Joe- The first time we tried to bring The Nugget into Bolivia, we couldn't get the appropriate paperwork cleared in customs and weren't sure if it would even be be possible. To keep from staying indefinitely at the border town we decided to try and cross anyways, figuring we could get everything taken care of in La Paz. Within a kilometer of crossing, we hit a police checkpoint where we were told that they might arrest us and seize the car. I was terrified at the prospect of staying in a Bolivian jail, but luckily they let us turn around and we figured out the paperwork the next day.
Kayci- Our second to last day in Bolivia we were having more trouble than usual getting gas. Multiple stations were closed and the ones we found wouldn't sell us any. Having no choice we kept driving hoping to find one down the road. The paved part we were on turned to gravel about 200km outside of our destination Uyuni, and soon our gas needle was pointing almost to empty. There was nothing in sight, no towns, no other cars, it was looking bleak. We finally found a little town that didn't have a station, but we were told there was someone who sold gas somewhere out of their house. No one would help us find them as we desperately drove around the town. We finally got someone who led us there and we were able to purchase five liters. That just barely brought us to the next town where were found someone who was willing to sell us ten liters. Night was falling as we thanked them for their kindness and headed out into the unknown. We drove for an hour or so more in near to complete darkness with no supplies and very little gas. I was sure we would run out and be stuck until someone happened down the dirt road, and I wasn't thrilled at the prospect. We were running on fumes as we rolled into Uyuni finally.
Joe- Our second weekend in Peru we went to Paracas to visit with our friends dad, where he lives on a beach called El Paraíso. He's a scallop farmer with a cabin on the beach and we spent the weekend with him. On our last day, he took us out on one of his fishing boats and we harvested scallops for dinner that night. Hauling up a huge load, he grabbed one and pried it open, cleaning it and serving it to me raw on the shell. It was incredible to eat such a fresh scallop while still on the water where it came from. I'll definitely remember that moment forever.
Kayci- Mine was recently while on a beach in Pan de Azucar, northern Chile. The beach was deserted, and we spent the day there picnicking, exploring various rocky coves and occasionally getting brave enough to take a dip in the chilly water. We didn't see another person the entire day, and at one point as we were eating our veggie sandwiches, I realized that this was a dream come true. I had always fantasizes about taking a trip like this, and it really set in on that beach that we had taken this vision and held into it so tightly that we had made it into our reality. I'm constantly in awe of the fact that we created our fantasy life, it's incredibly empowering to know that.
Living on $100USD a day:
Joe- It's been quit surprising, it doesn't really feel like I'm living on a tighter budget than we did at home. I don't ever feel like I'm having to deprive myself of anything and we still have the opportunities to do lots of fun activities. I think that since we are three months in, it just feels normal now. In the beginning it took a lot of thought to stay within budget, we wrote everything down, and were constantly worried about going over. Now it's just second nature.
Kayci- It definitely took a little getting used to in the beginning, every night we would review the spreadsheet together and feel constant panic that we might be going over. But now, with practice it doesn't take much effort. It's easy now to keep a running tab in our heads that begins each morning minus the cost of our lodging from the night before. That way we know really what we can spend each day. It's made me much more conscious of the price of things, and it's easy to walk away from things that I deem to expensive, even if it's just a dollar or two. I never have a feeling that I can't afford something, I just realize now that needless spending is petty and unnecessary.
Most valued item:
Joe- My camera is the item that brings me the most joy. It allows me to elevate my experiences and document the memories and places we've experienced so far. It's a hobby that I always enjoyed, and this trip is allowing me the time to practice and become better, something I didn't have before.
Kayci- Well besides my cocoon, which I've already confessed my love for, I would say my iPad. It acts as my book, computer, typewriter and phone. It has earned a few small scratches so far, but the benefit of having it outweighs the risks associated with carrying it. I love being able to FaceTime with girlfriends when I'm homesick, chatting for hours for free. I'm also able to carry around more books than I could otherwise dream of which is a huge benefit to a bookworm.
Joe- I think what I've realized most is that this doesn't feel like a vacation, we are still working hard doing our blog, reading up on various things that interest us and continually striving to gain new skills and improve old ones. The major difference is that we are now in total command of our time. I think it surprised me to realize what it feels like to be in charge of your own life and to realize how valuable this time we are taking is for our future.
Kayci- I've really learned to let things go and to not get worked up about the small stuff. Living in such an unpredictable fashion has enabled me to learn patience and not spazz when things don't happen the way I expect them to. Loosening up my control freak grasp on life has allowed me to just go with the flow, which is something I've always struggled with and just let situations unfold as they do with no stress. It's been really freeing to experience and is definitely something I use on a daily basis.
Hardest part of travel:
Joe- It can be really hard to relax and unwind when I know that we are just packing up and leaving the next day. Sometimes it can be difficult to find calm when I'm already thinking about the next leg of the journey. We have started extending stays in places we like, which is a benefit to having a relaxed plan of action. Sometimes it's just nice to stay put and veg out and not worry about what we need to see or where we need to go.
Kayci- I think getting used to a new way of eating and trying to find ways to stay healthy on the road. It can be hard to find a place to do yoga or meditate while staying in a crowded hostel, and eating just vegetables is a pretty foreign concept in some areas we've been. It's definitely made me be more flexible in what I eat. Although I do try to maintain a vegetarian focus, It doesn't make sense when traveling through small towns where they have one restaurant that serves one dish. I'm definitely not exercising as much as I should be, but something Naynay taught me on the road trip is "om tat sat" which is Sanskrit and can be roughly translated to “it is what it is.” I think that sometimes just letting go and living is the best medicine there is and I've been trying to learn to commingle my beliefs with the reality I'm living in and create a new perspective of what health is.