The Vanajeros haven't made it easy to follow our timeline--we catch up on social media and video updates when we can; sometimes it's hard to place where the heck we are on a given day. There have been some really significant changes in the crew in the past few weeks, and we realized we might need to catch everyone up after even our closest friends were asking us, "So...what now?" Don't worry--the adventure's still on. Sandy has life in her yet, and there's a whole continent waiting to be explored.
It's been one month since Parker and Joel broke off from the Vanajeros group to go back to life in the US. They're on new life adventures in New Jersey and Montana, respectively. Right now they're adjusting after six months of camping almost every night and waking up in the midst of a different culture every morning. It must be exhilarating to have a new path lying at their feet.
We (Aidan and Madison) are exhilarated, too--for different reasons. We're remaining in South America, and have our sights set on Tierra del Fuego. We're taking Sandy to the end of the line, ojalá! The project is continuing: the updates on Insta and Facebook, the meeting of new people to share stories and photos with, and the webisodes about the countries we travel through. So much more vanlife is coming your way--Vanajeros is still 100% on with Mads and Aidan behind the wheel.
There's just one hitch: our van needs a new engine. As the four of us made our way towards the Colombia-Ecuador border, Sandy's engine failed. After a long winded and exhausting struggle to enter Ecuador with a broken vehicle, we finally got Sandy to a shop in Quito, the capital. After taking our engine out and apart, it became clear that it was beyond repair. As you might be able to imagine, importing an engine from a different country has been an exhaustingly trial-and-error task, but with Aidan's determination and the unbelievable help from our friends at Peace Vans back up in the States, everything is in motion to bring a new one in from the US. Until the engine is installed, we're stationed in Cuenca, a city in southern Ecuador.
Thank you for everything, from everyone, that we've received in past six months; the support, the kind emails, the advice, even the advice that was really counterintuitive ("Bring a gun." "Don't go to Honduras/Guatemala/Colombia."). It all aids us in our contemplation and reflection. The scope of the thanks we owe to you probably can't be addressed entirely here, nor our thoughts on the past half a year. We'll talk about those things in depth in our fifth webisode (in the works now) about the van breakdown and Joel's and Parker's goodbyes.
The chapter of the journey with four friends stuffed into a van has ended, and the chapter of the van rolling out of the shop with significantly more room is beginning soon. The salt flats of Bolivia, the Andean highlands, and dramatic Tierra del Fuego are in our heads now. We're gonna need to install that new heater...