When did our trip start? We both believe that everything began during that night of November 2005, in a tango lesson, when we saw each others for the first time. It was in the city of Mar del Plata (Argentina), the born place of Iris and the town where Franck (just arrived from France) was making an investigation for the university.
This meeting definitely changed our lives: after this night, we never separated each others. We spent the four following years between Argentine and France, achieving our studies, working and saving money for the craziest of our dreams: to travel around the Americas driving an old VW bus.
The honey moon appeared to be the perfect pretext. On February, the fourteenth, we get married and one month later, in our VW Kombi of 1982 “Made in Argentine”, we drove the first kilometers on the very long road to New York! We will never forgive the amazing feeling of freedom we felt this day. We had the sensation that nothing but infinite was waiting for us.
Nevertheless, the first difficulties came with the first kilometers. During the very first day of the trip, the changes system fell down and two weeks later, in a fuel station close to the Brazilian border, our loved bus, the third member of our little family, took fire!
On that moment, we really believed that the adventure was over. We saw two meters flames’ getting out from the motor, and it was like looking the lost of our most beautiful dream. Nevertheless, the destiny made us meet Fabio and all the employees of his garage. We met very nice people and during one week, we lived in the garage, repairing, sanding and painting the van. The mayor tragedy of the trip also gave us the main learning: everything has a solution and there is always someone that can help us!
Then our trip really started. We crossed all the Brazilian Nation, discovering a giant and amazing country, with very different places. Rio do Janeiro, Curitiba, Ilha Grande, Salvador do Bahía… We will never forgive these names. They´re all synonymous of beauty, colors, sun and smiles. When we arrived in Belem, we saw the Amazonas, the biggest river of the world, so large that sometimes it´s impossible to see the other side. We had to put the van on a boat and during one week, we navigated between the trees of the Amazonian forest, the Indian people and the animals of this virgin place, going toward the other capital of the Amazon: Manaus.
After ten thousand kilometers (6213 miles) of pure road, we crossed the Venezuelan border, discovering a beautiful country and meeting wonderful people. On the north coast, on a beach called Querepare, we waited a whole night under the stars and when the sun was to wake up, a giant turtle coming from Canada appeared on the beach. She swam thousands and thousands miles to put her eggs on the beach where she was born and being here in this moment was like living a dream.
Then, in Caracas and Merida, we lived unforgivable moments with people from the VW clubs. In Merida, we spent one entire week in Reinaldo´s garage, taking care of the bus. In this region of mountains, we discovered another aspect of Venezuela, with a very rural way of life, very small villages and wild nature.
The following country was Colombia. We had heard many scaring things about this Nation and we had the surprise to discover one of our favorite countries is South America. Very friendly people, beautiful and heterogenic landscapes: Colombia was the better surprise of the trip. Beyond the beauty of the landscapes, we were very impressed by the historical density of the country. Cartagena is one of the best preserved historic towns we never saw and History is omnipresent.
Nevertheless, entering Colombia also means to find a solution to cross the border with Panamá. There is no road and the border zone is an impenetrable forest controlled by the guerrilla! During one month, we searched for an economic solution but we finally had to pay the full price for the transport of the van. We put it on a cargo and with four other travelers; we get on board of the Sea Sprite, a forty feet sailing boat on which we lived one of the prettiest part of the trip. We sailed from Desert Island to Desert Island, swimming in a blue-transparent sea and diving upon giant coral barriers. Exactly like in the movies, we saw full-colored fishes, giant stars, little sharks, exotic plants… One more time in this story, one of the biggest difficulties was transformed into an unforgivable moment!
So we entered Central America. First in Panamá, then in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Volcanoes, beautiful beaches, rain forest… The sensation of freedom is stronger than never: there isn´t any important obstacle on the road to New York. In Panamá City, we had to change the major the block of the motor but we met Samuel, a specialist in VW who did the work for free, just to be part of the dream! Exactly like in South America, we´re helped by people who say us things like “you´re living our dream” and persons we don´t know open us their doors and made us feel like at home!
When the night comes, when we speak between us in the bed before we sleep, we always say that we want this trip to help us being better persons. It´s not so easy but the world shows us the way: it´s not so bad that we used to think. Even if our newspapers always speak of the dramatic events that take place all around the world (do your ever see a breaking new for a good new?), we see with our own eyes and live with our own hearts that there is many, many beauty, solidarity and friendship in this world. This trip makes us feel that we´re transforming our lives in ONE destiny and it´s probably one of the prettiest things we never did.