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Old 17 Jan 2010
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Dark Secret

Thought I would put a post up and see the reaction, and see if there are any others lurking around this forum with such a dark and dirty secret
I’ve been on an organised self drive trip through Morocco

Yes I know the shame of it, will I be black balled?

OK in my defence this was in 2007, long before I had found this site and had zero knowledge about overland travel. Off road stuff yes but I’d outgrown burying my car in mud for fun years ago.
So given that it was going to be a family holiday/adventure (6 of us in a G Wagen) but I desperately wanted to drive through the desert it seemed a good option. We had an absolutely brilliant time and it introduced us to the concept of overland travel and at some point solo/diy/small group travel.

So was it such a bad thing?


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Old 17 Jan 2010
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No shame in that Russ, I think it's a great way to learn - well it worked for me - I learned how to deal with borders, ferries and had a great opportunity to see things I couldn't have seen on my own. All the reading and watching doesn't prepare you for landing on a different continent and and into an alien culture for the first time.

What I did learn was that people are people the world over and if you are open, courteous, wear a smile and don't be condescending then you get to know the people and culture.

A draw back of traveling with a group is that it's too easy to stay within your enclave and not interact on the ground - buy food, sit in cafes and when a stranger talks to you in the street listen to what he has to say.

Another important factor is who is leading the group. If they are too controlling then you can miss out.
"Never have a stupid argument with an idiot - he gets a lot more practice than you"
there I go again
not too hard really
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Old 17 Jan 2010
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no problem. It depends on the confidence of the person and many other variables, everyone is different.

Our trip to Morocco was the 1st time I had driven abroad and I have only been driving for 4 years But my 1st car was a land rover and my 2nd car IS a land rover so i know no different! aside from that, I have spent a few months backpacking around SE asia and my girlfriend travelled around the world so from that point of view, we were pretty well set. I did stress A LOT though prior to the trip, we just did not have the funds/could not warrent paying for the guided tour (nor do we like travelling with others). Our way was the only way and I have no regrets. Its set us up for our monster trip in 2013

everyone is different, thats why we travel and what makes the world so great!
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Old 17 Jan 2010
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Not So Dark a Secret

Hi Griffdowg,
Yes I was impressed by your website which you posted a while back. As you say neither of you were complete novices but still a brave step.

We’re not that keen on travelling with others either so you may wonder what on earth we did. Having said that in our circumstances, lot’s of us including relatively young children, constricted by time (I struggle to get 4 weeks off work) it was the right thing to do at the time.
On the subject of getting along with others. It’s sometimes easier to get along with complete strangers, and that was the case. I would think long and hard before doing something like this with people I knew. Decision by committee never works and leaves everyone wound up. So in that context it’s better to have that element taken away and someone tell you where you are going today.
Having said that I absolutely recognise Chris’s statement “A draw back of traveling with a group is that it's too easy to stay within your enclave and not interact on the ground - buy food, sit in cafes and when a stranger talks to you in the street listen to what he has to say.” And that is the single regret.
Other than that it was a brilliant life experience for the children. A simple example being on our return from our more recent trip my 18yr old son sorted himself out and travelled solo through Asia, doing loads of climbing plus other stuff we probably don’t need to know about

Part of the deal of me going with my son’s this year is that I must take my 2 daughters and wife back next year (it’s NZ this year), oh dear

I guess my post was just trying to say what you and Chris have intimated, “everyone is different, that’s why we travel and what makes the world so great.”

I know there are some who loiter around this site (I speak to a few) but maybe feel a little intimidated by the ability of some posters to complete pretty extreme adventures. But that’s not for everyone and even if it is there’s no harm in a few “trial runs” before the biggy.


PS I know I’m pushing reality when I call it Overland Travel, it was a holiday, but humour me OK
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Old 18 Jan 2010
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Lord of the Rings;
"No hat, no stick, no pipe, not even a pocket handkerchief. How can one survive?"

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."

It doesn't really matter how or where, as long as you get your a#*e up off the sofa!
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Old 20 Jan 2010
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Alone or Groups

I prefer to travel on my own or,with my wife and meet people spontaneously on the way.
When I have travelled with a group,either formally egragoman type thing or informally as with 2/3 vehicles of friends, I have found that social interaction(of which I am too fond...hic!)tends to replace the feeling of freedom that independant travel gives.Especially around the evening camp.
There is nothing like camping in the Oz outback or,say Omani deserts on your own to feel that you have escaped and are doing something different.Time spent in the desert on your own or with close family only is for me the creme de la creme.

I am almost a disciple of the Tom Shepperd school of travel but I must admit its hard on the hands.
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Old 20 Jan 2010
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My 1st overland experience was on the back of an orange bedford mj run by africa explored (aka africa ignored) , convinced me I liked doing this , just not this way, so I got back to the UK and bought a landrover 101 (which also became orange.....) ,

its about getting the experience and i agree with others , there is a world of difference between companies who run guided overland trips

My 1st 'independant' trip relied on much advice from friends, this website and others we met on the road, we were just guided in different ways, get out there and do it, i doesn't really matter how, there are limitations however you travel. My choice is to go independantly but thats my choice which may not be suitable for all

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Old 22 Jan 2010
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My first trip was with 3 other Land rovers off our own bat. Another friend had been on a escorted trip previously so we picked his brains, we also bought kit off several other firms which organise trips as well as selling equipment and they were very happy to chat and provide a lot of assistance. There were 9 of us in the group including 2 two young teenagers and we had a fantastic trip round Morrocco. Cant wait to do more but unfortunately finances wont permit at the moment.

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