“He who doesn’t see the essence of books shall surely be ruled by those who find and value the real essence of books.” ~Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Originally published in 2016 / updated in December 2018
The first book on overlanding we came across, and our favorite, was in a guesthouse in Chiang Mai, in Thailand. I read it in one go and told Coen he’d love it too. After he had finished reading Who Needs a Road as well, Coen googled on Harold Stephens, better knowns as Steve, learned that he lived in Bangkok and got in touch with him.
A few months later we Steve’s guests and listened to his fascinating adventures. Among the tales he shared were his adventures about being a mariner in China right after the war and about his building a schooner that he eventually wrecked during a typhoon in the Pacific.
Atrapa tu Sueño was the first book we read in Spanish. When we started traveling in Argentina, ‘everybody’ asked if we knew the Zapps. The Zapps, it turned out, were what many considered to be the Argentinean pioneers in overlanding. They left in 2001, figuring it would take them 6 months and 2000 US dollars to drive to Alaska in a 1928 Graham Page.
Their journey grew into a fantastic adventure that they detailed in this book, which was later published in an English version called Spark Your Dream. I love that title, as it captures so much more than the cliché “follow your dreams”. We got Atrapa tu Sueño as a gift from Argentinean friends and it was a motivating way to start reading in Spanish. The Zapps are still on the road, now including their four children.
Unique Journeys & Unique Stories
Whenever I read blogs and books on overlanding, I am fascinated by how different our journeys are, how different we experience the same routes we travel on. What we learn on our trip and how we look at the world all contributes to unique journeys.
For example, our nomadic existence is very much about staying in places. Lois Pryce, on the other hand, who traveled solo from Alaska to Ushuaia on her motorcycle, at one point reflects,
“A road trip isn’t about being somewhere, I reminded myself, it’s about going somewhere, and ultimately that was all I wanted to do.”
Lois Pryce’s second book Revolutionary Ride; on the road in search of the real Iran is captivating: and she gave a TED talk about her travels that has inspired many to hit the road – find it here.
We feel privileged to have met some adventuring overlanders. Let me introduce them to you:
English Books on Overlanding – Graeme and Luisa Bell
Graeme and Luisa travel with their two kids, Keelan and Jessica and are from South Africa. We Will be Free is about the process from when that first seed was planted that they should travel the world, to buying their Land Rover and shipping it across the ocean to South America, and to driving through many of the countries on that continent. Their story continues in Overlanding the Americas; La Lucha.
They are still on the road and recently published the practical guide about overlanding, Travel the Planet Overland.
Dutch Books on Overlanding – Paul van Hooff on his Motorcycle
We met Paul as he traveled his last kilometers to Ushuaia on his motor Guzzi, a multiple-year trip he shares in Man in het zadel (which he hopes to get published in English as well). Last year he drove his Guzzi from the Netherlands to Japan and his book, Van hier tot Tokio about this journey has been a hit in the Netherlands.
Dutch Books on Overlanding – Manon Ossevoort on her Tractor
This is one of the most inspiring persons we have ever met. Around the time we left the Netherlands, she left too, but on a tractor and with the goal to traverse Africa and drive with her tractor on the South Pole. As a theatermaker she performed in many villages and cities along the way, sharing her dream about going to the South Pole, and back.
Hers is an incredibly inspiring story about making your dreams come true. People could draw or write their dreams on a piece of paper, or email them, and Manon took them all with her to the only continent on which never a war has been fought. There she built a snowman, with all those dreams in its belly.
Her book Op de Tractor naar de Zuidpool is in Dutch, but here you can read about her in English. She is currently working on the second book about her tractor journey.
Read More: Books on Preparing your Overland Journey
Brazilian Books on Overlanding – Roy Rudnick & Michelle Weiss by Car
On the Adventure Sports Fair in São Paulo (read here) we met Roy Rudnick who stood there with a fabulous photo exhibition of his around-the-world trip with his partner Michelle Weiss. Their book is called Mundo por Terra in Portuguese and World by Land in English.
Brazilian Books on Overlanding – Isabela Miranda and Rafael Ávila by Car
We met more Brazilians on the road. With Isabela and Rafael we shared a short but fun camp spot in Bolivia. Our roads met once more in Peru but unfortunately, our journeys then head in different directions. They detailed their journey around the world in a Defender in 1300 Dias pelo Mundo
Overlanding Stories in a Free E-Book
Our contribution is a free e-book with a compilation of extraordinary overlanders.
Do you have an excuse for not going on an overland journey? See what experienced overlanders have to say about this:
- “Ah, but we can’t do that, we have kids!” In this E-book you’ll find several families traveling with kids, varying from baby to teenager, and from one kid up to six.
- “But I have a chronic disease.” Meet Marianne and Henk, about how they never let Henk’s chronic illnesses get in their way of travel.
- “I can’t leave; I have dogs.” While Lorraine will never say that traveling for dogs is for everybody, she has done so herself, and has a lot to say interesting things to say about the subject.
- “I’m single.” Read Dave’s story on why that could be, in fact, an advantage. Or, for that matter, read about Life Remotely’s fun while traveling with the three of them.
- “I have no money.” We have a number of examples of how that doesn’t have to be a problem: Meet the minimalist travelers Julie & Jean-Baptiste in a 2CV, DiscoverShareInspire who work on the road, and Bard & Sheena who share tips how to quickly save a whole lot of money for a three-year trip.
You can download it free of charge. Just click on the button below.
What are your favorite books on overlanding? Which ones should we check out? Please share with us in the comment section below.
For books we read and contribute to, check out our Bookshop.