Overlanding is defined as a self-relying journey where the primary goal is the journey and not the destination itself. But what does that exactly mean? We overlanders are a different breed of explorers. Seekers of wild places, peoples and cultures that we love to explore based out of our own wheels. Every time we set out, we are never really sure what we will encounter but it is that idea that pushes us away from our normal lives and gets us going. Someone might say that we are a unique bunch but I disagree. We just do what other people would have done if life had given them that opportunity. Therefore we are delighted to present you something extraordinary, a tribute to one of the most legendary places to explore by vehicle.
Please welcome overlanddiaries’ new expedition: “11th North to 55th South”. This is the name of our two-year long overland expedition in South America and is now in its final preparation stage. This first post marks the beginning of a new adventure that has been carefully planned and prepared and is due to start at the beginning of December. From day one of the birth of “Overlanddiaries “, we believed that travelling and living in a vehicle incorporates a huge dose of passion and lots of love for what you do. It’s a love that both Rochelle and I share. On the other hand, every trip comes with a huge financial cost, something that we have decided to always support exclusively from our own personal funds. Until this day we have never used any sponsors and it is our intention to keep it that way. After the end of the Epic Journey in August 2015, we were basically both broke and facing a dilemma. We could either pretend that our Epic Journey was not over and continue living it through potential travel magazines and book publishers, going through each moment again and again, or let it go and look into the future. Our decision then was made. We agreed on a two-year plan of intensive work back in hospitality, a sector where we both belong, with only one aim, to save as much as possible in order to be able to take off again. Since then we shut down and carefully planned every detail of this next expedition. With a bit of luck on our side, we managed to gather the funds needed even before the two years had gone by. In the process of planning now, always having as a guideline our previous experience and with our new vehicle already on standby, we went through everything that will be needed this time. In order to get a head start, for months now we have started ordering most of what we need online. That way we are gaining time in the preparation stage that, as we know, is a difficult and very important stage of any trip.
So as simple as it sounds, the morning of the 7th of December 2016 and after we were turned down by a boat strike (bloody Greeks) “11North -55th South”, our 2 year-adventure, started. We drove north and through F.Y.R.O.M., Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia we reached Italy. There we met up with Akis, Voula and their lovely daughter Anastasia from TheWorldoffroad , Greek friends and fellow overlanders that traveled once around the world, in three years’ time, back in 2008. I had not seen them for more than 8 years when we last met in Ethiopia. Check out their work on the link above. Aki and Voula, it was great catching up with you. Thanks for the wonderful hospitality, guys. We will be waiting for your arrival in South America in the new TheWorldoffRoad adventure.
After that we headed straight to Germany, where our “5 star villa”, our new rooftop tent and awning that we had ordered, was waiting for us. We must admit that we both love hot climates and starting in Europe, in mid December, was our first challenge for this trip. The upcoming nights though, in our new rooftop tent, despite the 3 degrees Celsius, were absolutely fine and helped us get back in the spirit of traveling. Worth mentioning here is the help of good friends like Gabby & Roberto in Holland and David & David ,Dean and Nic from the UK, that came to give us a send off in Amsterdam. That turned our week long crossing through Germany, Holland and Belgium into an absolute joy. Further to our plan, we are due to embark the Grimaldi freight “MV Grande Brasile” on the 20th of December, with destination Montevideo in Uruguay. We will be spending Christmas and New Year crossing the Atlantic and like Rochelle said, that is a whole new adventure by itself (more on that in the upcoming episodes).
Thanks to the web and the overland community, that since my first trips has grown significantly online, after uncountable hours on the net, we have gathered a great amount of data that we will need to work on while on the 25 days crossing of the Atlantic. All this data used properly will definitely help us in what we are about to face in the upcoming months. Our plan is, after our arrival in Uruguay, to head directly south to Patagonia in order to get there before the winter kicks in. From there and as we will have reached the 55th Parallel South, the end of the road, we will turn north. Upon entering Chile, we plan to do a combination of the Caretera Austral in Chile and Ruta 40 in Argentina, before we return and visit both Central Argentina and Uruguay, on our way to Paraguay.
In case you wonder, yes, we are absolutely sure that this is exactly what we want to do and that the new tribute called “11th North to 55th South” feels incredible. We are finally back out there and for one more time we are about to start exploring unbeaten paths to unknown lands. Stay with us and experience another lifetime adventure that has just started…