Tag Archives: sardinetaco

Nova Scotia Surf Trip

Our travels through Nova Scotia were lacking the excitement we frequently had while traveling Central and South America. For example: the border crossings were quick and anxiety free, the vegetables were all recognizable, and police corruption as well as food poisoning were not daily concerns. In fact, the only trouble I seemed to get into was when I made a goofy turn into a deli and a local hooligan honked his horn at me. With that being said, I will not bore you with a cliche trip overview .

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On the other hand, We did get to experience some great surf during the first East Coast hurricane swell of the season. In fact, Nova Scotia has an excellent variety of waves up and down their rocky coast. We were very lucky to have witnessed some of Canada’s best waves working so nicely. Like most surf trips, especially trips on the Atlantic Coast, luck is something that will always come in handy.

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Final Destination… Success…

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Cape Cod

 

The greatest feat of our journey was not surfing epic waves, eating delicious foreign food, or hiking to hard to reach glaciers in the Andes. In fact, the most rewarding part, was when all three of us flew into Newark, New Jersey safe and sound after 15 months of rugged travel, and seeing the face  of my smiling father when he picked us up at the airport. We set a huge goal and followed through till the end. That, my friends, feels so damn sweet, and that first jersey bagel we ate, tasted oh so good.

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Lupe on the plane asking for airline food.

 

Two and a half years ago we made a serious commitment to save all our money and travel. Although many of our friends and family thought we were nuts to even think about doing something so drastic, their support and skepticism were great motivators to make it happen and actually follow through. When times got tough and our tent smelled bad, we could always count on the comments and backing from our loved ones on our social media outlets. It would have been hard to do this without everyones amazing support.

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Breaded smelts ready for the fryer. Yumm…

 

After spending the holidays with our families, we finally reached our final destination (Cape Cod) where we will fry fresh smelts and remain until, who knows… I must admit, being able to stay in one place for a while is comforting, especially since we are minutes away from surf spots, have access to fresh food from the sea, and being able to view bayside sunsets every night. Rest assured, we do hope to go on an epic journey like this again, hopefully sooner than later. So stay tuned for our next big odyssey. Until then, we will do our best to keep telling tales from the road, and posting the progress of the building of Taco 2 (photos will be posted soon.)

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Taco 2… Can of worms, possibly?

 

The Waters of Unknown Emotion

Unknown

G’mork:  Foolish boy. Don’t you know anything about Fantasia? It’s the world of human fantasy. Every part, every creature of it, is a piece of the dreams and hopes of mankind. Therefore, it has no boundaries.

Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?

G’mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger.

Atreyu: What is the Nothing?

G’mork: It’s the emptiness that’s left. It’s like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.

Atreyu: But why?

G’mork: Because people who have no hopes are easy to control; and whoever has the control… has the power!

…looking at the blog, reading posts from way back in the beginning, recalling people and memories that had slipped to the back of my mind…

I am in a daze flipping through pictures, in an attempt to reconnect with those moments “on the road.”

People ask, “Are you sad that it is over?”

“I don’t know.”

Sad feels too committed. I would rather wade in the Waters of Unknown Emotion: slightly dangerous, but equally exciting. The Waters of Unknown Emotion- It is like a land you would find in “The NeverEnding Story”, next to the Swamps of Sadness. The Swamps of Sadness– no way, not going there.  That is where the horse died: it just got sucked in and was never to be seen again. Perhaps you will find me basking on the Beach of Nostalgia, the swamp is behind me but the sound of ocean waves is nearby. I am just laying out, soaking in the rays of places and people past, feeling their warmth engulf my body as the sunshine penetrates my skin. My golden tan will hold me over as I envision the frigid winter weather that lay ahead (I am going to be digging myself out of emotional snow banks this winter). Come on, I must defend against the Nothing. Oh, and don’t forget my luckdragon…Lupe.  A fictitious flying dragon with a wingless elongated body, possessing neither magical talent nor immense physical strength, but distinctive in its unfailing serendipity” (www.wordnik.com). Yup. Right on.

Falcor (the luck dragon): Having a luck dragon with you is the only way to go on a quest. 

Not a child of the 80’s? Confused about the NeverEnding Story references?  Watch this: Neverending story trailor

Cold is okay, though. I will adapt, I always do. Shoveling is good exercise.

I try not to make situations too loaded. I do not want to invest too much emotion into an “end” because then it is just that: an end. From the get go, I had a strong desire to view this “trip”, “journey” (or insert your favorite related word) as a continuation of my life. I struggled to feel settled with this idea of “getting away” and then “returning” and was resistant to identify with concepts such as wanderlust, or any other romanticized notion that communicates a sense of escape, dreaming, and my personal favorite, “head in the clouds”. As G’mork stated, “Fantasia has no boundaries.” It is alive in all of us (all the time), but sometimes we need to go a quest to experience it’s true strength. And upon return, we are inspired, invigorated, grateful.

Besides, I identify more with the image of my head hovering above the water’s surface as my legs kick to keep me afloat- sometimes it is relaxing, sometimes it is exhausting. You have to find your rhythm. Although if you hand me some kid of floating device- I am golden. I could float around forever.

 The Childlike Empress: Bastian. Why don’t you do what you dream, Bastian?

Bastian: But I can’t, I have to keep my feet on the ground!

The Childlike Empress: Call my name. Bastian, please! Save us!

Bastian: All right! I’ll do it! I’ll save you! I will do what I dream!

Can’t it all be a continuum? All experiences will be gently protected under the umbrella of life, as opposed to this concept of leaving reality and then having to “go back” (wait for sound of heavy sighs).  In reality, when we refer to reality, or the return to “the real world”, are we not just referencing the concept of responsibility? People have strong opinions regarding the topic of responsibility. I think I may be considered irresponsible for even introducing the topic.

Bastian’s father: I got a call from your math teacher, yesterday. She says that you were drawing horses in your math book. 

Bastian: Unicorns. They were unicorns.

Bastian’s Father: What?

Bastian: Nothing? 

I feel your pain, Bastian.

I still don’t know. Can it be a continuum? Will it be a continuum? Or am I just over analyzing all of this? Most likely the latter. I am going with the Einstein quote these days, “Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”  He was a smart guy.

We are on week 6 in Buenos Aires. The reality of returning to a different way of life (that is how i am framing it today- “a different way of life”) has started to reveal itself.  Already I find myself zoning out to CSI, and giddy with excitement about watching Girls (a series I had never seen due to our absence of cable.) Wow, we have HBO! Slowly I plug back in, and part of me hates another part of me for finding comfort in David Caruso’s face, and excitement from Lena Dunham’s escapades.

I am nostalgic for those slow, hot days in Central America when all I had was a papaya and a book. Conversations of “remember that?”, pervade the daily chatter.

As with all losses, there is that transitional space where you have to organize the experience.  You need to find a shelf for the books, a box for your letters, a closet for the clothes. The idea of everything being scattered on the floor can be unsettling (as I sit in this rental apartment with my belongings strewn about). It’s a heaping pile of mess and there is nowhere to put all your crap. And in the end you have to accept it (the mess), or be riddled with anxiety. I have a feeling all my crap from the last 15 months will lay out for a while. I have not developed a storage system for an experience such as this. It is new. And with that comes opportunity, perhaps even the possibility of invention!

The book shopkeeper, Mr Coriander- one of the only people to have been to Fantasia and returned, explains:

Bastian: What’s that book about?

Mr. Koreander: Oh, this is something special.

Bastian: Well, what is it?

Mr. Koreander: Look, your books are safe. While you’re reading them you get to become Tarzan or Robinson Crusoe

Bastian: But that’s what I like about ’em.

Mr. Koreander: Ahh, but afterwards you get to be a little boy again.

Bastian: What do you mean?

Mr. Koreander: Listen. Have you ever been Captain Nemo, trapped inside your submarine, while the giant squid is attacking you?

Bastian: Yes.

Mr. Koreander: Weren’t you afraid you couldn’t escape?

Bastian: But it’s only a story.

The sadness, reality that things will be different, hovers and you just leave it there… hovering… until that moment when it kicks in…”things will be different.” Ah-Ha!

Things will be different. I can handle that.

But at the same time, a part of you knows that things will be exactly the same. Ugh (heavy sigh).

And the cycle continues.

So, How long till we get out, again?

“Human  passions have mysterious ways, in children as well as grown-ups. Those affected by them can’t explain them, and those who haven’t known them have no understanding of them at all. Some people risk their lives to conquer a mountain peak. No one, not even they themselves, can really explain why. Others ruin themselves trying to win the heart of a certain person who wants nothing to do with them. Still others are destroyed by their devotion to the pleasures of the table. Some are so bent on winning a game of chance that they lose everything they own, and some sacrifice every thing for a dream that can never come true. Some think their only hope of happiness lies in being somewhere else, and spend their whole lives traveling from place to place. And some find no rest until they have become powerful. In short, there are as many different passions as there are people.”

Prologue (The NeverEnding Story)

 

Works Cited 

“Luck dragon”. Wordnik.com. 2014. http://www.wordnik.com/words/luckdragon (10 December 2014).

The Never-ending Story, Dir. Wolfgang Peterson. Perf. Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach. Neue Constantin Film, Bavaria Studios (in collaboration with); Westdeutscher Rundfunk.  1984.

“Never-Ending Story Clip- Gmork Scene”. Online Posting. YouTube,10 December 2014. Web. July 25 2007.

Gear Review for overlanders

Everyone travels differently, and has a variety of values while on the road. Some things that may be important to you, might not be a necessity for others. Not to mention, different travelers have a variety of different budgets to manage. A big part of travel, camping, and adventure is the wide variety of gear one can purchase before or during a journey, and sometimes its difficult not to go overboard in this category, especially considering all the amazing gear and new technology out there. Some like it fancy, and some like it simple. During our travels we have bumped elbows with a wide range of people. We mingle with everyone from wealthy retirees who drive luxury big budget ex-military vehicles, all the way to lost hooligans peddling their way across countries by unicycle. Me personally, the more time i spend on the road, Its important to keep it simple and cheap, while not sacrificing gear reliability and personal enjoyment. Fancy new technology is always fun to play with, but how much of this do you really want to bring to unfamiliar locations in the third world. Dont get me wrong, I do have and iPhone, lap top, sweet camera, and more than a few nice surfboards. But when push comes to shove, and this stuff gets broken or stolen, I can only hope I don’t get too bent out of shape over it. Which leads me to believe, less is more, keep it simple. I’ve met plenty of travelers who have very little, and having less makes you more free in a certain sense.

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With this being said I’ve come up with my personal review of gear that has been more than helpful on a daily basis, and in my opinion, no overlander should venture without. In no particular order…..

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1. Bucket ($0.00 – $6) Like a lot of great things in life, the bucket is multi-use. I left home with no bucket, and quickly realized how badly I needed one. The best buckets are usually old 5 gallon spackle buckets which can be found for free at almost any construction site. Besides the obvious of washing clothes and dishes, My bucket is my chair, table, I bring it fishing, fetch water from several underground wells, weapon, collecting firewood, and the list goes on. If you can’t buck-it, fuck-it.

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2. Insulated coffee mug ($1 – $10) Us americans like our coffee, and if coffee is not your cup of tea, you can drink a cup of tea. Being from the east coast I like my coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Its tasty, you get it quick, and the price is reasonable, unlike the racket Starbucks is running. Most if not all Dunkin’ Donuts sells insulated coffee mugs ranging from $3 plastic ones to $10 stainless steel ones. We left NJ with 3 of these. One got lost, the other one blew out, only one remains. I purchased a replacement mug at a supermarket in Nicaragua for $1 and its just as good. I use this everyday, several times a day, for hot and cold drinks.

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3. String / rope ($0.00 – $5) Another multi-use item. We live in a truck, mostly on the hot beach. We are sweaty disgusting people who share a bed with a dog. We are constantly washing clothing and bedding out of our bucket. At our campsites we always have a clothes line set up. sometimes we have several lines set up drying clothes, dish rags, wet suits and the list goes on. I also use my string collection to tie down tarps, the awning, lowering my bucket into mysterious wells, and stringing up the hammock to any and everything, blah blah blah. String can be found amongst the rest of the trash that washes upon the beach or you can buy it almost anywhere.

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4. Smart phone ($50 and up) This item goes without saying. A smartphone is basically a small computer. Besides stating the obvious that one can email, Skype, and stay connected to family and well-wishers, there are many other great uses. The calculator comes in handy when contemplating exchange rates, maps, entertainment, we know the rest. Ive also used my camera several times to take quick photos of my license and passport, email to myself, then print it our for border crossings. The notes app is good for writing down important info and wifi passwords. Functioning without this would be very difficult.

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5. Skobbler app for phone ($0.99) This offline world road map application is probably not considered gear, but its been pretty amazing. For those who don’t know, listen carefully. We downloaded this app in Panama (brought to our attention by southtonowhere.com.) We do not have a cell phone plan, and you do not have to be online, but the map knows your location (via satellite) and you can plan a route, and download maps specific to the country. Being from the states we are extremely spoiled when it comes to road signage and city infrastructure. Its a different story down here, and not to mention several people south of the boarder (mostly in South America) drive with absolutely no regard to safety or the well being of human life. This is highly recommended and has given me the ability to avoid countless anxiety attacks when lost in these confusing cities, as well as saving gas by not getting too lost.

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6. Hammock ($10 – 80) The hammock could possibly be one of the greatest inventions ever. They are easy to set up. I have an anchor point on my truck so all I need to do is park near a tree or something to tie off the other end. After a long days drive, or some hours surfing, the hammock is a comfortable way to unwind and relax. Not to mention during those hot nights in Central America, its nice to get out of the tent and spend the night swinging in the wind. After Lupe the dog destroyed my compact camping hammock after having it for several years, I purchased a large cloth 2 person hammock in Cost Rica which is nothing short of amazing. During the drive South of the border there are dozens of opportunities to purchase several different styles of hammocks ranging from different prices. Hammock life means a comfortable relaxing life!

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7. Safe ($0.00 – $100) The safe is important for obvious reasons, and it should be large enough to hold all of your really important things. I built my safe out of scrap wood and metal from the shop I worked in at the time of my truck build. It can hold my laptop, folder, camera, phones, and more. Its also important to bolt down your safe to your vehicle somehow. Although we have not had any break ins, its also a good peace of mind knowing your important things are locked up securely. If someone was to break into my truck specifically, they would need a good amount of time and tools to get into my safe. Considering most breakins are a smash, grab and run situation I feel pretty good about my things being safe.

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8. Lupe the dog ($125) By no means do I consider our lovable pet a piece of gear, but I put her on the list anyway. We paid $125 at our local high kill rate shelter and saved Lupe’s Life. Im not looking for thanks but it was in fact our best purchase. Besides being part of the family Lupe acts as a great security guard. When a shifty individual approaches she makes her presence known, sending people in the opposite direction very quickly. When a friendly person approaches she is friendly and lovable. Several nights we have camped in questionable spots and when people get close I signal her to bark on command. Most people south of the border use dogs as security, so locals can only assume she is dangerous. Although she farts in the tent, gets fleas, frequents visits to the vet, and requires an expensive high protein diet due to food allergies, we love this dog like our own child and I’m confident she would seriously injure any person that tried to do us any harm. Not to mention Lupe is also a great mediator when Sara and I get into it.

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9. Filet knife ($1 – $20) Bringing a knife camping is a no-brainer. But I do recommend a large, sharp, durable knife. I bought one of those big white handle knives that professional fishermen use. It has no case and hangs out in the back of the truck. It cuts through live fish and dead meat, and veggies better watch out, cause Its sharp as hell, and has held up through over a dozen countries. these can be purchased in tackle shops, garage sales, or maybe you can find one in your garage that needs sharpening.

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10. Roof top tent ($800 – $5000) The RTT (roof top tent) does not apply to everybody of course. Some sleep inside their rigs on sleeping platforms, campers, or regular camping tents. We were lucky enough to find our Auto Home on NJ Craigslist for $900. This model tent from the factory might run closer to $4000. We put a clean mattress in, rigged up some swimming noodles so the surfboards fit nicely on top, and we’re ready to roll. The tent is extremely comfortable and is about the size of a queen size bed. Camping on the beach provides great views from above, plus scorpions and snakes have a hard time finding us on top of the truck. We decided that spending money on this item would be worth it, we got a good deal on it, also considering we will be spending the next year plus on the road.

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