28 Days Later

Despair.  Agony.  Devastation.  Mind numbing depression. We boarded the plane in São Paulo expecting the worst.

We quizzed our veteran overland friends on the homecoming and transition process. The general consensus was bleak.  We just spent 15 months living out our wildest dream and the hangover from that sustained high was sure to be severe.

For the last three years our mission, mantra, purpose could be summed up in five letters: PAN AM.  Once you board that plane, it’s all over.

We left a lot of ourselves out there on the road less traveled.  Our egos and identities would be in dire need of substance.  Like the first days on the PanAm we would be green and vulnerable.

Yet   Continue reading

Costs by Country

This is part six of a ten part series we are doing on overlanding advice. Future PanAm overlanders this is for you. They post each Sunday.

We’ve already spelled out our day-to-day budget in our budgeting and costs post, here we have broken costs down by country. Our overall average at the time of posting was $72 per day.

We found the costs below were more a function of our attitude than the country’s price index. For example, Bolivia is cheap but it isn’t half the price of Nicaragua. By the time we hit Bolivia we were in the wilderness-bush-camping, municipal-market-shopping zone. You might be in the dirty martini and live theatre frame of mind when you happen upon   Continue reading

Best of 2011

One year spent zig-zagging from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean across two continents. Traversing over the varied landscape of Central and South America depending our on appetite: white-sand surf break or a crisp mountain morning? A wild dream turned reality, we still wake up some mornings forgetting our location and laughing with the sunrise at the day’s potential.

Recently we were asked about “the highlights” in an interview. We quickly reeled off the top ten starting with beachside camping in Baja and concluding with off-roading the Bolivian altiplano. Only after a small pause for consideration do we both realize we exchanged vows in Costa Rica back in March. You know you’re having a good year when a beach-side wedding,   Continue reading


This year we won’t be able to partake in the turkey and mom’s famous creamed corn, nor the annual premiere of Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation.  So digitally, we’d like to give thanks to all those who have supported us in our 20,000 mile journey.

  • Michael and Marla Fryman
  • Will and Robyn Haifley
  • Jeff and Connie Pribbeno
  • Babette Pribbeno
  • Robert Schwabe
  • Monica C. Buhler Zorn
  • Nathan Schouest
  • Kay Yu
  • Dolly Parker
  • Ty Walrod
  • Jake Schutte
  • Steve Stubbendick
  • Nicolle Monico
  • Max and Emma Pribbeno
  • Michael McCormick
  • Paul Arterburn

From family members, to unemployed friends, and even complete strangers, your generous support via donations is heartwarming.  Patagonia has been our ultimate destination since the beginning and your support buys us a little   Continue reading

Life for Sale

Offering to sell your life is not a unique endeavor.  Remember this guy?  His life sucked and he wanted out.  Our life is awesome and we want to pass along the torch.  We have other dreams that need to be chased down.

So buy (almost) everything we own.  We’ll set you up with maps, campsite coordinates, and everything you need to live the dream.

Let’s make a deal.

On sale at select outlets this winter just in time for your New Year’s resolution to live better.  Continue reading

Central America Overland

Editors Note: This is a recap of our 5 months overlanding in Central America and Mexico.  It was originally published on Expedition Portal.

From our 7,500 foot perch, the setting sun has just begun to paint the Boquete Valley a pale pink.  We stand halfway up Panama’s highest point, Volcan Baru, nestled in the Talamarcara range, having driven up 3,000 feet until the rocky trail warns us to go no more.  Before the warm glow of our campfire envelops us, we pass a bottle of Abuelo rum back and forth.  A few carefully placed words break the silence and shift our shared meditation:

Can  you believe we have just driven to Panama from our home in San Francisco?

Two   Continue reading


At 13,000 feet, even this close to the equator, the thin air chills you to the bone.  We are sipping rich hot chocolate, our frozen toes propped up on the fireplace at the lodge in Cajas National Park, west of Cuenca Ecuador.  As it often does, the conversation turns to the route ahead: Peru, Bolivia, Las Pampas, and Patagonia.  This is easily our most anticipated leg of the journey.

Before our hands are warmed by the fire, it has been decided – we are going to extend the trip.  The timing will allow us to spend summer in the Southern Hemisphere and return to the Mid-West in the spring.  We agree on March 15th.

The logistics behind the decision   Continue reading

A Beautiful Distraction

Lonely Planet describes the colonial city of Popayan as having more style than Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin combined. Our expectations were high, yet an hour after entering the city limits something just wasn’t right about this place. The ultimate logic behind our decision eluded us as we hit the highway in search of a place outside the city.

We set up camp among the trees of an ecological preserve and marveled at the beauty surrounding us only two kilometers out of town. We read by the lake for the few hours before sunset and later broke bread with the Seventh Day Adventists who ran the place. Unknowingly, we had stumbled into their religious retreat, but they were more than happy   Continue reading


A lack of financial resources is the foremost justification in evading an experience like the PanAm. Whether you want to travel, start a business, or buy a house, money should never be the reason not to follow through. In our case there was no inheritance, no millions made in the dot com boom, we went about it the old fashioned way. We saved our money.

Most, being accustomed to poor financial advice, will instantly conjure up methods such as skipping a morning latte, homemade haircuts, and cooking rice and beans at home in your cold, lonely basement because you can‘t afford the gas to run the heater.  This is horrible advice.

Focusing on the big wins – We didn’t pinch   Continue reading

If We’re Being Honest

At eight o’clock on a misty Tuesday evening in San Francisco I am weighing the pros and cons of running to the gym before calling it a night. I decide I had a rough day, with Norm’s endless spreadsheet busy work and the deadlines that never seem to be met, five o’clock just could not come soon enough. There is a chill in the air and the beginnings of a drizzle against our front window.  My running shoes gaze up at me imploringly but I think I deserve a night off.  Maybe I will even wake up early tomorrow and go to the gym before work. In the end, I am giving myself a mental pat on the back for   Continue reading