Strange things have been happening around here. We rehomed our cats. Then when our RV fridge broke, we bought some weird cooler-size contraption instead of fixing it right away. And we’ve been generally cryptic about what’s coming up for us.
We won’t keep you guessing any longer. We’re ready to announce our RV Wanderlust travel plans for 2019! But before we lay out the details, we should share a few important points to set the context.
1/ We’ll Still Be RVers
There is no visible future where we buy a house, rent an apartment, or going back to any kind of “stick and brick” lifestyle. We have far too much wanderlust. There’s still so much we want to see–more than we can fit in a lifetime.
2/ International Travel Is Calling Us
It seems inevitable that those of us who love to travel are always looking for the next boundary to cross. At the beginning of this year, WheelingIt announced their plans to move to Europe, after RVing fulltime since 2010. And in April, Heath and Alyssa Padgett took their first international trip, campervanning across New Zealand (did I just make up the word campervanning?).
We have the international bug, too. But it’s going to look a little different for us.
When Eric and I first started talking about international travel, we envisioned flying around the world, hopping from one Airbnb with WiFi to the next, every couple of weeks. But recently, we had another idea.
3/ We’re Jeep Junkies
Some of you are familiar with our alternate persona, Jeepsies (Jeep + gypsies). While that blog and connected social media sites currently take the back burner to some of our other projects, Eric has become deeply entrenched in the Jeep community. He even started the one and only Coast Guard Jeep Club in late 2017, which now has nearly 1,200 members and 25 state chapters.
4/ We Found Out About Overlanding
Overland Journal describes overlanding as:
“Self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-highway capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and often spanning international boundaries. While expedition is defined as a journey with a purpose, overlanding sees the journey as the purpose.”
I wish I could remember exactly how the whole thing unfolded. I do remember stumbling on The Overlanding Podcast this past spring, during one of our RV moving days. The most recent episode was from November 2017, an interview with the Snaith Family.
The show notes said everything I needed to hear: “Steve and Gilly Snaith took their two children, Alisha and Lucy, on an incredible 4-year journey through 58 countries, proving that kids are no excuse not to take an extended overland trip.”
I actually have yet to finish that episode. But what I heard was empowering and inspiring. My mental wheels started turning (no pun intended). Wouldn’t we be able to see so much more internationally if we were traveling via land vehicle, versus skipping over everything in an airplane?
What All This Means for 2019
We are turning the page on a new chapter. Our focus right now is outfitting our 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for overlanding. We’ve already started making plans and gear purchases for our first trip, which will hopefully take place in January 2019.
We plan to leave my parents’ house in Corpus Christi, Texas, after the holidays. We’ll cross the southern border in Brownsville, and drive through the interior of Mexico with a final destination of Puebla City. Puebla City is roughly 700 miles south of Brownsville and 80 miles east of Mexico City. It’s where Eric spent a good part of his childhood and still has family in the area.
This is our shakedown trip. We want to find out how we feel about overlanding, and whether we can see ourselves doing it in far-flung locations around the world. We wouldn’t necessarily take our Jeep all around the world–maybe a larger vehicle would be better suited for long-term–but we figure this is the best way for us to test the waters.
Are We Worried?
Many of our fulltime RV friends had to deal with naysayers when they started traveling. We didn’t. Really, everyone we knew was supportive.
This has been different. The few close family members and friends we’ve told have been almost universally concerned. They question the wisdom of driving through Mexico, especially with a small child.
We get it. There are horror stories from virtually every part of the world. Even in our own country, parents ask themselves whether it’s safe for their children to go to school. And just like certain neighborhoods in U.S. cities, there are parts of Mexico that are more unstable than others. It’s our job to know which areas to avoid by utilizing State Department resources, conversing with locals in the areas we’re visiting, and using common sense.
People tend to jump to conclusions about our safety without knowing Eric’s background. Eric is fluent in Spanish; it’s actually his first language. Mexico is a second home to him and he has family located all over the country. He also has 20 years of experience as a federal law enforcement officer, with extensive training in hand-to-hand combat, evaluating threats, and deescalating dangerous situations.
Finally, for the record, the State Department’s travel advisory for Mexico is a level 2: exercise increased caution. It’s also a level 2 for France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. So I think we have to be generally careful wherever we are, especially of our cultural biases.
So that’s it. That’s all I have to say to calm concern. Both Eric and I know we’re taking some level of risk, but we also know many others have done this before us. What we ultimately want to do is Bigger: travel to the other side of the world, to places where we don’t speak the language. So compared to that, this seems like a logical place to start.
Are We Going to Be Overlanding All Year?
While overlanding occupies most of our thoughts right now and requires the most preparation, we have a lot more planned for 2019. The following is what we have on our radar for 2019, though we may not be able to do everything:
- January-March – Mexico overlanding trip
- March – Third annual RV Entrepreneur Summit in Alabama
- April – Spring Break with our big kids, probably in Central Texas so we can go to Schlitterbahn
- May – Overland Expo West in Flagstaff
- June – Our son Javen’s high school graduation in California
- June-July – Summer with our son Silas and maybe the older kids, if we can talk them into taking a break from adulting
- August-October – Tentative international trip with friends
- November – National Coast Guard Jeep Club event in Florida
- November – Timeshare week near Disney World
- December – Christmas with our kids, probably in Texas
We also have a couple of client events we might need to fit in.
If we make it back from Mexico (kidding), it’s going to be a full, exciting year for us. It’ll be very different from these past few years of carefully plotted RV trips. But we’re up for the change and related challenges.
When Will You Hear More?
There are definitely a lot of other things we want to talk about with you. We’re working out a lot of details regarding our RV and Jeep, so stay tuned. We love the community we’ve built through RV Wanderlust, and will continue to update you here about our RV adventures.
If you’re interested in our overlanding experience, you’ll want to follow along through Jeepsies. There hasn’t been a ton of overlanding/personal stuff there so far because this is literally our first public announcement of what we’re doing. Expect to see a lot more from us as we get closer to January.
No matter how things shake up with our overlanding adventures, we won’t be going too far for too long until Silas graduates high school in 2022. So you’ll have to put up with us for a while longer. 💗