(Above photo taken on our first trip to South America, July 2009)
Welcome to our blog. We’re the Eagleson family (Rob, MJ, Liam and Averie) and we’re about to embark on a big family adventure. This fall we plan to pack up our lives and ship our camperized van from Canada to Santiago, Chile. From there we’re going to make our way south to Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world) and overland the PanAmerican highway back to Calgary, Canada. All in 300 days.
For the most part we get nothing but positivity and high-fives when people learn about our looming year long camping trip. Then comes the flurry of questions. How long are you going? What countries are you going to? What are you doing with your house? What about school for the kids? And ultimately; why?
So why are we doing it?
Well, we need an adventure. Both Rob and I love to travel and it’s been about 8 years since our last travel adventure, and that one was to South America. For the last 7 years or so we’ve been doing the career and family thing and it’s just not what we want to do anymore. We want more family time, less work stress, to go places we’ve never been and do things just because. We also want to go back to South America, I particularly feel drawn back to that continent. There is so much that we didn’t have/take time to see and do. And finally, we want to encourage our children to explore and learn about our world and all it’s people while developing an appreciation for the privileged life we have in Canada.
Last April, at my brother’s wedding in Mexico, the overland seed was planted by my sister in-law’s sister and her husband. Check them out here. The year earlier they had converted and old ambulance into a camper and driven from Newfoundland, Canada to Ushuaia and back to the United States. They had nothing but good things to say about their experience. It reshaped their lives. From that point on we couldn’t shake the idea that we could do it too… with our kids.
We had inspiration, however we didn’t know what part of the world we were going to go and do this epic family road trip. We decided to make a pros-and-cons list for the following places: Europe, Australia, and South America (anyone who knows us also knows how much we love a good list!). Australia had a lot of pros, however we ended up crossing it off because, when we really thought about it, we felt that Australia was too similar to Canada, just hotter. But not really, we know that Australia has so much to offer, we were looking for an experience that would be different. Europe was a strong contender because there is SO much to see and do, it’s just generally expensive. It would also be more complicated to find and purchase a vehicle. We started looking online and became wary of the prospect of buying a camper either sight-unseen or rushing to get one when we arrived. I think deep down we always knew that we’d end up overlanding South America. Perhaps we just needed written confirmation of what we already knew, in the form of a list.
Rob started researching vehicle options shortly after we got back from the Mexico wedding vacation. Would it be a classic Land Rover with a roof top tent or an off-road style fold-out trailer, a North American style truck bed camper, or a #vanlife camperized van? It proved to be difficult to make a final decision. At one point we were on a waiting list for a custom overland trailer from VMI Offroad in the States. We finally decided that we would rather be more self-contained and focused on finding a camperized van. This also proved to be difficult. There are unfortunately few options for used camperized vans that can seat and sleep a family of four. Finding one that sleeps four and has 4-wheel drive… good luck. Stay tuned for the post about what we ended up with.
I started looking at possible routes and we came up with a plan to drive away from our home and make our way south. We drew routes through the United States and by the time we started planning Baja we had a realization, this trip was going to be psychologically hard on us and the kids as we were going to get further away from home each day. We had already toyed with the idea of shipping our vehicle back to Canada from wherever we ended up. So, instead of shipping home, why not ship there and drive home? Again, stay tuned, there is also a post coming about our planned route.
That’s basically how we came up with this crazy, exciting, a little bit scary and awesome idea for a road trip. We hope to use this blog, Facebook and Instagram as a way to share our journey with our friends and family as well as document our travel. We hope you’ll join us for the ride. Have a question, drop us a line.