My wife R and I had this crazy idea to buy a VW camper van and spend a year driving it to South America via Mexico and Central America.

It’s crazy on the one hand because we have a daughter (age 12), a son (age 9), and zero mechanical acumen.   I just recently learned a “starter” is not just something that you order with drinks before your entrée; it actually helps make the car go vroom.

We’ll have to take the kids out of school, where they both have very good grades and nice friends, and somehow prevent them from bickering each other to death as they spend the next 365 days buckled next to each other on a bench seat where they won’t even have arm rests to define their space. There’s a good chance this will be the last time they ever acknowledge us as their parents!

It’s crazy on the other hand because, well, it’s just crazy awesome! I mean, you would have to be nearly insane to not want to take a year off from the daily 9 to 5 and spend it with your wife and children in an 80 square foot rectangle on wheels. Think of the stories we’ll have to tell – of being bitten by enormous mosquitoes! Of paying bribes to men in uniform! Think of the shared experiences  – perfecting our Spanish while ordering cold bebidas at surf camp! wondering where the heck is the tow truck and when does the rainy season end!

The Vanamos family prepares for departure.

The Vanamos family prepares for departure.

But life is what you make it; so we’re going to do it. We’re going to leave Alexandria, Virginia, on August 1 and drive 80 miles south to Richmond to spend the night with my Aunt. Assuming she doesn’t talk us into turning around and heading home, the next day we’re going to drive south some more and then we’re going to keep doing it until we get to the Mexican border. And that’s when the adventure really begins.