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John and Mandi

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

Thirty Month Status Report

Nov 2, 2017
by John

Another six months passed, eventfully so. Statistically, not much different than all the time now of old. The ebbs, the flows, the triumphs, the lows, the eventuality of changes and the differences they pose. To us, it is apparent that we have adjusted to this life on the road. Expected undulance, unexpected constancy, a pattern constantly portrayed in our prose. With reflection we seek, evidently unknown, for those lessons revealed in our titles foretold.

Barrio Guadalupe, Chiriqui, Panama

Reflections on the road

Some Basic Stats

Total Miles Driven: 35,545

Gallons of Diesel: 2,429

Average MPG: 14.63

Best MPG: 18.22

Worst MPG: 10.09

Average Cost Per Gallon of Diesel: $3.14

# Nights Spent in the Van: 580 (63%)

# Nights Spent Elsewhere: 335 (9 afloat, 26 house sitting, 99 mooching off of friends and family, 201 in a hotel/apartment/rental home)

What We've Learned

Are We There Yet

Not a lesson in impatience, one of instinctual trust. The truth is most of us on the road don't like every single place. Sometimes we try a little too hard to locate a saving grace instead of just moving on. It is okay to embrace our preferences and follow our desires. Apathy is not a sin, it is a sign.

Groove Is In the Heart

Most of our impressions are merely interpretations. Sometimes the most unlikely of places are remembered as the best due to friends and not the place itself. The struggle of keeping an open heart is difficult, a life's pursuit. The smallest of inconveniences can corrupt the best of times, instigating a downward spiral. We find ourselves focusing on the small instead of the grand, shedding our imposed stress for the moment.

Moving at the Speed of Sloth

Long term travel is not a sprint, not ours anyway. In those intense moments where we start to unravel we have stalled or stopped, sometimes unintentionally. Taking time to complete administrative tasks, engage in recreational reading, perform some additional vehicle maintenance, or to just do nothing is important for reflection and growth. It is easy to over schedule each moment of every day, especially considering the allure of completing the Pan-American Highway. All things need time, we are no different.

Have the Day You Have

Again we find ourselves in an endless battle with expectations. Once a favored expression, now a despised enemy that can poison any given moment. Losing the desire to expect is like deleting one's perspective, a genius exercise in stupidity. While we feel it is not possible to shed all of our expectations, we know they sometimes prevent appreciation. Our approach of simply embracing each day has been rewarding and easily recoverable if we stray.

When the Cost is Greater than the Price of Admission

Lately we have been focusing more on what we leave instead of what we bring, something that has always been important to us. While we want to follow our desires, we do not want to sacrifice our ideals along the way. Erosion can begin with a single decision. Remaining true to the path in life we see is paramount, in all things.


Say what? (2)
Gordon garner
Nov 13, 2017 at 01:01 PM
Hey, I have recently decided to build a 99 7.3l passenger van into a world traveler. I was curious about what kind of troubles do you encounter with diesel fuel availablity and finding repair parts for your van in Central America?
Nov 14, 2017 at 01:58 PM
Hey Gordon! Great choice ; ) Diesel has not been a problem as most vehicles south of the US have Diesel engines. Parts weren't hard to find in central, they just starting getting very expensive while labor was really affordable. We are in need of a couple new sway bar links but we haven't been able to find an exact match yet in Colombia. We will probably just order a pair from the US and pay the customs fees. This is not uncommon, even with Toyotas (including Land Cruisers), as there are differences in builds between continents. We'll just locate a place ahead of us that will receive the package or use a DHL location then pick it up as we roll through.

We highly recommend you put in stainless caliper pistons before you head to Central America. Our phenolic ones seized, as did friends of ours a month later, causing a week long delay as we waited to get repaired.

Pleas feel free to ask us any questions.
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