First 30 Days Q&A

We are now in Southern Mexico with one month behind us and 2,700 miles on the odometer. We are thoroughly enjoying Mexico but are traveling rather rapidly in order to experience the more distant cultures of Central and South America with ample time. We asked our Facebook fans what questions they have for us and we have so enjoyed contemplating the answers, we hope to do this type of post regularly – keep the questions coming!

Do you feel safe?
Yes, we have not had any issues. We don’t even have a ‘friend of a friend’ story to share. Of course we are taking precautions such as never driving at night and always camping in a formal campground or with a group of campers. Fellow travelers (mostly non-US gringos) are convinced that a campaign employing subversive tactics is emerging in the United States in an effort to keep the American dollar in America.

What is the most stark cultural difference?
No matter the temperature or time of day, Mexicans wear long sleeves and pants. Even when laying asphalt in 85 degree heat, they are fully clothed from head to toe. What we think is appropriate attire in summer months just doesn’t fly south of the border despite the rising temperatures.

How many miles are left?
Crow’s flight – we have only 5,500 miles. Realistically, we expect closer to 10,000 miles.

What is the most pointless item you brought along?
Extra blankets, of which we brought three.  Right now in Acapulco the overnight low is 70 degrees!  We’re looking forward to spending a few nights in the mountains of Guatemala. While still in San Francisco, we debated replacing the camper air conditioning unit with a fan to decrease power usage. The idea is ludicrous to us now.

What do you like best about being vagabonds on the road?
The moment just before attempting to communicate with a native. You spend a few minutes in your own head psyching yourself up for the confrontation, rehearsing your questions and possible responses. As soon as you open your mouth to speak you know there is a 50% chance you will forget everything you intended to say. Furthermore, if you do manage to explain yourself appropriately, you cannot bask in the glory of a well formulated sentence, you have to focus or otherwise fall victim to the nonstop “Oh no, oh no, oh no – what did they just say?” idiocy that ensues when they begin to answer you.

What we enjoy the most are the everyday challenges and improvisations that make up our life on the road. Locating lunch or finding a place for the night is a mystery when wake up.  We find our skills and knowledge increasing each day, discovering answers for questions we never had to ask before.

What do you miss the most?
American breakfast: bacon and eggs and hash browns, oh my! Even if we traveled to a plush resort to find our favorite meal, we know it would still be just a little bit different.  Not only is the food different, the meal times vary as well. We often sit down for lunch between noon and 2PM and find ourselves the only restaurant patrons. The same thing happens when we attempt to dine with the locals at 7PM.

Has your lack of Spanish gotten you into any troubles?
It has put us in some interesting situations.  Yesterday for lunch we ordered five tacos: two fish, three carne asada.  We were served what appeared to be fish broth soup with a bovine vertebrae stewing.

How do you like your setup (Tundra and camper)?
So far, the camper has been a wonderful mobile escape. The intermittent potholes of Mexico have been a breeze for our BFG Baja Champions. The real test for the Tundra will come on the roads of Ecuador and Peru.

What does the PanAmerican soundtrack sound like?
All mariachi, all the time. Que buena!  We are only half joking.  It’s always audio books or Mexican radio.  Here is our current favorite:

What are some habits you’ve already formed for life on the road?
Not a lot truthfully, each day is a different adventure.  We’re just now getting used to the idea of not knowing much about what lies ahead in the coming days and weeks. It is now 10PM and we just decided which town we will venture to tomorrow.

What is the worst and best thing you’ve had to eat so far?
The best meal so far were the fish tacos we had in Sayulita. We only went in because they were offering two for one margaritas, but the real treat were the fish tacos with fresh veggies and spicy chipotle sauce. The worst was the vertebrae soup mentioned above.