Somos Sprinter Life…Sin Pavimento!

It was finally time to leave La Paz, and after being massively out voted in our last post, (remember here), we decided to take Stevie’s route south through Bolivia instead of east to Chile.

However, a comment on the last post from our amazing Aunt Debby had gotten under my skin. She said…

“Whenever you get to a crossroad you have to make a choice to see and experience one road and not travel down the other. If you choose option 2 you will miss seeing the rest of Bolivia. If you choose 3 you won’t see the Sajama desert… So either way you are going to miss something…”

Well shi-atttt, that’s not fair. We can’t miss the Sajama. So whatever, we’ll just do both. New plan – first drive east through the Sajama, then back track and head south.

Besides, this plan would give me the opportunity to solve a little problem that’s been brewing with my good friend from Lost World, Luis Enrique Getter. You see, there is a rumor going around between he and himself that Sprinter Life isn’t “hardcore” enough. He wanted to rename us the “Asphalt Nomads.”

Ok, game on hermano.

After a sad goodbye with Lost World, we cruised out of La Paz and headed toward Sajama. Without the road blocks up, getting out of town was easy.

Bolivia is such an interesting country. This photo so well represents this country. You really couldn’t paint a better picture. There are many layers, many levels, it’s rough, it’s beautiful, it’s unfinished, it’s fancy and rustic… it’s a complicated blend. Me Encanta Bolivia.

After a half-day drive we arrived at the remote corner of Bolivia, called Sajama. The turn off was only a few miles from the Chilean border, so to say we had driven out of our way would be an understatement.

Here, in this rugged, remote corner lies Bolivia’s highest mountain, Sajama. We were over 14,000 feet when I took this photo. This volcano is a monster.

We pointed the van down a dirt road and started driving.

I’m pretty sure we can now claim that Soleil is the first baby ever to drive through the Sajama desert. She’s really, really good at steering.

Once off the main road, there wasn’t anything out there except some mud huts, some empty and some occupied by indigenous people.

This place is amazing. You just don’t see mountains like this outside of the Himalayas in Nepal and Tibet. Giant. Monsters.

Sajama also happens to have the world’s highest forest. The trees look more like shrubs, but they count.

Our destination was a remote Laguna where we were told we might see some Bolivian Pink Flamingos.

Excuse me, did you just say Pink Flamingos?
That’s right, I did.

This was pretty much the only way I was able to convince Stevie to drive off route, into the middle of nowhere, just so I could solve my ego dilemma and prove to Luis Enrique Getter that I was indeed a “hardcore” nomad.

I really didn’t have to twist Stevie’s arm very hard. I had her at the word “PINK“.

I would have been really screwed had we arrived to no pink Flamingos! You see, the Flamingos are actually out of season, so it was a calculated risk on my part. You can imagine my relief when we arrived at the Lagoon, and I saw the small flock.

He shoots, he SCORES!!!

Anyway, after the Laguna we spent the rest of the afternoon driving around being BAD ASS HARD CORE OVERLANDERS.

It was easy Luis Enrique Getter, I just let my 2-wheel drive Sprinter do the work.

By the way, do I get extra credit for punching this out with a 7 month old baby, a 13 year old dog, and bald front tires? Just wondering.

By late afternoon we had found the perfect camping site. That’s right Luis Enrique Getter, Sprinter Life in the wild. No wifi, no restaurants, no hot showers. We so tough vato!

We were completely alone with the exception of a few locals that would pass through every once in a while.

At around 15,000 feet, it got cold early. I had to double up on my two favorite brands, Patagonia laced up with Mountain Hardwear. Doesn’t get any tighter people. Oh wait, gotta rep the Sinpaugh hat to complete the look. Suuuuuper tight.

Stevie and I drank wine while watching one of the most amazing sunsets ever! Magic. Pure and simple magic.

To complete the epic day, we had an amazing campfire while we watched a full moon rise over the volcano.

As I stoked the fire and reflected on the day, I couldn’t believe that only a few days ago I was ready to pull the rip cord and bail to Chile. Sometimes things truly do work out for a reason.

Next up, we back track and head south.





  1. Mamatuyas says:

    Ding ding! Viva el Fe’ de Sprinterlife!
    Sprinterlife is my Nomad-Tribe Adventure-Hero. I can’t WAIT to meet up with you in Argentina and share some explorations.

  2. cheryll says:

    A-MAZ-ING! Beautiful photos! Great job, team Sprinterlife, but please get some new front tires.

    • we’re gonna replace them in Chile in one month. Bolivia isn’t the best place to buy tires. 🙂

  3. Great Aunt Debby and Great Uncle Barry says:

    Beautiful photos. PINK Flamingos and a Golden Sunset, what could be better! (Being quoted on your blog maybe? LOL)

    • thanks for the previous comment. If it weren’t for you, we probably would not have gone to the Sajama!

  4. liz Tompkins says:

    I’m loving learning about Bolivia. hanks for the education and the awesome shots. Tell me what the definition of an overlander is please. Is is more the type of vehicle driven or the terrain covered- what?

    • Overlander definition is pretty broad – anyone doing overland travel in any type of vehicle. That’s my definition.

      Lots of people try and narrow it down and make it an elite thing. “You have to be in a 4×4”. “You have to be out of the country”. “You have to drive on dirt roads”. Blaugh blagh blaugh.

      Whatever. If you’re in your vehicle, and it’s moving, and you’re having an adventure, you’re overlanding.

      • Overlader is a state of mind an open heart and mind and a kid in the backseat of the station wagon hoping dad would take the long way or stop to fish!! ….Then it’s “read and run” That’s my definition of overlander . Carry-on overlanders of the world!

  5. Awesome You Kids!!!

  6. Alexander says:

    that is excellent, stunning landscape, as there are so many beautiful places in the world

  7. Anonymous says:

    I loved the mountain pics!!! Soooooooooo jealous!

  8. well done guys!

  9. Miranda Fae says:

    LOVE those botas!!!!

  10. Kelly Roberts says:

    It looks so beautifull you will almost think its not real, love you, getting my energie back

  11. Don’t worry, you’re in the club. Don’t let the older kids bully you around…

    • yeah, Luis is a BULLY. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks that. Thanks Jason.

      • Older Kids!!! I take offense from that… the only bully here is Tree who makes up more stuff than FOX News!!! I am a gentle soul who would never goad anyone into anything…

        And for the record Merriam-Webster defines Overlander as “someone who travels overland” In other words Tree anyone travlling over-land… Backpacker, bicyclist, 2wd, 4×4, Unicycle, Sprinter, Motorcycle, tractor, lawnmower…. Is that clear?

        Love ya and miss ya guys… Lost World

        • Take it easy hoss. Step away from the dictionary and take 10 deep breaths. It’s going to be ok. It’s ALL going to be ok.

          Talk to you on Skype tomorrow. We’ll patch this thing up.

          xoxoxoxxo -TREE

  12. Love it… don’t you know by now to ALWAYS listen to your wife?!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Knowing what a strong will you have, its a good thing you married a feisty woman to balance things out!
    Beautiful skies . . .

  14. Julie Williams says:


  15. I am so glad you went to Sajama. I knew you would enjoy it. Did you happen to stop off at the church in Curahuara de Carangas?

    • Hey bud, yeah, we got there. It’s coming up in the next blog post. What an amazing place! Great recommendation.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yeahh! shinpaugh hat that is one
    boss beanie 🙂
    -payton SHINPOW

  17. Makes me miss the Andes! Southeast Asia is sweet and all, but I’m a mountain boy. We’ll be in the Himalayas in a few months, until then, keep hitting the dirt and enjoying the mountains!

    • Ahh, I jealous man! Enjoy the Himalayas, can’t wait to see the photos! You guys are gonna love those mountains.

  18. Hola,

    Just catching up on your posts. I have been to Sajama Nat Park and the nether regions of western Bolivia for decades. You made a wise choice, as you know. Just wanted to clarify that the name Sajama just relates to the strato-volcano and the region around it. I think you were confusing the words: Sajama and Atacama. The Atacama is the region on the border of Bolivia that is mostly in Chile (from the border to the ocean) but in the south-western regions of Bolivia (Laguna Colorada, Verde, etc.) it’s also considered part of the Atacama Desert. Anyways, this is just to make sure you get your words and locations correct when you get to brag about where you’ve been. Keep the adventures rolling! Yes, I’m jealous….who wouldn’t be?

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