A2A Expedition - From Africa to Argentina to Alaska
We are an African family who will be shipping our Land Rover Defender to South America and then driving from Argentina to Alaska. Here is some background: http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...12!?highlight=
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Here is a blog I wrote with my tongue firmly stuck in my cheek .
"Iíve been preparing to go on an intercontinental overlanding expedition from Africa to Argentina Ö and itís every bit as daunting as it sounds. Here are 10 tips Iíve learned while preparing for the adventure.
1) Are you really sure that you want to do this? Really, really sure? Do not forget that you will be sleeping in a tent for an extended period of time. That you cannot take your Simmons Super Sleep 10 000 Turbo + with you. Or your shower, loo and TV. The call of the wild and romantic may seem irresistible but getting out there is usually everything but wild and romantic. Be prepared to find a home for your pooch/cat and the look of betrayal as you rip him/her from your children's tear streaked arms. Be prepared to put everything material you have worked so hard for into cold wet storage, safe in the knowledge that you will return eventually to a large green mass with which you will rebuild your life. Be prepared for hidden expenses and a month of sleeping in your step mothers study after you have, essentially, become homeless.
2) Be brave and stubborn. Your wife and kids will be soooo excited about the idea. They will have visions of freedom and joy. After 6 months those visions of freedom and joy will have morphed into contempt and utter disrespect. Your wife who said "there is only one choice... we must do this" will have sobered up and then hit the bottle again. Accusations will fly. Instead of "you are the man" you will become accustomed to hearing "you are the reason I hate my life" and "it's your fault". But you must be brave and realise that you have a vision and you must be stubborn because once you have gone on Facebook and told the entire known to you universe that you are going to drive from Pole to Pole and save all the Polar Bears, you have to do it. You can not back down. If you do you will be unfriended by everyone but your mother and that guy who died but no-one closed his account.
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3) Be sure about your finances. Drawing up a budget taking into consideration all the money your business is owed, how much your business is worth, the possibility of an unexpected inheritance and the combined glorious total of all your credit cards can be deceiving. Especially since your planned departure in February will be put off until May and then when everyone has lost faith in August you eventually leave in September. That's nine months of rent you weren't budgeting for. And groceries, DSTV, life insurance, school fees (in more way than one) petrol, medical and dental. Banks will not give you money because, as you know, they will only give you a loan if you dont need a loan. Older, more "established" relatives will become more distant and where once you were the favourite now you cant even get a seat at the adults table after Grannies funeral (and no, there was no unexpected inheritance).
4) Invest in your relationships. Unless you are a self sufficient bachelor you will probably have to travel with a spouse, on paper or not, and a couple of kids. This is the price you pay for not actually saving and travelling while you were 23, instead spending every cent you had on beer. In Tel Aviv. For an entire year. That trip you did a few years ago where everyone got along and the kids never fought and you all developed so much as people, is in the past. You are older and fatter. Your wife has long since tired of looking at you through the last nine months of upheaval and she is beginning to doubt that you are the man who will in fact take her to the moon and back. Now, even though you don't have the time or the energy, is the time to speak reassuringly to everyone, make it known that you are in charge and responsible, cook everyone's special dishes and stay out of the beer bottle.
5) Don't expect too much from sponsors. There is a recession going on and all those huge, powerful and wonderful corporations who made it on your "definite sponsors" list will be impossible to contact, un-interested in your amazing expedition and most won't even open the Sponsorship Proposal PDF which you spent six months researching, planning and preparing. Those who do will have a need you need to fill, will want to establish your credibility and have 20 other amazing opportunities knocking down their door. Align yourself with brands you believe in and be patient.
6) Believe in yourself. Because no one else will. Remember why this is your dream and that the only difference between you and Bear Grylls is youth, wealth, health, talent and good looks. Believe that whatever the road throws at you will be fun compared with the crap you have had to put up with for the last nine months and remember that fortune favours the brave and if all else fails at least you can sleep in the car.
7) Invest in the future. Apparently it is all about social networks. Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and even Google+ if you can figure it out. You will need the gadgets, one for everyone of course, and learn about SEO and Google Analytics and Tweeting. All you need is to be unique, just like everyone else. It's all about relationships and trust, numbers and likes and retweets and shares and credibility. Retweeting is amplification apparently. What the hell does that mean? Even though you are a dinosaur you need to drop the growls and spanners and be social, friendly, likeable and followable. I am none of these things. This is why I travel.
8) Have you health checked. Because a rip in any part of your anatomy and a rotten tooth will only be piddle on the parade.
9. Have fun!
Yes, this is the most important tip.
10. Paint that picture
Picture yourself doing what you dreamed. For me going to Machu Picchu is a dream. For a poor South African boy to be able to drive there with his family only going to the moon could be more impossible. Ask the guys I went to school with, they canít believe it. I can hardly believe it! There are so many things that I want to achieve on this overlanding trip. I want to lose my domestic layer of fat, I want to be fit, grow a beard, get a tan. I want to surf, kayak, hike and explore places I had only seen in books or on a screen. I want to learn to speak Spanish and cook like Maria. And I know that my family wants the same things."
We will be blogging as we go. If anyone has any advice or questions please let us know.
Graeme, Luisa, Keelan and Jessica.
This is going to be a great trip and I will follow closely.
Our family of five returned from a 57 day trip across the US off pavement and now, four weeks back into life at home, we are ready to leave now to do a longer trip. There are hard parts about travel and adventuring is always work, even more so when you take your children with you. There are annoying things that cause frustration and sometimes more. For us those were the heat, the dust/dirt and sometimes the vehicle. At times we had to remind ourselves that if/when the car breaks down we can always explore on foot, fighting dirtiness/dustiness is a losing battle so why keep trying to keep everything 'really' clean and if it's hot, well, we'll spend more time in the mountains or by water.
But most importantly, you are living together as a family and exploring the globe at the same time. I love watching and learning from other families as they live on the road.
Best of luck in your preparations and departure!
I enjoyed that. Thanks. I'm on the road now and have been working my way west, then south, then north, then west, then south.....and so forth. Maybe we will cross paths this winter in central America assuming I make it. Safe travels......
Thanks for the comment. My wife can be a bit of a clean freak. Usually after a long day on a dusty backroad she will tidy the Landy and wipe away the dust, but the biggest challenge is to keep the kids clean and the laundry done. In Tanzania we tried putting the laundry into a bucket (with a tight lid) adding some water and soap. The idea is that as you drive over bumpy roads the action will shake and wash the clothing. It worked. On ly problem was rinsing and drying the clothing. Now we try and wear gear which doesnt get as dirty as cotton etc. We will have to see how Luisa handles the laundry in S America. I usually run and hide when its wash day.
We will keep u guys posted.
It will take us quite a while to get up to Cental America. We will be happy to miss the Alaskan winter so we will pace ourselves to get there in summer.
Het jy 'n groot trek! (Or something to that effect.)
Ja nee, dis nou n groot trek vir die souties. Ons gan ons Afrikaanse taal mooi gebruik in die Amerikas.
In other words... (direct translation)
Yes no, this now a big trek for the salties (souties are english speaking South Africans). We going our Afrikaans language pretty use in the Americas
Yeah! Finally a Land Rover journey to follow. I'm in.
[QUOTE= (souties are english speaking South Africans).[/QUOTE]
In my day they were ESSA's. (English Speaking South Africans. There was probably an Afrikaans term that was worse. ) Whatever, have a great and safe trip. Do drop in should you come to the Washington, D.C. area.
A little news you can use - don't underestimate the cold or the altitude in the Andes. Living for weeks over 2.5k metres can really take a toll on you. And it is even worse if you don't have clothes and gear rated down to below freezing. (Don't ask how I know this. )
There are a few names for english speaking S Africans. There is Rooinek (red neck) which I believe does not mean the same thing in the states) Soutie comes from - one leg in Africa, one leg in England and the middle bits in the sea. There is a more colourful version but we wont go there. There are also plenty of English names for Afrikaners all of which they hate. Both Luisa and I are 50/50 English / Afrikaans but were raised English. Its complicated , I know.
Originally Posted by DiploStrat
Thanks for the warning about the Andes. Being African we have very little experience with extremely cold weather. It does get really cold here sometimes but we have never had an experience with snow so we are packing quite a bit of winter gear.
I think we might have chatted before, but did you spend a lot of time in SA?