About Us

We are Stephanie and Juan. We left our adopted home of San Francisco in September of 2012 to drive our ’89 Vanagon Westfalia, “The Electric Pony,” to Tierra del Fuego. In April of 2014, we reached the southernmost city in Patagonia, Ushuaia, and returned by air to the Bay Area on May 31, 2014. We called this blog Van en Van to use both the Spanish and English uses of the word van: ‘they go’ and ‘a larger vehicle used for transporting goods and/or people.’ Van is also the name of a Turkish city that we have not (yet) visited.

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This is how we dress to go camping. Or, to the ‘Brave’ wrap party.

Team Member #3 was Milo the dog, adopted just ten days before leaving from San Francisco Animal Care and Control. From his reported lineage of mixed Tibetan Terrier and Border Collie descent, we assume that Milo was a spiritually aware sheep herder. He is now in charge of emotional well-being, llama-spotting, and heating the bed at night.

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Milo the dog, who only knows one Spanish word: llama.

Stephanie is a writer from Deerfield, Illinois who loves eating, knitting, hiking and feeding stray animals. She has attended school in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York and is still somehow unemployed. For the purposes of this journey, she is in charge of food, finances, warm-weather accessories, and getting up early.

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Stephanie could eat tacos three meals a day, but sadly we have not seen tacos since Mexico.

Juan is a photographer from Punta Alta, Argentina, with a talent for visual effects. You’ve probably seen at least one of the movies he’s worked on, which include animated movies from Antz to Brave (chronologically, not alphabetically). But he’s modest so we won’t embarrass him here. He is in charge of driving, navigation, mechanical and electrical issues, speaking Spanish, and staying up late.

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Juan is also a magician. And he has only worn a suit twice in his entire life, both coincidentally featured on this page.

We love correspondence and do our best to help other travelers and potential travelers with any questions and issues. If you send us your address, we will mail you a postcard from wherever we happen to be! You can also see more of our work on our separate photo blogs.

Juan
juanbuhler at gmail dot com

Stephanie
haveyoulostweight at gmail dot com

 

21 comments for “About Us

  1. April 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    It’s not electric. (It’s not a pony either.) This blog is full of lies.

  2. Gilles Dezeustre
    June 15, 2012 at 5:35 am

    You guys think you are so hardcore… and actually you are!
    A nice couple from seattle did something similar to what you are embarking in, only without an electric pony and on the colder side of the earth… Watch what the documentary they made, it’s amazing:

    http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Journeys/WildCoast.html

    love,

    Gilles

  3. Jeff
    August 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Juan and Stephanie,
    was great meeting you two at Ocean Beach last weekend (I was with thelma). Have a great trip. Can’t wait to read the stories.
    j

    • August 28, 2012 at 3:42 am

      It was great to meet you (and Thelma) as well. Thanks so much for driving down into the fog to hang out. Hope to see you when we get back!

  4. eroc
    September 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    So excited and, yes, envious.
    Determined to meet you somewhere south of the Panama Canal.
    Love and blessings!

  5. Stephanie
    September 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Sounds amazing! Have a great time!

  6. mariano uset
    September 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Exitos Juan, esperamos tu paso por Punta Alta. ¡Que aventura! no lo puedo creer. La mejor de las suertes para Uds.

  7. Susy
    September 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Hola juanjo, estoy viendo tus fotos de la linda aventura con tu chica, mandame algo de donde estes, un beso y suerte, tu tia Susy de Cabildo

  8. rafa ibarra
    October 10, 2012 at 4:33 am

    envidia de la buena juan mucha suerte y aqui te estare visitando
    GERALDO VWS

  9. Sid Cranston
    October 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Found your blog from the Dangerz. I live in Kingman, Arizona and that is where I met Bryan and Jen. I am thinking of doing something similar but I would be riding a BMW R1200GS onroad / offroad type adventure bike or maybe a dune buggy. I will bookmark this site so I can follow your travels also.

    Salud~

    Sid.

    • October 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      hey Sid! We’ve met a handful of BMW folks, most recently an Australian couple doing the northbound route. Sounds awesome!

  10. Bill and Edith Barnes
    November 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Juan and Stephanie, We enjoyed meeting you at the hot springs of Escondido near San Miguel de Allende. Here is a link to Genetic Roulette that we were discussing at the Round Pool. http://www.geneticroulette.com

    Let us know when you come back this way in San Miguel. We have an extra bedroom, warm showers, and Mosey, a former street dog, who is more than willing to play with your dog and who can show off the terrace for playing “roof dog.” Plus we have a place for you to park the van. Just call us at 154-0675 in town, or by email.

    Have a great journey! Bill and Edith

  11. Carol Renwick
    November 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Dear Stephanie and Juan – It was a pleasure to meet you at Escondido Place!
    I look forward to coming back to your blog to look at more of your pictures. The ones I saw already are really fine. Do get in touch with us using my email.
    We would love to see you and offer you a parking spot and hot shower if you swing back through San Miguel after next week. Have a great time at the balloon festival!

    • November 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Hi Carol! Thanks so much for the offer! It was wonderful meeting you as well, and we will definitely be in touch if our “schedule” permits!

  12. susan williams
    December 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Stephanie- this is terrific! Sarah has enjoyed this blog, and your mom gave me this address. You are really good…

  13. bruce
    April 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Juan & Stephanie,
    It was great meeting you at BugCamp here in Coban. Thanks for your experiences, those tips will help me on my similar trip through Central America.

  14. September 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Hey guys…

    Just read your Panama reports… you know that there is now a ferry running by a german guy? Did you hear any feedbacks for it?
    We would hate to fly with the dogs.. we are trying to find other solutions… the money is one thing, but we already know a travelere where they stole the dog at the airport last year and it took them very long time and lots of money to find the dog through a miracle again!
    Not really looking for something like that! ;)

    Cheers from El Salvador

    Michel & Ursi

  15. September 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Juan, have not seen you for a couple years. Have fun traveling! It’s HILARIOUS to read Stephanie’s “Travel While Asian.” AZN is America has the same problems: “Where are you from?” Um, San Francisco Bay Area? “I mean, where are YOU from?” Well, I am Chinese-America, if that’s what you are asking.

  16. January 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Wondering if you guys have info for the shipping company you used to cross the Darien Gap. Any help would be appreciated :)

  17. piero
    June 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Hola chicos! Antes que nada quiero felicitarlos :) Mi nombre es Piero y la idea es irme en mi Kombi a Brasil. Pero estuve averiguando en referencia a la salida y entrada del vehículo y parece ser que hay un plazo para cumplir de un año mas otro año llegado el caso pida extender la prorroga; hasta en algunos casos me dijeron que se da una extensión de otro mas, sumando en total 3 años. Por que sino cuando volvés a la Argentina te corre una multa muuuuy cara que sobrepasa el valor de la camioneta y hasta pueden quedarse con la chata.
    Ya averigue en: Consulado de Brasil, Aduana (Tec de exportaciones, y exposición de exportaciones), migraciones, un despachante de aduana, resguardo, y EMBA.
    Mi idea es viajar por todo el litoral de Brasil hasta llegar al Nordeste, no sé cuando voy a volver si en uno, dos o tres años…
    Ustedes saben algo sobre esto? Como se manejaron?

    Abrazo, y Gracias.

    PD: Una de las opciones que me dieron es mudarme con la Kombi, pero para eso debo darla de baja, y luego darle el alta en Brasil, y es muchisima plata, y ni siquiera me conviene por que no es mi idea definir vivir allá tampoco de momento.

    • jbuhler
      June 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Hola Piero,

      Las leyes de Argentina son un desastre. Hablando con un agente de aduana en Tierra del Fuego me entere de que no es posible sacar un auto argentino del pais por mas de un año, creo. Nosotros viajamos con una camioneta de USA, asi que eso no fue problema.

      No se que es lo que hacen los viajeros argentinos. Tendrias que averiguar con alguno de ellos!

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