First we have learned that we do not call it a “road trip”, there is an actual word for what we do: “Overlanding”. There are quite a few descriptions of what overlanding exactly is.

This one describes it overall well: “Overlanding describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal”

From: overlandjournal.com

And there is a whole overlanding world out there to be discovered! It’s like a parallel universe where people are doing all these overlanding trips and we just never knew about it! Until now… And with the discovery of overlanding, we also discover the world of 4WD, roof racks, rooftop tents, watertanks, visa, offroading and warm sleepingbags.

So with 1 month into 2020 we know now that there is a Toyota FJ Cruiser community and they seem to prefer the Frontrunner roof rack over the Rhino roof rack as it is very solid and compatible with the slight curve in FJ’s roof… who would have known?? We also learned that there are many different sorts and types of roof top tents of which some are 4 season, others only 3 season, some have more privacy, others are heavier, some are easy to mount on the car, others are easy to set up.. and who ever seriously bothered to investigate into the difference between a portable car cooler and a portable car fridge?? Well, for sure before 2020 we had never bothered much about these things. But by now we are starting to become quite the expert… well, ok, intermediate probably.

So after much research we have chosen the Frontrunner Roof rack and the Tepui tent. Excellent choices… we hope!

But the nice thing about all this is that we discover we are certainly not alone with our plans. Which you might say makes it less unique, but surely comes in handy when you have tons of questions. For instance: can we get a car insurance at the land-border into Turkmenistan, or do we need to arrange this in advance? Or: when it’s too cold to camp along the Pamir highway, are there places to stay in such remote areas? In such cases it’s helpful and somewhat reassuring to know that there is a whole community out there to offer guidance and help where needed. One community worth mentioning is the incredible resourceful site caravanistan.com, who have made it their mission to inform and inspire fellow travelers along the Silk Road and in Central Asia. Even if you are not planning to go on a trip right now, you will for sure change your mind after reading their stories and seeing their photo’s!

Another major learning for myself has got all the do with the website you are on now! As a total non IT-literate person I managed to create our travelblog-website and on the way I learned that whenever WordPress tells you it is super easy and intuitive to create a site… well it probably isn’t! But with a little help from my friends Joyce and Lilian to help me through the early obstacles and some half way mental support and insights from IT friend Paul I almost made it to the end. Right there I needed some stronger forces.. so I called in more technical help from fellow Dutch-in-Dubai Tolga, who happens to be the Creative Director at Tiron Graphics and a WordPress specialist who has been a great help to get this all to work properly! So besides overlanding I now know a lot more about WordPress, PHP, Plugins, SMTP, webhosting and subscriber forms then I used to! And while it was frustrating at times (also for HW :-)) and took me quite a bit longer then expected, I am pretty proud I got this far!

All in all we can conclude that new experiences bring new learning, insights and understanding. And that in itself is already a great experience. As it’s like with overlanding: it’s about the journey rather then the destination!

In the coming weeks we will be testing our new roof rack & tent and see how our FJ holds the added loads. We will be back soon! See ya!