Traveling as Overlanders Changes You
This overlanding impact was first noticed in an attitude shift of a younger couple we know. They became overlanders in Cape Town South Africa.
Like most newbies, they started out with a conquering excitement as they designed and built their overland vehicle, aggressively planned their trips, and put out a detailed blog to keep the world informed of their discoveries and achievements.
As the trip progressed their attitude seemed to soften and their posts came less often. I took it as boredom or maybe the journey was a disappointment. But, it was something very different.
Recently, we met a young Hollander who had traversed Europe, the Middle East and most of Africa alone for the past 12 months in a 1993 Land Cruiser and was working his way back home.
I curiously watched him send a quick email. Then he simply sat with his sandwich dinner for what seemed hours staring into space. Again I thought he might be overwhelmed or terribly lonely. He turned out to be a fascinating, educated and gregarious guy content in his own thoughts.
Our last three visits to Africa have been intensely scheduled and exciting, full of meetings with many good people. This time after deciding to live here as OVERLANDERS for 6 months with no set schedule, I think we are starting to understand what OVERLANDING does to you.
Instead of aggressively filling time… time starts to fill you and your life expands. There is no stress to prove anything, just time to follow your immediate passion and feel peace in daily experiences.
Now that said, you won’t have to join a hippy commune or sing Kumbaya every night around the campfire. Unless those are your passions of course. But you will find YOU in the challenges and vast experiences as you couldn’t before amongst the chaos and expectations of others.
People become more important to you for who they are and not for what you can prove to them or get from them. Now be honest.
Finally, you will notice the intricate details of your surroundings; from vast landscapes to the industry of termites. The miracle of real life unfolding and guess what, you’re in it.
I have always been grateful for these miracles through my bucket list experiences. Yet, to slow down and listen for an extended period instead of fleetingly has been the great gift of OVERLANDING.
With the luxury of forced semi-retirement, we fell into this beautiful circumstance. Last week we met a couple our age from Germany who have flown to Namibia twice a year for a total of 3 months for the last 14 years to OVERLAND in their Land Rover.
They first made videos and slideshows to show off their adventures. But as he says, “Nobody gets it. Nobody cares. But we do!” How do you share something like beauty, peace, and taking each day as a gift while letting the world unfold? It’s like trying to explain chocolate to a bushman.
Although I wish we had started our OVERLANDING earlier, there is still loads of time ahead to fill us.
Russ Harris loves all things mechanical and making the world a better place, especially for Margrit.