Traveling Gringos

Before I was a permanent expat, I was a long-term tourist. At the beginning of 2008, the internet was a much different place than it is today. YouTube had only been around for 2-3 years and there were a lot of companies trying to be the king of online video. (Anyone remember Revver?) My friend Eric and I saw an opportunity to be pioneers in this new internet video landscape.

But what could we do?

Well, we had about five minutes of completed animation of our co-creation “Traveling Gringos”. We had a ton of travel stories that we still wanted to animate. But animation takes soo much time to produce.

It didn’t matter. We decided to make new episodes. At first, we wanted to get a new episode up every week, which even today is a hard goal to keep up with. But I thought we could do more. So we decided to try the insane schedule of one episode per day, five days a week.

And that is exactly what we did, for the next six months or so. We did miss a day here and there, but for the most part, we were getting a new episode up every day. What most people might not know about that time was that we quickly ran out of backlogged material. That meant that we were writing, recording voiceovers, animating, editing and uploading a new episode every day. It was actually pretty crazy.

The real Traveling Gringos working on the animated Traveling Gringos.

Somehow we also managed to fly from our rented office in Costa Rica to Florida to table at a comic convention. And with Eric’s help, I somehow flew to the Annecy Animation Film Fesitval in France, where I fruitlessly tried giving away free DVDs of our animation. All this time, during these six months, we were posting new daily episodes. It was a very fun time that went by in a blur.

Not long after our 100th episode, I moved back to California for two years before making my triumphant return to Costa Rica. This time, calling it home permanently. I don’t talk about the Traveling Gringos too often, but every once in a while we run into a fan of the series. Their question is always “Will we be posting more episodes?” The answer to that is always, “We really don’t know.”

Sometime around 2009 or 2010 we got locked out of our own YouTube channel. I’ve tried and tried to get back in, unsuccessfully. As far as I can tell, by reading about other people with the same problem, when YouTube switched from usernames to email accounts (for logging in) older users got locked out – and we were one of those accounts.

Maybe it’s for the best. Just leave Traveling Gringos were it was. Kind of like a time capsule in my animation “career”.

This month (February 2018) is actually the 10th anniversary of our first episode.

It’s crazy how fast time has been going by. Eric and I talked about starting them up again for the 10 year anniversary. But other things got in the way. To tell the truth, animation is such a time-suck that just the thought of working on them again kind of stresses me out.

If you watch all 100 episodes you will notice the last episode ends with an unresolved question of “What was in the buried treasure chest?” If you want to know the answer to that, you’ll just have to track Eric or me down and ask us in person…