One of the things I find most appealing about the concept of overlanding is how it brings us together on a global scale. It's the spirit of adventure and exploration, where the things we have in common empower us to realize the full potential of our differences. I love how just about everyone in this community shares in that general sense of global citizenship, wherein geo-political lines fade into the background and we come together as human beings.
My own "expedition" involved five countries over just ten days, but also a Virgin Atlantic 747, a FWD Mitsubishi press car, and a Volkswagen rental from Avis. Hardly the typical fare in this part of the forum, but I hope the things our journey has in common with traditional overlanding - exploring new places, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures - all brought together through a shared automotive passion - warrant the humble submission of my modest, 10 day adventure here amongst the exceptional tales which serve as inspiration during my lunch breaks in a bland, corporate cubicle.
If I have learned just one thing from my time lurking about this community, it is that you don't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars upgrading a brand new Range Rover or spend years on the road if you want to explore the world. You just need to get yourself out beyond your comfort zone with little common sense and a willingness to experience the strange and foreign.
(Special thanks to the guy who flew into Phoenix, rented a Jeep, and went exploring Arizona a couple months back. If you hadn't shared your story, I might not have had the courage to share mine, here, among so many truly epic adventures.)
8 June 2012: Day 1
I spent a tremendously hectic morning getting my international driver's permit secured from the local AAA office and my Android data plan adjusted at the T-mobile store in the two hours before my father-in-law ran his nearly-four-months-pregnant daughter and I to Skyharbor to catch a flight to LAX. Fortunately, these were two very minor crises to sort the morning of our departure.
We would board a Virgin Atlantic 747 named "Mustang Sally" soon after, headed for London-Heathrow.
The flight was just over 10 hours non-stop, flying up and out of the US somewhere over Montana, crossing the southern tip of Greenland, and dropping down over Glasgow, before touching down in London on a bright, sunny morning, but we stepped out of our bright blue taxi at SMC Mitsubishi in Hillingon, and wheeled our massive American suitcases onto the showroom floor.
Note: Since I don't know how how much text is allowed per post, I'm going to post this here and begin another. Thanks.