Bumfuzzle Nation Charts Course South and East in VW Van

Names: Pat and Ali Schulte
Home Town: St. Paul, Minnesota

Road trip destination: It looks like this trip will take us from Alaska to as far south as Argentina. From South America probably on to Europe, across Russia, and back to North America.

Date left home: June 26, 2008
Time line for returning home: Time line revolves solely around warm weather.

Vehicle:1958 Volkswagen Panelvan

Place bought the van and custom work done on it: We bought the bus in Canada and had it restored in Seattle. Inside it we built a camper style kit, with a fold down bed, a refrigerator, a sink, and plenty of storage. But on the outside it is really just a fairly standard 1958 VW Bus.

Favourite feature/aspect of the van: Our favorite thing about the bus is that it makes such a great conversation starter. We've met hundreds of people for no other reason than that they have a VW Bus story of their own. Aside from that we like the fact that we are so small and can drive and park anywhere, and we can do so without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Top 3 campsites in Mexico/Central America so far: About twenty miles north of Todos Santos, Baja, a long dirt road leads to miles of beaches in the middle of nowhere. Camp any place you like for as long as you like without seeing another person.

Guanajuato, Mexico, a very cool colonial city perched on steep hillsides. There is a campground there big enough for about four vans overlooking the whole city.

Playa el Sunzal, El Salvador, The Surfer's Inn. It's not very scenic, and the camping facilities are rough, but the family that owns the place are locals and very sweet, a good surf beach is a three minute walk away along with a great beach bar/restaurant,

and just fifty yards down the road is the best late night papusa stand in the country. What more could a person need?

Preferred guidebook(s): We use Lonely Planets for all the countries we visit. Good information and a strong emphasis on the lower budgets.

Life before this trip: Without any prior experience, spent 1,333 days sailing around the world aboard Bumfuzzle, our 35' catamaran. And then wrote a book about it, Bumfuzzle: Just Out Looking For Pirates.

Top 2 travel gadgets/devices: We have a tiny 11" Sony Vaio laptop that weighs two pounds, which we love. Aside from that we are completely gadget free. No stereo, no mapping devices, and definitely no phones.

How is the book doing? Are thinking of writing another one about this trip: Our sailing book has done really well so far. We enjoyed writing it and putting it together and I'm sure it's something we'll continue to do with all of our travels.

Is revenue from the book and t-shirts enough to live on: Revenue from the book is between two and six dollars a copy. We'd have to sell a heck of a lot more books to live off that sort of margin. T-shirts we just do for fun, we make zero profit off of them.

Most challenging part of living in a van: The only challenge living in the bus for us is the weather. If it is raining life is horrible, if it's not life is great. Quite simply we need our outdoor space since we probably spend 16 hours a day there.

Best piece(s) of practical advice for someone following in your footsteps: Practical advice? The world is filled with kind and generous people, not terrorists and criminals. Quit whatever you are doing and get out and meet them.

Pat and Ali's website: www.bumfuzzle.com