It’s tempting to think about extended overland expeditions as a vacation. But overlanding isn’t really a vacation, it’s more of an adventure. And good adventures are usually challenging.
The challenge of overlanding starts with building and learning how to use an overland vehicle. These vehicles typically aren’t simple. Learning how to fix and maintain your truck is hard enough. But most overland vehicles also include a range of electrical systems including battery systems, solar panels, stoves, water filtration systems, water pumps and in our case an electronic lift mechanism.
Another challenge associated with overlanding is planning your itinerary. For most overlanders this is fun most of the time. But experiences like third world border crossings or shipping your rig between countries can be a challenge. And driving on crazy pothole and speed bump filled roads while avoiding domesticated (and sometimes wild) animals, entire families on mopeds and huge trucks speeding down (or lumbering up) single lane roads can be nerve racking. We will never forget our drive down to San Pedro La Laguna on the shore of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala or the drive from Oaxaca City to the Oaxacan Coast. And we have no desire to complete these drives ever again.
On a daily basis overlanding isn’t as glamorous as it sounds either. After cooking, cleaning, driving and planning there isn’t a ton of time left over to pursue adventures, never mind blogging, learning a foreign language or taking pictures.
But despite these challenges, overlanding is more than worth it. There’s no better way to get off of the beaten path and to immerse yourself in different countries and cultures. There’s no better way to pursue the best adventures in the world. And there’s no better way to develop a shared story with your partner, and, in our case, our dog included. Despite all of the challenges (and dangers) we have faced, we wouldn’t trade it for anything, although there’s always things we would do differently the next time.