Overlanding Vehicle Part 1: The Dream Vehicle

I guess I come by the idea of travel over long distances by vehicle honestly. Most summers when I was young my parents took my sister and I on a trip. While most of my friends were on their way to Grandparents houses or off to the cottage we headed out to explore North America which really means we headed south of the border to places in the U.S.A. We would pack up the stationwagon, hook up the pop up trailer and head off. Mom would navigate, Dad would drive and my sister and I would load up the back seat with books and music to spend the time between camp sites. Once a trip my father would get angry at us for having our noses in our books. “I brought you all this way to see this and you are ignoring it!” he would say.

Border between British Columbia and Yukon Territory on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway

My recent trips have allowed me to see more of the world. I still love the idea that getting there is part of the experience and the enjoyment of travel. My motorbike has taken me to Alaska, Vancouver Island, James Bay and all across Europe. Overlanding on the bike is a fanstastic way to experience where you are. You are open to all of the sights, smells and elements of that place. If it is warm outside so are you, if it is raining you are wet. It means that you are very much in the moment at that place.

So should I take the bike to South America? There are many reasons why this would be a good way to go but this time I think that I will go in a different vehicle. All of my past trips have lasted about a month and I find that even in that length of time I do grow a little tired of setting up and tearing down my tent every day. Even if I spend a few days in one location it is hard to feel that my things are secure in a tent and that means I tend to pack a bunch of things onto my bike even if I am not putting away the tent.

What do you think? Travel South America in style? My favorite part of this is the tent!

So the search for the perfect vehicle begins. Type Overlanding Vehicle into Google and you get all sorts of different ideas of what that will look like. There is an amazing range of setups from the very rustic, small and lightweight to the massive truck made to go anywhere in epic style. So if money were not an object what should I get?

UniMog Camper.

Unimog: These trucks are amazing. Mercedes-Benz trucks and chassis are modified into campers by companies all around the world. They are very popular in Europe where the idea of traveling around the world is not new. The massive wheels and hard core suspension can deal with most everything and the campers are designed to be self sufficient for extended periods of time.

Unlike the Unimog which is a chassis that many different companies modify, Earthroamer is a company that make high end overland truck campers. These vehicles seem to be very well built and have luxuries that I wouldn’t even have considered. They can even have a tv larger than the one I have at home on the outside of the camper.

EarthCruiser: Just like Earthroamer, EarthCruiser is a company that builds overland vehicles. I would have to say that I think I am most impressed with the design and thinking that go into these trucks. The design that allows for travel anywhere in the world seems to show that the owners actually do travel with these themselves. I would love to see one of these up close some time soon.

So…. what would you want to go in for a year away?


Planning for A Sabbatical

The trip feels so long off still but at the same time it seems like time is speeding up. So it is time to start planning out the next few years in order to able to head south with confidence.

So what needs doing?

1. Research and Purchase an Overland Vehicle – Whatever I have at the start of July 2020 will be what I live in for the next 14 months or so. This is the fun part as it is exciting to think about my first new vehicle in well 5 years and my first new car since 2009.

2. Determine what to do with my house – Sell or rent? From an investment perspective then renting it out is the best. That said who wants to be a landlord from 20,000 km away.

3. Learn Spanish – Knowing more than Ola would probably be a good idea. Plus how can I make new friends without that?

4. Paperwork – My paperwork is fairly basic but now I am importing a vehicle into and out of many different countries, not all of which like each other. Taking the Motorbike into Europe was easy because one set of rules governs everyone…. South America will not be the same.

5. What to Take – My kit will take some sorting. The balence is going to be between too much and not enough. Beyond personal gear will be recovery gear for the vehicle (don’t have any at all), electronics (want to blog, photograph and video my entire trip) and finally repair kits for the vehicle and me.

Thats all I can think of at the moment. So the plan at the moment is….:

1. Next summer I plan on heading out to the West Coast of Canada and rent a small motorhome to ensure that this is the right idea for me.

2. Fall of 2018 finalize and purchase the overland vehicle.

3. Summer of 2019 drive the Trans-Labrador Highway as a test of equipment

4. Summer 2020 away we go!

Looking forward to it!