What if you went on a road trip, and never returned?
Two couples called the road their home for years, covering hundreds of thousands of miles. Their refuge? For a couple, a Mitsubishi Delica four-wheel-drive van, when compared with an RV or even other van, is small, let alone a craze-free home. For another, a Ford Festiva is smaller than anything on four wheels.
The coronovirus epidemic has left both couples and their vehicles inactive, as they all wait for their next chapter.
That 1988 two-door Festiva is known as the Peace Love Car. It was home to Sam Salvei for eight years, and Raquel Hernández-Cruz joined him for four years. After getting the chance and then traveling for a month in 2012, they reunited in 2013 – and have been together ever since.
“While I was working on my undergraduate degree, a friend gifted me the car,” said Mr. Salvei, a 39-year-old native of Crystal, ND, who received his degree in social entrepreneurship at the University of North Dakota. “A free car that was also gas-efficient was a dream. I didn’t really need anything else. “
He started off with short road trips, then figured he could stay longer if he didn’t have to return home. “Little by little I started adapting the car to allow me to sleep in it,” he said, “for a five-year slow conversion.”
The couple continued their journey as soon as the car arrived at Mr. Salvei’s mother’s North Dakota home. She has recently spent the winter in Thailand, but after a coronovirus outbreak earlier this year, she quit riding the epidemic in Puerto Rico with Ms. Hernández-Cruz’s family. In September he went to California, where he, too, bought Delica and prepared it while living a harmonious lifestyle in Long Beach.
For Ms. Hernández-Cruz, who is 40 years old and raised in rural Puerto Rico, “My life seemed very ordinary because I first followed the road laid by my parents – school, college, marriage.” , Grade school, perhaps having children and a job at work for their entire lives. “
That was not his way. She started practicing yoga, and wanted to do something different. She met Mr. Salvei and was soon traveling the world YogaSlackers, Teaching “Slackline Yoga”, which is basically a criterion.
Of course, his car was well suited to nomadic life. It had more than 10 USB charging ports, seven 12-volt power ports and six 110-volt plug-ins. It used two RV-type batteries and 400-watt solar panels to power the hatchback, a small fridge, various electronics, and a roof fan.
The windows had screens, the body panels were insulated, and two adults (snuggly) slept on the beds. It has a DIY rear lift kit, with upgraded suspension and steering system. The two roof boxes serve as attics, holding adventure equipment, backpacks, cameras and accessories.
The car’s kitchen included a Craftsman tool bag and “a random combination of camp kitchens and home kitchen items”, Ms. Hernández-Cruz said, making everything as small and light as possible. When hungry, they pulled up and cooked: free campgrounds, rest stops, gas stations or roadside. Empty, the car weighed in at just over 2,500 pounds, but as a whole it exceeded 3,700 pounds.
“Everything in the car has a place, and usually you can deliver it in less than three movements,” said Salvei. “Parking is a breeze, it is easy to squeeze into small camps, and most importantly, you can pick it up and take it in hand as necessary.”
Festiva’s odometer is 524,000 miles, and since 2008 it has crossed the United States about 20 times. Since 2013, the couple has toured and taught through three countries and 49 states (exceptions to Hawaii). Festiva received a farewell tour in 2014, and since 2017 they have been trying to find it a new home, with “Shree looking for a qualified pilot for an adventure”.
Their 1991 Mitsubishi Delica Star Wagon, Pablo Ray and Anna Callau have their way through 60 countries in slightly larger quarters (53.8 sq ft).
Their vehicle also has a nickname: La Cucaracha, and it was home to the couple for 16 years. It was also an honored guest at their Las Vegas wedding – they said their vows at a drive-through ceremony in 2011.
What began as a four-year-long jaunt, which is one continent per year, turned into a never ending journey. Raised in Buenos Aires, 54-year-old Mr. Ray said, “Life outside our normal boundaries was far more prosperous and exciting.”
Business and economy
The couple’s journey with the van is halted, and it is parked near Reno, Nev., Awaiting post-pandemic times. Mr. Ray and Ms. Callou, 48, meanwhile are living near their family home in Europe.
The couple paid about $ 10,500 in a van in Spain in Barcelona on Christmas Eve in 1999, with about 52,000 miles on the odometer. (He later suspected it to be illegally rolled back.) He has made a lot of adjustments over the years, including an additional 20-gallon fuel tank and a solar panel.
During the journey of 245,000 miles, he faced challenges and breakdowns. In Sudan, “we lost the cover of the air filter and half the sand from the Sahara Desert went into the engine,” Mr Ray said. “We were in an area where nobody spoke English, only Arabic.”
Local mechanics only fix tractors. The couple had no phone call, no embassy and no AAA to ask for help. Nevertheless, they were successful.
The bandits attempted robbery with an AK-47 in Kenya. Mr. Ray and Ms. Kailou in Trinidad and Tobago were attacked by thieves, and in Kitam Cave, Kenya, Ebola cases were being diagnosed as they were traveling. The Andes Mountains in Chile pose another threat: Delica’s engine was abandoned at 15,000 feet and had to be replaced.
The festival also had its share of troubles. In the more than 400,000 miles that Mr. Salvei has put into it, poor transmissions in roadside and grocery store parking were discontinued. However, there was nothing more challenging than being sick while living together in 28 rolling square feet.
“Our body is the most internal machine that we have,” Ms. Hernández-Cruz said. “We have to do our best to keep it running for a long time.”
Adversity or challenges can lead to reward and happiness. “Interesting stories usually come when you go outside your comfort zone,” said Ms. Callau, who is from Barcelona and identifies Catalan. Couples share their journey online Viajeros 4x4x4 And related social media channels.
“To be on the road is to live with too much freedom,” Ms. Callou said. The couple has worked at a bar in Chile and worked as a “pistachio” cop at a ski resort. He sold T-shirts, postcards and books and wrote about his journey. He also developed a comic strip with a friend from Boston about being on the road.
One of the most rewarding parts “has been the owners / masters of our time”, Ms. Callou said. “The magic is now in the unexpected,” Mr. Ray said.
For Katherine Joyce, a fellow YogaSlack teacher and postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values, The Peace Love Car was “fun, inviting, unapproachable”. It is also a symbol of freedom, he said: “Freedom from consumerism, social standards, burden obligations, but also freedom in the sense of self-determination.”
Festiva was loaded with more than 2,000 stickers, which led to countless police stops and border inspections, but relatively few tickets. It was “much more than a car or a house,” Mr. Salvei said. “This is the ultimate smile maker.” “Everyone who sees the car reacts to it is smiling most of the time,” he said.