We decided to travel in a group during this trip and if I had to pick one question that I was probably asked most regularly, it would likely be: “wow! Four of you travel together! Do you not fight!?”
My response is usually to laugh and say something non-committal like;
“Well, we haven’t killed each other yet!”
Or
“Well, we have two cars so can have time apart when needed.”
I thought now that I had a little time I would try to put pen to paper, to create a real and truthful response to this question.
Given that I’m sure Reece and Nancy, our long-term companions on this journey will read this post, I’d better not be too honest about my deep levels of disdain for them. Suffice to say, I should really be awarded a sainthood for putting up with Reece for as long as I have!
In honesty traveling predominantly as part of a group has been great, and barring the odd light argument (usually instigated by my strong headedness) we have had no real fall outs or problems and, after 18 months on the road, I dare say even still like each other. Given the success in our group travel, I thought I could summarize the main facets that make it so.

1) When the roof tents a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’.

Travel in a Group - Overland Camping

We park up pretty close most nights, you can only do your best not to hear/be heard!

Ok, So this first one is kind of obvious, but it is certainly useful to remember. In fairness, it would perhaps be more accurately phrased as; If the Roof tent has been rocking, just pretend that you haven’t heard the next morning. Unfortunately for the “travel beasts”, their 20-year-old leaf springs make a squeaky racket that give away the exact speed and duration of their intimacies, meaning we know exactly whether Reece qualifies as a “beast”, in any department other than Instagram! We will have to leave that one to your imagination, which leads me nicely onto point two;

2) You know literally everything about everyone else.

Sexual forays are not the only thing you end up knowing about everyone else; toilet habits, Illness, when a shower was last taken or when your underwear was last washed all make the long list of personal details that are no longer private. This is fine, and you have to be quite an open person anyway to travel in this way, but it is the small details that end up dominating. You know so much about your extended travel companions, that there is seldom a rock left unturned; I could tell you useless bit of information that there is to know, from their positions on 16th-century Russian monarchs to their favorite brand of sun-dried tomato.

3) Headphones are your most valuable possession

Alright, so sometimes, SOMETIMES, you may not want to engage. Everyone needs their personal space from time to time, but unfortunately when living from the back of a 4×4, it is no easy task to find a bit of solitude. Headphones allow you to block out a little bit of the often inane background noise of the rest of the group, and recede into a selfish bubble where you can, at least for a short time pretend it is just you and your laptop.

4) Having back up is the overlanders best asset.

There is safety in numbers, two cars half the chance of a catastrophic breakdown, important but bulky items can be distributed between both vehicles, and each has its strong points. It is safe to say that the advantages of traveling as part of a group far outweigh any of the cons.
You feel safer when camping wild, you have more confidence when traveling off the beaten track, and you have another person to help with the labor intensive mechanical tasks. Having another vehicle, and more people beats any winch for recovery and gives us all the confidence to attempt some of the crazier or more remote parts of our journey.
Travel in a Group - Overland Nicaragua with Two Vehicles

Two vehicles and no one else for miles…

5) You can only manage if you can take a joke.

This one should maybe have been number one and realistically, is likely the most important to allow us to get on as well as we do, for as long as we have. In essence, Reece and I have a game that basically revolves around ‘little inconveniences’, this can involve anything from hidden keys, squirting with a hose, scaring the life out of each other in the night when camping or just about anything that doesn’t result in too much irreparable damage to property or health (usually). The key is to try to keep a straight face, and pretend you have no idea what the other person is talking about.

Personal favorite moments include pulling in on the hard shoulder, and waiting for Reece to pull in behind me, then springing out and peppering his car with rotten eggs. There was also the time I locked Reece’s car with a bunch of padlocks, then hid the keys and wrote a series of elaborate clues that eventually led him to their destination. I also like to use a ratchet strap to ‘lock’ Reece in his car when he jumps in to get something. It certainly goes both ways, and Reece has gotten me with some of the best ones of the trip to date. Once, I had gone to extreme lengths to string my hammock across and forest stream, no sooner had I got in it, then Reece ‘adjusted’ the knot, so it slowly drooped and before I knew it, I was waking up soaking wet and semi-submerged! The best are the simple ones though, like being smashed with a rotten Mango when you have just put on your last clean shirt, or having bread crushed into your 12v sockets to render them useless unless removed and cleaned out. Either way, you have to be able to laugh, take the joke, and appreciate that it is as funny as it is annoying, and just start planning your revenge.

Travel in a Group - Fun in Belize

It was just a matter of who was going to strike first..

6) You all have to work towards a common goal

This is a pretty all-encompassing point, as of course ‘making it down the Pan-American to Argentina’, is the common goal, and we work towards that every day when we get behind the wheel! This point really means that the way in which you get there, and what you hope to take away from it has to remain consistent. It helps that we both put a lot of effort into our social media, so it is hopefully a little less annoying when I inevitably pull in and spend 10 minutes to take a picture and we work towards the common goal of growing our respective followings. We have many projects (like our other site The Travelers Post) and ideas that will hopefully bear some kind of fruition, that can make use of our group assets. Even in small ways, like each couple taking turns to make dinner saves time and allows the rest of the group to concentrate on things that benefit us all.
With these few things in mind, group travel has been great and has huge advantages as a way of overlanding. It would certainly be a very different endeavor flying solo. Who knows what will happen in our next year on the road, we may end up still friends and go into business together. We may do completely individual things, or we may set off on another trip together, or perhaps most likely we will hit critical mass and murder each other in the Andes. Only time will tell.
You can follow us on Instagram HERE, and check out Reece and Nancy’s HERE.