Reflections on a long day. 

sunset in mazatlan

sunset in mazatlan

Today was a long hard day and it makes me wonder why we're on this journey.

Just like every life there are challenges and difficulties. People think either we're "living the dream" or that we've come to Mexico to die.

We however have very different reasons for this lifestyle of location independence.

All of that aside today was a miniature version of survivor or perhaps the amazing race. Either way we haven't (yet) made it to the pitstop.
This morning found us waking up in Mazatlan. Yes we took the ferry to the mainland last week and survived the most dangerous part of our planed route, northern Sinaloa where two gringos were killed just a few months back.

However, after four days in Mazatlan it was time for us to move on. Our 6 month visas are up at the end of May and so we need to keep moving south so we can follow the laws and leave Mexico before our visas run out. We're headed for Guatemala for our visa run.

Today's trip was a 5 hour drive according to gps. However gps always gets it wrong here in Mexico! Our 5 hour trip became 7 hours plus an hour stop for lunch and we crossed a time zone. So even thou we left at 9:30 this morning we didn't arrive until 6:30 at night.

That in and of itself is a long day.

However we had various troubles including symptoms of a clogged fuel filter (tranny is running fine but the engine chokes and dies even in neutral). And then we overheated our brakes coming down a mountain.
All of that was okay though. Becky and I had a plan for each problem and somehow the fuel issue fixed itself.

But the worse was yet to come, we tried to find the road to this campground and couldn't. Perhaps I should clarify. This is a boondocking spot on the beach.

However in an attempt to find it we found ourselves on roads Gracie wasn't meant to travel. Roads barely wide enough for a car let alone Gracie.

Oh and this was in a small beach town called Sayulita. The road we wanted was closed for a celebration of Children's Day (holiday in Mexico).

So here we are blocking traffic with no way to turn or back up or anything. Fortunately the owner of a parked minivan was there and we could get him to move so we could get through.

We finally got to a spot where we could park Gracie, drop the mighty minivan and find this awesome beach with a smaller rig.

It's a good thing we did because there was no way Gracie could have gone any further in. And we never found the beach campsite.

Mind you its 6:30. Daylight is waining and everyone is hungry. We make a plan to bust Gracie out of this town and get her back to the "main highway"
And we do it.

Let's not talk about the stereotypical surfer dudes and their used golf cart getting in our way as we get Gracie turned around and the Minivan (now pulling her trailer) out of that town. It probably only took us an hour from getting stuck to getting back out to freedom. But boy that felt like a day in and of itself. Full of stress and frustration. Mostly at foreigners. Locals are friendly and kind.

We learned real quick that Sayulita isn't our kind of town.

We did find the RV park in there and yes if the road had been opened we would have made it there no problem. But alas after a day like today the last thing we wanted to do was pay to stay next to a party bar/restaurant.


There were more wrong turns and craziness before we finally found a spot on the side of the highway where we are parked for the night. We put the kids to bed at 9 pm. An hour later than normal. No one ate dinner, they were too hot and tired.

Becky and I unwound in the living room and just when we were getting ready to turn in ourselves we realized that Zander's congestion has grown in the last hour.

For most kids a running nose mixed with congestion is no fun and makes for restless sleep and crabby kids the next day. But for Z it's different. And his congestion gets awful and does it quickly. Since he was born whenever he had congestion one of us would stay up with him on the couch. The reason for this is that he gags, struggles for a breath and then crys/screams for a bit. Combined with the fact that it's better when you're congested to sleep elevated. Thus laying on mom or dad while were elevated helps him to breath better.

So here I am at 1:30 am, laying on the couch with a sickie kiddo, a dog who has to be near daddy, and I'm reflecting on our day.

It was tough.

Very tough.

And it isn't over yet.

Tomorrow we have to find a better place or keep driving. We ran out of time today (absolutely no driving at night in Mexico for us)

But some great things happened today.

The kids spoke Spanish and are starting to make small conversations with others.

We got out of really tricky situations.

We didn't get angry at each other

We ate great food for lunch (cheap too)

We are on schedule for our visa run (meaning we didn't loose any days yet and are still able to make it the next 1,300 miles to Guatemala before visa issues.
So why are we doing this? Why not?

Forgive my typos. This was typed on a cellphone and sent without edits.

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at and own We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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  1. Shirley Coale

    Thanks for the update. I can’t see the podcasts so have been wondering how you were. Sending prayers and thoughts your way.

    • Paul Kortman

      Bummer you can’t get to the podcasts! Were generally doing very well except for this one day. Work has been demanding all of my time so no blog posting :( but I hope to get on top of that soon!

  2. Betsy

    I’m sorry it was such a hard day! You are ALL amazing and precious. Praying for Zander’s speedy recovery, and an uneventful day stress wise.

  3. Christy

    Yikes! I got a stress headache just reading that! I hope tomorrow is so, so much better. Praying for you, as always :)


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