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Crossing the Border

It’s official: we’re back in the US. It feels simultaneously surreal and like we never left. We keep almost saying, “Buenas tardes.”

We crossed the border on Thursday by land in Tecate. We were wondering what it would be like to cross a border with Holly by land. The CDC only requires proof of rabies vaccination and a visual inspection — meaning if your dog looks sick, they’ll require an exam and may turn you away. But no one even looked at her or her papers as we crossed. So after months of having to get crazy health certificates and vet exams and pat downs, Holly just drove across the border like the rest of us. Hah.

Over the next couple weeks, we’ll visit family and prepare for our grand finale around the Tahoe Rim Trail. In the meantime, here is a listicle of some quick-yet-fun reflections.

Friendliest people:
Mexico and Costa Rica

Best food:
Mexico City, hands down

Memorable meals:
Pollo pibil in Tulum
Feria costumbrista in Chiloé
Steaks at Don Julio in Buenos Aires

Best fruits and vegetables:

Best empanadas:

Most beautiful transportation:
The ferry to Chiloé and Isla Lemuy
The bus to Bariloche, which runs through Nahuel Huapi National Park

Most frustrating experiences:
Getting a health certificate for Holly in Mexico
Renting a car in Costa Rica

Biggest failures:
(Not) learning to make refried beans
Not making it to the tip of South America

Scariest moments:
Holly getting stung by a scorpion
The moment before jumping into a cenote
Thinking the bus left us in the middle of nowhere at a rest stop on the way to Buenos Aires (it was refueling)

Traditions we like:
Merienda or onces, also known as afternoon coffee/tea, in Argentina and Chile
Very early starts to the day in Costa Rica

Things we won’t take for granted again:
Dogs having homes
People respecting lines
Good bread
Spicy food
ATMs having money in them

Best beach:

Best big city:
Buenos Aires

Best drives:
Seven-lakes route
Around Lago Llanquihue

Best outdoor experiences:
Floating through canals in Sian Ka’an
Boat ride through Tigre
Butterflies in Monteverde
Kayaking at Balandra

Places we enjoyed the least:
Mérida (too hot, but great food and architecture)
Bariloche (too touristy, although beautiful)

Most uncomfortable situations:
Bus from San Jose to Sámara, where Chris couldn’t fit his legs in and had to keep them in the aisle
Using bathrooms on buses

Things we thought would bother us more:
Slow restaurant service — what’s the rush?
Bugs — with the exception of our first place, we can handle cockroaches and all kinds of stuff

Most useful thing we brought on the trip:
Sewing kit, perfect for mending holes in otherwise perfectly good clothes
Time-release DEET lotion

Things we thought we’d need, but didn’t:
Water filter, because it’s more efficient to buy bottled if the tap water isn’t safe
Cipro, because we never got sick — except when I got the flu/tonsillitis

It’s a miracle we didn’t:
Get kicked off more buses for smuggling Holly on
End up with Dengue Fever

Most popular blog posts of all time:
Our decision to be digital nomads
Deciding whether to move out of our cockroach casita
The packing list
Whether perfection is good or not
How to budget for a traveling sabbatical


  1. I can’t believe you’re finally back…..can’t wait to spend time with you both. Love you!

    • We’ll see you soon! xo

  2. Love these reflections! Guess I’ll be throwing out the steri-pen we bought haha?? We shall see :D

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