How are we doing this? I’m going to be honest here. Planning one of these things takes a lot of time. During the process I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with google maps (you start by looking for a border crossing, and 2 hours later you’ve somehow ended up in satellite view looking at John Travolta’s house), eBay (there is nothing that China can’t do) and DHL parcel tracking (is it here yet?). Even worse, once the vehicle shipped from Australia, I’ve become addicted to tracking the ship that it’s on.
There are lots of complexities: Visas can be tricky, and our planned route changed once or twice purely because the visas were too much of a headache. There is an entire spreadsheet dedicated purely to working out what to apply for a when. Don’t trust the Mexican postal system with a valuable Russian letter of invitation (lesson learned). You apparently need to get approval to “import” your car back into Australia, even if it’s already owned, registered, insured and lived in Australia all its life! It is impossible to get a consistent answer on anything to do with Russian visas. At all. Ever. And apparently the concept of credit cards has yet to reach a single consular section within the embassies of central Asia.
But the biggest part of the process is the vehicle.
We aren’t the first to travel overland. The internet is full of adventurers criss-crossing the planet in all kinds of vehicles, from little grey haired Grandpa and Grandmas in outrageous ex-military trucks, to British backpackers screaming across Europe in the hilarious hatchbacks of the mongol rally.
In between these are the 4 wheel drives. Since forever there have been those who will insist that a Land Rover is the only choice for the real adventurer. Land Rover first did London to Sydney overland in 1956. With plenty of spare parts. Another camp will insist that the the Toyota Landcruiser, that indestructible beast of the 4WD world, is the smart choice. Tough, dependable, universal, with a spare parts network across the planet. And I’d have to agree. The Landcruiser is the totally logical choice. Mum says so.
Anyway screw all that, we’re taking a 2008 Volkswagen Touareg diesel called Magda, coz she’s hot and looks the ducks guts 😉
She shipped from Sydney in April 2012, taking two and a half months to arrive in Southampton, UK, ready to start the adventure all the way home (it’s best not to think too deeply about the carbon footprint of all this…)
Preparation for the trip has included all terrain tyres (mainly for Mongolia), full size spare wheel carrier, nav unit with GPS maps for Europe, Asia as well as Australia, a few bits and pieces for security, a mechanical going over, Ross-Tech diagnostic tool, spare parts and a crash course in mechanics for me (tho I’m desperately hoping nothing forces me to prove it…) An Autohome Maggiolina roof tent will be fitted in the UK, and fridge will round it out. For now.
For the videography heads out there, to capture the trip, we’ll be using a pair of GoPro cameras and a Canon 60D, and editing together on the run with Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects. Coz we want the world to look amazeballs.