We Be Livin In Da Moment Mon

Our time in Belize has been a lesson in living in the moment.  Looking back, I realize that this lesson was foreshadowed at the border when the guy at the car insurance booth told us that Kriol, one of Belize’s many languages, doesn’t use overt verb tense markers in speech that distinguish past from present; meaning, everything seems to happen in the present–even yesterday.

Then we had the whole van debacle where we tried to have the tires rotated but wound up with a broken van that pulls hard to the right due to possible bent tie rods. Anyone that knows Tree knows that this was a fist-shaking to the heavens unjust turn of fate. Tree is the type of person who crosses his Ts and dots his Is.  He makes sure that this family is prepared by getting in front of problems before they occur—hence the tire rotation. So, to have the tire guys break the van and leave us stranded in Belize for up to two weeks while we frantically try to find foreign tie rods and a Mercedes mechanic was quite a blow. This incident was not in the plan. Defeated, my sweet hubby-to-be looked at me and said, “I just wanted to be a good fiancé and a good father. But now I’ve totally Mosquito Coasted this family…Are we still going upstream mother?”  To which I replied, “Yes, dear. Yes we are.”
With nothing to do but wait, the next day we went diving. I haven’t been diving since our awesome trip to Cozumel last April with John Sr. and Diane, so I was a little nervous about braving the depths again. For some reason, my mind likes to envision all the possible things that could go wrong when I’m 100 feet underwater.  This is what it’s like to be me diving:
Where’s Tree? Oh there he is, right next to me.  Can a mask implode? It’s been baking in the rocket box for months now. Is this damn thing on tight enough? I’m afraid to touch it. What if I have to vomit? Gross. What if Tree gets eaten by a shark? That one over there looks hungry.  Where’s Tree? Oh there he is, right next to me. What if I run out of air and Tree doesn’t understand my hand signal because Mr. Stop Worrying and Just Relax refuses to go over the safety manual with me! What’s my air at now? Oh my god, I’ve sucked up half my tank in five minutes. Breathe slow, in out in out in out. That’s too fast, breathe long, iiinnnnn ouuttttttttttttttttt, crap I feel like that’s using more air than before.  

This goes on and on until I finally get sick of hearing myself babble and I tell myself to shut up and just look around.  Oh, wow, a fishy! And that of course is when I calm down, breathe right, and actually enjoy the experience. It feels good to be present and aware, and it feels bad to go round the mad merry-go-round of the mind. Most of the time, I find that the things that I’m afraid of exist only in my head, anyway, which makes me wonder, how often does my mind’s commentary rob me of the joy of living? 
The next day, Tree went into Belize City to take the Sprinter to get a second and third opinion, and you’ll never believe what happened. They rebalanced the tires and Presto! The van is fixed! No broken tie rods, no busted ball bearings, no Argentina or Bust! board hanging from Kiki’s neck.  The family is mobile again.
I’m really proud of all of us. When we thought that the van was broken, and that our plans were seriously delayed, we didn’t crumble. We took everything in stride, we kept dealing with the task at hand, and we never stopped enjoying the moment. That is the key to happy living in Sprinter Life. -Stevie

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  1. Hey you two, I love your adventure and the way you write about it.

    I have some rules used in my travels:

    106 c – Never rotate your tires.

    106 a – Never let anyone work on your vehicle unless it is hopelessly broken-down.

    104 d – Preventative maintenance should only be done before leaving on a trip SOB and never while on one.

    110 a – There are good intuitive mechanics SOB and they can work miracles, ask around and be patient you will find them.

    Ride on,

    Rick (Santa Monica)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ohhhhh Stevie . . .you wrote it like it is . . .thank you for being you…(and enjoying your dive)! Hugs & love:-)Diane

  3. Hey girl!
    i'm so stoked you went diving. i can totally relate to all your panics with diving…been there!
    Safe travels!

  4. Hey Rick, thanks for posting! It's funny, in my first draft of this post, I included a quote from my immigrant Sicilian grandpa. He used to say, No broken, no fix. That's kind of like your rule, 106a. I personally like rule 106c. I have never rotated my tires in my life, and I think I might as well have a rule about it.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Definition of ADVENTURE: "An undertaking or enterprise of a hazardous nature, usually involving unknown risks, and hoping for a favorable outcome".

    Well of COURSE things break down and the"plan doesn't always come together"! That's the fun of it! That's ADVENTURE! It is so beautiful how you two are learning to surrender to every moment and every experience with acceptance of what IS. And then you go on to make the very MOST of whatever is happening! Truly, that is what ADVENTURE is all about! Yay, Team Nomad!

  7. I could have told you it wasnt the tie rods dude. common man, email me

  8. In DC with a foot of nasty wet snow and loving your blog! My wife and I are planning to head southbound in the fall and you guys are providing tons of inspiration.
    If you get a chance, I recommend you head over to Ambergris and check out the Palapa Bar (north of the cut). You'll see why once you get there
    Safe travels.



  9. You'll find Sprinter shops as you continue to head south. Keep your eyes open. That vehicle is more popular in South America.

  10. Stevie
    you know everyone is concerned during your trials and tribulations but it is very VERY hard to feel sorry for anyone in those photos 🙂

    Rock on girlie…
    did you know Trees are not very different than humans in the DNA sequence? ha ha ha

  11. John Rich says:

    Awesome! Best post yet.

  12. Hey Cesar, thanks so much for posting. I'm so happy that you're finding inspiration by reading the blog. That is definitely something we hope to offer. Please stay in touch with us along the way and feel free to pick our brains about any questions you may have. Where are you and your wife starting from, and where south are you heading?

  13. Julie, thank you for really feeling my pain. I think our dear friend Veronica may lack a little sympathy. I'm just saying…..

  14. Hey Guys, Just caught up on the blog. Your adventures with the van had me on an emotional rollercoaster – and I drove 250km Guatemala today…

    Now quit being van-hypochondriacs and catch up to us so we can hang out!


  15. Jeremy Jones says:

    oh man that last entry was just the message i needed before heading to work, which i'm becoming increasingly neurotic and anxious about. thank you. who needs religion or oprah when there's "sprinter life"? and you made me seriously want to visit oaxaca. thank you. glad you're fixed and ready to go. try to remember that lesson when you hit another "road block" cuz i'm sure you may encounter more… keep living and loving. love you! j.
    p.s. "127 hours" (oscar nominee starring james franco) you and tree will love it. just opened wide release, maybe it will be playing somewhere along your travels.

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