It’s 85 degrees out. Our old 2004 Toyota 4runner is sitting awkwardly in our urban OTR parking lot among all the slick, small city cars. She’s an off-roading kind of girl. She has a name: “La Chilling.” Which in Puerto Rico, like most authentic Puerto Rican slang, is spanglish. And when you pronounce her name, you have to say it slowly with a long ‘eeeee’ sound in place of the ‘i’ in order to properly represent her chill personality.
José and I are both sitting in La Chilling which currently is completely gutted, leaving just two front seats and an empty shell of a back. Jose has the tape measure stretched out to 25 in. I have my body stretched out to 5 ft, 4 in. We are picturing our livelihood fitting into this small space with all the items that we’ll need for 9 months and discussing what kind of fridge to buy. All the travelers recommend the 50 L fridge which is half my size and takes up a quarter of the car. Does it take up too much space? Is it needed? Is $800 worth it? What do we a fridge for? Do we need a fridge? Are we okay with luke-warm water?
Summary: I want to save money; He wants to be prepared.
The weather got hotter as our discussion got heated. Finally, the sweat broke. We knew that we would have 10,000 more discussions involving price vs. necessity, so we needed to pull back and settle on some universal basics for this adventure.
So. How do you decide what is most important? Where do you invest and where do you save? What do you bring and what do you purge? What are the top priorities for the Pan-Am trip? (Note- this might not be the top of the list for everyone. You know yourself better than any blog ever will)
Numero uno: Safety.
A) Car: When choosing between investments on extra lighting and extra locks, we want to put safety at the forefront of our minds. Lighting and locks are both important to keep items secure and see our surroundings. Yes- totally geeking out with head lamps on our foreheads.
B) Ourselves: We would like to stay alive to tell the tale. We mostly definitely do not think that Latin America is more dangerous than the states. You can find danger in situations all over the world. But did I sign up for a self defense class and did Jose buy a machete? Seguro.
Numero dos: Exito
A) We have a specific route in mind: From our doorstep in Cincinnati Ohio to the tip of Argentina’s glacier. We have a mission and we want to see it through. So does this mean we can’t spend all our money in Baja on surfing lessons?? Maybe just a few pesos..
B) La Chilling needs to be road ready. I know she likes to stop and see the scenery, but this is a marathon. She needs to have an extra battery in her, spare shoes, and gu for energy along the road.
Numero tres: Disfrutalo!
3.) Enjoy it!
A) Why are we stepping away from our 9 to 5 routine? Because it is IN us. We both have had this dream before we even met and now is the opportunity to jump in with both feet. The nature, the water, the sky, the neighborhoods, the art, the people, la cultura, la musica, la comida!! So pumped
B) Pura Vida. Living the best life. Learn to surf, climb a mountain, lay on salt beds, scale a glacier, dive into the ocean, dance in the plazas, swing from cables, kiss death, the works.
Numero cuatro: Purpose
4.) Making a difference along the way
A) Like so many of you, Jose and I share a passion for the community and giving back. To put it lightly, the US has not been kind to Latin America throughout history and present day. Many of the economic and poverty issues are due to northern greed, consumption, and globalization. There are incredible organizations along the route who are building up their communities and we look forward to volunteering/supporting those initiatives along the way.
B) On a personal purpose level, connecting to our people and latin culture gives incredible meaning to us, and we hope to reach a new level of appreciation and understanding. We’re going back to our roots.
Numero cinco: Sencilo
5.) Living the simple life
A) With just a trunk of our belongings, we look forward to traveling light and finding a simple form of living. We hope it will feel lighter, slow down, open our imagination, and focus on the real joys around us. When Lindsey is wearing the same dress in every picture, just remember.. simpleliving.
B) This is the time in our lives to do it. We don’t own any property and currently not raising little humans, so these 9 months are just enough time to pop out and birth an adventure of our own. And who knows if property and lil humans are in our future? If Lindsey doesn’t get Zika fever.. we can revisit this topic later.
Now that we’ve established our core cinco, hopefully these truths will align us in these future heated discussions. Trust me- there will be more. And La Chilling will just be rolling her head lights, smokin her fuel, and going back to humming “baby don’t worry… ‘bout a thing”.
NEXT TIME—> Stay tuned to hear how we dress her up and renovate her lil behind into a lil camper for the loooong road.
Lindsey and José