No backpackers but overlanders!
We’ve had the dream to go on a long world trip for a while. And one day, we started to fantasise about how, where, and what. But we didn’t feel like travelling by plane and hopping from continent to continent, because you step out in a totally new world each time. Too abrupt for us. So we decided to travel by land – to China!

But… how do you do that?
A Route and Planning GuideWalking or cycling seemed a bit too extreme we thought. So we decided to travel by car along the old silk roads. At the start we imagined other overlanders being unreachably cool people that always know what to do to survive in every situation. Not really the kind of people we compared ourselves with. So we startet at zero by buying a book about the silk roads (Alexandra) and searching the internet for a suitable car (Wouter). And so we managed to know more step by step and realized that it will be alright. Therefore our advice to everyone who dreams of a world trip: just do it!

The crew
Name: Alexandra Sfintesco
Born: 1977
Passport: Swiss & Romanian, but lives in Groningen (Holland) since 1999
Tasks: navigator, photographer, weblogger, cook, administrator, and travel-psychologist

Name: Wouter Wilbrink
Born: 1976
Passport: Dutch
Tasks: driver, dj, technical maintenance, coffee maker, network administrator, and bargainer

Name: Meopar (= black panther in Thai)
Born: 1987
Passport: Cosmopolitan thanks to the Carnet de Passages
Tasks: car, home, kitchen, dressing-room, storage and eye-catcher

After a few month Wouter finally managed to find an older Toyota LandCruiser HJ61 (6 cylinder diesel engine with turbo) that was nearly ready to leave on a travel. That is, it had a rooftent from Howling Moon on top, a good sound system with subwoofer, lots of tools for the car and in the kitchen, and a sleeping construction for inside. We didn’t need to do anything for the car. Wouter only bought a 3rd chair for € 10,- and welded it in the back for the travel guides in Turkmenistan and China. So we left full of confidence without really checking things in advance.

During the journey we found out that some adjustments would have been useful. So the next time we leave on a world trip we make sure we improve the following things: small fridge, solar panel on the roof, and a better construction to sleep inside the car.

On the road we had some smaller and bigger things done with the car. Especially after Mongolia some things had to be replaced (tires, batteries, leave springs) and fixed (roof rack, horizontal bar for the shock absorbers). And the largest and most noticeable reparation happened in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) where all the corrosion was removed and Meopar received a completely new colour (reason: there was a nice beige available like the old one, so we decided for a totally new look!).

I leave on a journey and bring along…
To be continued…

The route
First we planned to drive to China and go on to India somehow. But then a friend told us that Mongolia’s also worth a visit, when you’re in the neighbourhood. So we also visited that exceptional country. And once on the road we strongly felt that we’d like to drive home (instead of shipping the car from India to Europe). Check on MAP where we are, where we’re going to and where we’ve been.


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