There are a lot to think about before deciding if a Vagabjorn Road trip is the right thing for you. I have plotted down some information you might find useful here, and then you can always get in touch if you have any more questions.
Security: Traveling by car can be dangerous. Tens of thousands of people loose their lives in traffic every year, with the majority being in countries that have poor infrastructure, lower requirements for safety equipment in cars, poor driving education and higher tolerance for drinking and driving than most of us would have in our home countries. Traffic will be the biggest risk of setting off on a big trip like this, but by doing regular car checks, abstaining from drinking and driving, having experience from driving in different conditions will lower the chances of accidents while on the road. Every member needs to be aware of this traffic risk and other risks that we can face on the road such as: robbings, muggings and theft.
We require that each participants has a valid travel insurance to cover for theft and any health related issues we will face on the way.
Costs/inclusions: These road trips cover transport only. You need to make sure to budget for all meals and accommodations that are not free/wild camping. Cooking we can do as low as 100€ per month when cooking ourselves, and the cost of accommodation will vary depending on your wants/needs.
Budgeting is really a personal thing, you could be able to live for just a few euros a day just like you can blow a lot of money easily on alcohol, restaurants or loosing multiple phones. Trust your gut and make sure to calculate your budget beforehand.
Health: Some of the countries we go through may require vaccines and we might travel through areas where disease such as dengue and malaria is present. Contact your doctor for medical advice and be prepared to take a few vaccines/shots before setting off.
Visas: Will be arranged on the way, unless the itinerary states that you will require to have one beforehand. If you are unsure if you will need visa for the countries we are going through, then contact me or the embassies in your country.
Kitty: The Kitty is a group budget we all chip in weekly in order to cook group meals or visit paid historical or quirky places. We will all contribute an average of 10€ per week to purchase local goods from which rotating teams will prepare food for the group.
Cars: For my trips I have used varied types of cars, depending on group size and road conditions in the place we are going:
Vikings in Africa: Toyota Hiace
Vikings in Australia: Toyota Landcruiser
Vikings in Asia: Toyota RAV4
Vikings in America: Jeep Rubicon
Storage: We usually have plenty of space by putting some of our stuff on the roof, but please only bring what you need and plan ahead with the other members so that we don't each have our own hair dryers, guitars and boxing gloves.
What else to expect..
Let’s get a few things straight, for the sake of our sanity, and to make sure you know what comes ahead and still decide to join. There are key values you should share in order to make this trip pleasant for everyone: resilience and commitment, honesty and integrity, as well as adaptability and positivity. Why?
It’s simple, overlanding is a journey; not a packaged holiday.
Overlanding is a combination of a lot of mileage, the freedom of movement, the ability to change plans, sleeping and cooking outdoors, adventure and discovery. Furthermore, Central Asia is still untapped to mass tourism, a definite change of scenery that might provoke a sense of disorientation and homesickness. Still sounds great, yeah? Again, it is not for everyone, there will be hard times, resilience and commitment are fully needed. Let’s tap into what you will encounter on this five months journey.
During this trip, you will be part of a team. You will meet strangers from different nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. This will be your team. There will inevitably be a time when someone gets on your nerves or vice versa. This is when honesty and integrity are a must. Conflict is universal, there’s no avoiding it. You will have to deal with conflict. Also, it’s better to know how to treat people instead of learning about everyone’s boundaries. We must be able to pull together in harder times and enjoy each other’s presence when kicking our feet back.
What will this team do? There will be group tasks: grocery shopping and cooking, dishes, camping duties such as gathering firewood, filling up Jerry cans with drinking water and more. Everyone’s input is demanded, no divas.
An open kitty will be run by the group. Every week or so, people will be asked to put in an average of ten euros, until the sum is depleted. The kitty is to buy food for the group as well as common gear such as dish soap or a new wooden spoon, were we to brake one. Groceries will be more expensive in Europe and much cheaper the further east we go. Receipts are asked so the accounts can remain transparent.
Additionally, there will be team leaders. That’s right, it’s Bjorn and Tom. They have enough experience to cover what we will visit and the routes taken. There will be suggestions on what to do in various places. However, our job is to deal with the day to day logistics of getting you from A to B, making sure you have food in your bellies at the end of the day, sleep in safe places, taking care of all the car business, organize the obtention of visas and make sure no one is left behind. We are not specialists in birds, trees or foreign food. We will not take you by hand to show you what there is to see. This is the difference between overlanding and a tour. You are all expected to use the free time you will have to do what you want to do, not necessarily what we suggest.
At last, foreign infrastructures demand adaptability and positivity from you. On a global scale, the countries visited during this trip are not the poorest. We will spend quality time in rural areas, where roads, toilets and accommodation might very well range from inexistent to poor. Most urban areas aren’t either on the standards of the megapolis of this world. What does it imply? It implies that there will be long days of driving at times, we have ground to cover, it’s not the most fun but sometimes it’s a necessity, be prepared, don't sulk. There will be delays at times, whether from breakdowns, injuries, sickness, weather, bad roads, border closure, wrong information, life. Flexibility in our itinerary is a must, plans will change. Therefore, we do not guarantee what is proposed in our day to day itinerary. We will do our absolute best to bring people to their place of departure on time. We have not previously failed to do so, and we don’t count on starting now.
Additionally, we might spend 2 or 3 days without a shower while bush camping. We will try to compensate by being near rivers or waterfalls but it might not happen all the time. We will sleep in sketchy looking places that we will judge safe enough as well as under the milky way in the middle of nowhere. On top of it all, we do not guarantee that you will have food at the same time every day, you might consider stacking your own snacks. Lastly, it implies that you will often have to do your natural animal needs behind a bush, so be warned!
If you are ready to overland with strangers and experience discomfort for prolonged periods, then yes this is a trip for you! But if you are not willing to show resilience, commitment, honesty, integrity, adaptability and positivity in exchange for exploring beautiful, sometimes uncommon or rare tourist destinations, then this is not for you! If all this sounds good then you are welcome
You will be spending months, or a fraction of it, with the same people. Usually these are strangers at first, and hopefully they will be good and trusted friends at last.