. . . LAND ROVER OVERLAND EXPEDITION

. . . AROUND THE WORLD 2001/02
     
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Africa 1999
Around-the-World 2001/02
 

The Team

Jeff Willner
1. Start: Recipe for Adventure
2. Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation
3. Namibia: Southern Circuit
4. South Africa: Circuit 2
5. Zambia/Malawi: Sketches
7. Kenya: Bandit Country
8. Ethiopia: Diary
9. Ethiopia: Border Run
10. Sudan: Across the Sahara
11. Egypt: Cape to Cairo
12. Jordan/Syria: Sept. 11th
13. Turkey: Hospitality
14. Bulgaria/Romania/ Hungary
15. Slovakia/Austria/Poland
16. The Baltics & Russia
17. Scandinavia
18. Western Europe
19. Brazil: Clearning Customs
20. Argentina: Revolution
21. Argentina: To Ushuaia
22. Patagonia Disaster
23. Buenos Aires Beautiful
24. Uruguay: Beaches
25. Chile: Expedition Life
26. Bolivia: Atacama
27. Peru: Transit
28. Galapagos: Gorgeous
29. Ecuador: Jungle Run
30. Knifepoint
31. Dubai: Lay over
32. Singapore/Malaysia
33. Thailand: Hospitality
34. Cambodia: Ankor Wat
35. Vietnam: Hanoi & Halong
36. Laos: Back to Basics
37. China: Beijing Tour
38. China: Shanxi
39. China: Western Province
40. China: Tibet
41: Nepal: Mountains
42. India: Driving Struggle
43. Pakistan: Dodging War
44. Iran: Overcharging
45. End: One Last Laugh

Sally DeFina
1. Cape Town: Robben Island
2. Zanzibar: Mike & I
3. Kenya: African Driving School
4. Sudan: Mud Crossing
5. Patagonia: Goodbye Max
6. Malaysia: Mike Update
7. Thailand: Ko Phangan
8. Cambodia: Phnom Penh
9. Vietnam: By Train
10. Laos: Vang Vieng
11. China: Meet Mr. Chen

Jody Finver
1. Start: Surreal Solipse
2. Great Zimbabwe
3. Brokedown in Kenyan Desert
4. Egypt: So Should I Hyphenate
5. Poland: Home is Where the Truck Is

Gulin Akoz
1. Start: Bits and Pieces
2. Zambia: Diaries
3. Egypt: Africa Memories
4. Turkey: For Your Information
5. The Team and The Bean
6. Somebody Else's Child
7. On My Own
8. Long Lost Memories of Childhood
9. The Tree and the Boy
10. Jealous
11. The Aftermath

 

Panamerican 2003
Various Trips
Planning an Expedition

 

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#25 - Expedition Life
Jeff Willner - 21 January, 2002

(Santiago, CHILE) I've been counting the number of times I had to set my wristwatch alarm on this trip. I am almost up to 20, its worrisome. Most mornings we sleep till 10. Nice huh. We go where we want, eat where we wish, and have virtually no deadlines. For seven months this idyll has gone on. Who could complain?

Our routine has changed a bit since the truck got wasted, these days we leave the work to the bus driver. But the pace is similar. Up at 10, coffee and bread for breakfast, and a tour around whatever town we happen to be in. Lunch - whenever. And a bus ride to a new town. A few days ago we walked through Santiago with Susan, a script reader from Hollywood on vacation in Chile. "You've been through 38 countries so far, don't the towns start blending together?"

Sometimes. But you live for the quirky stuff, and the unexpected. Buenos Aires is a great example. Originally we had only planned to spend one day in town. And that day happened to coincide with the massive riots that forced President De la Rua out of office. The running, the smashing, the tear gas - good stuff. Then we had our unfortunate incident with the Land Rover and ended up back in town for three weeks. This time experienced the sublime side of the city. Laid back. The cafe and plaza scene.

Don't get me wrong. We have a schedule. We have to. There are shipping deadlines, visas, and entry permits that had to be arranged in advance. Plus, the whole around-the-world thing imposes a tyranny of movement. Simple division. 60,000km / 12 months = 5,000km per month. That's over a thousand kilometers per week.

As a team, we have some marathon negotiations prior to starting each continent. Poring over the guidebooks to find the listed highlights of each country, we string together a route with suggested dates. If the book recommends two days to experience a site, we plan one. Fourty eight hours by bus from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia - we'll drive it in twenty four. And after we have a solid idea of our options we are free. If we like a town we stay on. To make up time we drive all night. No reservations, no demands. When we arrive in a town we check the guidebook for a $10 per night hostel, make sure it has hot water, and check in.

You are probably thinking you would never stay at a $10 per night hostel. And you know, I was not very keen on it myself when we started the trip. After all, once you have tasted the fruit of a generous corporate expense account it is hard to downgrade. But what is comfort? It is associating with the familiar. And luxury is just a sample of something better than usual. After a few weeks hostel accommodation became normal. And these days, an upgrade to a room with air conditioning is as indulgent as ordering room service from the Four Seasons was in the old days.

At the lower end of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs things are pretty simple; shelter and food. I regret spending so much on the easy stuff. Where it gets tricky is at the top end. Self actualization. That is a tough one. I have a limited budget for this trip but by spending ten bucks on a bed I have plenty of time to think about what I am doing and why. What makes me happy - why. What the heck am I doing with my life. Why?

Hours of driving, or sitting in a bus, at the beach, or in a pew at the back of a cathedral listening to an organist practise - there is a lot of time to think about the big picture. Too much maybe. I sure wish books didn't weigh so much, I would have brought another fifty.

I think I will look back at this trip as one of the best years of my life. "Don't the towns start blending together?" Yeah, some of them do. But the world has become a much more intimate place for me. Countries aren't as different as you might think. Folks are folks, no matter what kind of hat they wear. And there are moments that stick with you. At the end of the day, those memories are the only thing that will be irrevocably yours.

And if you get them after 10am, so much the better.

 

Copyright January 1999-2011
All rights reserved - Jeff Willner
Contact: jeffwillner@yahoo.com