So, planning. Our first stop is NYC. We have the one way flight booked. I spent hours planning a route to New Orleans ensuring we take in as much of Americana as possible in a muscle car listening to The Boss on repeat. We then spend a couple of months dreaming of BBQ, Blues and camping in bear cages. Suddenly, after the hours of planning, this becomes plan B. The new plan, rent campervan and spend a whole month driving from NYC to LA. Inspired by this wonderful blog we go back to the drawing board.
Hours of research, mapping a route, googling, costing, serious spread-sheet action detailing basic daily cost of petrol/van rental over 25 day period (roughly $120 per day) result in a conservative estimation of around $7000 for five weeks in one one country (This includes 7 nights in NYC of course). Suddenly we stop joyfully referring to our future as ‘hashtag vanlife’ and have to think realistically. This just isn’t gonna work!
This leads me to keep thinking realistically (I hate doing this) about what we are actually going to have time to do. I’ll be honest, I have thought very little about what we will be doing after the first 5-6 weeks. I assumed that this would just happen organically and we would find ourselves taking in every sight and sound that South America has to offer after heading through Tijuana. I assumed the isthmus making up the 7 countries of Central America is just a route to the good stuff below. I then realised I had pretty much no idea about any of them. I have never needed to.
Now, the problem, I know too much. I’ve greedily read about El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua. The shocking history, rich culture and the natural beauty that these lands have to offer. I proudly run to Ollie and tell her all of the wonderful things we should see and do on the way to that chocolate box of wonder down south. Again, reality kicks in. She points out that all we have is seven months. That’s 210 days. This is all we have to travel around these continents until we head back to Europe for a wedding. Sadly, this is not enough time to take in around 18 countries.
Now we just don’t know what to do. As for the USA. This now seems like a tiny part of the trip. An entrance to the adventure below. Seven days in NYC, fly to San Diego for two days and head into Tijuana is the new plan and that is set. For now anyway.
We have never wanted to plan this trip. We have never wanted to have to stick to a schedule (thus the one way flight only) to ensure we can actually try and get off the ‘Gringo Trail’ as much as possible. But now we realise, we have to do a bit of planning and have some targets. But can we plan? Look at the start. ‘Hahstag vanlife’ was once a burning desire (all of three weeks ago) and now, its gone! Planning is the wrong word I think. Ideas maybe. As we learn more, our plans change. This has happened constantly over the last six months and i suspect will continue to do so while we are on the road.
So do we have a route yet? You would hope so. We are leaving in three weeks. The truth is No. I still don’t know really what the plan is after we hit Tijuana. Just Ideas. As for what a Tegucigalpa is, if you don’t know, you should find out….