Prepping for departure – I told you I got this…

I’m a list maker. No matter how daunting the task, nothing makes me happier than writing an enormous list of everything I need to do, then executing.  After 4 days of work, our list is almost complete. The only remaining task is to pass the drug sniffing dog test,  get clearance from Panama customs to leave, and to load the van on the ship. I will take care all of this on Monday. We anticipate Kiki’s health certificate will be ready by Wednesday and then we will fly to Colombia on Thursday.

That’s not to say that our mission was without challenges. Something always unexpected happens. While pulling her clothes out of the van Stevie noticed a leak coming from the roof.  It’s the rainy season and that was a show stopper. Fixing that problem in the US would be easy for me. I would take the van to a car-leaky-hole-in-the-roof-fix-it place and pay someone to patch it while I sat in the lobby surfing their wifi. Down here it’s not that simple. It’s every nomad for himself. Just finding the supplies to do the job took us half a day. Then reading on the internet how to do the repair and executing took the other half. I think it’s watertight, but we’ll see during the next rain storm.

Photos below of me fixing the roof and installing the security dividers. The van seems secure and we’re hoping any thieves will be deterred while our van is in transit.

We’ve been staging our logistics from a guest house called Panama Passage. This place is specifically set up for overlanders who are shipping between continents. Since we’ve been here the place has been packed with Europeans. Once again we are blown away by these families. They are out driving around the world with their kids in tow, as if nothing was more natural. It is nothing short of amazing to us. We met the most inspirational family to date a couple days ago. This French family just spent 6 months in South America and are now on their way to Alaska. They are driving an old Defender and traveling with FIVE KIDS!!! Can you imagine driving around the world in that vehicle (see below)? It’s like a clown car when they all get out. The parents are home schooling the kids, and Stevie was more than willing to pitch in on some lessons. 

On the left side of the photo below is another French family. They have 3 kids and the oldest (sitting on dad’s lap) is disabled. We never see Americans traveling like this, so it is wonderful for us to share the experiences of the Euros. We’re more excited than ever to travel with our kid after seeing the way these families live. They aren’t afraid of the world or of exposing their children to it.

When not packing, prepping, and organizing, we found time to explore Panama City. This is a very interesting place. There are some really bad slums surrounded by some nice neighborhoods. There is a beautiful “old town” and a modern city downtown. Some of the government buildings where we needed paper work signed were located in bad barrios. I was never worried because there were armed military guards on every corner, but you wouldn’t want to be in some of those places after dark. They are bad news. The level of poverty in these ghettos is as bad as we’ve seen anywhere in the world.

We went out to Casco Viejo (old town), with Shaun, our host at Panama Passage. This place is really cool. We need to go back and check it out during the day. There was street art and beautiful old buildings. Stay tune for more photos of this place. TREE

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Comments

  1. Terri Williams says:

    can't wait to see the day time pictures….

  2. Anonymous says:

    It's so amazing to learn about all the different lifestyles! What brilliant experiences for the kids. I'm so excited for you guys! Your child will be blessed.
    Love- Sis

  3. Anonymous says:

    nevr had a doubt

  4. how do 7 people fit in that defender? no way!

  5. Anonymous says:

    AM.AZ.ING!

  6. you need to learn to have more time on your hands then the locals and you will find things go much smoother.
    The moment they taste impatience , they see $ signs and things get slowed down. try it you will be amazed.
    Thijs & Rieneke

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