy.
    Be well, Nomad Tribe. We love you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sol looks to be very long!!!!! Beautiful and looking forward to the updates! 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    If you put an “L” in the carwashers name…you have Elbert…Cool

  7. Michelle Franco says:

    Beautiful Stevie, just beautiful!!!!

  8. Nanette J Wheeler-Carter says:

    AMAZING! Simply AMAZING! Enjoy the journey and keep us posted. So few have the courage to ‘reclaim’ their happiness – may ZEN travel with you and surround you in PEACE – Namaste.

  9. Anne Kaffeekanne says:

    buen viaje, Sprinterlife!

  10. Arlene Burns says:

    I paddled the Fu with Marco 20 years ago, when he was a teen!! we had a big crush on each other .. what an awesome guy.. tell him hi!!

  11. Great Aunt Debby and Great Uncle Barry says:

    Glad to see you are on the road again, doing what you love. We are looking forward to reading about all the fun and I’m sure funny adventures the four of you are going to find ahead of you. Be safe, be happy, be free!
    Safe travels

  12. Paul Hendriks says:

    Hi Stevie and Tree! We wish you all the best on the road! Enjoy it! Can’t help to be a bit jealous! Too bad we haven’t been to Lima at all to see your lovely child.. Keep in touch!

  13. Cheryll Anglin says:

    Aw, look at Sol’s little shorts. Cute!

  14. Jay Gifford says:

    Sounds like a classic mission is underway, in true Gian Marco style! From the beach right to one of the worlds most incredible canyons. Enjoy the Cota Tree!

  15. Hey you guys,
    So grateful that Tree made it through that nightmare and you guys are back on the road doing what you do.
    I agree Stevie is all about love and her actions speak for that .
    Be safe and give Sol a big hug from uncle Willy ………Carry on!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see everything coming together, working out. Of course she is made for travel…with all those adventuresome genes! She couldn’t be anything else…even it she wanted. Take care. Have fun. donna

  17. John Rich says:

    Great to see things are going well for you guys and that you are on the road again!

  18. hey beautiful family! i really get moved with your family trip and the little soleil, we are near to start our motorhome trip with our 2 kids, Morena 9 years old, Benjamin 1year and a half, and Tika our dog. and you have been a beautiful inspiration to us.
    Hope to meet you some day on the road and get some waves together!!!
    wish u the best!
    Male and Marian from Argentina!
    p.d: if you get Argentina some day you have here a home!!

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