When we decided to sell all we owned and leave everything we knew behind so we could travel the world, we wanted to leave as quickly as possible. The reason it eventually took eight months was that I, Karin-Marijke, had a house to sell and that took time.
Initially, we figured we’d fill two backpacks and fly to Bangkok and start traveling around the world from there. But because we had some time to kill, waiting for that house to sell, we talked a bit more about what we wanted out of this journey, and one of our main issues was freedom.
How do you have freedom if you depend on public transport and hotels?
From here it was a small step to changing our trip to an overland journey, even though we didn’t know the word ‘overlanding’ existed yet. We just figured a car would give us more freedom, and it has.
Books & Websites on Preparing Your Overland Journey
It was 2002 and the internet wasn’t bombarded with blogs and info on overlanding. It never occurred to us to see if any book was available. Many things have changed. The world of overlanding is growing rapidly and so is the number of books and other resources on the subject: reading blogs, facebook pages, forums, and books on overlanding trips (find a selection of books here) may all contribute in getting more excited about your journey.
What about the practical part? How do you prepare for such a journey? Should you prepare at all? There is no perfect answer. It suited us to just buy a car, take two months of fixing the old rusty beast that had not been used for a while so it would drive again, and to get it equipped.
Others prefer taking their time to thoroughly prepare their trip. Since we have gotten so many emails with questions about this preparation phase – about the vehicle, the paperwork, the itinerary – I thought it would be helpful to put together a collection of books that may help you along.
Note: While general information on e.g. selecting and equipping your vehicle isn’t particularly time sensitive, information on countries (e.g. border crossings and necessary paperwork) may be. So make sure to check the publication date of the book you’re buying to see how relevant it is for your particular trip. Here are the guidebooks we have used for our trips.
If you are looking for more up-to-date practical info, check e.g. Facebook pages for overlanders (like here, here, and here, but there are many more), or forums such as Horizons Unlimited and Expedition Portal.
We interviewed overlanding veterans on topics such as traveling with kids, with a chronic disease, with dogs, and without money. They shared their stories with tips and photos in an e-book that you can download here.
Handbooks on Overlanding
In 2016, they wrote Travel the Planet Overland, in which they share their acquired wisdom of life on the road.
The Overlanders’ Handbook, meanwhile, has been available for a number of years and has been heralded by many overlanders as a perfect guidebook to get you started. The newest edition dates from 2017. Expect topics on planning, vehicle choice, and outlines of routes.
The Adventure Motorcycling Handbook is the version motorcyclists most likely are looking for. Chris Scott hasn’t left it at that and has written a number of other books on overlanding that you may find useful and/or inspiring (find them here).
The Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide (4th edition) by Tom Sheppard and co-authored by Jonathan Hanson are 600 pages on everything you need to know about undertaking an overland expedition, small or big.
The authors of Liferemotely.com contributed to our free e-book Overlanders Inspired.
As we never traveled to Central America & Mexico, we never got around to reading this book written by them, but many overlanders have shared it in the overland community because it has been so useful to them.
On that note, if you wonder how in the world you’re going to cook some delicious, but easy, diners along the way, Life Remotely also wrote Forks in the Road, in which they share some of their favorite recipes.
Americas Overland; the Driving Handbook is another book specifically written for overlanding on the Americas.
Build your Own Overland Camper by Steven Wigglesworth may help you get started to building your rig into a comfortable and/or practical home for your great trip.
In Motorhome Self-build and Optimisation, Ulrich Dolde details in almost 500 pages with 1200 photos how he built his motorhome.
For books we read and contribute to, check out our Bookshop.
What have been great books for you to get started? Which ones did we miss? Please share in the comment section below. Thanks.