So where do I start... as this is my first post on ExPo and the travels/adventures are well under way.
Lets start with some background. Why overlanding? Well, as all good ideas this one (the original trip) was conjured up in a pub over a beer. The subject was, where to go travelling after finishing my degree studies. At the time I had been reading a couple of books on different adventures and projects and the common theme linking them was Africa. Whether it was growing up there or travelling through and the mental and physical images I found enticing and evocative. So destination Africa it is. But how to travel? So I started by researching all the places I wanted to see and pin pointing them on a map. This soon produced a tentative route covering a vast area, a continent in fact! Backpacking I thought. But the more research I done into the different types on transport available in the many locations (often remote) I wanted to visit. The more I figured the main danger was getting hurt or killed on the rickety trains, clapped out cars and mini buses, being driven too fast over bad roads or tough terrain. So could I take my own vehicle? The more I looked into this the more this seamed possible, but involved extra costs and lots more paper work. But I could see many advantages too. The ability to get off the beaten path and to those remote spots I so wanted to see. So to the practicalities. I would spend more money initially out fitting a vehicle, but would save (or reduce) costs in the long run by having my own accommodation and cooking a lot for myself. I was sold on the idea. So the next decision, was what vehicle to take? You can always take just about anything with wheels. But obviously the vast majority of common vehicles are not cut out for off road and heavy loads. When you look at the currently suitable vehicles from manufactures around the world, the list ends up being surprisingly short. Whilst I had enjoyed many a short adventure on a motor bike and figured that for better self reliance (more water and fuel) I was better off with a 4x4. It this category there were true options. Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rovers and Mercedes G Wagons. The Mercedes was clearly out side my budget and being based in the UK meant the find the right model and mileage of Land Cruiser was also very expensive. So a Land Rover soon became the apparent choice and with England being there home, there is plenty to chose from. So which model. Having grown up learning to drive a 1972 series 3 109, I knew they were tough as old boots and simple to fix. But very basic, uncomfortable on long journeys with not brilliant mpg. So following its evolution to the Defender models, with better comfort, better mpg and more powerful engine, seamed the obvious way forward. So by the end of my academic year, I convinced the bank to give me my full student overdraft, borrowed money from my girl friend and parents and bought a 1992 TDI 200 Defender. Its body work was in bad shape but all the mechanicals were in good running order. I packed my things and headed home that summer to Jersey (Channel islands). From there it infact took nearly two years to rebuild the Land Rover, kit it out, pay off the loans and save enough money to go. Along the way my girl friend had got cold feet about the trip and with 3 months to the off, she pulled out. After two years of working and dreaming towards this trip, girl friend or not I was determined to go.
So there I sat on the 20th March 2004 with the Land Rover ticking over, starring at the on ramp of the ferry leaving Jersey. I was filled with mixed emotions. Excited, scared, proud to have seen the project through this far and sad to be leaving friends and family (plus girlfriend) behind. But as those wheels rolled forward on the ferry I knew I wouldn't rather be any where else in the world and for better or worse I was going to see it through. So started my first great overland journey.
So where am I now? Well actually on my third great overland journey. This time from North to South America, with plans to ship onto Australia.
You can follow my adventures on here (from now on) and at www.walkabout2408.com
So hopefully I will meet some of you out on the road. Happy Travels, David