100 days expedition from Southern California to Central America in a Toyota 4 Runner. Read about Brian’s mission to surf and live to the fullest.
What is your project and what mission are you on ?
My project is called 100 Days Central America, over landing Sheila my 1985 Toyota 4Runner from my home in Southern California through 7 countries and all the way to Panama. I made a promise to myself on New Year’s Day 2013 to travel as much as I can through my 20’s. My mission is to see the world not by 10 day vacations at a time but by actually spending time with the people of each country.This way you can actually learn about their culture, languages, and way of life!
Which life did you quit to achieve this ?
To be able to travel extensively for longer periods of time you have to make sacrifices in some places in your life. Luckily I have great family and friends that support me while I’m gone and whenever I’m home. Of course while you are on the road you can’t have everything that makes you feel comfortable back home. For instance your favorite foods, a nice clean comfy bed every night, air conditioning, someone who speaks your native language, etc. I have a pretty great setup to come home to a great family and job that I can get right back into whenever I get back. So I didn’t exactly quit a life to start traveling, I just made an adjustment, in the end to be able to travel the world I work through those sacrifices and make the best of where ever I am.
Which adventure mobile did you choose to lead you on this epic journey?
On this trip impeticular I bought a 1985 4runner about 2 years before departure, the trip got postponed a few times. So in the mean time I slowly worked on her when I was home and had the spare time. I chose this vehicle because it wasn’t too new and flashy, in central America it’s easy to work on and find parts for and parts are cheap as well, and lastly the engines and transmissions are great! The truck has been a great choice since I am exploring some places and roads other travelers in other vehicles wouldn’t be able to reach, to find the best waves I can.
The pros in choosing a 4Runner for my adventure is my range of accessibility. I have been able to go down any road, across any beach, and some rivers haha. With my all terrain tires, 4wd, and being a manual it makes life a lot easier, and I haven’t got stuck once, I’ve actually towed a few people with newer cars than mine out of some situations!
The cons to doing the trip with my 4Runner was space, so I had to pack a little lighter than I think most people would have. Also space in the aspect of area to be inside to move around, other than a van which has a lot of space, there isn’t anywhere to really sleep, cook, or just hang out in with the setup I had. With the limited space to sleep in the 4Runner I decided to go with having a tent I could throw out with a small air mattress to sleep. I camped basically the whole month I was in Mexico because it was cheap and the campgrounds are right on the beach. There were a few places with no campgrounds so we would pay a local to camp on his property or beach, sometimes they wouldn’t even take our money! But after Mexico it was mostly cheap hotels or hostels, which there are plenty of.
Where are you now and what was your favorite place you’ve stopped so far ?
Right now I am basically at the end of my adventure, I crossed into Panama a few days ago after spending some time in Costa Rica with friends. There have been a few places on my trip that really stand out that I can’t wait to go back to. Guatemala is probably number one, we only spent a few days there and didn’t get to see and experience some of there volcanoes, ruins, and lakes! Another place would be El Salvador, I spent a few weeks there and it was epic. Apparently it has the highest murder rate per capita in the world but I had nothing but good times while I was there. Great people, beautiful scenery, good waves, and cheap, what else do you need haha.
You’re a great surfer, have you been lucky with the waves so far? What was your favorite wave you’ve surfed so far?
Well I have been surfing almost my whole life and it is a big passion of mine. Surfing is what lead me to start traveling and I have almost (excluding a few trips to Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, and Austria) exclusively only traveled to places with surf. This trip I have scored some of the best waves of my life for sure, I just traveled through this region at the perfect time of the year for swell to be hitting nearly the whole trip. I literally have had one or two sessions in under 4’ foot waves in the whole three months which is very lucky!
A few of my favorite waves were number one Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Not only is it one of the most well known barrels in the world but it is also one of the most dangerous waves. I think that is why for me it was one of the most rewarding to be able to see the wave on a good swell and get a few of the best barrels of my life!
Another epic wave on the trip was Pavones, in the very south of Costa Rica. Very well known as one of the longest waves in the world and probably Costa Rica’s most well known wave as well. It was epic to see what the waves was like and the whole setup as well as the little town that surrounded it. We arrived on a predicted decent but not perfect swell and kind of got skunked. Only one decent session and the rest were nothing to crazy good, but we didn’t happen to find a few other very fun waves around the corner!
The last would be Las Flores in El Salvador, for some reason I always thought it was a longboard wave but we once again got lucky and a good swell came when we arrived. We were there for 4 days and it was 6-8’ and perfect all day everyday, super lucky. Lets just say once you get a 250 meter long wave and your able to do 10 turns and get barreled that is perfection in my books!
How did you fund that trip ? Do you work from the road ?
To fund my travels I literally just work my ass off for a few months to save all that I can while planning or already having the idea of my trip. This trip impeticular was like most, I had the idea and put my head down to make it work, but this trip was different also. Usually I have to fly to my destination, but I was literally leaving from my house in my truck, which was once again another different part of the trip. Setting aside time to work for money to save and time to work on my truck to get it ready. By trade I am a carpenter, I have been lucky enough to learn all my skills working alongside and for my dad who is a general contractor. He has taught me everything, I mostly build and install custom cabinetry but have skills in all aspects of building and remodeling a house. Aside from working for my dad I have built up a little client list who I do all kinds of odd and end little jobs for. Aide from all that I also drive for Lyft which is a ride share service like Uber. It is a perfect side job because it allows me to work whenever I want and leave, then when I come back home I just turn the app back on like I was never gone!
I would like to work more form the road, but I just haven’t found my niche. I have worked in a few countries I have visited doing carpentry but it just depends on how easy it is to find work like that and what the pay is like. I am working to get more into brand ambassador and marketing work with the companies I currently work with. So eventually I would get paid helping get content of there products on the trips I do. Some things just take time to build your name, following, and portfolio to be able to show these companies what you can do for them!
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