Smiles, Hazel, and Jojo

In early 2016, we decided to stop making excuses and begin living our passion: to travel, spend more time together, and live life on our terms. We wanted a different upbringing for our son and we desired to live more in harmony with nature. After quitting our jobs, selling our home, and purging most of our possessions, we moved into a tiny truck camper and set off to see the world.

Hometown: 
Chicago, Illinois and Salt Lake City, Utah
When did you start your travels?: 
07/25/2016
Reason for taking this trip: 
Why not? The world is big and there is so much to see. We are passionate about people, food, culture, ancient civilizations, history, geology, and more.
Why did you decide to drive?: 
Because we are 21st century pioneers. We enjoy overland travel. We love to watch the earth change. We feel connected to the terrain, the wildlife, the plants, the people. Smiles is a great navigator and a mechanical engineer. To fly would make our travels fleeting, but our move is more permanent.
Are you also taking along pets?: 
No
Are you also taking along children?: 
Yes
What type of car are you driving?: 
A 1995 Toyota Tacoma with a cab-over camper
Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?: 
Many. We custom modified most everything to meet our needs.
How did you save up or finance your trip?: 
We saved our dollars, remodeled and sold our house for a profit, and changed our spending habits. We began to examine the things we truly value and minimized the amount of money we spend on material things.
How long do you plan on traveling?: 
As long as it takes to find our new home
Where do you plan on driving? : 
Mexico, Central America, and beyond?
What were your family’s and friends’ reactions when you told them about your trip before you left?: 
Some were very excited for us and supportive. Others did not understand or thought it would be too dangerous.
What languages do you speak? Will you learn more on your trip?: 
English, German, some French and some Spanish. We plan to learn Spanish along the way.
Do you have a favorite place that you've visited?: 
So far, Argentina. That's where we were married in 2013/4. Perhaps the road will lead us back :)
What was the weirdest thing you experienced on your trip?: 
One of the first nights of our trip, we witnessed a Chinese rocket re-enter the atmosphere over the west desert and land seemingly in front of us. It was spectacular, like a million shooting stars. We consider it to be a good omen.
What was the worst border crossing?: 
So far, back into the US ;) We had to come back 24 hours after we crossed into Mexico due to an error on our part. But getting back into Mexico was no problem.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?: 
The time is NOW. Do it with an open heart and a smile.
SmilesandHazel