“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
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 others about being a mariner in China right after the war, a fascinating read by the way, and about Steve building his 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 in a unique 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 and Unique Stories
Each time 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.” (By the way, she also gave a TED talk about her travels, find it here).
Meeting Overlanding Authors
We feel privileged to have met some of the adventurers whose overlanding books I mention below:
Graeme and Luisa Bell with their two kids, Keelan and Jessica, 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. It was followed by La Lucha. They are still on the road and recently published the practical guide about overlanding, Travel the Planet Overland. Find the books on their website.
We met Paul van Hooff as he traveled his last kilometers to Ushuaia on his motor Guzzi, a multiple-year trip he shares in Man in het Zadel (he is working on getting it published in English as well). He is currently driving from the Netherlands to Japan so we hope to meet him in the years to come.
Manon Ossevoort 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.
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).
Our contribution is a free e-book with a compilation of extraordinary overlanders. Enjoy!
You can download it free of charge. Just click on the button below.
What is your favorite book 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.
(Originally published in 2016 / updated in 2017)