The Traveliving Series: Why All Overlanders Should Pay 5 EUR For Camping*?

As explained before in a previous Traveliving Series installment, overlanders is a quite respectful “tribe” of travelling industry in terms of numbers & market share. However, the tourism & hospitality industry has not been designed to accommodate their needs & expectations. At least, not in all cases.

But lets define first what an overlander is and what it is not. According to Wikipedia:

Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries.

 

Don’t get confused with the differentiation between overlanders, travellers and tourists. We are all tourists no matter what means of transportation we use. We are all travellers since we have the travel bug inside. The rest is marketing for the travel industry and vanity for those who feel “different” from the rest of the others. PERIOD

However, at this installment, we would like to focus on the principal form of lodging that mostly overlanders prefer to use which is the camping in any form and possible way.

 

Fact No1: Overlanders love outdoors. Off-the-grid wild camp or bush camp or dry camp, boon-docking or organised campground with full hookups, you name it. All travellers with mechanized -or not- transport such as camper vans, trucks with campers, mega trucks, motorbikes & bicycles wait for the moment they will pitch their tent or just open their awning, unfold their chairs and table, set up their little cozy camping area, cook their dinner, and enjoy their beer or wine under the stars (this is quite oversimplified but we have to make it sound as idyllic as possible, no?). Plus, there is no better travel “tribe” to protect the natural environment than overlanders. They love the nature and they have the absolute know-how on how to respect & save it (especially when locals in some less developed or developing countries do exactly the opposite).

 

Fact No2: Overlanders have invested on camping equipment & travel gear. The hospitality industry has not been designed around overlanders but it does not work the same for travel & camping equipment which nowadays is so advanced & innovative and actually caters for all types of travellers including overlanders. Waterproof tents, portable stoves, roof top tents, waterproof backpacks, pop up roofs, portable solar panels, 4 seasons sleeping bags, air mattresses, you name it! The variety is endless and hopefully the travel gear industry has not been saturated yet -at least in ideas and offers. Plus, the vast majority of overlanders travel in self-contained vehicles or -at least- are autonomous and sustainable for a good amount of time.

 

Fact No3: Design, invest and run a campsite is not a big deal. OK, it’s another business that has expenses, responsibilities, and of course risks to take. But, if compared to other accommodation facilities that travellers stay like a hostel, a hotel, a B&B, a resort, a lodge or a just a guesthouse, the campgrounds have -usually but not always- reduced start up and running expenses, demand less maintenance and it is pretty easy to upgrade or change them -if needed. On the other hand, just because it is a low-key investment, it’s not a business to make crazy money. Most campsites are small in size compared to big hotels and lodges and so can accommodate less people. Plus, it is usually required from the guests to carry their own camping setup which can vary from a tent to a whole caravan or motorhome!

 

Fact No4: Overlanders like to live with less. Not all but a good amount of overlanders love their minimalist lifestyle and can survive outside of their comfort zone for a while. Be aware though: the means of transportation is not related to the minimalist travel lifestyle. We have seen people on motorbikes or bicycles carrying so much excess and people on camper vans to travel with literally the basics (and vice versa!!!). In any case, what an overlander needs & basically expects to find in an organized campground is:

  1. a clean bathroom with hot shower,
  2. a reliable internet line (if fast, even better) &
  3. a decent facility to do the dishes (optional*)

(*:The dishes are optional because they are not affecting that much the overlander’s travel routine & well being if missing, compared to the first two.)

 

After 1.800 days traveliving around the world, two vehicles, more than 112.000 km in 46 countries and 3 continents, we have to say that the accommodation facilities we have experienced is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get. Some were exceptional and we would love to return anytime while for some others, we would prefer to forget as soon as possible. Some were overpriced, some others where extremely undervalued and finally some were a bargain. Some were filthy as hell but some others were neat, tidy, clean and shiny! Last but not least, some were proper campsites with grass, shady spots, electric hookups, water taps & potable water, clean & spacious toilets and showers, fast & steady wifi connection, laundry facilities and sinks, communal areas and, maybe, a funky bar & a restaurant with delicious food. On the other hand, some were the back yard or the parking lot of a hotel, a lodge or a hostel with all or some of the services that proper campsites offer to their guests. Finally, we have encountered hosts and business owners who were thrilled to accommodate people from all around the world, check their crazy vehicles, listen to their stories, and be proud of hosting Greeks, Americans, Australians, Dutch, Germans, you name it! On the other hand, we met hosts and owners who did not bother at all to make you feel like home and their only expectation was limited to pocket your money just because you are an overlander and obviously you have a lot!

After all, we tend to think that 5 EUR (or 6 USD) per person per night is a fair deal for the overlander and the campsite owner for the reasons & experiences that mentioned above and this should be the universal standard all around the world!

 

*: In less developed countries in Africa, Central & South America (including Mexico & Caribbean) & Asia

 

 

 

The Traveliving Series: How to find an exceptional work exchange (and skip the fees of the platforms)

Fact No1: Traveliving is exciting, fun & an interesting way to live. However, it can get frustrating, tiring, boring and highly demanding on several resources.

Fact No2: You cannot only travel. It is impossible to travel for a long time without doing anything. No matter how much money and time you have available, it is not fun after some point. So you have to fill your routine with different things.

Continue reading “The Traveliving Series: How to find an exceptional work exchange (and skip the fees of the platforms)”

The Traveliving Series: The Miseni Retreat (Tanzania)

Everything started from our donation of pencils, rubbers and sharpeners for the village of Saadani that is primarily sponsored and supported by SANA, one of the siblings of Miseni Retreat family.

Costas, Bakari, Ally, Mzee Sefu, Mama Tuma opened their arms and hosted us for more than 1,5 month in the spring of 2013.

If there is one country that we honestly loved for its diversity in our African leg, this is Tanzania. According to the stats, the Swahili culture spreads from the coast of Zanzibar Archipelago deep to DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Burundi & Uganda. For us, the Swahili culture is what makes Tanzania unique and we were fortunate enough to experience this at its full extent thanks to the family of Miseni Retreat.

SANA, Miseni Retreat, Saadani Lodges & the vilages of Gongo & Saadani are all under the same vision (and provision) of Costas Coucoulis, a charismatic philanthropist who was born and lives in Africa the last 40+ years and is extremely aware of the conservation of African nature.

We had the privilege to work with Costas, Bakari & Ally on the Maisha Safari Camp project for a while. However, our trip was “stronger” at that time and we gave up sooner than expected. In the meantime, we spent some time with Mzee Sefu and his wife, Mama Tuma and we had the chance to see what Miseni Retreat is about. These 12 days at Miseni Hill are one of the highlights of our trip so far and is also documented in our book as well.

Miseni Hill is a sacred hill for the locals and you can only walk there barefoot. The vibes of the energy are strong and you need to spend some time there in order to relax and enjoy the surroundings. The wildlife is abundant and the adjacent Saadani National Park is the only coastal NP in Africa where you can literally see elephants swim in the ocean. Plus, if you are lucky and you visit the right season, you can see dolphins in the day and lions in the night!

Miseni Retreat is located on the south edge of the Zaraninge Forest and the distance from downtown Dar es Salaam is only 125 kms through Bagamoyo.

When we were there, the Retreat was a newborn baby. Recently, we followed the news, checked Facebook & talked with some friends who are actually there and we found out that Miseni Retreat eventually opened up its doors to accommodate the first guests.

Miseni Retreat is also featured in our CHECK-INS list as an exceptional place that we have spent time during our long RTW tour and we are so happy to see that it grew up that fast.

Their moto is “Live in agreement with nature“. It couldn’t be more true & authentic.

Why dont you take a chance to experience by yourself? We would more than glad to hear back that a Pin Project friend visited Tanzania and said hello -or even better Habari za asubuhi- in our African friends.

 

From the bottom of our hearts, ASANTE SANA (=Thank you so much) for teaching us that life is simple with little things.

Have a look for reservations & more pics @ http://www.kijanicollection.com/ & Miseni Retreat at Facebook.

 


The Traveliving Series: Akis Temperidis

What we love when talking about our trips is talking about others. Its so vain to talk about yourself all the time.. People get bored, don’t they?

Akis Temperidis is a professional photographer & journalist who specializes in car industry but what makes Akis an exceptional friend is his passion about travel adventures around the world.

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 19.46.52Akis along with his wife Vula did a RTW trip in 3,5 years from 2007 to 2010 in a Land Rover Discovery and they are the first Greek overlanders to accomplish such a mission under the name TheWorldOffRoad. To be really honest, we didn’t follow their stories when they were travelling. We knew though that a Greek couple wanders around the world and we first got in contact after they finished their trip and settled down in the jungle of Tanzania.

They provided us with a bunch of useful information, advice and local insight that only a world traveller knows and since then we are in contact.

When the Pin Project started in April 2012, Vula was about to deliver their first daughter. Today, Anastasia is 6 years old (same age with the Pin Project) and the guys are setting off AGAIN. What an inspiration to see them travelling again, this time with their daughter on board!!!

Courage, strength, inspiration, charm, self-confidence are some of the values that this brilliant couple carries deep inside and made them an invaluable source of motivation when we were getting prepared for our RTW trip.

Last thing, Akis wrote a foreword for TRAVELIVING and we are so blessed for having such an awesome contribution & support for our book.

 

IMG_2802“In his own prologue, Nikos will “serve” you an array of reasons in an attempt to convince you not reading his book. This is peculiar for a writer in his first work but showcases the overall philosophy of the guy, which is visible -even tangible- in every single page of this book.

What I realised while reading this “Romantic & Practical Guide” is that Nikos doesn’t want to buy our praise, he doesn’t write for our applause. He hates selling himself for money, glory or social following and he doesn’t even feel comfortable with the idea of selling a self-made book to support his ongoing lifestyle – Traveliving. A term that is probably introduced by this book for a first time and describes it all.

Writing books to make a traveliving is a great and decent idea, by the way. And this one is accomplished remarkably well for a young traveller who is not -and not intended to be- a professional writer.

I will not try to convince you buying this book, providing all the good reasons, followed by exclamation marks. It would be considered like a payback for accepting the honor to forward it. So, no advertisement for Nikos’ work, just a few words to describe my feelings while reading this. Plus, the taste in my mouth after I finished it.”

Read more in our book.

You can learn more about Akis adventures at: www.temperidis.com, www.theworldoffroad.com & https://www.facebook.com/theworldoffroad.


 

The Traveliving Series: How To (self-) publish your first travel book

First of all, we have to make this clear: the HOW-TO guides is not our best. It might sounds contradictory -or even off-putting- but we are writing this piece of information in order to help and “enlighten” other travellers who are thinking to write their first book, primarily, by having an accumulated experience of  5 years of travelling and 9 months as self-publishers.

To begin with, publishing a book is one of the easiest things in the world. This statement is a combination of positive thinking, past experience as well as a true fact. Do not listen to what the “experts” say and start working your travel writing project TODAY! However, there some things that you must take into consideration which are divided into two stages: the before starting & after finishing your travel book.

Before starting, it means that you have some decent travel experience along with some nice pictures to show. Of course, this is totally unrelated to the way you are travelling (car or motorbike or bicycle or backpack does not really matter), the length of your travels and the number of countries you have visited. You just need some interesting content to inspire you and of course inspire others. Plus talent and writing skills! Remember that you are a traveller, neither a professional author nor a photographer. This applies to the vast majority of seasonal or long term travellers who really want to write a book (a travel narrative or a practical guide) with their experiences, not professional travel writers & photographers whose job is fundamentally travel-related.

IMG_2798After finishing your project and assuming that it went through serious cover design & scrutinous context editing and proofreading, you have two options to make it available to your target audience. Self-publish it or find a publishing house to do it for you. The former is a lonely journey that you have to take along with some risk and capital investment. You need to pay everything out of your pocket (editors, graphic designers, printing store, to name a few) as well as organize every little detail and learn how the whole system works. On the other hand, you have full control of your asset. It means that you plan and implement your own marketing & promotion campaign (presentations, give-aways, public speeches, etc.), you know exactly your sales figures as well as your available stock and finally, all profits end up directly into your pocket.

If you choose to go for a publishing house, be prepared to send 100 (at least) applications, proposal & drafts and wait for their reply (not everybody gets back!). Most of them claim that they are looking for a book with a long-shelf life and obviously, this is hard to say for a new book. At least, they have more experience than us! In the best case scenario that a publisher will be interested, then you can consider it as a little success for your project that involves less stress but also lower revenues. In most cases, they do everything that is needed to bring your piece of art into life, so you can see it one day on the book stores’ shelves. The real catch, in this case, is that the publishing house will rarely tell you the exact number of books that they printed (we know at least one case that they said to the traveller they printed 1.000 copies but instead they printed and eventually sold 2.000). According to these figures, they will give to you your final share (which will barely be over 10% of the retail price), so they prefer not to tell you the whole truth. Assuming that your book is sold for 20 EUR (or USD) and the publisher throws into the market 2.000 copies, you can expect to get from 2.000 to 4.000 EUR/USD maximum. It is definitely not a bad figure but you have to remember that you must deal with an honest publisher to get these money. Besides that, do not expect from your publisher to make any investment on marketing. They already paid for the printing costs which means that you have to take over. Travels around the country (also overseas), press releases, public speeches & presentations must be organised primarily by you if you want to make people familiar with your book and boost your sales.

Both options have lovers & haters, pros & cons and it is a decision you have to take before starting writing. After all, having a big adventure around the world is as easy as it sounds and thousands of people are doing so. Secondly, create a decent reading is also feasible. Even if you have a nice story to tell but not the talent to write it, a more intellectual than you friend or even a professional editor, will help you make it happen.

However, if there is a difficult or even really hard to achieve goal in this type of project, is the publishing of your book and its growth in terms of publicity and of course sales. Why?

  • Too much competition
  • Demanding readers
  • Too much FREE stuff on-line
  • Different cultural background
  • Need a proven and highly rated social media track record (No Facebook, Instagram & Twitter -like us- means very low sales!)
  • Different market orientation/ diversity
  • Media world is a mess and you need to know the right people to guide you through

Here is a real life example:

placeitRecently, we self-published our first travel book and now it is available as a paperback as well as an eBook. The creation of the book took us about 4 months (since August 2016) and the editing took another 4 months. In April 2017, we self-published it as an eBook. This way, we managed to raise about 450 EUR out of nothing (publishing an eBook is easy, free and a great way to market yourself).

Having a momentum, we decided to raise money through a very popular crowd-funding platform. So, in June 2017, we launched our campaign in order to basically invite people to pre-order our book and so get the necessary funds for the printing. After a partially successful campaign, about 40 people believed in our project and generously contributed. This way, we managed to raise around 1200 EUR (net amount after taxes, fees and other charges). (If we were more open to the social media, our target of 3.000 EUR would be way more easier to be achieved but this is something that has been already discussed in some Traveliving Series articles like The Social Media Phrenitis, Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, etc.)

After all, the printing and binding did cost 2.150 EUR, so we paid 500 EUR out of our pocket for a potential 14.700 EUR NET PROFIT (we printed 700 copies and we sell them for 21 EUR each).

Having said that, think very thoroughly how you want to carry on and bring your little travel writing project into life. Collective thinking, passion for what we are doing and a great desire to share all our knowledge and past experience makes us your best friend. We would love to hear back & provide the future travel writer with advice, information and insight.

 

Information about TRAVELIVING, our first travel book, and how you can order it online, can be found here: https://thepinproject.eu/traveliving-a-romantic-practical-guide/

 

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The Traveliving Series: The Check-Ins

Traveliving means freedom. But also means connection & interaction with the locals. Say buenos dias* or habari za asubuhi** in the gas station or at the reception of your hotel, most of the times is not enough and as a traveller, you have the chance to build a proper relationship with the locals every single day.

IMG_0396For us, the best way to get connected with the local people & communities is through employment opportunities. A paid job, work in exchange for food and accommodation or simply volunteering for a good cause, brings us closer to the people in the countries we visit. Sometimes, this is achievable just by meeting the right person, at the right time in the right place and some other times we need to make use of internet platforms like workaway.info or helpX.net.

When it comes to work exchange, we usually exchange our time, skills and experience for food and accommodation mainly in tourism related businesses simply because we are dreaming to do something similar in the future. This way, we acquire the know-how for free, we see how this type of businesses work, we learn all the secrets without taking any risk, plus we always choose exceptional locations like a luxury fishing lodge on a private island in Canada or a mountain lodge in the Ecuadorian Andes at 3000 mts altitude or a boutique hotel in the heart of Oaxaca de Juarez in México. Some people say that it is a slavery but honestly, we can confirm that it is a fair exchange of resources plus there is no contract or legal commitment, so you can always leave if you don’t enjoy or there is some sort of abuse or mismanagement (we did so, once, in a farm in Calgary).

ethandweni 17-05-2013 15-13-26Caution: there is no such a thing as volunteering in a business that makes a profit and travellers must be really cautious how and why they exchange their time for this kind of work exchange opportunities.

Regarding the volunteering assignments, this must be always for a good cause, and our experience in the Ethandweni Childrens Home in Zimbabwe, made us think different about charity projects and philanthropic initiatives.

So far, we have made proper money or have managed to save our passive income in Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Canada, México & recently in Ecuador.

 

 

In all cases, we created income, we had the chance to do and learn exceptional things, we exchanged culture, skills, knowledge & experience but most important, we got familiar with the local peoples’ traditions, customs and way of living. So far, we are impressed by the differences but also we are shocked by the similarities that all people have all around the wold. Finally, this is part of our travels’ legacy and what we will remember when we will settle down one day.

In the section of Check-Ins, you can find related info about the Travellers Accommodation Facilities that we have been hosted and worked during our travels the last 4,5 years. There is no business affiliation, we do not get anything to list these businesses, but we have deep knowledge of the people and the surroundings and we just want to spread the word and let other people know about it.

*: Good morning in Spanish
**: How are you? in KiSwahili

The Traveliving Series: The grey area of sponsorships

deal-e1460770502655Deals, bargains, offers. Travellers are always looking for opportunities to save money, create income on their way or even get sponsorships. The common denominator is to find the perfect source of income that will allow you to travel for as long as possible as well as save your passive income. Plus, if you can get some gadgets for free, why not?

 

Find deals and great bargains is easy and absolutely feasible. Seasonality, competition and simply the supply and demand function that always works, allow travellers who are getting prepared to find value for money stuff and get themselves outfitted and equipped for the great adventure.

 

However, apply and get a sponsored product or maybe funding for your trip is not the easiest thing in the world for a lot of reasons. First, there is too much competition. Yes! You are not the only one who wants a free Canon EOS to have with and lots of seasonal or long time travellers apply for free stuff in exchange of exposure of the company and its product lines.

 

Second, you must have great social impact. For instance, our social media exposure is close to zero. If we ever decided to apply for a sponsorship, the first thing that the person who is responsible for approvals (and rejections) would check, is our Klout score. If you are against social media (like us), then you have zero chances to be sponsored. But, if you can sell your trip & have 10K followers on Instagram, immediately you can consider yourself eligible for a discounted (or free of charge) 3 seasons Marmot tent.

 

Third, you need talent & skills to get the job! Not everybody can get really nice photos, not everybody has talent in writing and of course not everybody can convince the company to give him products for free.

 

Fourth, you must be prepared to work hard after the deal. Assuming that you managed to get the much-wanted spring set for your car or your motorbike or the waterproof set of side bags for your bicycle, you must be capable to deliver in time with nice stuff. According to the experts, only few people, eventually, deliver what has been agreed and even fewer are able to offer extremely professional content that can be used for commercial purposes just because they have never done this before or never had the talent.

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 19.46.52To give you a real-life example, Akis Temperidis & Vula Netou, the first Greek overlanders who circumnavigated the world (and gave us so much inspiration as well), worked their asses every single month in order to deliver articles, photos and travel stories in the magazine that was mainly funding a big part of their RTW trip. Having a look in their content, can give you a good idea of what professional content means. By the way, the guys travelled in the pre-Facebook/ Instagram era and their work-in-exchange-for-sponsorship has double value since they did not have the chance to employ these -great for exposure/ promotion/ sharing- tools for their adventures around the world.

 

Fifth, you must be very cautious to balance the exposure of sponsored products in your social media channels along with the actual trip. People who sit in their couch and are so jealous of your adventures, do not like ads and commercialized stuff but real life stories for recreation only. The moment you cross the line and start engage in your off road experience, the new helmet or set of tires that you got for free, it is the same moment that you make your followers feel uneasy and your content sort of off-putting. Here is why you need talent to incorporate as authentically as possible a sponsored product into your epic trip.

 

Finally, having a proven record with some decent portfolio to show up, is not mandatory but certainly will give you a great push. You would do probably the same if you were in the position of a company which receives tons of applications from ambitious travellers and needs to create a shortlist with several criteria.

 

special-offerAfter all, life is full of surprises. Yesterday, we came across a company which looks to sponsor travellers and for this reason, puts up an advertisement in one of the biggest travellers forums. We were surprised to find this out and travellers in North America (preferably USA) have a great chance to score and get a roof top tent FOR FREE!

 

Check this out here: http://forum.expeditionportal.com/forums/18-Central-and-South-America. And why not, spread the word & share this story as well as this great offer!

 

Have an awesome summer 😉

The Traveliving Series: The budget

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet’s face it. Traveliving involves an essential budget not only for the day-to-day activities and expenses but also for the preparation. However, is not that dreadful and everybody can organize his financial resources in an efficient way. Plus, it is measurable and can be monitored easily, anytime. At the end of the day, if Greeks can do it, everybody can do it 😉

But, first lets talk about the stereotypes that come with the travelling budget. First of all, you must be rich to travel around the world. Second, you need a fortune to get prepared. Third, you need to go pro. Fourth.. bla bla bla. Lots of stereotypes make people skeptic and hesitant as well as deter them from start planning their once in a life time adventure. Why? Mostly because they follow other travellers who are heavily equipped and outfitted, not being prepared for the unexpected but because they like to have cutting-edge technology, travel gadgets and other partially useless stuff which of course can afford (or manage to get through sponsorships, supporters and funny deals they make with companies in exchange for articles, exposure and Instagram posts).

IMG_3572It is true that you need a substantial amount of money to buy a vehicle and tune it up, purchase some travel gear that you might miss or need for the long term, shop for a travel insurance and book some tickets (or pay for the shipping of your vehicle). However, the biggest mistakes that people do especially when they are getting prepared is due to lack of long-time travelling experience and travel wisdom. We did the same before Africa and we learnt our lessons before hitting the Americas. After all, we managed to cut our preparation expenses by 20% (and the travel gear/ equipment expenses by more than 60%) and our daily living-running cots by 50%. Sounds good, no?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf there is a recipe for success is to always try to adapt your lifestyle with your available budget. If there is a secret, is to slow down your pace, fill up with experiences and spend more time in the places you visit. The slower you go, the less you spend.

As for the practical aspect of how much you actually need to start traveliving, please find an excerpt from our recently published book TRAVELIVING | A ROMANTIC & PRACTICAL GUIDE:

“From my experience, everything depends on the vehicle you want to travel with, the upgrades that will serve for your comfort and safety, the region you want to explore, your travel style and your pace but anything between 15.000 to 20.000 EUR for a car, 6.000 to 9.000 EUR for a motorbike, 2.000-4.000 EUR for a bicycle and 1.000-3.000 EUR for backpacking is a sufficient entry-level amount that will allow someone to leave his couch, get prepared and outfitted, and start wandering for at least 6 months to a year before stopping for the first assignment in a local community, farm or a hostel to work or volunteer (assuming that you are traveliving and not circumnavigating the globe in 200 days).”

 

Last piece of advice: study thoroughly while planning & go through travel forums like HorizonsUnlimited, ADVRider, ExpeditionPortal, WikiOverland and personal travel websites & blogs, and see what other people do. Try to match your personal standards with your actual needs and the territories you are going to visit and DO NOT copy other travellers’ packing lists. Last but not least, talk with other travellers, ask them questions. Most of them, they are happy to answer almost everything!

Finally, save every penny you can for the actual trip and don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money on action cameras, professional clothing gear and fancy stuff. Every cent you save, is a cold beer in the actual trip and much more!


 

The Traveliving Series: Tourist vs Overlander: 0-0

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Lago Bacalar, Quintana Roo, México

 

Africa is full of tribes. The same in Latin America & Asia. Travelling as an activity has its own share as well. Tourists & overlanders make up the two biggest “tribes” in the travelling industry in terms of numbers and market share.

If there are one million differences between tourists and overlanders, there are one million similarities as well.

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San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, México

It is true that overlanders spend more time than tourists, experience way more & different things, have a bit more complicated travel plan, allow more time to get prepared and equipped and so on.

It is true, also, that travellers on vehicles are way more flexible and mobile, have the chances to go visit places that tourists simply cannot, or they are not even aware. (However, for the locals, they are still the “tourists” who come to explore their untouched region/ national park/ reserve/ hiking trail etc.)

Plus, overlanders always complain about their budget and it is them who mostly bargain first. We have personally met overlanders with a minimum of 2.000 EUR monthly budget who complain about room and food prices or find activities of 50 EUR expensive!

On the other hand, tourists are always in a rush but with a bigger budget. They can afford almost everything because they are simply on vacations. It is literally a waste of time to bargain and they only want to have fun this week in Cancun, México or Santorini, Greece. Their travel plan (and of course their return ticket that most overlanders do not have) must be very precise especially when they want to visit and see certain things.

Both tribes have similarities as well. When in big cities or simply touristic places (which are countless worldwide), overlanders & tourists stay at the same places, eat the same street food, go visit the same popular sight-seeings and get the same activities packages which are mainly designed for tourists (and most of the times are a bit pricey).

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Lake Louise, Banff NP, Alberta, Canada

The Mayan pyramids of Palenque in Chiapas, México or the Lake Louise in Banff NP, Canada are popular for a reason and it makes absolute sense to be always busy and crowded. The same goes for the festival of the Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca, México.

There is a good percentage of overlanders (we have personally met lots) who feel so exceptional and unique that they get seriously bothered from “tourists”. They bitch & moan the whole time because in the same hostel they stay -which happens to be in a touristic place- “tourists” did the mistake to come spend their 10-day summer holidays! It is the very same people who market their long trips, show off their vehicles, make use of social media ephemeral power and usually add zero value to the travellers community. But for themselves, they are exceptional, unique or simply the best!

 

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Tourists are not always welcome!

 

Guess what? At the end of the day, it is not about who you are and what are you doing; just put aside tags like overlander, tourist, traveliver. We are all passengers. But, for god shake, nobody is so special and will never be unless you are a scientist, an athlete or an academic.

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Isla Mujeres, Yucatán, México

The vast majority of long-time, seasonal travellers do not interact with their surroundings -despite the fact that there are some reasonable arguments-, they only travel to live and they usually chase WiFi, likes, subscribers and followers. Fair enough! The urban myth says that an overlander with Western background drove for 2 years in South America without speaking a word of Spanish. We can verify that it is not an urban myth! But, we hate when we hear from several overlanders: “The place was nice but unfortunately too many tourists!”

We are all tourists, idiot! Shut your mouth, be humble and grateful, enjoy your current lifestyle which allows you to wander around for a while (and is way more privileged compare to the tourist’s) and try to see the reflections in the places you visit and the new people you meet.


 

The Traveliving Series: Spin the Wheel

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We firmly believe that cycling is the most romantic way to explore the world. Yes, we know! It’s exhausting, strenuous and requires great strength, determination and preparation but all these do not make it difficult but rather challenging.

Spin the Wheel is a Greek initiative to cycle in Malawi & Tanzania (about 800 kms) in order to raise funds and provide 4.500 kids in 15 schools with stationary, notebooks and sports equipment.

We did the same in our African endeavors but we carried everything in our little Suzuki (or shipped the stuff before departure). The guys took the hard way and went for the arduous but romantic way. We can only take our hat off and share their story with a great sense of respect and admiration!

The project is on its 18th day and the guys hold strong. Follow their trip through social media and be part of it, support them financially, become a sponsor or even share their adventures (this is how social media work, right?) and spread the word.

From the bottom of our heart, we wish you Buena suerte* & Safari njema**!

Follow the trip here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spinthewheel/

http://spinthewheel.gr/get-involved/

*: Good luck in Spanish
**: Safe travels in KiSwahili