Goodbye Sprinter, Goodbye South America

It’s true. We’re leaving South America. Tickets are bought. The van is gone.  The Pan-American road trip is coming to an end. Honestly, it’s hard for us to wrap our brains around this enormous, imminent change in our lifestyle.  We keep asking ourselves, Is this really happening? Did we make the right choice? 

Is this the end of Sprinter Life?

The past six months have been incredibly tumultuous. To give you an idea, we’ve changed our flights no less than four times. Originally, the plan was to stay in South America one more year, spend another summer in Patagonia, hit Ushuia, and then drive up the Pacific Coast again and ship home from Peru or Ecuador, or possibly even Colombia. But then a friend expressed interest in buying the van in Argentina at the end of 2014, and that got our wheels spinning. In the end, the buyer backed out, but the homebound wheels were set in motion. After much deliberation, we realized that it was best for us to temporarily return to the  States for a multitude of reasons–some business related, and some logistical (Soleil doesn’t fit in her car seat anymore, and the Sprinter lacks a third seat).

GB Soleil's too big

We have little to no idea what the future brings, but one thing’s for sure, there’s no backing out now that we are officially homeless.

Three days ago, we loaded ourselves into the van early in the morning to take Sprinter to the Zarate port outside of Buenos Aires.  Our trusted buddy would be boarding a transatlantic ship the very next day to meet his (new) new owner  in Jacksonville, Florida, in approximately one month. (Yay Dragon!) This would be our last ride together, and we meant it to be special.  Earlier in the week, we gave him a good bath, inside and out, and really spruced him up for the occasion. We were going to say our goodbyes, take lots of pictures–you know, create a little fanfare in appreciation for a job well done.

GB Sprinter Fanfare

Really, we couldn’t have asked for a better ride to take us safely through SIXTEEN countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.

GB Salt Flats

But ten minutes from the port, Soleil got car sick and barfed all over the place. When we pulled over to clean up, she peed outside the passenger door, I stepped in it and then inadvertently tracked pee back inside.

“Sorry Sprinter! We’ll buff you out again at the port. Don’t you worry, boy,” said Tree, as he side-eyed me with scorn. “Is this how you want to send him off? You and Sol just puke and piss all over him why don’t you!”

Understandably, Tree was getting a little emotional; throughout the years, he and Sprinter have been through many ups and downs together, figuratively speaking and quite literally.

offroad sprinter

But when we got to the port, they told us that Soleil couldn’t go inside, so I had to wait with her outside the perimeter as Tree navigated sending the Sprinter off by himself.  After the insane shit-show at the Panama and Cartagena ports three and a half years ago, we were expecting this to hurt A LOT… FOR MANY, MANY HOURS.

But that’s not how it went down. Instead, Tree drove the van into the port, a guy checked him in, made him sign a paper, gave him a delivery receipt, and then took his keys and told him to leave.

“What? That can’t be it. I need to pay. I’m not going to just leave you with my van.” After some perplexing back and forth conversation with Tree insisting he needed more pain and suffering, someone went to go find an English speaker. “No, sir, this really is it. You pay at the kiosk down the road, and we take care of the rest.”

Wow. Tree was impressed.  He shook the guys hand, said thanks, and then turned around to have some special time with his favorite van in the whole wide universe. But, alas, the doors were locked; the keys gone. Crestfallen, Tree took out the GoPro to at least capture their final moment together, but a guard spotted him and said cameras were prohibited.

“Señor, I am sorry, but it is time for you to go.”

GB Sprinter in Sajama

The Sprinter’s goodbye did not go as planned, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past four years of traveling in Latin America, it’s to expect the unexpected. Hence Tree’s favorite Peru-ism:

“Todo es posible. Nada es seguro.”  [Translation: Everything is possible. Nothing is for sure.]

More than anything else, even more than speaking Spanish, the most valuable lesson we’ve learned is to stay flexible, tack the sails, and adjust (or, better yet, eliminate) expectations as quickly as possible. The trick is to stay honest with yourself and your partner, and accept life on life’s terms whilst (here comes the tricky part) maintaining a good attitude. Sometimes that’s easy, like when we decided to bail on the rain in Pichilemu and head to Easter Island…

GB Easter Island

..and sometimes it’s painfully heartbreaking, like when we realized we couldn’t travel with Mango and a newborn, and we had to find a new home for Soleil. (Oh wait, that’s not what happened. I meant Mango, we found a new home for Mango!)

GB Mango and Sprinter

From a Darwinian perspective, you either adapt or go extinct, and I’m proud to say we made it through this Pan-American adventure with just a couple of hospital stays, one extra person on board, one less dog (We love and miss you, KIKI!), and a hell of a good time spent.

Soleil and Kiki

 We fly out of Buenos Aires to Los Angeles on October 12th, 2014. Exactly, four years to the day after we crossed the border into Mexico. (Click to read the throwback blog post: Safe in Mexico). We didn’t plan it that way. The 12th was the only day AeroMexico offered the ‘short’ 17 hour flight instead of the 37 hour one, within a month margin of the Sprinter’s ship date. Only after we booked our flights (for the fourth time) did we realize the crazy coincidence.

But, the truth is, we didn’t plan most of the awesome things that have happened on this ‘trip.’

GB Mexico border

In fact, when we crossed the border into Mexico four years ago, we had “planned” on traveling for only eighteen months. We had no idea we’d fall in love with the nomad life and turn the trip into a full-time lifestyle.  Nor did we plan our impromptu wedding on El Tunco beach, El Salvador.

GB Wedding

We never imagined we’d start an NGO or, with all of your help, an affordable Montessori school in Huanchaco for kids without resources, or that we’d fall in love with and foster a street dog-a Pit mix no less, a breed that used to scare the crap out of me–and (again, with all of your help) send him to a home in the U.S.

GB La Casita kids

He’s real scary, right?

GB Catalina y Mango

We certainly never planned on having a baby on the road, let alone in Peru, and then overlanding with her–an infant!–a mere four months later.

Dar a Luz

GB Baby Soleil

Nor did we anticipate that we’d never reach our intended destination of Tierra del Fuego or think that would be okay by us.

We never planned on jumping off waterfalls in Honduras…

DSCN3036

paragliding off the Andes,

paragliding off the Andes

canyoneering in Venezuela (one of Tree’s funnier posts), trekking to Angel Falls,

Canaima

Venezuela

Angel Falls

Or going to the very remote Pacifico of Colombia.

GB Pacifico House on Stilts

GB Pacifico

And, most remarkably, we never knew we’d make so many incredible friends along the way, people who we’ll always hold close to our heart like fellow veterans of an astonishingly fun war.

I’m grateful for every crazy moment this journey has gifted us. And I thank all of  you, dear readers, for taking the ride with us.

So, needless to say, Tree and I are a mix of emotions.

On the one hand, we are both super excited to spend time with family and friends.  Plus, I’m truly looking forward to touring the States with Tree, who knows all of the coolest hideouts, scenic rivers, climbing walls, and wild places in the lower 48.

And, of course, there’s the easy-access healthy food: raw food/vegan cafes, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and every international dining experience you can possibly imagine. Best of all, the odds of us getting food/water poisoned and hurling for a day (or FIVE) are greatly diminished. We may even eradicate the parasites I’m sure we’ve been harboring since Mexico.

Also, we’re in the market for a new nomad home, one equipped with a bathroom, a third seat, and a table, so if that deal goes through, well then whoopee! I won’t have to teach Soleil how to use the funnel after all (Read: A Feminist Manifesto on Overcoming the Biological Burden of Urination: Extreme Sport Potty Training).

Basically, being back in the States will be easy. Everyone speaks our mother tongue, and we won’t t have to do money conversions in our head every time we buy something. The pressure to constantly be on top of our game will go down dramatically.

In exchange, however,  we’ll be losing the excitement, the sitting on the edge of your seat awareness, the hyper tuned-in LIVING NOW feeling that you get from  foreign travel, particularly the longterm, nomadic overland (or backpacker) variety.

There’s an amped-up level of alertness you absolutely MUST HAVE when you arrive in your twenty-one foot long, ten-foot high, Moby f’n Dick of a van to a major metropolitan city late in the afternoon where you have to deftly navigate to find food and shelter and a place to park where you won’t get robbed, and/or possibly worse, have a window be broken and have to replace it in said cluster-fuck city;

GB LA  PAZ

Or when you scale some of the tallest mountain ranges in the world to see Andean Condors with a six-month old baby with altitude sickness; or when you get drunk and drive across the Bolivian Salt Flats that threaten to sink your vehicle and freeze your butt off in a nanosecond;

Rum

Saltar-de-Uyuni-desnuda-1

Or when you drive on The World’s Most Dangerous Road,

GB Dangerour road

Or across scary jungle bridges on the way to Machu Picchu;

GB Scary Bridge

Or, on a daily basis, just doing your best to avoid the BAZILLIONS of topes (speed bumps) and potholes and cows and vicuna and crazy-ass Latin American drivers passing on two lane highways on the side of a cliff who think Jesus will protect them on that blind corner.

GB Jesus Bus

I’m not going to lie; it’s been intense. Like a cross between Dakar, Survivor, and The Amazing Race for four years straight.

And, yet, only when we rub against life with this burning level of friction do we truly shine. 

I’m also really going to miss everything about Argentina, the warmth of Latin American culture as a whole, kissing to greet, trying new flavors, eating the freshest eggs with deep orange yolks, guzzling cheap agua de coco by the gallon, speaking Spanish on a daily basis, the way people of both sexes and all ages know how to help new mothers and be friends with babies and small children, walking everywhere, breastfeeding in public without so much as an awkward glance from strangers, shopping in the open-air markets, and listening to the stories of people who have had life experiences tremendously different than my own.

GB Women with our babies

There’s a lot to miss. It hurts to say goodbye.

And, truth be told, I’m a bit nervous about cultural re-entry to the States. In many ways, I feel feral, been rogue too long. Like I just won’t fit in anymore.

Because really “the trip” has been more in my mind than anywhere else.  It’s the way the experiences have shaped me like the wind and currents and rivers shape land and polish rocks. I’m forever changed by them.

Consequently, the Unites States I grew up in will be different than the one I come home to, mostly because I am different. I won’t see it the same. I remember where my head was when I left, and I don’t want to feel that kind of anxiety, vanity, insecurity, and need to consume, nor do I want to take for granted how my actions affect the environment and people in the developing world. Having seen so many spectacular sights on this incredible 30,000 mile journey–a flock of toucans flying across the treetops in Cipo, Brazil; pink flamingos bathing in Sajama, Bolivia; condors riding thermals in Colca Canyon, Peru–I’ve fallen deeper in love with our beautiful planet and truly want to live in a way that respects the miracle of life on it. Along the way, we’ve seen examples of reciprocity between earth and community within indigenous cultures, and we’ve seen that way of life threatened by greed and the exploitation of resources. Depending on the day, I feel both hopeful and uncertain that we can find balance again.

GB surfer and tortora

Still, I hope to bring my experiences home with me and do my best to keep a global perspective, not just an American one.  For sure it will be a work-in-progress, especially since we have very little idea about what we’re doing next, and quite frankly it’s hard to truly live sustainably within a capitalist (cancerous?) system of economic growth, but I know we’ll strive to create a simple lifestyle that enables us to live out our newfound ideals as best as we can. Until the revolution, that’s all any of us can do, right?

Of course, it’s hard to make plans, knowing what we know about such silly things, but as we’ve been discussing the kind of new experiences we want for ourselves and Soleil, because these too will inevitably leave their impressions on who we become, we envision ourselves spending lots of time outside getting shamefully dirty.  We see raft trips on the Deschutes and Rogue Rivers. I picture us bouldering in the Buttermilks and sport climbing Smith Rocks. And I imagine us in places I’ve never been before, untrampled space willed by its proprietary system of interconnectivity and chance–the powers I swore by on the road–because that is where we’ll connect to the wild within, where we’ll go to feel whole again, because…

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin” -Shakespeare

 

Here’s to the next adventure! (Overland Europe? Backpack Asia? We’ll see…) –Stevie

 

GB Stevie Sacred Valley

Comments

  1. We embark on our 4-5 year Pan-American trip next Spring. We expect that by the time we’re done you will have established the necessary Overland Re-Establishment Commune ; )

    What a ride indeed!

    -John

    • Congratulations!! Felicidades!! I’m so excited for you two. And, yes, we’ll have the retreat ready for your reentry. I’m looking forward to following your adventure now. If you have any questions before you leave or on the road, don’t hesitate to send us an email. Now go get your wild on!

  2. Dan had told me this was happening but I can’t believe it! More adventures await. Hope we get to hear from you when you’re in our neck o’ the woods! Safe travels!

    • Hoop. Of course you’ll hear from us. Just open your front door and look in your driveway. Tree pinned your house as ‘a place to stay..indefinitely.’ Is that not right? xoxo

  3. Wow – cheers, guys! Beautifully written. So much of this rings true for us. It’s been 2 months, and it has been even harder than I anticipated to re-acclimate, and begin choosing a path that will help us find the right balance for us. But I’m thankful every day for the perspective and the mindfulness that time out of the country has afforded. We’re so lucky to HAVE these choices. Can’t wait to see what’s next for you guys, and I look forward to getting together with you soon – I know our paths will cross, and a bottle of wine (or 4) will be involved. oxoxox

    • Likewise, I’m interested where you two are headed and what you’re up to….Willamette, Wala Wala, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz? I see so many fun things on your/our horizon. See you guys in a few months. oxxo.

  4. Just please don’t stop writing. You guys are my heros!

    • Thanks Terri for taking the time to write us a comment. Honestly, having the blog, being able to share our experiences, has been more fulfilling than I ever imagined. Thanks for helping make that happen. xo.

  5. There is a whole new adventures ahead of you guys for sure. Ones with family and friends along for the ride, kiddos bonding, and just a mess of fun things. And if you guys need a thrill drive through Watts at night!

  6. awesome post. Can’t to go climbing at Smith with you guys. Always welcome to hang in Gates if you need to.
    Widmer family.

  7. Michael Tuohy says:

    Hole Lee Shit

  8. Cat Severson says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  9. Booth Teeters says:

    Best wishes for all your travels. If you guys end up in the Pacific NW area, I would love to meet up with yall.

  10. Millard Blakey says:

    Wow. Was hoping to see you this January in SA.

  11. Can’t wait to see what is next for you and the family! Safe travels!

  12. Whaaaaattttt?!

  13. Afshin Alan Farr says:

    Wishing you all the best for your new journey of life. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories and exploration during the past four years.

  14. Best to you all. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching and reading your adventures and look forward to seeing many more. xoxo

  15. David Howard says:

    Would love the chance to visit with you guys!

  16. Jason AllDay says:

    oh no!! I was living the dream thru you guys.. what am I gonna do?

  17. Malia First says:

    No lo puedo crear!!

  18. Margot Baldwin says:

    Noooooooo!

  19. Frank Cody Bartos-Ortiz says:

    Congratulations on a great run! When one door closes another one opens! The best is yet to come. Keep dreaming!

  20. Lou Patterson says:

    Wow. You three have inspired us more than you can know. I hope we cross paths somewhere. I know wherever you guys go, good things will happen.

  21. Yanik Pinier says:

    Awe man! I loved reading your posts and seeing your photos of your journey,sad to see this chapter end.

  22. Stevie, I look forward to meeting you and Soleil. Please drop by our place for a meal or three in portland. We’ll give you Spanish, Portuguese, Mole, a playmate for Soleil, and can commiserate over re-entry challenges. Mariah and Adam know where to find us.

  23. Erin Randall Anthony says:

    Y’all just bring that baby and come to SC.

  24. Kaycee B Smith says:

    Are you coming back to venice? Please say yes!

  25. Barna Tanko says:

    It was great to follow your adventure and get inspired. We have decided to travel in a conversion Sprinter van because of you.

  26. Shannon Petrello says:

    Thank you for inspiring me for so many years. I look forward to hearing details of your next adventures!

  27. Ruth Fonseca says:

    llore

  28. Val Vanderpool says:

    A big hug and big love to you three. May the next chapter bring much happiness, fun and adventure, whatever it may be. Nomadism once it’s in the blood, well, it’s hard to shake! If you find yourselves in SoCal, please visit. I will cook for you and we can even speak Spanish. I’ve also got a terrier who would be happy to entertain the wee one. And you can sleep in our Sportsmobile in the driveway, you’ll be right at home xoxoxo

  29. Stacey Warner says:

    Wow, didn’t see this coming but looking forward to what’s next. If you land in LA, let’s connect!

  30. Michael Bishop says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring me. I have committed to hit the road on Jan 1st, 2015 for a year. Currently looking for a van and planning my adventure. I have set up a FB page at Plant Based Nomad.

  31. Then end of an adventure only means the beginning of another!

  32. Cathy Hearn says:

    Happy Trails!

  33. Dixie Gillaspie says:

    One book closes, another book starts writing itself. (books, doors, they’re all the same, yes?)

  34. Jesse Becker says:

    Big step! Welcome back!

  35. Valerie Gray says:

    Loved meeting you and soleil (tree you were in the ICU!!!!) I have told the story of “sprinter life” a million times!!!! Such an amazing experience! I’m glad you’ll always have a piece of Peru with you

  36. Oh dear me.. but noooooooo, this can’t be the end of sprinter life! Please assure me you’ll continue to blog in some form of your life back here in the US, for good and bad. After backpacking for a mere 14mths we had a dreadful time assimilating back into US culture and I am still, years later, disgusted and disturbed by much of what I see around me. Of course, the ease and convenience of life in the US is unparalleled, for the most part, so there is a plus! The downside of that is exactly what you said, however – once you’ve lived life on the edge, rubbing with friction, do you truly feel alive. Regardless, you will adjust and good luck in the transition. Never fear that you’ll go back to who you were. Long term travel changes one so deeply that isn’t possible. Perhaps one day we’ll actually finally meet in person here in our little corner of the Pacific NW! BTW.. LOVE the pic of Sol and Kiki gazing lovingly at eachother 🙂

    • Hey Rhonda. Not to worry, it won’t be the end of the blog (in some form), but I think Sprinter Life will be retired shortly. I need a forum to write and share, I and feel incredibly blessed that so many of you are willing to read my ramblings. Plus, who else am I going to vent to about cultural reentry? Haha! I’m definitely looking forward to meeting up in person in the NW sometime. I hope our paths cross sooner than later. xo.

      • Good to hear, although we’ll shed a small tear to see Sprinter Life end 🙁 From our experience you’ll have PLENTY to vent about upon re-entry! See you soon.

  37. April Stricklan says:

    You always have a home in Oregon and Pennsylvania! Come see us:)

  38. Madrigal Madri says:

    nuevos horizontes por conquistar !! pura vida mi amigo, un fuerte abrazo.

  39. De verdad? Buena suerte. Nos vemos pronto.

  40. Eleanor Kelley says:

    I hope to see y’all soon!!!

  41. Travel Safe!

  42. Loved this post and following this amazing adventure for four years now!

  43. Giselle Rhodes says:

    What an amazing journey! A new one begins…

  44. I remember sitting in your apartment in Venice, CA when you were thinking about going!! Look how much has happened just amazing!

  45. Lisa Merrai Labon says:

    What?!!!! Noooooo!!!??? I live vicariously through you guys! Harrumph.

  46. Melissa Albro says:

    Oye vey.. I hope you don’t plan on staying in the states long this place is going to hell in a hand basket. Run away from here as soon as you can but you better call me when you are here so me and the kids can see you guys. Love you!

  47. Wow I had no idea. But what a journey.

  48. Jiro Wiseman says:

    Are you serious?!! I thought I had at least a few more years of jealousy mixed with feeling unfulfilled courtesy of Sprinter Life!

  49. Caroline Eastburn says:

    Gasp. This makes me teary. But I know your adventures will continue to remind me to get my wild on. Cheers, and buen viaje! Thanks again! Oh, and y’all have a place to stay in Durango.

  50. Deborah Stanton says:

    Would have bought the chariot and picked up where you left off!!

  51. Jeanine Bezanson says:

    Come to New England:)

  52. Nancy Tholstrup says:

    you are all so amazing! I love it! best wishes and enjoy the ride

  53. Wwweeeeeeeeellllllllll, TREE: I certainly hope I can hook up with you guys at some point and meet your lovely bride & beautiful daughter! I have loved reading every post, seeing every pic & imagining life on the road with a toddler! My twins turned 2 on the 21st and life just got crazier!

    Safe travels to you all & hope to see you soon!!!!

    Mindy. 🙂

    • Hey Mindy, I’d love to meet you and your brood of beautiful children, too. I’m sure we’ll be in the neighborhood at some point. Stay in touch. xo.

  54. best of luck guys! thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

  55. You guys had a good run of it. You’re spot on in your prediction that you’ll have a tough time with the cultural reentry into the USA. Having just completed our 3 year drive around the world, I’m finding it pretty hard to be back home. To someone who hasn’t just experienced what you and I have just experienced, we just sound like angry, judgmental, holier-than-thou types. And for this reason, I’ve found that I can’t talk to anyone about the negative aspects of how it feels to be back. Still, the restaurants are great, the beer is great, and there are a million other great things, but at the end of the day the Whole Foods just isn’t as cool as a grungy, local Latin-American market. But then again, all good things must come to an end. Welcome home, now put what you’ve learned to use and keep being awesome!

    • We need a “The Trip Is Over But Life Is Not” support group for Overlanders. I can just see us in a smoky room together, a potluck of our favorite street foods on the picnic table, drinking Pisco sours and Malbec, happily sounding like “angry, judgmental, holier-than-thou types.” REUNION!!! Maybe we should have it in Baja, Mexico, just so we can get a stamp in the ole passport.

      Seriously, looking forward to hanging out. See you Stateside.

    • Anonymous says:

      First Nacho & now Sprinter Life……nooooooo

  56. I will miss reading your stories as that is one of the things that held my connection to south America. Tree, you told me not long ago that things happen for a reason, which I truly believe in now and what ever the reasons are for change… well the universe will provide the goods. I was hoping to meet you guys in Peru again but in might have to be somewhere else now…sending the good vibes to you. love yas

    • Hola amigo! Soleil has to renew her DNI in 12 years I think…you probably will have to, too! We should have a DNI renewal party 🙂

      We love you, man. You are always welcome wherever we are in the world. Nuestra casa rodante es tu casa rodante. Siempre.

  57. Brian Thomen says:

    You guys are 2 of the most amazing people I have ever met thank you for sharing a Most Excellent Adventure with me and everyone else who has followed you. I know that this door is closing but I know you have a new one just around the corner. I love you guys and always wish the best for all 3 of you, and I hope to always be able to keep up with you on your journeys. Peace and Cheers,

  58. Wow, what a surprise, but certainly a good time to give Sol a new culture to absorb (and very likely, rise above!). Whether you keep this same blog or start a new one, I really DO hope you’ll still share your writing (and great photos) with us readers who have been so incredibly moved by your stories and perspective. Welcome home!

    • Hey Lynne. Thanks for leaving us a comment and CONGRATULATIONS on becoming a full time RVer!!! I hope you and Winnie are enjoying the open road. I definitely plan on continuing to write, although I think we may go through a blog redesign and a name change to reflect our new beginning. Keep reading and commenting, I love the feedback 🙂 Hopefully our paths cross sometime in the States. Give your pooch a big hug for me. I miss my Kiki….need to borrow everyone else’s dogs for a while 🙂 ONWARD!

  59. Stevie my dear…did I mention that The Palms RV Resort is an ALL INCLUSIVE Resort with Yoga Classes and Zumba, and for you my son LIne Dancing.
    DAD

  60. I stumbled across this blog slightly more than two years ago after googling: rv sprinter vans. I was hatching the dream of a mobile lifestyle and seeking info on modes of transport. A useful perspective on sprinter vans was obtained, but I continued visiting anyway – I guess it was to the interesting/comedic/engaging/thoughtful/fun writings that drew me back. It’s been a joy welcoming Soleil into the fold and seeing her flourish, and sad saying goodbye to Kiki. Thanks for sharing all of it, and for any future chapters. Oh, and my home is now on the market, soon I’ll be mobile. Am still unsure what I’ll be driving, but it will all work out. Cheers.

    • Thank you for sharing our journey, the good times and sad times. The blog–as much work as it has been to keep up–has been so rewarding because we’ve been able to share our experiences with other people, touch their lives, and inspire them to take the leap to live their dreams. Thanks for leaving us such a great comment and inspiring us to keep adventuring, writing and sharing.

      And Congrats on hitting the road soon! Keep us posted on what you get and where you’re going. If we can answer any questions or help out, let us know.

  61. Holy shit man! Huge news!
    If yall are in Venice, I’ll walk over with wine! for the welcome back
    Hugs and bestest wishes
    lizD

  62. Oh Sweet Ones…. the adventure is just beginning. I can’t wait for you all to be home so I can give you a giant hug and listen to your new wild plans and adventures. Travel to Europe or the Middle East is on the horizon but what of the wonders there are to see right here in the USA. You three make a difference and we need to have your energy here for just a bit please. I love you all . Auntie.

  63. Keri Paluska says:

    Thanks for the ride!! Cheers to new adventures!

  64. You had a good run. The photos have been fun.

  65. I have been so inspired by your travels and lifestyle, thank you for being.

  66. Geoffrey Hill says:

    God speed.
    It will be my turn by next summer….God willing

  67. Como ? Well i like you guys .

  68. Elizabeth B says:

    a new adventure awaits !!!!

  69. Jock Bradley says:

    All good things come to and end. I’ve always loved your stories Stevie. They should become the next modern Jack Kerouac novel.

    Speaking purely selfishly – I hope this means that you’ll be able to come over for dinner when you get to the hood.

    Safe journey and welcome back.

  70. Karen Todino says:

    Stevie, everything ok? Call me please.

  71. Jason Lightfoot says:

    All things must come to an end!!! Embrace a new chapter, and well, you can always start another trip!!

  72. Jessie Hughes says:

    I had to stop and start reading your post four times because I just couldn’t process it all at once. All I can say is… you have a place to stay anytime you’re in fayetteville, wv. It can be kind of like another country here at times, so maybe it will help transition 🙂

  73. I’m not clicking goodbye anything. I’m clicking HELLO MY DEAR FRIENDS! I can’t wait to cook with you and love on you. Selfish, yes, sorry, no.

    The best part!?! You won’t fit in anymore and that is just what we need as a culture. You.

  74. Ivan Prates says:

    Thank you so much for all the moments when Anna and me would meet and say “S***, did you read Stevie and Tree’s last post?!?!”

  75. helluva run my friends, hope to see you in Buenos Aires, tell Tree to save some of that Tequila for me!

  76. Cesar Morales says:

    Cheers to yall!

  77. Mark Scanlon says:

    The end of one incredible chapter, time to start another one. if you find yourselves in Oregon, we should hook up.

  78. life time family memories priceless!

  79. Been lovely enjoying your journey!!

  80. Stephanie Breese says:

    Fear not, you have many more adventures ahead. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories! Safe travels and I hope we can reconnect in LA!

  81. New adventure awaits!

  82. Lilian Mayer says:

    Oh my! Keep writing! You’ll have always a home here in AQP!!!

  83. Noooooooo

  84. Wow!

  85. Benny Tadeo says:

    Thank you for sharing your World with us. Have a safe trip back home. See you at Cyndi’s.

  86. WHAT?

  87. Hay muchos continentes en el mundo! Never forget “entrances and exits” and “this moment we own it.” We’re meeting in Johannesburg! Oh and don’t we have a family plan “de Espana?”You’re dialed in at the Compound. Send the itinerary. I have two trucks lined up and a limo for Soleil.

  88. Patrick O'Keefe says:

    good luck

  89. Good luck guys! I am sure we will keep following along on the next chapter.

  90. You’re going home and *I* feel like I got punched in the stomach. How does that work?!

    I’ve loved the writing and the adventures and look forward to more. Happy continued travels!

    Love,
    Dave

    • I know what you mean. I would be crestfallen if you told me you weren’t going back to India ever again. But, don’t worry, we’ll grow weary at home soon enough and march onward…perhaps we finally meet face to face in Europe? I’d love to drink lots of wine and watch a three-day slideshow of your work.

  91. Mike Van Pelt says:

    What a surprise. I too will miss your travels. I also agree that….
    “”Consequently, the Unites States I grew up in will be different than the one I come home to, mostly because I am different. I won’t see it the same. I remember where my head was when I left, and I don’t want to feel that kind of anxiety, vanity, insecurity, and need to consume, nor do I want to take for granted how my actions affect the environment and people in the developing world””.

    Unfortunately while you never quite change back to the way you once were, you do change back some and that I hate. I too miss the simplicity. The first thing I did when we returned was buy a Prius and sell a Land Cruiser. We kept one LC but sold one. We still have the Prius and the other LandCruiser but also a suburban, sometimes I feel wasteful. Alas with time you do forget the pungency of lessons learned and learned well.
    Well congratulations on a wonderful part of your life. Welcome back soon.

  92. Your story has been so inspiring.
    Sprinter Life gifted me with surfing!!!
    As one who visited you on the road, I look forward to meeting up with y’all in the States…
    and sending you off to Africa !!! Or Australia
    just don’t stay here. Unless it’s Hawai’i 🙂

  93. A perfect “hasta luego” ending the first chapter of your adventures. But for you three, EVERYTHING turns into adventure, so I know you will continue to explore and grow wherever you are.
    I send love to all of you from Italy. See you in November!
    Mom/Noni

  94. Terry Buchanan says:

    What a shock to my system!! Wow you guys – what a life changing, amazing, inspiring run that was. I will miss your posts terribly. You have been an inspiration to me and my travels. I’m not as scared as I used to be and am constantly planning my next trip – away from the tourism and into the wild. Thank you. Hope to meet up with you in Hood River some day.

  95. I’ve been following your blog on and off for quite some time now and it saddens me to think that the sprinter days are in the past. But as we all know, as one door closes, another opens and I’m sure your adventure days are far from over. So to the ones I’ve always referred to as “my favorite people I’ve never met” I wish you a long and happy journey to wherever life leads you. Cheers

  96. Julie Williams says:

    Yay!!! What a ride it’s been following you guys!! I’m so happy for you guys. Welcome back to the USA!! I’m so excited just to see more of you girl!! You will be greeted by many peoe wanting to kiss you and if you need to polish up your Spanish skills just go to downtown LA!! XOXO!!

    • Thanks for taking the ride with us, girl! You’ve been on the journey since Mexico…and, well, with me since back when we used to sneak into the Red Onion to see bands play. I’m excited to finally get to spend some time together this coming year. Yay!

  97. Sedgesprite says:

    Thank you!

  98. Tessa D Hill says:

    My heart catches when I read this, since I’m living vicariously and am a fellow adventurer too, but I know it is just a comma in your life story. Excited to see where you take your spirit, energy, power, focus, passion, and vivacious personalities next. Re-entry stinks, but you will make it something powerful that works for you, I know. The world needs you. Thanks for sharing with us all. You inspire!

    • Awwww, thanks Tessa. That was an awesome comment. I feel very inspired right now. I agree, and I love the way you phrased it, that this time is “just a comma” in our life story. I think a little “comma” to take a breather, gather our thoughts and dedicate time to writing the book will be very good for us. Thanks for following the adventure and taking the time to write us a note. I love hearing from our readers…reminds me that I’m not just talking to myself 🙂

  99. Kathy Lantz says:

    Thanks for taking us on your remarkable journey with you! We’ll miss your latin american adventures, but hopefully we’ll see you soon in the States.

  100. Janet Camus says:

    Wow, who am I going to live vicariously through now? I know you will start a new adventure sometime soon.

  101. What an amazing adventure.

    • Thanks Matty! I’m stoked to see you and your family doing so well. Let’s get the kids together for a beach day or just grownups at Cinespia next summer.

  102. Liz Tompkins ( canada) says:

    I’m sad to hear that your adventure in the van is over but happy to hear you might head off backpacking in Asia! We are here now doing just that with our two kids ages 13 and 17 for a year. It’s good to go when the kids are old enough to carry their own stuff.

    Enjoy your last days away and prepare for the inevitable depression that will hit upon your return. Once a nomad, always a nomad.
    Sending good vibes from Ko Yao, Thailand!

    • Woohooo!! So stoked for you guys. I’m happy to hear that you’re having fun backpacking with your teenagers. Tree and I wistfully say how much we hope Soleil wants to travel with us when she’s a teenager (and beyond). Congrats on being ‘cool parents.’ Hopefully someday our paths cross and you can impart your secrets to success. xo.

  103. What a spectacular adventure.
    I have loved reading all that you have divulged over the past few year.
    Good luck in your future travels….

  104. Hi there! Found you blog via Teri in Puerto Vallarta! Well I may have just caught the tail end of this adventure but I look forward to following the next phase. I guarantee it will be just as interesting to your readers to hear about this next transition and I do hope you will continue to write and share your perspective, Vaya bien xoxo

    • Welcome aboard 🙂 And thank you for commenting! I shamelessly admit that I love comments. They assure me that you’re out there sharing our journey, which makes it that much better. xo.

  105. Douglas Ewen says:

    Best wishes for you next adventure

  106. Brandi Walkey says:

    I feel like I am losing good friends !! I hope you get that book done soon Stevie, I will be jonesing for the writing brilliance. Cheers…. !!

  107. Dottie Miller says:

    I am shocked!!! I wasn’t ready….withdrawal…….but enjoy your next journey. I have loved loved following your lives the past 4 years. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  108. Congrats on your next chapter. Looking forward to reading about it.

  109. Fernando Rivero says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure and inspiring others to dream and most importantly, plan! Good luck with your new adventures! Muy buena suerte en las nuevas aventuras!

  110. Darcy Phillips says:

    you guys have inspired us….we now own a Sprinter and look forward to the day we can retrace your S. American adventure. If you EVER find yourselves in New England, stop in to see us in the beautiful seaside town of Mystic, CT. We can offer some pretty nice accommodations…or at the very least a hot shower and a good meal with some great red wine! CHEERS and God bless.

  111. stevie!!! GRACIAS GRACIAS!!

    Por emocionarme asi, con los post del blos de sprinter. me emocoine mucho al ver q la vendieron q se va.. y me dio hasta nostalgia por mas q me haya subido 2 veces jajaj

    estoy muy feliz de haberlos conocidos y q sean el claro ejemplo de algo similar a lo q quiero hacer con rami… o en fin. YO LO QUIERO HACER. a rama le encanta la idea le muetsro siempre su blog. y viajamos con la mirada– GRACIAS ME ALEGRASTE LA TARDE!

  112. Welcome Roam.
    LxoJ

  113. That van was not a van it was a heirloom I am glad some one bought it I would like you to consider buying a smaller van firstly for safety reasons and you can visit all interior places i would like you to consider a van the size of LEYLAND DOST which is very cheap in india.Thanks and keep up the good work I plan to drive into you some day

  114. Lorraine Anderson says:

    Withdrawals! as one comment said, total surprise. Have been following your adventures for years and enjoying it all so much. Thank you for sharing, and please keep us posted on your new adventures.

    • Awww, thanks Lorraine. We’ll definitely keep you posted. I think we’re going to go through a blog redesign in the near future, and the content will certainly have a different look and feel, decidedly less Latin American at least, but I’ll definitely keep writing and sharing the new adventure in whichever way it plays out. Thanks you for taking the ride with us. It’s always more fun when we get to share the experience.

  115. buenos momentos y buena vida en la sprinter trujillo, chau y buena vida a seguir ….

  116. You guys are an inspiration. Thanks so much for opening the minds of so many to the world at large. I hope our paths cross soon and that drinking and adventure will ensue. Cheers, to your next adventure!

  117. Mashoud Janjua says:

    This last one is a treasure. I shall miss your being part of so many peoples aspirations to experience the same as you have dared. Please write a book. You are more than capable.
    Hopefully, you will not become history and somehow you will find a way to continue expressing yourself to your captive audience.

    Bye for now and hope to keep in touch when I embark on my trek starting this fall. The truck is just about ready and I am at my U.S. home in Georgia getting some finishing touches.

    Love to Soleil.
    mashoud

  118. Heather Acevedo (Dougherty) says:

    Life is what you make it, no matter where you rest your head at night. I’m happy for you guys.

  119. WOW – say it aint so! Our family wishes you guys nothing but the best. We are back in St Louis after having our baby in Lima. I know you guys are wild nomads but I think you find the safety of being in the US a welcome relief. You guys have always been so kind to not run down some of the places you have been but i dont think I can be that nice. Lima was just too crazy for me after three months and I felt like I had post traumatic stress after i got back to the US. Its just so nice to walk into a store or restaurant and know what to expect and that there will be no crazy. We still have a place in Lima if you guys get the itch for crazy – its right in the barrio too for the full experience!

    • Hey Jim. Congratulations Papa on your baby girl!! How’s fatherhood treating you? A little chiquitita, baby wawawita, Peruanita, just like Soleil 🙂 Throughout our four years in Latin America, there have definitely been moments that were overwhelming, but I think over time we became inured to it. Crazy becomes the new normal 🙂 I am looking forward to how streamlined things are in the U.S. You can get numerous errands done in one day, whereas in Peru, I remember our goal was just to get one thing accomplished a day 🙂 That being said, I think the US has it’s own brand of crazy making and crazy people, and I’m not sure which is better or worse. In any case, I’m glad you are all safe and happy! Give your baby a snuggle for me. And, if we’re ever in St.Louis, I’ll give her one myself. Take care and stay in touch.

  120. liz Tompkins ( canada) says:

    Hi Stevie- In response to the email you sent me……

    Hi Guys,

    Funny you should mention wanting to travel with Soleil when she gets older. Our youngest had a meltdown last night saying he was homesick and that a year is too long. He says our 6 month trip to Mexico in our campervan “ruined” him for travel when he gets older. Says he is never going anywhere for longer than 2-3 weeks. We chalk it up to him being tired from our early morning wake-up yesterday and maybe being a bit hungry as he is a picky eater and is NOT digging the Thai food.
    I have a beautiful shot of him playing on a rope swing over the most beautiful beach you have ever seen. Ya, he’s right, travel has ruined him.

    Stay safe,

    Liz from Canada

    • I don’t know how he’ll ever forgive you 🙂

      We have some friends from the UK that decided to move to Chile when their son was 14. He was so angry at first, well for the first year really, but now, at age 19, he says it’s the best thing that ever happened to him. Heading off to University now, he says he’s so grateful for the experience that gifted him a much broader perspective, which of course we know translates into opportunity down the road.

      And who doesn’t like Thai food?!

  121. THANK YOU! Thank you for all of your writings, your venting and your inspiration. Wow, I cannot believe that you guys are coming back up North. I always look forward to reading about your adventures, remembering my own adventures in LA and living vicariously through you 😉 . But really, I know that you will also have many, many precious moments ahead of you, both in the USA and abroad. I am definitely looking forward to reading some of your newer stories, Stevie. Do let us know when you will be posting that up!

    xo

  122. James Andrews says:

    Thanks guys been reading your adventures here in England…Truly Inspirational!!!
    Good luck for the future!!!

  123. What does Tree have to say about the big changes?!?!

  124. Claudia Acosta says:

    Stevie and Tree,
    Congrats on this chapter of your life. You’ve had some great adventures on your journey. Some good, some bad but you’ve always made the best of each experience and have made for an enjoyable blog. I’m sure this is only a break for you. You’ll be home in just a few days, let me know if you need anything before you come home. See you soon!!

  125. Donna Clary says:

    What an adventure you have had. Thank you so much for sharing. I am really proud of all of you, taught me a lot about the world of travel, making friends, finding resources etc. I don’t know what you write or for whom but it would make a lovely story with all your glorious pictures. Whatever you decide I know it will be something for us to learn and experience through you. Maybe some day we can meet when you are in the U.S. Take care.

  126. Jan Meyer says:

    Stevie and Tree and Soleil,

    I have to say – I read this post 3 times and got teared up all three times. I’m not sure I can convey how much I enjoy your blog… And I am intentionally saying “enjoy” and not “enjoyed” because I know that Sprinter Life will continue – perhaps with another domain name in a different rig/RV/home on another continent/landmass… but YOU THREE amigos will be there and it will be awesome.

    You have really transcended the “boy meets girl (meets dog, has van, gets married, has baby, befriends countless numbers of people and travels 16 countries over the course of 4 years) story.” Any ONE of your photos captures the “story of a lifetime” for most people – and you have thousands of these photos, and stories… Soleil’s passport has been used more in 2 years than mine has been used in 43. What a remarkable start to a remarkable life you have given your daughter.

    Anyway, point is, thanks for sharing your stories and your travels, your passion for life and adventure, and your honesty along the way. You are both such excellent writers and thinkers – anyone who followed your journey laughed and cried and learned a ton along the way.

    Selfishly, we can’t WAIT to see you all stateside in HR and hopefully get to do a little adventuring/camping alongside your new rig… or at least another BBQ in the backyard!

    Sending you lots of love and wishes for safe travels…

    Jan

  127. Wow, I can’t believe it….congratulations on your new adventure. I’m going to miss the South American adventures..thanks for taking me along for the virtual ride..can’t wait to see where the wind takes you .

  128. Anonymous says:

    Wow, wow, oh wow! What a ride. I have enjoyed reading about it all. I was hoping to read some more wine posts, as I lived for many years in Napa and Sonoma, and rarely have met a bottle of wine I didn’t really like. And, I have traveled to several countries in South America, granted only for 2 week vacations, but got a lot of good ideas from your travels (Recently went to Rio Dulce – made it to Brunos and really had a great afternoon and meal there, Tikal, Flores). Next up Ecuador and the Galapagos. Will definitely be reading your blog from that country. Go forth and conquer folks!

  129. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures–I have loved reading your perspectives and will greatly miss your virtual presence in my life–you have been inspiring! Please keep blogging in some way, your essays and photography are amazing and worthy of being shared. If you end up climbing in Wyoming, let us know–We’d love to have family craig time with you!
    Vickery, Bryant, Grace & Tommy

  130. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your ride with us! I can’t believe it’s over, but whatever is next, I’m sure will be amazing!
    Your blog helped me convince my boyfriend to take the plunge and do a year-long trip down the Pan-American highway-so for that I thank you.

    Best of luck to your awesome family in this new phase in your lives!!!

  131. Anonymous says:

    P.S.
    Stevie, I will be waiting for your book. 🙂

  132. If you roll through LA LA land I’d love to say hi! You can email me and I will message you my phone number on the FB. XO

  133. Terry Buchanan says:

    I just read this for the second time. Gosh you are blessed beyond belief! Your posts did something to my soul that I am going to miss. You have awakened my wanderlust BIG TIME. Because of you I went to Bali. At 51 years old my first overseas adventure and I will continue it this year. Please continue to write. We all want to know how you will adjust to your new life.

  134. Matias Varela says:

    Hello Stevie! Im Matías, the Farmacity employee you talked to today. Sadly, we just happened to talk on the very last day of this amazing journey you and your family went through. Had we met before – or had we talked a little more last Sunday, the first time you stopped by – I would have loved to buy you a beer and hear about all the stories in this last four years, where you got to learn so much about my country, and my bigger country, la Patria Grande Latinoamericana. Still, I’m sincerely glad we met, and I’ll take the next few days to go through your blog. I can’t help but feel amazed at the coincidences, I’m probably one of the last friends -if you’ll allow me – you made, out of what I’m sure must have been hundreds. I trust in that same spirit of coincidence to cross our paths again sometime in,the future, so we can have that beer! Hope you have a nice trip back home, and till next time!

    • Hey Matias! It’s true, you are the last friend I made in South America and a wonderful reminder of the generosity of spirit that we encountered all through Latin America, particularly in Argentina. We’re back in Los Angeles now, safe and happy to be surrounded by friends and family, but a piece of our heart definitely lives in the southern continent. We plan to do the whole journey over again when our daughter, Soleil, is old enough to remember it. I hope our paths cross sooner than that, but if not, we’ll see you in Buenos Aires in ten years 🙂 Until then, please stay in touch.

  135. Peregringo says:

    We shall not cease from exploring, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T.S. Eliot

  136. As a long time follower of your blog, congrats on moving back to the USA. Having moved back (temporarily) between postings I learned that “you can never go home.”

    You change, you grow. You will forever be thinking, and saying, “in X they do it this way…”

    The itch starts fast to leave again, to get back to that place where its easier than here. Where people greet you on the corner, the market stalls are all known, and you slip in and out of rhythms so different than the ones in the USA.

    Best wishes, and looking forward to your next adventures.
    -JW

  137. Carol from Canada says:

    Thank you for sharing so many thoughts and insights and experiences, I’ve loved following your many many days of life in Central and South America – and I found you simply because I googled sprinters!. (And I’ll never forget bumping into you in the LA airport – me heading to Bolivia and you to back to Peru.) You are both an inspiration – being on the move while your perspective is always so grounded and illuminating. Best wishes for what ever lies ahead.

  138. Gerry from Ireland says:

    I always wanted to build my own camper van and tour, after googling sprinter van conversions i found your site,it inspired me to get out and do it.
    I ended up buying and converting mine and had it on its 1st trip within 8 weeks, we drove the length off Ireland then over night to France on the Ferry.
    We spent some time in Europe but not long enough.
    We have since emigrated to Australia and hope to build another van and head around this vast country in the future.
    Good luck in the future look forward to the book, Gerry

  139. I hope (and would like to believe) that reading your soul-filled, thought-provoking posts has helped each of us to become better world citizens … More aware of our surroundings and our impact on the world, more appreciative, more open & friendly, more willing to help a stranger in town, more grateful for time with loved ones, and more willing to reflect on our lives and our passions. You have touched us all for the better, in the spirit of adventure and growth and learning. We are better for having read and journeyed with you. Remember that you have many kindred spirits all over the world (often disguised as office workers or busy moms or …) and your blog brought us together for an incredible ride! Thank you for touching us all so deeply. May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be at your back…

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

Your comments make us happy.

Leave a comment, get a kitten!