I hadn’t forgotten…

fullsizeoutput_25e8

Well well well… it’s been a crazy old time and I just haven’t had the brain space in the last 11 weeks (yikes!) to put together “the last post”. The last post for London to Melbourne anyway.

We live in a house now! It’s the craziest thing. You don’t realise the habits that are formed after 7 months in the car; some good, some bad. Now we have a garden and a garage and a whole laundry room all to ourselves! We even took delivery of a real life, full size refrigerator yesterday… we had the National Luna on the kitchen floor for a month before I finally lost my nut over it haha! Time to move on from the camp-style food storage option. We have drinking vessels made of glass and not plastic that looks a lot like glass. It’s all rather civilised. And you don’t have to remind me that I wrote a startlingly similar post when we returned from Africa back in 2012, I know it! You learn to live without so much when you travel for long periods of time but there is joy in reintroducing some of the missing items back in to your life when things start to go back to “normal”.

Overlanding is an addiction, sort of. Richard and I are different in so many ways but also have heaps in common and share a mutual 5 to 6 month limit when it comes to travelling in the Disco, living outside rain hail or shine and climbing a ladder to go to bed. We learned when we went to Africa that we reached the end of our tethers at 5 months… two weeks later we were in Cape Town with the car in a container and our rear-ends planted firmly in an airline seat. We were 7 months and 2 days on the Asia journey and with a large number of combined factors it felt long and arduous.

I can only speak for myself and my views are often not conducive to popular opinion amongst overlanders but so be it… I do like to say things how they are so here goes; would I do it again? Asia, no. Africa, in a heartbeat. Overlanding in general, absolutely. Lesson learned, take the dog with us next time!

We didn’t really write much about our Australian leg of the journey, all our plans fell by the wayside when we struggled to put together a legal driving option with our foreign plated car… but please don’t worry, this was due to our permanent move to Australia and had we just stamped our carnet life would have been sweet. Richard had big dreams for Aus; head north from Perth, then south east to the red centre onwards east to the coast through the Simpson Desert and south again with a lot of sights and remote off-roading along the way. We only managed one day of off-roading (170KM’S) in our actual journey which took us from campground to campground along the southern and sealed roads from Perth to Melbourne via Adelaide and the Nullarbor. But you know what, we still really loved it and as disappointing as a lot of the red tape and bureaucracy was we found so many beautiful places along the way and all in all life was easy. It has made us see the endless opportunities for travelling with the car in this new country of ours (how will we find the time?!) and look forward to getting out there once the bank accounts are feeling a little healthier.

So time to put WordPress away for a little while, I am not too sure if our website even works that well at the moment! We have’t updated the map or anything! I’ll get to it this weekend, it’s about time we sorted out all the loose ends.

Thanks to everyone for their endless support, I know we make you worry Mum’s and Dad’s and we appreciate it… you shouldn’t though. It’s a doddle(?). Again, we met so many new people along the way, some of them are even headed our way to Melbourne so we can have a mini Laos reunion here at our place. And of course we are already looking at ways to improve our kit for the America’s. Suckers for punishment you say and you’re right.

Take care, J&R

fullsizeoutput_24bd

Star dome…

Oh dear, naughty naughty! 20th November was the last post from us.

Tonight we are camping on a farm, under an immense night sky, in the Margaret River region of Western Australia… I guess that says it all! We drove in to Singapore, handed over the car to the shipping agent and then waited for what seemed like an age to get it back again!

On reflection to Singapore, it seems there is this belief that it’s impossible to take your car there and if you do it’s crazy expensive… none of this is true, although the temporary insurance is expensive the entire process is really quite straight forward and there’s just a $50 fee for the permit and paperwork. Really not bad at all! When you’ve come that far, who wants to gripe over $50 and some costly insurance (obviously subject to individual vehicle and personal circumstances). The rules are strictly adhered to though and campervans or vehicles with (obvious) internal sleeping arrangements are not allowed but on the day of the border crossing at Woodlands no one really looked that much at the vehicle, just the paperwork.

The entry process in to Australia was tiresome and all rather half-assed but that’s how it is here and you just wait your turn. We gave our car a DIY jetwash and a vacuum in Malaysia 2/3 days before shipping and only two things had to be cleaned for the quarantine guys at this end… our dusty max trax and a pair of old shoes we had forgotten to throw in the bin when we packed the car in Singapore. There was accumulated dust and dirt and grime all over the place and it didn’t seem to be an issue. Another potential myth busted! We didn’t have any asbestos concerns raised either but we had done our research in advance and had written confirmation from Land Rover that the cars and parts were asbestos free many years before our car was built.

So, on to more interesting topics… Mr. Frank Furter, our beloved Dachshund, is now with us and learning to travel overland! This has been a really big deal, after so many months of being miserable without him we took the plunge and flew him to Perth so he could do the last stretch with us. He’s not so sure about it just yet but if we lay on the luxurious cushions and blankets then he seems to manage. Such a diva.

While we waited for the car to make an appearance we spent time in Auckland, Melbourne and Perth, had time apart and time together that wasn’t overlanding. It’s been a rough ride this one and a long break was really what we needed, lots of sleep and time to think about other things, be with Frank, be “normal”… it was invaluable and now that we have set off again in a new environment and a new culture it is all rather invigorating. We met some lovely people over Christmas and tonight we have settled in to a campsite on a beautiful farm. The night sky takes your breath away and it’s all very peaceful. The coastline is stunning and we have so much to see and do over the next few days including a dog friendly wine tour which we are really excited about!

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!

J&R

Underpants over our trousers… And maybe a cape?

Yippee!

I finally have something to “blog” about… Absolutely nothing even slightly Africa, over-landing or off-roading related has occurred in the last few months and then we came across this poor fella last night…

20121220-122344.jpg

We shut out the oppressive darkness, rain, pollution and crowded streets and briefly returned to the Serengeti in Tanzania and Sossusvlei in Namibia where we encountered other sticky situations (excuse the pun).

This unsuspecting chap had driven over a large bollard/stone policeman on a narrow lane in the heart of central London and was beached at an extraordinary angle in his SUV. Richard took one quick look and almost leapt from our moving vehicle at the exciting prospect of rescuing someone with his beloved winch!

After some tight manoeuvring of the orange beast the winch cable was out in a flash and Richard was on the job.

I don’t think the stranded gentleman knew quite what to think but hey… He’s free to carry on and I couldn’t really say who was happier! Us or him ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas everyone!… Spread a little festive spirit and help those in need if you happen to stumble upon them, its pretty fun (when you’re car nerds like us anyway, thanks for the adjective Gabrielle x)

Home is where the heart is…

And my heart is still in Africa I think.

Our little orange truck has been loaded on to it’s container and is awaiting departure from Cape Town, it already feels like we are missing a limb and that September is an eternity away. We really should have hired a private plane to transport it… It deserves the only the best you know!

20120803-223330.jpg

20120803-223337.jpg

What’s it like being in London again? “Mixed feelings” would be the standard response…

Pros? An ensuite; oh man, it really is brilliant. My handbag; it’s gorgeous and I missed it! Familiar faces; always comforting. Our own washing machine; we still hadn’t washed our Kilimanjaro clothes… Gross!

Cons? Wearing shoes; jandals (or flip flops) are the way forward. Job hunting; pffft. Cleaning; having a flat is great but you have to clean it all the bloody time! Car problems; you think you’ve left it all behind in Cape Town until you realise the other two need MOT’s, Tax, new batteries and what not. Blah blah, the list goes on, so there we go… I guess the point I’m trying to make IS:

You really only need the simple things in life and as equally frustrating as that can be at times I’d give absolutely anything to do it all again tomorrow.

i.e. Some of the experiences that put a big smile on our faces while we travelled were a washing machine, a clean toilet, hot water and a roadside meal that wasn’t skewers of whole-cooked rat. Richard found joy in scaring the excrement out of me on various off-road “adventures” and mountain climbing expeditions (we climbed a MOUNTAIN for crying out loud!).

It’s been an emotional few days to be completely honest. It’s actually very difficult to let our little African adventure go and in typically girly fashion there are sniffles and damp lashes as I think of how best to word this post.

We have a raft of facts, figures and stats to share with the fellow inquisitive overlander but as Richard is the mathematician in the household I will leave that to him.

Just to wrap things up though… We finished in Cape Town with 34567 miles on the clock. How totally perfect.

Overland travel in Africa really is as simple as 34567.

Love to all, we miss you.
Jo and Richard