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


Part two of a three part series on Bolivia’s wild and wonderful Southwest Circuit.

Journal entry dated October nineteenth, twenty-eleven.  Location: 100km north of the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve boundary.

Plumes of frigid breath float to the ceiling as we lay bundled in our cocoon of blankets and sleeping bags. The sun made her welcome presence known through the camper windows over an hour ago. Yet the temperature gauge stands firm at 15 degrees.

The low grumble of a hungry stomach kick starts the morning and motivates us into life. An attempt at goulash the previous evening, using ground beef bought in Uyuni’s central market, ended in disaster. The dusty town sits at 12,000’ and come to think of   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

One Heart. One Love.

Sitting at the breakfast table surrounded by tousle haired, caffeine hungry men, I quoted aloud the first line of my new book Player Piano. Unfortunately this was not my audience and I was met with blank stares and silence. After a moment Kelly piped in from across the room, “Is that Kurt Vonnegut?” I was awestruck. I had read one sentence. “How could you possibly know that?” I asked, desperately trying to keep my jaw in it’s upright position to hide the fact that she had just completely won over my literary heart. “I dated his nephew.” This turned out to be one of the many great stories Kelly kept in her back pocket.

Cristian appeared moments later asking   Continue reading

An Andean Buzz

A weeklong sojourn in the Andes was complete. We had just finished two beers in the dusty town of Huaraz when Paul arrived. To celebrate our recent summits and Paul’s arrival at 12,000′ we started into the first bottle of rum on our 35 minute taxi ride up to the lodge.

Four bottles later, our camper was cozy and warm with the cheer of friends reunited. This cocktail party of four was our first maximum capacity shindig. Accordingly, noise complaints were filed the following morning. For two weeks we fell into a new kind of rhythm with these guys.

Weekdays were spent camping and hiking in the mountains. Weekends were consumed with a startling pattern, ambitious attempts to visit   Continue reading

Staying Fit on the Road

Staying fit has been a part of my life since I first laced up a pair of rental ice skates in Costa Mesa, California. Through 12 years of figure skating I earned an education in competition, stamina, acceptance, and most importantly the joy of healthy living. I’ve had gym memberships, joined soccer leagues, I tried jazz, tap, and ballet, I was once a pilates fanatic and later an even greater fan of bikram yoga, and more recently I hiked a 13,000 foot volcano with my husband.

When the time came to determine the importance of my yoga mat and free weights in comparison to my wardrobe for our year long journey down the PanAm, I had no doubts. I tossed   Continue reading

Sorry for Party Rocking

There we were, cruising southbound from Chachapoyas when a diabolically camouflaged speed bump materialized beneath the front wheels.  As the rear wheels hit, the spring loaded turnbuckles had just enough play to allow the camper to shift forward an inch.  And thus we were liberated from of one of our rear windows.

We may or may not have been party rocking at the time of the incident.

Not 5 kilometers later the check engine light illuminated.  We’ve got an 02 sensor out along with a fuel filler cap gasket gone bad.  Problems easily remedied by two visiting friends who don’t mind packing a few auto parts in their carry-ons.

Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you   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

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