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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
843 days a wanderin'

Shout Outs

We can't imagine embarking on our own journey without first reading several blogs. These are the initial sites that fueled our lust, we have visited countless others and are thankful for every bit of information that has been inked, typed or photographed. Know that every one of you are our inspiration. Hopefully our list will be helpful to anyone that is considering their own Pan-American adventure.

 

Pan-American Blogs:

Song of the Road

We're pretty sure we found Sam and Erica's blog first. At the least, they were the first ones we started to read and the initial catalyst for our Pan-American run. I was already familiar with XP campers so I'm sure that contributed to me spending time there. Mandi has said, more than once, we are just going to follow the course laid down by Sam and Erica. To our benefit, Sam has partnered with other overlanders (Life Remotely) and built the iOverlander app, so re-tracing their steps is a possibility.

What we love: Great photos, financial and technical breakdowns, gps coordinates

What they travel in: Hero - 5.9 Cummins Ram 3500 w/ XP camper

 

Desk to Glory

We followed a link from Song of the Road, more than once before I went back to the beginning and became an official reader, to Richard and Ashley's site. Richard was the first overlander I reached out to and has been a tremendous influence. His upfront and candid advice has helped us frame out our own trip. They initially set-out for a 8 month journey but soon were parking Little Red in Costa Rica, flying home to re-fund then will continue as soon as they can (Spring 2015).

What we love: Great photos, very funny

What they travel in: Little Red - 1990 Ext Toyota Tacoma w/ CVT Roof Top Tent

 

Adventures in Skyhorse

We had seen several pictures of Skyhorse before I took the time to visit Sarah and Hani's blog. Hailing from the Florida keys in a home built rig, I knew I had to start following them. They planned a Panama then back trip that was supposed to take a year. It's been quite a bit longer but they are heading back and will be releasing a book about their exploits in October 2015.

What we love: Random thoughts (monthly re-caps), funny, Shae & Olivia, Hani's insights, writing a book!

What they travel in: Skyhorse - one of a kind

 

Neli's Big Adventure

Why I didn't really dig into Victoria and Jason's blog earlier is beyond me. We had both read bits and pieces but once Mandi pointed out that they adopted a puppy (Maya) while on the road I knew I needed to go back to the beginning. I was immediately addicted and subsequently caught up within a few days. Victoria and Jason planned a Panama and back trip but only made it to Costa Rica due to a vehicle permit issue. They are heading back north and we plan to meet-up with them at Expo West 2015.

What we love: Neli the Chihuahua's perspective, Neli & Maya, very funny

What they travel in: Tundy/Bliss Island - 06 V8 Toyota Tundra w/ Phoenix Pop-up Camper

 

You, me and the dogs

We have a softness for dogs and Jeeps, especially 2-door JKs. Finding Mike and Tiffany's blog about their Panama yo-yo run came at the best time for us as we were trying to decide on what vehicle we wanted to take. Major props to them, we still haven't figured out how that worked with two dogs. They turned around in Belize and have settled in Florida. Their newest project, the Gopher Tortoise, is an obvious overland vehicle so expect another trip from them in the future.

What we love: Honest and funny, Barley & Peanut, NY flair

What they travel in: 2 door soft-top Jeep JK w/ CVT Roof Top Tent

 

Seventeen by Six

While running a search on van engine repairs along the Pan-American highway I came across Jeremy and Paula's epic 11 month breakdown. My mouth hit the floor in disbelief so I squirreled their blog away until I could spend the time getting through all of it. Such an easy read, their journalism experience shows. They are nearing the end of the Pan-Am but hopefully they are far from being done.

What we love: British funny, extremely well written, includes tough real life topics

What they travel in: VW Eurovan Camper

 

Ruined Adventures

Brenton and Shannon finished their Pan-American trip the beginning of 2014. They took a 6 month pause in 2013 to re-fund their bank account before reaching Tierra del Fuego then subsequently settling down in North Carolina. I emailed them on a whim since they live close to where we like to vacation, one of the best things I have ever done. They are a wonderful couple who have shared so much with us and will remain close confidants as we embark on our own adventure. Their family will soon become three so expect a whole new aspect to their overland travel. Brenton amassed quite an extensive list of travelers worth checking into, it's the best I've seen. Getting to hang out and become friends is one of our greatest pre-trip highlights.

What we love: Funny, well researched, karate, Brenton & Shannon (+1)

What they travel in: 1st gen Toyota 4Runner, that's it!

 

There are a few epic blogs that we haven't gone back to the beginning of but we couldn't make such a list and not include them. We have visited each of these sites several times while doing our pre-trip research. We still need to start at the first entry and read our way through them, so if you have the time we recommend it.

 

Life Remotely

Jared, Jessica and Kobus have helped pave the way for those of us venturing out today. They have redefined the 9-5 and have constructed a massive amount of information for Overland travelers. They, with Sam from Song of the Road, are the originators of the iOverlander app and website. Life Remotely is one of our go-to sites. Their e-book (Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other More Rational Advice for Overlanding Mexico and Central America) was the first we read.

 

Sprinter Life

Stevie, Tree and Soleil. Passionate, raw and wonderful. Even though their 4 year Pan-American journey has come to an end, their stories are inspiring. A love of life that included starting a family while on the road. Powerful writing that exudes a lust for a better planet, way of life and selves. They traveled the Pan-Am in a Sprinter based Sportsmobile, we're hoping their travels are far from over.

 

Drive Nacho Drive

Brad and Sheena recently completed a circumnavigation of the globe in a VW Vanagon named Nacho. They released a book (Drive Nacho Drive: A Journey from the American Dream to the End of the World) regarding their Pan-American adventure and are currently working on a second book that will cover the rest of their epic journey. Nacho has earned a place in infamy, as have Brad and Sheena.

 

In Print:

Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other More Rational Advice for Overlanding Mexico and Central America

E-book by Life Remotely. It's free and filled with great information. Any and everyone heading south should have a copy.

 

Drive Nacho Drive: A Journey from the American Dream to the End of the World

Brad and Sheena of (Drive Nacho Drive) expanded their blog into a book that covers their exploits through Central and South America. Affordable and very funny, available on Kindle. Their second book will pick-up where this one left off, we can't wait.

 

Wide-Eyed Wanderers

Rich and Amanda, the pioneers' pioneers - at least to me. Their book is absolutely wonderful. Their journey was over a decade ago but their adventure is timeless. A great read, available on Kindle.

 

On Screen:

180° South - Conquerors of the Useless

A documentary that follows Jeff Johnson as he travels to Patagonia to attempt an ascent of Cerro Corcovado. Sailing, surfing and climbing but the journey is so much more profound. The interviews with Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins are pure gold.

 

Craigslist Joe

A documentary that captures a 31 day experiment in living entirely on the kindness of others through Craigslist. Touching, funny and full of humanity.

 

Long Way Round

A documentary mini-series about Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's drive around the world on BMW GS R1200s. Their brotherly bond is wonderful and Claudio Von Planta's inadvertent antics are hilarious.

 

Long Way Down

A documentary mini-series that follows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they drive their BMW GS R1200s south to Cape Town, South Africa. Ewan's wife Eve, who had never driven a motorcycle before, joins them for part of the trip on her own bike. Claudio Von Planta is back again too.

 

The Way

A movie by Emilio Estevez about the Camino de Santiago. This made us want to walk "the way" and rekindled our inner lust for travel.

 

Resources:

WikiOverland

The best resource and the first place to check, period.

 

'PanAmerican Travelers Association' Facebook group

Do yourself a favor and join.

 

Expedition Portal

The number one online forum for overlanders. Don't just visit the forum though, there is a ton of useful information on the main site.

 

Sportsmobile Forum

If you're in a domestic van, this is another great forum. These guys have saved our asses several times already. One of the friendliest forums I have ever been a member of.

 

Advice:

If you are considering or planning a Pan-American trip, here are two tips from us:

Fill out a contact form/start a thread in the FB group or on an online forum!

Doesn't matter who's website or what it's about, reach out and connect. It's the easiest step in this whole crazy process and one we should have done earlier. No one person or couple has all or any of the answers, but there is an amazing group of helpful folks out there.

Attend Overland Expo

Fly, drive, hitch, crawl, beg...whatever it takes to get there. Meeting fellow overlanders has been one of the best things we have ever done. When in a jam, these are the people that know what to do, who to call, what explicative(s) to scream or are the shoulders to lean and cry on.

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