Starting our South America overland-roadtrip in rural PARAGUAY with no time to prepare [AED-S01E09]

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Do you want to get your own #Residency in #Paraguay?

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In the previous episode of the “Adventure Escape Diaries”

( we were looking for housing in Paraguay until we heard about our surprise win at a contest done by the #German #ExpatCoach #ChristophHeuermann and his Captain Josh form @SailStaatenlos.
We won a one-week-sailing trip on the Catamaran #SYStaatenlos in Rio de Janeiro and an expat counseling with Christoph.

This would all happen within a few weeks

and now we had to make sure to speed up our #ResidencyProcess and get all our car documents for our #4×4 #Toyota #Prado. But Paraguay is notoriously slow when it comes to administrative work. Also we wanted to equip our car for an #overlanding trip through Brazil and maybe all of South America.
We finally found a house for a month in #SanBer, close to #Asuncion. But with just a few weeks left to go we felt extremely stressed, and then to top it all off, Paraguay decided to have another lockdown and closed its borders…. How to escape to Brazil now?
Will we be able to make it across to meet up with Christoph #Heuermann in time?
Subscribe and see how it ends in the next episode!
Ask us your questions about Paraguay and the residency process in the comments!
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Find out what happens in today’s episode

Over half a year of travel and we made it all the way to Paraguay. We applied for the residency and were hit with a big surprise win. We can join Christoph Heuermann for a week sailing on his catamaran the SY Staatenlos at an island close to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. As so often throughout our journey we are again on a battle against time. We need to finish our preparations here in Paraguay and make it to Brazil before the end of April. Unfortunately though the situation in Paraguay was not pleasant at the moment.

Lock Down

It was confirmed. Paraguay was going into a strict lockdown. People had been demonstrating for freedom and against corruption in the streets of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. The public was sick of all the regulation and mask mandates.
Small business owners were losing their ground, they couldn’t pay their employees, many went out of business. Things needed to go back to normal, but instead the Paraguayan government, fueled by the international corrupt pressure, had to implement strict rules.
People didn’t wanna take it anymore and went on the streets. And the payoff? Western lying media was telling sheeple worldwide that people were rioting because they hadn’t gotten their 🥊. People here don’t care about experimental 🥊’s, they want their freedoms back. But instead the scared president is imposing more lockdowns. Locked down people cannot protest. So he has his problems solved.
The full lockdown was set to start in a few days and was only gonna last 2 weeks… to flatten the curve… remember that joke… haha. So yea, there was a chance that the lockdown was gonna last longer than our departure date to Brazil.

Why Brazil?

Alexandra had won a one week sailing trip with the Staatenlos Crew and Christoph Heuermann in Rio de Janeiro. A lot earlier than we had planned on leaving Paraguay. The administrative process in Paraguay is dreadful. At this point we were still waiting for our car papers and also our residency documents and we weren’t even sure if we were allowed to leave the country. A tough situation, but we were gonna make it work.

Our place in San Bernardino

Alexandra found a wonderful short term rental Place in San Bernardino, a fancier suburb of Asuncion, close to the big Ypacaraí lake. It was indeed a dream location. It checked off all our requirements for longer rental, including pool and ultra fast internet.
We had the place for a month and made it into our home base and headquarters. It was just the right mix of relaxation and productivity. I started to get back to waking up early and hitting my daily fitness goals. Swimming and calisthenics was a daily companion. And when we needed some more steps (for tracking my daily fitness goals) we used the big backyard to walk in creative circles.
We had an outdoor BBQ and a big kitchen, ideal for my beloved steaks and some great smoothies. The house was in the middle of nature and we had no neighbors for the time of being there. That meant naked sun bathing and skinny dipping in the pool.  Alexandra has an amazing video about the house on her channel. (Watch her video in German with English subtitles about San Bernardino – Werden wir hier bleiben können? –

Finding a video editor for the Adventure Escape Diaries

My main productivity during our stay at the place was to get a video editor hired so i can finally tell my story of my Adventure Escape Diaries. This story here. By the time I was in Paraguay, so many things had already happened and it was important for me to share them with you.
Video Editing was always the hardest part for me, so I made sure to find the right person for the job. 
Thank you my dear Editor Matteo Bboypeel @lunarstudio_vp for your help with these projects. I’m grateful to have you on my side in creating these useful memories of this strange story of mine. May many viewers be inspired to go their own path and make their lives into the hero’s journey they deserve to live.
San Bernardino also offered a closeness to Asuncion, so we could go ahead and buy all the necessary materials and tools to be equipped for our over landing trip through all of South America.

Preparing for our overlanding trip to Brazil

What if we were not gonna come back to Paraguay but just continue our journey from Brazil? If everything goes well, we were gonna get a 3-months-stay in Brazil, and then we could go further to the next country. It was important for us to have all the camping and overlanding gear one needs to stay out in nature when possible but also experience the comfort of a dynamic car. We made sure we would equip Prado with small and effective tools to give us the most flexibility on our journey.

Björn and Delia 

Throughout the process of finding our car in Villarrica, we kept on bumping into the German / Paraguayan couple Björn and Delia. Both working on the beautiful project of creating a coding academy for students. When we were able to spend some time in Asuncion, they generously invited us to stay with them. We had some great conversations and are looking forward to seeing them again in the near future.

The suitcase story…

One of the other things I was able to kinda get done in Asunción is take things into my own hands with the suitcase that Copa Airlines broke on my flight here to Paraguay. I kept on contacting them online but with no results. So I brought the suitcase to Samsonite who gave me an address for a suitcase repair. The guy there just added some zipper parts. It made it functional to an extent but the zipper itself is still damaged and probably needs to be replaced. Not sure if Copa Airlines is ever going to get their shit together and compensate me for their failures.

Our car registration

Over the next few weeks in our house, we were able to complete the rest of the car registration. This can be a months-long process in Paraguay, but we ended up just working 6 weeks on it. For a more detailed account, go check out Alexandra’s video on the car purchase in Paraguay.

Our residency process took longer than planned

One of the bigger problems we weren’t able to easily solve was that our residency was still not done. The initial 6 weeks had already passed a long time ago. Due to the riots and the consequent lockdown, the offices that handled these matters were closed and nobody wanted to work on our cases. Not even our VIP gifts for friendly administrative workers could help to speed up that process.

Lockdown in Paraguay

The lockdowns themselves fortunately were mostly ignored by everyone but the governmental facilities. All shops decided to stay open and people kept on going onto the streets. There were barely any police check points and even when they stopped you, they didn’t really fine you for anything, just “reminded” you to stay home. It was clear to us that Paraguayans understood that this was all just a big game, and no one would play it anymore.

What about the borders?

Though we weren’t sure if this was the same case with the border closures. At the official Brazilian foreign ministry website it was clearly stated that foreigners are just allowed to enter Brazil by plane but not via land crossing. So we were still unsure about our future plans and also waiting for our documents. There was not much we could do though, so we were just gonna make a run for it, driving to the border and hoping we would be able to cross.
With this uncertainty at our minds, the wonderful started to happen. The useless lockdowns were shut down, Paraguayans understand freedom has priority. And with the lack of lockdowns our documents could be processed. We were able to get our permanent residency cards just when we were leaving our house in San Bernardino. The ID cards weren’t ready yet but them just being a formality, we were happy to have certainty in our hands.

We started our road trip now knowing if they would stop us

Now the big road trip was starting. We spent hours over hours in our car. That’s where we cherish our love for Audiobooks. In combination with the beautiful scenery, an exciting story or an informative non fiction book can be the best companion for long trips. For this we love Audible. Audible is an Audiobook subscription service that gets you one Audiobook per month. Even better, we teamed up with Audible and with the link below you support the Escape Diaries and get your first audiobook FREE of charge. So sign up right now and tell me in the comments what’s your favorite audiobook and when do you like to listen to them?

Arriving at the border

We noticed the sun going down already and in the evening we arrived in Ciudad del Este, ready to cross the border… would it be possible?
It’s the Friendship bridge, Puente de la Amistad, that connects the two countries. We went on it with the car… having many trucks to pass by… driving over it… and…. Wait a second… no gate, no check point, nothing… there was no indication of a new country…. But we crossed over the bridge… we had to stop and check on google maps… we are in Brazil…. Hmmm damn… but we need a stamp from Brazil to be official… if people stop us with a Paraguayan license plate in Brazil, we have to show them that stamp, otherwise they will think we entered the country illegally… So, i asked a border security guy, he said we missed it, we had to go back…. So back we went… to Paraguay… nah… just a few meters back… we drove to the immigration office on the Brazilian side, uncertain if they would let us in and stamp our passports… we were worried, not sure what they would say…. At a border checkpoint that is officially closed… well, we parked our car and were about to enter the office….
And then, what next? Wait for what is happening in the Brazilian immigration office in the next video, the Season 1 finale of the Adventure Escape Diaries.

Hey fellow Adventurers,
I’m on a quest to get #PermanentResidency in #SouthAmerica and in my Travel Documentary I show you how to do it yourself. Experience through me the ups and downs of finding a new life #abroad and make your own life into your greatest #HeroesJourney!
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About Paul Trausner

Author, Fitness Trainer & Paleo Nutrition Specialist - “Have Your ADVENTURE - Spark your Paleo Lifestyle and light your FIRE!“