The Overlanding Podcast #14
A few months ago we were lucky enough to be invited to attend a podcast recording with Andrew from The Overlanding Podcast. It was great to sit around his virtual campfire and chat about all of our overland travels from Morocco through to our big trip getting to Australia. I had to dig deep into the memory to recall some of the details but it was great to discuss all things overlanding. If you have a spare hour, pop the kettle on, plug in the headphones and give it a listen. Apologies for the sniffles, I was quite ill the day of recording.
Click here to go to The Overlanding Podcast website
Off The Road – Our Story
If you have been following along on Facebook or Instagram recently you might have heard that our story has been published in a book by Gestalten (yes, a real paper, hold in your hand, book!). But it is not just us, there a several other travellers stories filling this book with great adventures from around the world. We were however lucky enough to score the front cover.
Many people have been asking where to buy the book from. I am not really best placed to answer this question as we really have no input on the book or its publishing, we have merely contributed our story and photos.
You could always support your local book store and go directly there. The ISBN is: 978-3-89955-594-3 which should make finding it a whole lot easier.
For those in Europe you could buy it online direct from Gestalten:
For those in Australia you could buy online from Langsom:
Off the Road – Explorers, Vans, and Life off the Beaten Track
To find a store in your Country/State/City have a look on Gestaltens site here:
Walking Tasmania’s Overland Track – Winter 2015
This years adventure is taking a slightly different approach to ‘Overland Adventure’. It’s still Overland, just not as we usually do it.
The Overland Track is Australia’s most well known, multi-day alpine walk. It’s a 65 km, six-day trek through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The stunning scenery and the physical challenge of the Overland Track have assured it a national and international reputation as one of the great wilderness bushwalks.
The trip came about because my friends Simon and Edwina decided it was a good idea to do this in winter. With less people on the track there would be more wilderness for us to enjoy. Sure its going to be harder with the cold weather and snow but it will be worth it.
The nature of the trip demands that you carry all your gear and supplies for the 6-7 day duration. In winter the bulk of down sleeping bags, clothing and fuel for the stoves soon adds up. My estimated bag weight currently sits at 20kg which includes snow shoes.
On the lead up to the trip I have been watching the weather and track reports with a close eye. The weather has become increasingly inclement with Tasmania experiencing its coldest and most snowbound winter since the 80’s. Many roads have been closed across the country and there have been snow drifts of 60cm reported at Cradle Mountain with temperatures around -5˚c. Still, we are keeping optimistic and hoping the track will remain open when we arrive later next week.
We arrive into Launceston on the 15th August and hopefully getting the bus to Cradle Mountain on the 16th. With all being well we finish the walk the following Sunday and leave Hobart on Monday 24th.
Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for updates and photos as I am sure this is going to be another eventful trip for Sirocco Overland!
Simpson Desert Crossing via The Hay River Track
It was early July, primetime for outback travel in Australia. I was meeting up with a man who I had never met, taking his Land Rover and driving it nearly 3000km across five of Australia’s eight states from Melbourne, across the Simpson Desert to Alice Springs for him. Sounds odd doesn’t it?
The 2013 Acknowledgement Post
It’s long overdue. Some people would have forgotten, but we haven’t. Many, many people contributed to our trip in a plethora of ways before, during and after. It’s taken a lot of drafts and few months to get it right, but hopefully this published version is it… Complete, in its entirety.
The seed for this post was planted three nights after leaving the UK. Already we had experienced overwhelming hospitality from Kurt and Mel in Bremen, and it was while staying in Copenhagen with Sara, Kim, Peter and Mela that we realised that the heart of our journey would be the people we met along the way.
So here you go, the list, in order of appearance and a huge thanks from both of us.
Siberia Part III – To The Final Frontier Along The Road of Bones
How we took on the infamous Road of Bones during one of the wettest years in history, finally reached Magadan and then headed for Vladivostok, our final port of call.
After the Pamirs and Afghanistan, Russia’s Far North East held the next greatest allure for me personally. Motorbike accounts of the Old Summer Road and Magadan, the photos bringing to life the generosity of the people, the isolation, the remoteness, the raw beauty of the Taiga, the history, the Gulags, the ghost towns… I had to be there myself. I had to experience this.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait…
The last few months have been pretty quite around here as we waited around for our Residency Visas to be granted but now, we are happy to say, the wait is finally over. On the 7th of November we were granted the Permanent Residency we have been chasing for the last 12 months. (more…)
Permanent Import for Australia Granted
Its been a long road. Not the 42,000km covered in 2013 but the formalities throughout this year, of wanting to spend an extended period (more than 12 months) of time in Australia.
Article – The Lost City of Kadykchan, Russia’s Far North East
We are very pleased to announce that our second published article is now up on the Expedition Portal for viewing and can be found here:
ExPo – The Lost City of Kadykchan
Article – The Lost Fishing Fleet of the Aral Sea
We are very pleased to announce that our very first published article (other than interviews) is now up on the Expedition Portal for viewing and can be found here:
ExPo – The Lost Fishing Fleet of the Aral Sea
The article was written in whole by us using several of my photos to tell the story.
Siberia Part II – The Lena Barge, Mirny and the Vilyuysk Trackt to Yakutsk
How we travelled 1000km by freight barge up the Lena River, visited one of the worlds largest and most isolated diamond mines, had the fright of our lives and traversed the Vilyuysk Trackt to reach the coldest city on earth.
While retreating back to Severobaikalsk from the Vitim Bridge, we noticed a knocking noise and an unsettling aroma of exhaust fumes in the cab. Moments later the exhaust noise ramped up and we pulled over immediately. Upon closer inspection Griff discovered the exhaust had sheared off at the manifold and needed urgent attention. Typically we had a stainless steel system installed so not only did we need to find a welder, we needed someone who could weld stainless and more importantly had the gear to do it. (more…)
Simpson Desert Trip, Australia – In Progress
Today I am meeting up with a man who I have never met. I will be taking his Land Rover and driving it nearly 3000km across five of Australia’s seven states from Melbourne, across the Simpson Desert to Alice Springs for him. Sounds odd doesn’t it?
Sirocco Overland Interview Part 2 by Expedition Portal
Just a quick post to let you all know that the second part of our interview with Christophe over at Expedition Portal is up and live on their website. You can read all about it here: www.expeditionportal.com
Credit to Adam Lewis (www.shortwayround.co.uk) as they used his image of us as the opener again! Nice one Ad.
Sirocco Overland 2013 Trip In Motion Picture
We have been working on this little project for sometime now. Compiling all our time-lapsed footage from the GoPro, video from Lisa’s camera and also the DSLR. We have put together the best bits that represent the 10 month trip we undertook last year. There was a big learning curve with the GoPro, a lot of the time-lapse stuff we tried didn’t really work, some were better than others and often when times got tough we simply didn’t film (like the time we tipped the truck into a snowdrift at night in Finland and had to winch ourselves out of 5 feet of snow).
It is a short little ensemble and we hope you enjoy it.
Don’t forget to watch it in HD and full screen. Let us know what you think below.
Sirocco Overland Interview Part 1 by Expedition Portal
Just a quick post to let you all know that our interview with Christophe over at Expedition Portal is up and live on their website. You can read all about it here: www.expeditionportal.com
Credit to Adam Lewis (www.shortwayround.co.uk) as they used his image of us as the opener! Nice one Ad.
2013 Trans North Asia Overland Trip GPS Track Logs
So we completed our trip to Vladivostok back in late September last year and we are still working on the last two blog posts for you (thank you for your patience). In the meantime check out our 42,000km GPS track log.
With the use of our daily tracklogs from our Garmin GPS our GIS man (Jack Pitts) back home has pinned together our route from the moment we landed in France, to putting the 90 in the container.
After 10 months (248 nights) on the road totalling 42,000Km we have crossed 22 countries, 16 International border crossings, survived temperatures from -25 to +35 degrees C and camped for 176 nights.
Check out our Interactive Map here: Progress So Far
There are a few gaps in the tracklogs which we are still working on.
Siberia Part I – Lake Baikal to the BAM road and the Vitim Bridge
How we took on the infamous BAM railroad, swam in the world’s deepest lake and experienced true Siberian hospitality… over and over again.
Getting out of Mongolia wasn’t really an issue but our third entry into Russia had me on tenterhooks for the first time since leaving the UK. The border official had questioned the fact that the vehicle and trailer had the same number plate/registration. I tried to explain that this is standard for UK vehicles but she was suspicious, and rightfully so. Although I was telling the truth about UK laws, I was presenting less than honest evidence…
10 of the best Wildcamps from 2013
Our collection of the top 10 most memorable, but not always the best, wildcamps from 2013. Each was chosen for a reason and has a story behind it. There were many more like these often in similar landscapes but these are the pick of the bunch.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Last year we realised we were clocking up a fair number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, as they are usually worth checking out and in some countries were the highlight of our visit. It’s surprising how quickly they add up too. So here is a round-up of the sites we have visited over the years. We will continue to add to this list, starting with Australia’s wonders. But in the meantime check out whc.unesco.org for the complete list and interactive world map to see how many you have been to! We would be interested to hear your thoughts and where you have been that impressed you most. Let us know in the Poll and in the comments. (more…)
Don’t Date an Overlander…
A good friend of mine recently shared a short blog post on Facebook titled ‘Don’t date a girl who travels’. Some of the points raised resonated with me but a lot of it, I felt, was idealised generalisations taken from the travel industry. Its gone a bit viral online with spin offs for those who don’t get the irony or satire of the original. Overlanding on the whole is travelling but generally overlanders are travelling in placed where backpackers fear to tread, away from comforts, public transport, latte’s, cafe’s, facebook and instagram. So here is my take on that original article, titled ‘Don’t Date an Overlander’.
Mongolia – Part II: The Gobi Desert and the route north to Ulaan Baatar
How we escaped flash floods and spent the following two weeks bashing through the Gobi Desert following old soviet maps in the vague direction of Khongoryn Els.
We left Altai with the Frenchies, fully stocked with fuel, water and food. It was raining hard in Altai. The streets were flooded as we left in a south easterly direction heading for some smaller settlements where we could get fuel before heading off road into the South Gobi Aimag later on. En-route we were heading for ‘The Secret Canyon’ which we had been shown the co-ordinates to by another French group. We called it a day about 50km from what we believed to be the canyon entrance a couple of kms from a small gathering of mud brick homes. This didn’t deter local trucks full of men offering vodka or men on motorbikes with their families sat behind (babies included!) popping by to see who we were. None of us could speak Mongolian, and they didn’t speak Russian, so we were limited to hand gestures, toasts and shots of vodka to communicate greetings!
365 Days Later…
26th January 2013 we said goodbye to everybody and everything we knew and drove out of my parents driveway in Swansea chasing the sunrise east until we couldn’t possibly drive any further on the Eurasia continent. I will never forget that day. With a lump in my throat I drove for the last time through streets of childhood memories and down familiar roads. Its difficult to describe what we were feeling at that point in time. It was certainly a small mix of sadness and apprehension, along with questioning doubt. We didn’t know what lay ahead for us, what the road would throw at us or what would happen next. We were very sad to be leaving loved ones behind but we knew that overall we were doing the right thing. It felt right. To make a change and better ourselves. (more…)
Mongolia – Part I: The Wild West
How we scraped through the border to make the national Naadam festival, stumbled upon Kazakh eagle hunters, found hidden petroglyphs and met the ‘Frenchies’
Kyrgyzstan had been eclipsed by Tajikistan, in terms of hospitality and friendliness. But now we were entering Mongolia, a land famous the world over for it’s unmatched hospitality and warmth. I couldn’t keep the smile from my face as we crossed through the border, the excitement hard to contain.
2013 Photo Collection – The Selfie
noun (plural selfies)
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
Selfie made it into the Oxford English Dictionary this year so we thought we would trawl through what we had and post a few of the best ones up from 2013. We don’t take these usually but the GoPro had a habit of catching that ‘Selfie’ whenever I set up the time-lapse. (more…)