Van Life - When Everything Goes Wrong But You Love It Anyways

We are Sara Bertagnolli and Luca Sguazzini, an Italian couple of explorers and storytellers.

We are the first youtube couple adventurers driving from Deadhorse Alaska to Ushuaia Argentina with an old truck camper. Our natural curiosity led us to change our lifestyle, join forces and to tell a life out of the ordinary on social networks, giving to everyone the possibility to experience the “wander- spirit”.

We want to encourage people to get out and see the world and tell them to be brave and not be scared to step out of their comfort zone, everything is possible!

1. the Beginning of Mobile Life

I Had Always Dreamt of Eventually Ditching Airplanes, Rejecting the Idea of “flying Over” Places, and Travelling More Slowly, Gradually, Deeply. Some People Do It in Vans, Calling It Vanlife. Some Do It in Special Rigs, Calling It Expeditions. but the Idea is the Same: to Take Your Time. No Rush. Work, Rest, Travel, Explore - and Repeat.

We started our project “LeAw – Leave Everything and Wander”, we quit our successful careers and we left Italy at the end of May 2017 with a luggage of 50 kilos, 1770 Euro each and a Canadian working holiday visa. We have been living on the road for 2 years and 9 months, exploring 15 countries, driving 70000km and giving our old Ford a second life.

2. The Dream Van - (odyssey)

Hello from our New Travel Companion, the Subject of our Secret Project over the Last Weeks, The Dream Van. Odyssey - That’s Her New Name ❤️ She’s Named After the Mythical Journey of Greek Hero Odysseus Back to His Homeland of Ithaca. 

Over the Next Few Weeks, We Will Be Converting Her into an Overland Expedition Vehicle and Documenting the Whole Journey. You Can Expect Elements of Vanlife, Plus a Lot of Off-roading Action.

Once the Conversion is Finished, the Two of Us Will Be Setting off on a Grand Odyssey to the Ends of the World... 😉

3. Overlander Build 

There’s a Lot More Coming, but we Really Wanted to Share Our Progress So Far! My Tiny Home on Wheels is Finally Starting to Take Shape.

We Find It Amazing How You Can Build a Liveable Space Using Under 50kg of Materials, Fewer Than 50 Screws, and within a Matter of Days.

4.The Fresh Exterior

After 5 Weeks of Work on the Interior, the Mechanics and the Electronics, It Was Finally Time to Crown Odyssey with a New Roof Kit.

We Creating This Masterpiece: the New Roof Rack Holds a Roof Tent, Recovery Tracks, a Pull-out Awning, Solar Panels, a Powerful Light Bar and a Mountable Shower Cabin.

When Everything is Set Up, Odyssey Feels Like an Actual 2-floor Tiny Home 😂

5. First Days Living on the Road

We Drive Everywhere with a Smile on My Face, That’s the First Thing. Feel Free, Knowing That we Could Stop and Stay Just About Anywhere. There’s No Pressure to Do Anything or Go Anywhere Specific.

We Main Concerns of Each Day So Far Have Been: Where Do we Go? when Should we Eat Something? Where Shall we Spend the Night? There’s Something So Very Liberating About Focusing on These Basic Things As a Matter of Priority. Everything else Comes Second.

That’s It. Full Freedom from the System Might Not Be an Option, but we Think This is Getting Pretty Close to It. Simple Things.

6. Europe

Over the Last Week, we Crossed Several Country Borders on My Way to Southern Europe. As Always, Border Checks Went Smoothly, Immigration Officials Joked Around, Checked Our Documents and Wished Our a Safe Trip.

We Never Get Questioned at Border Crossings. Even Our Visas from Countries That Might Raise Suspicion - Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan - Don’t. and We Know Exactly Why: We Have a Standard European Name, Look “normal” and Approachable by Conventional European Standards And, Importantly, We Have an Eu Passport.

These Are All Powerful Privileges. Many of Us Take Them for Granted, and It Takes Seeing “the Other Side” to Truly Understand How Much Power They Give Us to Move Around the World Freely.

7. Iran

Raw Travellers Don’t Seek the Comforts of Home on the Other Side of the Globe. Instead, They Dive Deep into Other People’s Cultures to Grow Their Understanding of the World Around Them.

They Know That in Order to Learn, They Must Go into the World with Open Minds, Prepared to Be Proven Wrong, Ready to Change.

Raw Travellers Are Aware That They Know Very Little About the World. Their Strong Suit is Not the Knowledge They Possess, but the Openness and Flexibility They Use to Navigate the World Around Them.

8. Kas, Turkey

“alive” Feels So Much Better Than “important”, “rich” or “successful”.

It’s That Wild Uncontrollable High of Being in Love. It’s That Sense of Becoming a Gust of Wind As You Run Down a Forested Trail. It’s Standing on a Mountain Peak After Hours of Climbing, and Taking in the World Around You. It Happens when Our Senses Sharpen. Our Souls Tune into the Secret Song of the World. Our Body Stands Tall and Proud: the Statue of You, of Mankind.

At That Moment, Your Thirst for Life Awakens, and You No Longer Feel Like a Shadow of Yourself. You Are No Longer Indifferent to Your Own Existence. No. at That Moment, You Want to Drink from the Spring of Life, Intoxicated on the Purity and Joy of Something As Simple As Feeling Alive.

We Know Now, That Whatever Happens in our Life, We Greatest Mission is to Seek the Experience of Being Alive.

9. Southern Tuscany

Arrived Few Days Ago in Monte Argentario We Would Like to Share with You, the Beauties of This Place. We Arrived in Tuscany and We Will Spend the Next Few Days.

Tuscany is Known for Its Landscapes, History, Artistic Legacy, and Its Influence on High Culture. It is Regarded As the Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and Has Been Home to Many Figures Influential in the History of Art and Science, and Contains Well-known Museums Such As the Uffizi and the Palazzo Pitti. Tuscany is Also Known for Its Wines, Including Chianti, Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Morellino Di Scansano, Brunello Di Montalcino and White Vernaccia Di San Gimignano. Having a Strong Linguistic and Cultural Identity, It is Sometimes Considered "a Nation within a Nation".

10. Sicily

Today, We Dock in a Wild Place in Sicily, but We're Not Alone. There Were Three of Us Sleeping in a Van.

Sicily is the Largest Island in the Mediterranean Sea and One of the 20 Regions of Italy. It is One of the Five Italian Autonomous Regions and is Officially Referred to As Regione Siciliana. the Region Has 5 Million Inhabitants. Its Capital City is Palermo.

Sicily is in the Central Mediterranean Sea, South of the Italian Peninsula, from Which It is Separated by the Narrow Strait of Messina. Its Most Prominent Landmark is Mount Etna, One of the Tallest Active Volcanoes in Europe, and One of the Most Active in the World, Currently 3,329 M (10,922 Ft) High. the Island Has a Typical Mediterranean Climate.

11. Belize

Truck Camper Life - What You Need to Know About Crossing the Border from Chetumal Mexico into Belize.

Before You Go, You’ll Want to Quickly Familiarize Yourself with the Geography of the Region. on the Mexican Side is the City of Chetumal, Which Happens to Be the State Capital of Quintana Roo. the Actual Border Crossing Itself is a Few Miles West of Here, and on the Belizean Side is the Town of Corozal, About a 15-minute Drive Further South.

To Get to the Border, You Will Be Able to Approach the Immigration Kiosk on Foot. Once You’ve Officially Cleared Immigration, You Can Proceed Forward, Where You’ll Cross the Hondo River Using a Pedestrian and Vehicle Bridge. This River Functions As the Border Between the Two Countries, So Once You Reach the Other Side, Congratulations, You’re Officially in Belize!

12. Bad News

We Lost Everything Guys We Lost a Drone, We Lost the Camera We Lost All the Hard


Drives with All the Our Material We Lost. Our Phones We Lost All the Lenses the Jin Bao Together Cat the Second Camera. We Do We Only Have Our Iphone 7 Now.  

Good We Are Stronger We Are Healthy and We Will Keep Doing What We Love Doing It and We Will Not Abandon Our Dreams. 

You Guys Nobody Can Stop or Steal Our Dreams Nobody Can Steal Our Passion.

13. Alberobello

ALBEROBELLO one of the most charming places in the World.

Puglia- Italy is known for these amazing tiny houses, called Trulli. The history of these adorable dwellings is so unique! 

Alberobello is a small town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy. It has 10 735 inhabitants and is famous for its unique trullo buildings. The trulli, the characteristic cone-roofed houses of Alberobello, Apulia, make up one of the 53 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.   The name derives from the late Greek word for dome, and refers to the ancient stone houses with conical roofs, constructed with the abundant limestone from the plateau of Apulia’s Murge zone.

14. La Mano Del Desierto

The Hand of the Desert. The larger-than-life hand towers an impressive 36 feet (11 meters). Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal was asked by the townspeople to create a monument for the vast region of Atacama. And so he created the "Hand of the Desert”, protruding starkly from the sand and reaching for the brilliant blue sky.

Financed by local organization Corporación Pro Antofagasta, the hand was constructed in 1992, from concrete and iron.

The meanings of the monument are unknown. Some say it is meant to be a reminder that humans should be humbled by nature and the elements. Others are convinced it is a display of humans rising against the odds. 

15. Puno, Peru

2019 for us and our expedition ended in an unexpected way. Unfortunately, on the 21st of December 2019 in Puno Peru, someone broke into our camper, our home, and stole all our gears.

A bad devastating experience turned out in a truly exceptional example of solidarity.

The more things knock you down the more stronger you become. We will keep showing people that everything is possible even with limited resources. Remember: they can steal your gear but they can’t steal your dreams.

We are so grateful to have this incredible, uplifting, special community who believes in us and in what we are doing. We are still recovering from the psychological turmoil. The biggest challenge now is to find new gears where we are right now (Chile - Amazon doesn’t exist here unfortunately and everything is less accessible) but we will find a way.

16. Laguna Del Quilotoa

The Quilotoa crater lake is one of the highlights of Ecuador. A collapsed volcano with a gorgeous 3 km wise deep blue crater lagoon in his heart, right in the midst of the Andes! Why are we riding a motorcycle? We went on a 7 days incredible tour.

17. Valle de Cocora

The wax palms, which can grow to up to 200 feet tall, are the tallest type of palm tree in the world, as well as the tallest recorded species of monocot. The Cocora Valley, which at its lowest is still roughly 5,900 feet above sea level, is the main place to find these quirky-looking trees. The Quindío wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense) thrives in high-altitude places.

The wax palms have unfortunately been threatened by habitat loss, overharvesting, and disease.

In an attempt to save the tree, the government declared it the official tree of Colombia and turned the valley into a wildlife sanctuary. The palms and their lush domain are now legally protected.

18. Yasuni National Park

Yes, we ate (not without hesitation) the Huge Gourmet Amazon Chontacuro worm!

Erika, an Amazonian Kichua woman welcomed us at her community center to share the life of the Kichwa’s in the Amazon. This is special because it is part of the Amazon you do not find on the maps and provides the special and unique opportunity to really get to learn more about the people of the Amazon.

The Kichwa indigenous community is the most populous ethnic group in the Ecuadorian Amazon region and the primary ethnicity of the locals in the area around @selvalodge , though nearby there are significant populations of Huaorani and Shuar indigenous tribes as well.

The Kichwa people in the Amazon tend to be farmers and supplement their diet with traditional hunting practices and food purchased from outside markets. They are quite adept with the use of medicinal plants and fruit trees along with the planting and harvesting of yucca (manioc), banana, coffee and cocoa.

19. La Selva Amazon Eco-lodge & Spa

Into the wild we go: Losing our way, finding our soul.

What an adventure! We discovered the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and we spent 4 incredible days at La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge & Spa a luxury resort in the heart of the jungle located just outside the Yasuní National Park.

20. Yasuni National Park

Dreams come true in Unexpected ways. We had the opportunity to explore the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador, from morning hikes through magnificently wild landscape seeking out the vast wildlife to strolling along beautiful sunsets in the lagoon. 

Thanks to our camera Panasonic and our ultra-telephoto zoom lens 100-300mm/F4.0-5.6 we were able to capture animals we couldn’t normally get close to. Enjoy every picture!

21. El Desierto de La Tatacoa

Most folks think of “camping” in terms of lofty trees, babbling brooks, hikes in the deep forest. We like those places, for sure — but we also have a love for something almost diametrically opposed to the charm of a wooded campsite: the desert.

We camped in the Tatacoa Desert, Colombia. The Tatacoa desert is one of Colombia’s most unique natural landscapes and located in the central department of Huila, near the town Villavieja. With an area of 330 km², it is the second largest desert in the country.

Actually, Tatacoa is not a desert but a super dry tropical forest ecosystem. It used to be a prehistoric green landscape that gradually dried up. You won’t see sand dunes, but gray and ochre canyon-like rock shapes interspersed by green plants.

“Tatacoa” refers to the rattlesnakes in the region. However, the name might also have its origins in an indigenous ancient name for a huge snake.

The Tatacoa Desert is characterized by two zones with different colors. In the Red Desert in Cusco, you will find beautifully ochre colored landscapes. Los Hoyos is the Grey Desert with magical grey toned stones and soil. We loved it!!

22. Cima Volcán De Acatenango

Climbing Volcano Acatenango in Guatamala was one of the highlights of our expedition through Central America. Enjoy the view (Volcano de Fuego was erupting!)

23. Comuna 13, Medellín, Colombia

Once one of the most dangerous districts in Medellín and in the World, the Comuna 13, which clings to the mountainside above the San Javier metro station, has undergone an impressive transformation in recent times. Comuna 13 has become famous for it’s powerful graffiti murals which depict the conflict experienced by the Barrio, corruption and the impact of state intervention, and the strength and importance of community action which helped bring an end to the violence. 

24. Cartagena, Colombia

Sentimental value is priceless. Do you agree?

We shipped our truck camper “Lucky LeAw” via Roro Shipping across the Darien Gap from Panama To Colombia.

A lot of people didn't understand why we didn't sell the vehicle in Central American and just buy a new one in South America, avoiding the unbelievably expensive RoRo shipping and all the complicated processes, but we believe that sentimental value is priceless and Lucky LeAw is our home and is part of this incredible adventure! 

25. Los Cangilones De Gualaca

Can you spot us??

Los Cangilones de Gualaca is a natural canyon slot in Chiriqui. It has stood the test of time and is thousands of years old. “Cangilon” means bucket in Spanish or deep vessel for collecting water. This canyon is one hell of a long bucket and an epic spot to visit in Chiriqui! 

26. Salto De Malacatiupán

Nomadic lifestyles aren’t the mainstream. If we would live in a way that’s considered normal, we’d be living someone else’s life. Live your own life, pursue your own way. Don’t put up an entire show that doesn’t serve anyone, let alone you yourself.

27. Laguna De Alegria,usulutan

Your journey begins with a choice to get up, step out and live fully!

In El Salvador we camped inside a volcanic crater at Laguna De Alegria, also known as the Emerald of Central America. The laguna is inside the crater of the now dormant volcano Tecapa. The laguna grows a brilliant green especially in bright sunlight, which is caused by the sulfur and other minerals found in the craters volcanic clay.

28. Volcan Ilamatepec Santa Ana

In the last 30 days we drove 3729 km through Central America crossing 8 countries and 7 borders! What an adventure!

In these pictures we are on the top of the highest volcano in El Salvador: Santa Ana (or Ilamatec) Volcano. The hike up is fantastic, the views at the top are unworldly!!

29. Antigua Guatemala La ciudad Colonial

Antigua is a beautiful colonial city. In many instances, on the surface, it felt like time had stopped in the 18th century. But then, we walked past sophisticated hotels, restaurants and shops and were reminded that we were very much in a modern vibrant city.

Antigua was founded in 1543 by the Spanish. It was the capital of Guatemala until 1773 when a devastating earthquake seriously damaged it. Thereafter, Guatemala City became the capital and everyone was ordered to leave.

We loved walking around Antigua Guatemala. We found it easy and relaxing to explore!

30. Guatemala

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. Welcome to Guatemala!

The name "Guatemala" comes from the Nahuatl word Cuauhtēmallān (nahwiki), or "place of many trees", a derivative of the K'iche' Mayan word for "many trees". We really enjoyed the sunset and the breathtaking view from the top of Cerro Wit’z at Finca Ixobel. 

31. Cima Volcán De Acatenango

Fuego is an active volcano near the city of Antigua, Guatemala. The overnight camping trek takes place on Acatenango Volcano, the twin volcano next to it. Camping next to an active volcano is definitely one of the most epic places we’ve ever spent a night. Even though the trek is challenging, the experience is beyond worth it.

What a feeling it was to reach the top and what a view! (The whole way down we kept thinking, how the heck did we hike up this!?)

With an elevation of 3976 meters Acatenango Volcano is the third highest volcano in Central America. This epic hike takes you to the summit of the most beautiful volcano in Guatemala with incredible views of the active Fuego volcano.

32. Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The Mayan Ruins of Cobá are one of our favorite archaeological sites in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The largest pyramid at Cobá is called Ixmoja, part of the Nohoch Mul group of buildings. The pyramid is 42 meters (138 feet) tall and was the heart of the city. Unlike other Maya sites, you can still climb this one!

33. Llewellyn Glacier

Caring for the planet is vital for our survival.

In 2017 we flew with an helicopter over the Llewellyn Glacier.

Llewellyn Glacier is one of the largest glaciers in British Columbia with a surface area of 458 km2.  It is an outlet glacier of the Juneau Icefield which straddles the Coast Mountains of northwest BC and southeast Alaska.  Llewellyn Glacier is within Atlin Provincial Park just southwest of the town of Atlin in northwest BC.  In recent decades Llewellyn Glacier has receded dramatically.

34. Mexico

Being on the road provides many great angles and new perspectives.

As soon as we are in the passenger seat we love to try and capture some of that beauty on the go.

Jack Kerouac inspired the counterculture idealization of capturing scenes on the road, but the adventure and inspiration of experiencing the wonders on a journey through the world has served as a metaphor for life since the beginning of human history.

Drive-by photography magnifies one’s realization of the flow of life, the transient nature of all things, and the human desire to preserve a precious moment in it.

35. Oaxaca, Mexico

We walked on empty beaches for miles.

We hear our souls, we listen to the waves of the ocean and we follow just the rhythm of the nature for days. Together in solitude. 

36. Teotihuacán

Teotihuacan, meaning “the place where gods were born”, is an ancient Mesoamerican city located 50 km northeast of modern-day Mexico City. It is an impressive archeological site and the Pyramid of the Sun is the world’s third largest pyramid! New vlog on YouTube!!

37. Jungle Lodge Boutique Hotel

Wayak’ is the perfect balance of modern luxury and natural beauty. 

One of the most magical things about these villas is that you are close to Tulum but your are in the heart of a lush tropical jungle surrounded by cenotes. You will hear animal sounds instead of construction noise. This place has been designed and created with love, passion, creativity, hard work by Johanna and Luca. We think so highly of them because of their bravery and dedication. 

38. Las Coloradas Yucatan Mexico

These stunning cotton-candy pink lakes filled with salt are called Las Coloradas.

“Las Coloradans” means “the red” in Spanish. The vibrant pink color of these lakes is due to red-colored algae, plankton, and brine shrimp that thrive in the salty environment. As the water evaporates, these organisms become more concentrated, glimmering pink in the bright Mexican sunlight.

39. Celestun, Yucatan

Surely you’ve seen flamingos in zoos before, but it was entirely different seeing them out here in the wild, in Celestún - Yucatán Peninsula.

A flock of hundreds of flamingos came soaring from the distance right over our heads. It was a magical sight! Their black-tipped wings spread out wide and their long necks were stretched out front, as they all flew so uniformly together following one another.

40. Minas Viejas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico

This is just one of the amazing attractions in the Huasteca Potosina. We are loving Mexico. 

We are driving since 2017 the Pan-American Highway, from Deadhorse (Alaska) to Ushuaia (Argentina) and we are not even half way.

41. Cascaditas y el paraiso

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today.

42. Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

Experiencing the Day of the Dead - Dia de Los Muertos in Tlaqueplaque - Guadalajara Jalisco was incredible.

Day of the Dead originated several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people, who considered mourning the dead disrespectful. For these pre-Hispanic cultures, death was a natural phase in life’s long continuum. The dead were still members of the community, kept alive in memory and spirit—and during Día de los Muertos, they temporarily returned to Earth. 

43. Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur

What makes salt lakes pink??? 😍In these pic you can see the characteristic pink color which is caused a microorganism called halophilic bacteria, which thrive in high salinity brine and in reality are not bacteria but single cell life-forms.

They have no effect on the quality of the salt. The cell membranes contain carotenoid pigments which give the crystallizers the pink-red color. The dark color increases the absorption of sun light which increases the temperature which in turn increase evaporation and salt production.

44. Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur

The World’s Largest Salt Works Is in Guerrero Negro. Though it can be confused with snow, its salt. And its landscape of white and pink tones, right on the Pacific Ocean, is thrilling to see.

But besides all that, it is the largest salt works in the world, located where the two Baja Californias meet.

45. What's Next?

I’m Not Sure Where I See Myself in Five Years, but I Feel Like Sometime I Might Want to Put Down More Solid Roots—i’d Love to Buy Property Somewhere and Have a Dog and an Art Studio, but Continue Traveling. I Can See Those Things for Myself; I’m Just Not Sure when It’ll Happen.

I’m Calming Down the Travel for the Winter Months but Will Still Be in the Van. I Am Currently in Colorado, and Between November and December, I'll Be Near Joshua Tree, California.

Go Up and Down and Around and Backward and Sideways. Start Again. Let People Think You’re Nuts. Yes. Create That Precious, Beautiful (perhaps Non-linear) Life You Love!