I have now decided to set up a website of my adventures, giving an honest account of the pros and cons of the places, activities and sights; the trials and tribulations of travelling these trips bring, and to document my expeditions through uploading pictures. My aim is to provide practical advice about tackling these countries, specifically focusing on overlanding, and additional tips on travelling as a whole, such as a kit list, preparing for different countries, what to do and what not to do.
I appreciate that you could spend a year exploring Brazil alone, but I aim to do each country's highlights given the time frame and budget I have, and to continue to tick off those bucket list wishes.
I love the outdoors. I love sports. I love exploration. I love gear. I love food. I love photographing it all. But most importantly, I love sharing it with the world, with you.
After finishing my law degree in 2007, and doing lots of random jobs, including being a Redcoat at Butlins, I decided I'd just have a little gap year, before the career kicked off. I initially started quite tame by doing a ski season in France, and I then won an all expenses paid trip to New Zealand after being crowned Britain's Craziest Student. You'll have to YouTube that one to find out what I did.
However, controlled by the need to make money and not waste my education, I sold my soul and started to make it in the tough legal world, along with killing myself doing further studies to get qualified. Seemingly content at first with my 25 days holiday per year, I rammed in as many trips as possible. Then one day, I looked around the office, saw how miserable everyone was, and how I'd become one of them and 3 weeks later, I was on my way to Africa. I did a volunteering project in Uganda teaching 9-11 year olds Mathematics and English, visited Death Row (think Shawshank Redemption) and an orphanage in Rwanda. I then went on an organised tour through central, eastern and southern Africa. Being in a group had its ups and downs and having travelled South Africa after that independently, it cemented my preference of doing trips my way. The travel bug had hit me. I then bobbed around Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Asia, Australia and Fiji. I was now on a mission to visit every country in the world and throw myself into new experiences.
One of my favourite trips to-date has been a 4-month tour around the USA and Canada in a rented campervan. I went to 33 American states and 2 Canadian provinces and it really was an adventure of a lifetime (cheesy, but true). Just promise me you’ll do it one day?! It also made me rethink the whole overlanding travel style. I loved it...and that’s why Dougal and Kermit were bought.
In the latest expedition, I was originally travelling in a converted 1977 Land Rover ambulance (Dougal), which was shipped out from the UK to Florida, USA in August 2013. The plan was to visit every country from Mexico to Chile and in-between. These 21 countries included 8 countries in Central America, 13 countries in South America and also the Galápagos Islands and Easter Island. Dougal completed his Central America mission, but couldn't muster the strength to get past Venezuela. Tired of his hissy fits, I shipped him back to the UK and sold him on. I now have a newer, more reliable vehicle (I hope) called Kermit. He's a 1996 Land Rover Defender that is currently being converted to be a fully working home, office and the ultimate overlanding machine.
I work hard, but play harder, often juggling 2/3 jobs and packing in as many hours as possible to save up for the next expedition. Currently, I am working in Kazakhstan, after making an unscheduled stop here to get more funds together before I ship Kermit out again to South America.
After South America, there are talks of re-visiting Central America and making my way up to the Arctic circle (Alaska)...but I'll see how this adventure pans out first.
Deciding on this overland lifestyle and taking an expedition vehicle through a continent was never going to be an easy option, but I have now racked up over 100 countries and lived in 3 continents, so I’m no stranger to the road. The next expedition, commencing at the end of 2015, will be circumnavigating South America in Kermit, which will be my most ambitious trip to-date, not least of all, as I am now the only consistent member of The Overlanders crew. It’s a little daunting, as I’m just an ordinary girl trying to do extraordinary things and still have a lot of learn!
Also, wish me luck…as I think I might need it.
Want to be an Overlander, join the next expedition and have a trip of a lifetime?
There are many ways you can follow us, such as Facebook and YouTube, but for some of the more adventurous of you, The Overlanders are opening their doors for the first time, so YOU can join in the epic road trip around South America too. From previous trips, I know that travelling wouldn’t be the same without the people you meet along the way (either fellow travellers or the locals), and so I want people to share the adventure and live their dreams too, and now I am able to offer this with three extra seats and places to sleep. One of you will be sleeping next to me though, so that's the only trade-off ;).
Keeping in theme with the couch surfing philosophy, I welcome any fellow travellers to come crash in my home - whether it be for a few hours to chill with a beer and a BBQ, to help people get from A to B, or explore countries with me for months at a time. So make space in your diary and welcome Kermit into your life (and little me).
Accommodation is free (unlike tours of this kind that would charge $1000s), but I ask that incremental costs like food, fuel, tolls (and campsites, if required) are split equally between everyone for the duration you are are onboard (see the FAQ section below). I ask for nothing towards the van maintenance, or any pennies to go towards the initial cost of the van, shipping costs, equipment I have bought, all the planning I have done, and building the vans.
Below is a map giving you a rough idea of the route, and a plan providing a brief outline of the time frame in each country and when this will be:
Start: mid to end October 2015. Finish: March 2017 ish. Duration: 18 months.
I appreciate that you could spend a year alone exploring Brazil, but I aim to cover highlights and some little extras in each country, in the time frame I have. The durations are based on recommended itineraries, forums and travel books (and also my budget). Please note that I have visited Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador (including The Galapagos), Peru and Chile, so I feel I know these countries regarding highlights and budget.
The time of year has also been considered so that we would in a specific country at the best time of the year to visit that place eg Angel Falls in Venezuela and turtle season in Guyana is arguably best between July and December. There is some flexibility - give or take a month. I am happy to stay somewhere longer if it's awesome or cut down the time in somewhere if we all feel we've been there, done that and worn the travel t-shirt far too long. Whatever the group is happy to do.
You will have to sort out your own flights to meet Kermit and I, and of course any spending money. When you are with us we will all equally split the cost of food, fuel, toll roads and campsites (if required). I don't ask for any money towards accommodation or maintaining the vehicle.
I normally carry about four days of food, and this will come to about $50USD (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Some countries are more expensive than others, but I try to buy from markets, rather than big chains. I have a hob and a BBQ to cook food on. I am not a fussy eater and open to trying new foods. I will try to cook a variety of western favourites and healthy options, but if cooking is your forte please step forward. My Uni cooking skills didn't venture much passed that.
Kermit can carry up to 180L. This should give us a range of around 1100 miles. Fuel is on average between $0.50 to $1USD per L. Some countries are significantly lower eg Venezuela is an insane $0.05USD to fill up from empty (that's not a typo)!
Again, these vary from country to country. In the past they have been anything from $0.50 to $20USD.
I rarely stay on campsites, but when I do they are generally under $10USD per night, per vehicle.
There is an option for a single sleeper to be inside, or for two people to be in the annex attached to the vehicle. You will need your own sleeping bags. When we stay in towns/cities you have the option to stay at a hostel/hotel if you want - we will just park up outside.
We sometimes stay on campsites, but mostly it is wild/stealth camp. This gets us to places where tourists and travellers don't normally see. It's not uncommon for us to have nightly BBQs and cold beers around the bonfire, then wake up to fresh coconut and coffee on deserted beaches with turtles, ready with the surfboard in hand.
We carry 100L of water with us, which we are able to heat and have hot showers with. They'll be outside, but I'm sure you won't complain about the 'garden' view. Travellers dream :).
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or send me a message here: