With our overland prepared, distinctive and branded Landcruiser, our happy faced hound dog, and what we hope appear as happy, friendly demeanors, we are approached by friendly strangers several times a day, wanting to know more about Overland Travel, our journey and our life on the road.
By this point, we have a well-rehearsed patter detailing that we are living from a Land Cruiser, traveling overland from the USA to Argentina and taking 3 years doing it. After this, most people are almost guaranteed to ask between one and all of the following questions. These questions have been asked from moving vehicles, petrol station forecourts, national parks and car parks. In case we never bump into you on the road we thought we’d detail answers to most of them here and now!
Are you never scared?
I suppose that in part, everybody’s life, no matter how exciting, with enough time everything seems normal and falls into some level of routine. While the day to days, the surroundings and even the cultures and people are ever changing whilst Overlanding, the architecture of the day remains the same and this has a way of barely letting the concept of fear even enter your mind.
The routine of waking up, making a coffee, packing down the vehicle, etc adds a constancy that is reassuring and makes life on the road seem as normal as any other. It is only occasionally when we take stock and look at the details of the lifestyle that we realise how externally the fact that we set off most days in a foreign country, without knowing where we’ll sleep that night or live pay cheque to pay cheque is certainly a way of life that would not suit most.
Whilst statistics and crime rates and peoples previous experiences remind you that there is a need to be vigilant and sensible the ever friendly locals, solid police presence and often paradisical surroundings make the real challenge remembering that there is a need to at least partially keep your guard up.
All of this having been said, things can change on a dime, it is seldom fear of crime or problems with local people that make our hairs stand on edge but insane drivers, crazy roads, or fear of something breaking on the vehicle
Do you not fight?
Yes and no, we argue about everything and absolutely nothing all at the same time
It’s rare that we have a proper argument. But living together in a 5×8 steel box we would not be human if we didn’t occasionally fall out. Among some of the funniest things we can recall bickering over include; the number of towels Dee needs. Ross’ fishing equipment. Whether it was the sat nav or Dee that made us miss that turn. Whether Ross REALLY needs to go to Home Depot again for DIY stuff.
Where’s been your favorite place?
This is the hardest question of the bunch by far! Right now, I am totally in love with Colombia, but Guatemala and Mexico were certainly highlights too! Colombia is taking the prize, mostly due to its diversity, beauty and awesomely friendly people.
This question is ever-changing, and for the most part, we have almost entirely good things to say about every country.
How do you pay for it?
This question should maybe have been number one on the list as we are asked it perhaps the most. We live entirely paycheck to paycheck on the road, our income coming from a variety of different sources. I (Ross) work predominantly doing bid-writing for a construction company, supplemented with freelance web design work. Dee works as a site administrator and SEO manager for an online retail company.
We do not, by any means make a lot of money, we earn literally an amount that lets us slowly continue our travels. We have to stop regularly to earn for a week or a month to have even a little in the bank account, but overall, we do ok.
You brought a dog?!?
We sure did and I wouldn’t have it any other way! In fact, if it were up to me, however impractical, I would have a few more! Sure, the dog can be a little hassle from time to time, but generally, there is no problem. He is chill, happy to sleep on his bed in the cruiser whilst driving, he comes out to bars and restaurants with us, he loves the outdoor overland lifestyle, and best of all, he cuddles up like a hot water bottle on cold nights.
Occasionally, places like US national parks, the Darien Gap, or cities when its hot pose a little bit of an issue, but nothing insurmountable. For more on how we have found traveling with the dog, check out this article.
Does it not cost a fortune to travel overland?
Not really. It is a big initial expense, and there are occasional large expenses like repairs, vehicle shipping, and import duties, but generally speaking the day to day is much cheaper than alternative forms of travel. The best part of it is that, for the most part, distance costs, time doesn’t. At least, I mean, whilst static, we spend much less than we would at home, the only time we spend a lot of money is when we are on the road a lot, or when we choose to treat ourselves to activities and experiences.
Do you just love driving?
I neither love nor hate the driving itself, it is more just a means to an end. Somedays, on particularly exciting offroad trails or on windy mountain roads with stunning vistas the driving can be an activity unto itself. Others involve endless miles of anonymous motorway or sticky days in urban gridlock. All overland trips are as much about the journey as the destination, whether a great or terrible drive day is largely irrelevant, we choose to travel by vehicle, mostly for the flexibility and freedom it affords, as well as the unique way it allows you to travel to remote and spectacular locations whilst usually maintaining a reasonable amount of creature comforts. Finally, this is a lifestyle more than just a journey and any conceivable alternative means of traveling for this length of time leave a lot to be desired. I would much rather sleep in a bed that I can call my own at night even if it is not the most comfortable one and live surrounded by my own belongings even if there are not many of them, rather than have to pack my life into a backpack every day for years.