Shannon and Jesse

Heading south from Washington state in Nov 2017 until sometime around June - September 2018. We both finished up military service and want to take advantage of our new found freedom. 

When did you start your travels?: 
11/28/2017
Reason for taking this trip: 
See the world, new experiences, learn Spanish, indulge in travel, live the van life, eat some good food, bond
Why did you decide to drive?: 
Got the idea after seeing a truck in a remote northern Ghana hippo sanctuary with Netherlands plates. Years of checking out peoples' overland trips around the world online, researching routes/equipment, and now a chance to take advantage of some free time for the first time. Driving is the best way to see how people actually live and still have the creature comforts that make long term travel enjoyable!
Are you also taking along pets?: 
No
Are you also taking along children?: 
No
What type of car are you driving?: 
1999 GMC Safari AWD
Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?: 
Selectable 4x4, though low range does not work. Roof top fan, bed, solar panel, sink, stove, storage, bigger tires, lift, hot water heater, outdoor shower, fridge
How did you save up or finance your trip?: 
Saved up, lived below our means
How long do you plan on traveling?: 
at least 6 months
Where do you plan on driving? : 
West coast of USA, Southwest USA, Texas, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama... Ecuador, Columbia, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile If we have the time - Brazil, Guianas, Uruguay, Paraguay
What were your family’s and friends’ reactions when you told them about your trip before you left?: 
A little fearful about Mexico, some bemusement
What languages do you speak? Will you learn more on your trip?: 
English. Hope to pick up some Spanish somewhere - taken some Pimsleurs/Fluenz/free online classes
Do you have a favorite place that you've visited?: 
Really enjoyed Big Bend National Park. Looking forward to Lake Atitlan, Yucatan, Patagonia, Columbia.
What was the weirdest thing you experienced on your trip?: 
Border patrol vehicles and check points. As we left Big Bend National Park going north a border patrol truck passed us in the opposite direction. We watched in the rear view mirror as he turned around in the middle of the road and then sped back up and tailed us for several miles, with many opportunities to pass. He finally turned around a couple of miles before a check point. Also, Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande illegally at Big Bend.
What was the worst border crossing?: 
Only one so far was Boquillas and no problems. Took a row boat across the river.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?: 
We left with many things not finished on the lists of things to do - that's ok. Make sure you schedule time to relax and take time off from the trip. It's easy to keep traveling and forget that sight seeing is hard work!
BlueVanGo