Technology gives us the ability to work remotely. Curiosity, wonder and boredom drive us to the far reaches of the world. Put the two together and you have Life Remotely.
We've spent the past fifteen years traveling and working around the world. In October of 2011 we left our home in Seattle and headed south. Our goal: drive to Patagonia and spend the night in Antarctica. From there, who knows.
Four months ago Jessica and I set out on a journey of rediscovery. A journey that would crisscross through South Africa in hopes to find what I missed about my home country. What we stumbled upon were memories long forgotten, of foods, people and places most spectacular. Pinpointing what I missed about South Africa is no easy task.
Looking back at the months leading up to our trip, I have the same feeling as I did when we left Mexico. The stories and news had a common theme. Theft, rape, armed robberies, smuggling... the list goes on. Enough to put anyone on high alert.
During our four month, 5,000 mile journey, not once did we experienced any type of crime or encounter any bribe attempts, muggings, pickpockets, shakedowns or theft.
I am not saying they don't happen, but I can't help think that South Africa is not as treacherous as it is made out to be. Like most places in the world, a little common sense goes a long way.
After 4 months rediscovering South Africa, and now back in the States, I can tell you much more clearly, what it is that I miss about home...
Start: February 1, Cape Town
Finish: March 15, Olifantsfontein
Number of ostriches that can fit in a truck: 84
Cutest baby animals: Cheetahs (followed by miniature horses)
From the beaches and Indian restaurants of Cape Town we head east along the coast to explore the rest of the cape. We spend weeks in the middle of nowhere, track down Kobus' ancestors, and stand in awe at the diversity and beauty of South Africa.
Start: January 1, Joburg
Finish: February 1, Cape Town
Bottles of wine purchased in one day: 18
Sailing vocabulary words learned: Millions
Best food in Cape Town: Chicken Vindaloo
After a few weeks in Joburg, hanging out with the fam, we were ready to get traveling again. We packed up Blue #2, and hit the road first thing New Year's Day. Good to be headed south again. We spent a week touring the cape area, drinking wine, and basking in the beautiful African sunshine.
Start: December 5, Seattle WA
Finish: January 1, Johannesburg, South Africa
Types of meat eaten: at least 10
Animals seen: 50 +
Trees with pubs inside: 1
Money spent on illegal fireworks: not allowed to say
The past several months Jess and I have been preparing for our trip to South Africa, working on projects and getting things squared away for our journey of rediscovery.
Two days before our flight, our trusty 4Runner, Blue, started misfiring. Our efforts to fix the problem failed, and we ended up at a mechanic. The conclusion: we needed new fuel injectors. Cost to repair $1000 and a weeks time. Greeaatttt. Thankfully family nearby let us borrow cars to get us until flight day... and poor Blue is parked until our return.
On our flight from Amsterdam to South Africa every other passenger was reading a newspaper headlined "Farewell Mandela". All I could think of were his words “When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” That is all I wish for Madiba.
Our arrival in South Africa was as expected, hugs, kisses, laughs and tears. There were definietly some moments of "wow this place changed" but mostly Jess and I were tired and dirty from flying for 31 hours. A hot shower, some beer, food and a good nights rest was pretty much all we wanted.
It has been a little under five years since I have been home in South Africa and a little over 15 since I have been home for the holidays. And while I know things change, I secretly hope that this pretty little picture in my head is not lying to me.
Throughout my travels around the world people have asked me what is it that I miss the most about home, about South Africa. I used to answer without hesitation “the meat”. That all changed once we entered Argentina, where the beef was better than any memory of beef back home.
It was not until then that I realized that I no longer knew what I miss about South Africa. I felt like I had lost a part of what made me, me. All of a sudden I felt that I could not call myself a South African, that I was without a country I call my own. I have been struggling with this.
About 10 years ago I bought a pair of typical South African tongs for the BBQ made from aluminum. While on our Pan-American journey they soon became Jareds go-to tongs for everything from handling charcoal and wood for fires to flipping all types of meat on the grill.
During this time I saw the tongs used in ways I never thought possible and for things I never imagined. As my well loved tongs were used and abused, it became evident that I would eventually need a new pair. The aluminum was soft from bending and re-shaping the pinchers, the rivets were becoming lose from gripping too many heavy objects.
Start: June 19, Escondido, California
Finish: June 26, Seattle, Washington!!!
Tents Skunked: 1
Overlanders Met: 14
Beer belly weight gain: Too much
From San Diego we head due north to return home to Seattle. We stop off in as many breweries as possible and do our best to survive the combat camping style of California.
We left Stone Brewery just after 2pm, full on delicious food and having soaked up most of the beer samplers. Unfortunately our next stop was 50 miles the other side of LA and little did we know, traffic in LA starts promptly at 2:30. We sat for 3 hours crawling along and stopped at the first available campsite around 7pm. They were full, and so was the next one and the next one. The 4th camp ground told us it would be $103 for a site, but they were also full.
Start: June 10, Galveston Texas
Finish: June 19, Escondido, California
Beers Tasted: 21
Hotest Recorded Temperature: 112F
Back from Overland Expo, we hang out with the family for a few weeks while waiting for news that Blue has arrived in Galveston.Then we swelter in the Texas heat for a few days, and head west on a mission to finally enjoy the delious microbrews we've so missed traveling south of the border.
Our original plan was to drive from Flagstaff to Texas to get the car. But the ship was delayed so much, it was actually cheaper to fly back to Seattle for a few weeks and then return to Galveston when the ship was in.
Start: May 16, Phoenix Arizona
Finish: May 18, Phoenix Arizona
Books Sold at Overland Expo 2013: 124
Star Wars Conventions attended: 1
New Friends made: Lost count
Our last few months in South America were crazy busy, especially getting the cookbook finished and printed in time for Overland expo. Leaving Blue sitting at the port in Santos Brazil, we fly back to Seattle, say hi to the family and three days later fly down to Phoenix Arizona. We pick up a rental car and have a much deserved burger before heading over to Walmart to buy some supplies for our exhibitors booth.
We receive word that Blue has been loaded onto the shipping vessel, have a great time expo and finally wrap up a crazy weekend with a little fun.
Don’t worry amigos. Part 2 isn’t going to be nearly as bad as Part 1.
All cargo arriving in the US is supposed to be declared on an ISF form. We had an agent complete this form for us. They charged a $35 fee. The ISF form is supposed to be submitted before the ship departs the port where the cargo was loaded. Because of the mess that often occurs in shipping, the form often times can’t be filed until the ship has left port. This is not a big deal. As our agent explained, as long as it is submitted before the ship reaches the first US port of call, you will probably be fine.
One thing is for certain, if you don’t file this form, you vehicle will most likely be put on a customs hold and you will undergo a long and arduous waiting process to have everything cleared. Just ask Monica and Jeff over at Overland the World.
This article is part of our Internet and Phone Report series.
General availability: Excellent
Quality of bandwidth: High
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Medium
Frequency of internet in hotels: High
We crossed at Foz do Iguacu and headed east to Curitiba the south to Floranopolis. From there we went back up the coast to Rio de Janiero. Brazil is a massive country, we barely scratched the surface.
Availability was remarkable. Every town had internet or calling centers, every hostel, rental apartment or hotel had wifi. Most gas stations on major highways had internet. We never had trouble finding a hotspot. Availability in campgrounds was mixed, but with a little advance research we were able to find a place with internet.