Frequently Asked Questions
What is overlanding? Overlanding is a method of travel that embodies the ethos of “low and slow” and “it’s the journey, not the destination”. It is called overland because you literally travel “over” the “land” (as opposed to planes). Commercial overlanding nowadays typically involves ruggedized trucks that seat ~16–24, have on-board water storage, safes, a small fridge, and plenty of room for gear.
So…is this a tour? While there is a “tour guide” her role will not be like a typical day tour guide to a specific locale. Think of her more like a group leader. The tour guide coordinates visas once we’re on the ground, determines (in conjunction with the driver) the optimal route, and ensures our general health and safety. The tour guide will not be coordinating our days in cities, or telling us what to do on our free time.
Is everything decided for you? It sounds like there’s no freedom. I have no input into the route, nor will I have any responsibility to fix the truck, fuel the vehicle, and things like that. So on the overland truck, I’m like a regular bus passenger. In the cities, and on “activity days”, I will have plenty of time on my own to do my own things.
You’ll be stuck with the same people for 10 months? The “UK to Cairo” route, as it’s called, is broken up into 4 smaller segments: (1) UK to Accra (2) Accra to Cape Town (3) Cape Town to Nairobi and (4) Nairobi to Cairo. I imagine some of the people will be doing all four segments, and some will only be doing one or two.
How many people are on the overland trip? About 20, plus or minus a few.
Who drives the truck? The driver (it’s a dedicated role).
Who cooks the food? We’ll all take turns.
What company did you book with, and why? I booked with Oasis Overland. You can google them — they’re a regular, commercial venture. I booked based on the happy medium of price vs. quality. The reviews seemed fairly solid as well.
You seem like an adventurous guy. Why not go solo? Two main reasons: (1) At this specific point in life, I’d rather be with a group than travel solo, and (2) Many of the places I’ll be seeing are very difficult, if not impossible, to get to with public transportation. I don’t want to be stuck waiting for the twice-a-month bus between two remote West-African cities. Going overland will allow me a much higher “seeing cool stuff to waiting for the damn bus” ratio.
Money, Health, and Home Life
How much is this trip going to cost? My guess is about $25,000
Wow! That’s a lot of money! How did you pay for it? I’m a good saver :) Plus, this is a good deal cheaper than just living in DC
What are you doing with all your junk/house/car/morals? I am bringing my morals with me, thank you very much :) A few boxes of stuff are packed and left in the basement of my condo. My condo is rented to a lovely tenant. My car is being loaned to a friend.
What if you get sick? I’ll get better.
What if you poop your pants? That is certainly a risk. Hopefully it mostly ends up on my underwear, since I have spares, but only one pair of pants.
What if you get [bombed by ISIS/bitten by a venomous snake/fall off a cliff/eaten by a lion]? Find solace in the fact that by taking this trip, I am choosing to live consciously, that travel is both valuable and important to me, and that I consider myself extremely blessed to devote most of my thoughts and energies to the very pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy (self-actualization).
Life on the Road
Where do you poop? Hopefully not in my pants. (I am bringing a trowel.)
What will you eat? Food.
What will you drink? Water (and some beer [but not too much]).
What are you bringing? Check out my gear post, it’s pretty swanky.
Why are you so cheeky? The sass is genetic; I get it from my little sister Ariella.
Post African Plans
Why are you going on this trip? I’ve wanted to travel the Cairo to Cape Town segment for over a decade. That segment alone is about 4 months, so I figured, if I am already going through the trouble of renting my place, quitting my job, leaving the country….just go big or go home. (I decided to go big.)
What’s after your Trans-Africa expedition? I have a few options. If I’m totally pooped, I can always come home to DC. I want to go to Nepal afterwards and do some hut-to-hut treks, which is a tad bit more civilized than traversing Africa. I may also climb Kilimanjaro. The world is my oyster!
Have you traveled before? Yeah, I’ve been to about 30 countries, including Central/South America, Europe, North Africa, and the Caucasuses. I’ve never done a trip quite like this one though!
What are some of your favorite travel memories? My top five are probably, in ascending order: (5) Western Wall,Jerusalem, Israel (4) Mt. Nemrut, Turkey (3) Igauzu Falls, Argentina (2) Zion National Park, Utah, US (1) Vitosha National Park, Bulgaria
What’s your life motto? Don’t poop your pants.