#Vanlifers in the Pandemic

For more than a year I’ve been caught up in the day-to-day drama of a bunch of loosely-affiliated YouTube couples driving their customized camper vans through Central and South America. Given the seasons and travel patterns related to them, many of them reached Patagonia just as the pandemic hit, and they’ve all been documenting the process of getting stuck or getting home. As a collection, they’re an interesting slice through onc particular type of experience of social distancing and quarantine:

Trent & Allie are an American couple who made it all the way to Ushuaia, where the road ends at the tip of South America, and then back north to Buenos Aires before they could travel no farther. They made it back to family in Washington, DC in the nick of time, and documented their flight from Argentina over three videos: Trying to Escape the Pandemic, We Had to Abandon Our Van and Is it Too Late to Fly Home?

Kaylee and Nate, who go by The Nomadic Movement, traveled with Trent and Allie through Mexico and Central America, but they parted company in Panama when Kaylee and Nate decided to stay an homestead. They have chosen to remain there, and talk about being quarantined in their Forced Into Quarantine In Our School Bus.

Sara and Luca, who call their channel Leave Everything and Wander, are an Italian couple who drove all the way from Alaska to Ushuaia. They document their struggle to find a way to quarantine there in Stranded Abroad.

Christian and Aubry Matney also made it to the end of the road in South America, and they’ve chosen to ride out the pandemic in El Calafate, Argentina, which they document in Van Life in a Pandemic: Quarantine Day 1 and Van Life in a Pandemic: Trapped in South America.

Elsewhere in the world–because the YouTube algorithm does not only prod me to watch drives to Ushuaia:

Eamon & Bec, and Canadian couple who shipped their van to Europe and drove south into Morocco, opted to leave their van in there and fly home while it was still possible, which they vlogged in Abandoning Our Van in Africa.

Jason and Nikki Wynn, who call their channel Gone with the Wynns, are former #Vanlifers who moved on to sailing. They’d previously left their catamaran in Tonga for a holiday break in the U.S., and made a mad dash back to Tonga hoping to ride out the pandemic at sea. They almost made it, but they got quarantined in Fiji, which they describe in We’re Stranded.