Show Notes for Podcast #126
Leander, Maria, and Lennox of Akela World on Circumnavigating the Globe in a 1977 Mercedes Benz  LA 911B

Austrian overlanders Leander, Maria, and Lennox completed the Silk Road to Vladivostok, Korea, Japan, Borneo, Indonesia, Australia, and the USA in their 1977 Mercedes Benz truck. In this podcast from the field, senior editor Ashley Giordano learns more about the challenges of overlanding in an older vehicle, the joys of spotting a kraken in the ocean, and why Canada has been so difficult for this family of three.


Guest Bio:

Akela World is comprised of Leander, Maria, their son, Lennox, and of course Akela, a 1977 Mercedes Benz LA 911 B. There are many overlanders in various vehicles on epic journeys all over the world. However, the number representing those who live and work on the road permanently is much less, and even fewer homeschool their child remotely. There is also just a handful who drive this classic but legendary old Mercedes.


Host Bio: 

Scott Brady

Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady


To learn more about where Aklea World is at and fun adventures, check out their webpage:








Akela World Podcast

Ashley Giordano:  Hello, Overland Journal podcast listeners. This is Ashley Giordano, senior Editor at Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. Today's podcast is a great one. It features Maria Leander and Lennox, a family of three traveling the world in their 1977 Mercedes-Benz truck. Although we didn't get a chance to film this particular podcast, it's still well worth the listen. So tune in and learn all about this family of three, also known as Akela world more details can be found in the show notes below, and this podcast can be listened to on all streaming.

Scott Brady:This content is brought to you by Overland Journal, our premium quality print publication. The magazine was founded in 2006 with the goal of providing independent equipment and vehicle reviews along with the most stunning [00:01:00] adventures and photography. We care deeply about the countries and cultures. We visit and share our experiences freely with our readers. We also have zero advertorial policy and do not accept any advertiser compensation for our reviews. By subscribing to Overland Journal, you're helping to support our employee owned and veteran owned publication. Your support also provides resources and funding for content like you are watching or listening to right now. You can subscribe directly on our


Hello, this is Ashley from the Overland Journal podcast. I am senior editor at Overland Journal and Expedition Portal, and today I have some very special guests. You may know them Akela World from the Internet, and they're a family of three from Austria and they are traveling the world. You [00:02:00] may have seen their 77 blue Mercedes truck, uh, on Instagram. Traveling the world. So very grateful to have them here today. But first we're gonna talk to Lennox. Hi Lennox. How are you? 

Lennox: I'm good. 

Ashley Giordano:  How old are you right now? 

Lennox: I'm 10, and in the January 23rd I'm gonna 11. 

Ashley Giordano:  Ooh. And how long have you been on the road for? 

Lennox: Five years. 

Ashley Giordano:  Five years. So that's been half your life almost. Do you remember what it was like before? 

Lennox: Not really. 

Ashley Giordano:  Not really. Cool. So where are some of the places that you have traveled to? Lennox: Turkey, Iran, Mongolia, Russia, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, uh, the USA and Canada.

Ashley Giordano:  Just a few. 

Lennox: Well.

Ashley Giordano:  That's great. I know there's more than that, right? You're just pointing to a map [00:03:00] that's up on the ceiling and it's one of those, yeah. Scratch off maps where you scratch off the, the countries that you've been to. So what are some of the best memories that you have from one of your travels? 

Lennox: A really funny memory was in my favorite country, Japan, and it was my sixth birthday, I think, and we were at. Japan family and the guy was, the father of his son ordered a cake from me for a birthday, and he was just eating the cake with chopsticks. 

Ashley Giordano:  Ah, amazing memory. That takes some, um, some skill. 

Lennox: And patience. 

Ashley Giordano:  And patience. What kind of cake was it? Do you remember? 

Lennox: No. Don't remember. 

Ashley Giordano:  Chocolate. Chocolate . What other things did you do in Japan while you were there?

Lennox: It was the first time I really like went good skiing, [00:04:00] like for a bit of time.  and I really was kind of good at it, but then we stopped and now in Austria I finally learned it again. Ashley Giordano:  Did you start skiing in Japan or did you start skiing before that? 

Lennox: I start skiing before that, but in Japan was like the really good skiing, like with the good snow and like for a long time.

Ashley Giordano:  Nice powder.

Lennox: For a long time.

Ashley Giordano:  I heard that you, the snow was so deep that when you were skiing, you ended up jumping into a big pile. 

Lennox: I wasn't, I wasn't jumping in a pile, it was just like a straight line down. It was like very sick powder, and I was just like going like normal. But then I just went down in snow.

Ashley Giordano:  Because it was so deep.

Lennox: Yeah. And then I was just stuck. And I was crying for help, but I think my screams were so muffled that nobody could hear them. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh, no. But somebody got you out, obviously. 

Lennox: Yeah, my dad went up again. 

Ashley Giordano:  Good. That's good to know. [00:05:00] That must have been a lot of snow. Lennox: Yeah.

Ashley Giordano:  But also scary . What other experiences in Japan do you remember in particular? Did you meet some other kids there? 

Lennox: No. No kids.

Ashley Giordano:  No other kids.

Lennox: But the same guy that bought me the birthday cage. We went out for dinner.  and I, and we all bought some Don, that's the Japanese soup with noodles. Noodle soup. And he was just eating the soup with chopsticks and I was just like amazed looking at my own spoon. And I was like, what? How can he eat it like that? 

Ashley Giordano:  That's amazing. Did you learn how to use chopsticks in Japan?

Lennox: No, I can't really do it. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah, it takes some time. And like you said, patience. Did you meet kids in other countries that you spent some time with or.

Lennox: yeah, I became friends with, was like the best kids on the world trip.

Ashley Giordano:  Oh. 

Lennox: Because we went two families, both [00:06:00] with two girl girls and they were like in climbing canyoning.

Ashley Giordano:  Nice. 

Lennox: Doing a canyon, that sort of stuff. And I was really good friends with them. That was the best time with kids, I think. 

Ashley Giordano:  Were they also living on the road or were they living in West? 

Lennox: One of one of the families they were living in camper. But they were not like traveling. I think they were just like staying in a very big camper in schooling and stutter. Family was like in a house. Like in a house, not traveling. 

Ashley Giordano:  Gotcha. 

Lennox: It just went out. 

Ashley Giordano:  So they were fun because they did lots of different types of activities that you liked. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Did you meet other kids in other countries that were also living on the road? 

Lennox: In Greece there was like two families and we met them and they both had kids. They were also really fun to play with. And we also went lots in the water. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh, nice. You like the water? Hey. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  What do you like about it? 

Lennox: It feels like [00:07:00] you, you can just like fly, but it's not in the sky. It's under the water. And I love the feeling when my head's under the water and I can do whatever I want.  Ashley Giordano:  And you can see all sorts of things down there. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  You were saying, was it yesterday that you really like snorkeling? Is that right? Lennox: Snorkeling and diving.

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. Have you seen sort of sea creatures while you were snorkeling or coral or fish?

Lennox: I’ve seen a Kraken.

Ashley Giordano:  Oh, what did that look like? 

Lennox: Like like Kraken, eight tentacles. 

Ashley Giordano:  That's really cool. Awesome. 

Lennox: Yeah. So sting rays and manta rays. 

Ashley Giordano:  Nice. What areas were you snorkeling in? Mostly. 

Lennox: Indonesia was the best time in the water Mm I've ever had. 

Ashley Giordano:  Must have been nice and warm. 

Lennox: Yeah. The most water creatures I've ever seen in my life was all Indonesia. We've seen a whale shark. We've seen lots of [00:08:00] rays. We've seen a cracken. 

Ashley Giordano: Cool.

Lennox: Octopus:

Ashley Giordano:  So you feel really comfortable under the water, obviously. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Tell me a little bit about your living quarters. You showed me your bed set up yesterday and it's really cool. You have like a bunch of really beautiful photos and some stuffed animals and you showed me some Lego that you brought out. And your clothes are organized back there too or something, right? 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  What is it about that space that you enjoy? 

Lennox: It's more like, I feel when I'm in there, I feel like it's a little cave. It's just the outside world and I'm like in my little space and when I wanna be alone, I can just take the curtains and pull 'em out so nobody can see me.

Ashley Giordano:  Mm, mm-hmm.  

Lennox: Just like a bit of private space when I want it.

Ashley Giordano:  See, I imagine, cuz you're with your family all the time. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Which can be great, I'm assuming, but you're in this, I mean this is a small space compared to a house, but it's quite spacious in here. But it's [00:09:00] nice to have a little break to yourself.

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  To do whatever you want. What do you do when you're in there by yourself? Are you playing with Lego? Reading. 

Lennox: I'm playing with my Legos. I'm reading, I'm playing video games. 

Ashley Giordano:  Well, what's your favorite video game? 

Lennox: I go for Lego Star Wars. 

Ashley Giordano: Yeah. You like Lego, huh?

Lennox: I play all the Star Wars videos.

Ashley Giordano:  Nice. 

Lennox: Just um, the sing, you know, just like online.

Ashley Giordano:  Nice.

Lennox: Strong, fun. 

Ashley Giordano:  And what was the Lego you brought out yesterday that looked really cool. 

Lennox: It's from the Guardians of the Galaxy and it's the ship. 

Ashley Giordano:  Do you have other Lego as well, or is that the new? 

Lennox: I have a whole Lego box in there too, but not, not like, not like the ones, like the ship, it's just Lego pieces.

Ashley Giordano:  Nice. 

Lennox: I can just build whatever I want. 

Ashley Giordano:  What are your favorite days when you're traveling? Like what does your favorite day look like? What do you do during that time or does it [00:10:00] depend. 

Lennox: It depends where you are. I mean, when you are in the mountains and there's snow, I would love to go skiing and after skiing, have a hot chocolate

Ashley Giordano:  That sounds really nice. 

Lennox: Or when you are in Indonesia, you go in the water. See very much animals. You come out. 

Ashley Giordano:  Are there any favorite foods that you have that you've tried or.

Lennox: Lasagna.

Ashley Giordano:  That your mom and dad make? Lasagna nice. 

Lennox: My mom doesn't make it very often. Maybe one time in a year, but it's her favorite dish.

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. Yeah. It can be difficult with.

Lennox: No, no, no, no. But I can tell the story. We were in Mongolia and we met some nice people in New York. It's just like a house, but like way smaller, made out. Fur Animal fur. Or clothes or whatever they have to build it. They invited us for breakfast and so in the morning I stood up, I came out, I came into their yurt [00:11:00] and they said like, oh, hi. Come in for breakfast. And they served me. Old butter from a yak and stone, hard bread. And I was just like, wait a minute. I got outside. I went in the truck and told my mom, mom, mom, please don't make me eat this. Please. Now it was so disgusting. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh no.

Lennox: She didn't believe me that they want, won't serve me this. So she came inside and she was like, okay, you're fine. And so I didn't have to eat it. 

Ashley Giordano:  It seems like, uh, growing. . No matter whether you're in a year in Mongolia or you're at your parents' place or your grandparents' place, there's always something when you're a kid that you're like, no, thank you. . Are you doing a homeschool program or what kind of schooling are you doing? Or are you doing any? 

Lennox: We are doing Homeschooling. My mom and my dad are teaching me and they know what they have [00:12:00] to teach me cause they take the books from the school that I should go into. They just take the books. And my mom teaches me how to do everything in the books and I have to do it. But we don't do it very often. I mean, the last time, the last time I was learning, it was like a month ago. So there's no like program. When it's not cool weather outside. We do teaching and learning, but when it's nice weather outside, we don't do it. And when we do something outside. 

Ashley Giordano:  And what kinds of subjects when you're doing homeschooling are you learning about?

Lennox: My mom teaches me maths, German, and my dad teaches me like geography, biology. Ashley Giordano:  What are your favorite subjects? 

Lennox: My favorite, I don't know the subject of. Favorite class in English  Oh yeah, history. History is my favorite. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Have you been able to learn about the places [00:13:00] that you've been traveling through as a way to learn history of that area? Or are you learning it it like through a kind of textbook or like work.

Lennox: When we, like just for an example here in Canada, my dad learns me about the, the Indians that were here.

Ashley Giordano:  Mm-hmm. 

Lennox: But when we are in Greece, he learns me about the gods, the Olympic gods that used to live here. That's probably a really fun way of making history interesting. Because you're in that place. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Learning about it and you can see it. 

Lennox: Yeah.

Ashley Giordano: In the sculptures or the buildings or.

Lennox: Yeah.

Ashley Giordano:  Like here you guys will see totem poles further towards Vancouver. They're also other sorts of indigenous sites that you'll probably see along the way, which is really.

Lennox: Okay.

Ashley Giordano:  A cool way of learning about the history. 

Lennox: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  So that's cool. So they give you, do they give you textbooks from the [00:14:00] school or is it more like a worksheet online? 

Lennox: It's like a textbook from school. I should go into, and we do that a little bit. We do a little bit on an online app where you can also do it, but mostly my dad reads it on the internet and then he shows it to me in like history books, not from school. He just brought them. Then he, he reads it out loud and I can listen. 

Ashley Giordano:  Have there been any stories or things that. Learned about so far that have been your favorite or like particularly interesting? 

Lennox: Oh, we haven't gotten far yet. We only got to the Stone Age.

Ashley Giordano: Okay. That's fair. 

Lennox: I only know like one very important thing, but I don't know the name in English. What, what, what is it all about? It's like when the people lived in Stone Age they were like wandering around [00:15:00] and traveling, but like hitchhiking, hitchhiking, that's the word. 

Ashley Giordano:  Right.

Lennox: And when they, um, what's last transformation? Yeah. When they like transformed into homo sapiens all the way, they were like, some of them were staying at one place and doing farm work, like planting seeds, growing trees. It's called the Neolithic Revolution. 

Ashley Giordano:  The Neolithic Revolution. Very interesting. So you guys have been in Canada for a few months now, and I know that you've had a lot of challenges while you've been here from, you know, vehicle issues to finding camping. And tell me some, some of the challenges that you guys have been experiencing here? 

Lennox: Mosquitoes when we're trying to sleep.

Ashley Giordano: Oh yes. 

Lennox: The worst thing that's ever happened to me. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Lennox: And there were like so many, there were so many mosquitoes in Canada. It's like the worst [00:16:00] mosquito place I've ever been to. 

Ashley Giordano:  That's crazy. Yeah. We were talking about this, how it's been the worst mosquito season I've ever experienced, uh, in Canada. Cuz we have a really. Summer and a really wet, wet spring. More than usual. Yeah. That's not great. You were saying that you're climbing in Revel Stoke and all the mosquitoes are biting you when you're climbing, which.

Lennox: In the heat?

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah, in the heat, yeah. Oh man. What other kinds of challenges have you experienced here so far? 

Lennox: Long driving days. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Lennox: It's also very, very bad. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yep. Yeah. Canada's a big country. Uh, what are some of the things that you've enjoyed?

Lennox: I enjoyed all the lakes here in Canada. They're also clear here, more in the, more on the West coast, even if they're cold. I loved swimming in them. Mm, that's very, that's like the best thing in Canada till now.  and I also saw bull eating closer than ever before. 

Ashley Giordano:  Ooh, did you guys see any bears yet? [00:17:00] 

Lennox: Yep. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh, okay. 

Lennox: Black bear. Two cubs.

Ashley Giordano: And no grizzlies yet though. 

Lennox: No grizzlies yet. No. 

Ashley Giordano:  You probably won't see any, but you'll probably see some whales and some sea life when you head towards.

Lennox: Vancouver.

Ashley Giordano:  Vancouver. Yeah, more like Vancouver Island. So that'll be really nice. 

Lennox: I hope I see oysters. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh yeah. See them too. 

Lennox: You ever see one? 

Ashley Giordano:  I have, yeah. Yeah, they're amazing. What else do you like about living on the road or don't like living about it? I guess it's what you know. 

Lennox: I don't like living on the road because we're together 24/7.

Ashley Giordano: Right.

Lennox: 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's the thing I don't like. I mean, of course I love my parents and I would love to be together with them, but not as long as this. So I think we all need a break and we're allowed when we're going home, so we have a break from each other. Ashley Giordano:  Are there times during the day [00:18:00] where you guys kind of like get a break from each other? Maybe like one person goes off on a walk or.

Lennox: Only when we were angry. 

Ashley Giordano: Okay. 

Lennox: So my dad kicks ear me out of the truck or goes alone out of the truck. But that's like the only time. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. It's good to have your own space. And you said you've got your, your bedroom in there and you can. Have some quiet time, which is good. What are some things that you really enjoy about life on the road? 

Lennox: I really enjoy that we, that don't see the same thing every day, that we always move, that I always see different places almost every day. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Lennox: That's the thing I really enjoy. I enjoy all the animals. I see bald eagle, whale, shark. Yeah.

Ashley Giordano:  Do you get a chance to go and visit any family back home? Once in a while. Lennox: Yeah. Yeah, but only when my dad has to go to work on the October Fest, [00:19:00] and then I can visit my friends and my grandma. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh nice. 

Lennox: One time my grandma visited visit visit us in Indonesia on Bali, but that's the only time she's ever visited us.

Ashley Giordano:  That must have been a nice visit. Did she have a good time? 

Lennox: Four star hotel. 

Ashley Giordano:  Ooh, yeah. Good stuff. 

Lennox: I was there and I could stay there for two days. 

Ashley Giordano:  Is there anything that you would wanna share about your experiences on the road or anything you wanna add that I haven't covered? If there are any other kids out there that are listening that are on the road, or any other people that are thinking about living on the road, do you have any? Any.

Lennox: Advice? 

Ashley Giordano:  Any advice, yeah. Or any thoughts? 

Lennox: If you ever go to Canada, always take a mosquito spray with you.

Ashley Giordano: That's good advice. 

Lennox: That's pretty much everything I would want to say. 

Ashley Giordano:  Well, thank you so much for the great interview. 

Lennox: It was a pleasure. 

Ashley Giordano:  It was a pleasure for me too, and I loved hearing about [00:20:00] how much you love being in the water and all of the animals that you've seen and all the things you're learning about and everything like that. Thank you so much for.

Lennox: You're welcome. 

Ashley Giordano:  Taking the time. 

Lennox: Okay.

Ashley Giordano:  Thank you. So I'm here with Maria from Akela.

Maria: Hello.

Ashley Giordano: World. Thank you so much for joining me on the Overline Journal podcast. Maria: Thank you as well, for following us and coming down here. So thank you as well. Ashley Giordano:  Anytime. It's my pleasure. 

Maria: Well, my name is Maria. I'm 49 years old. I'm definitely the oldest one in here, including the track . I was born and raised in Salzburg, in Austria, and I was working my whole life in travel agencies, so I traveled my whole life. And 17 years ago we met, we kept on dry uh, traveling. And eight, nine years ago we decided doing bigger trips. You know. When you, when you working, you tested four or five weeks of holidays, so it was always not enough. So we decided I'm finding a vehicle [00:21:00] and doing bigger trips and so we decided to buy this one, and we already started the world the last five years now. 

Ashley Giordano:  Incredible.

Maria: With us And Lennox.

Ashley Giordano:  When you started working in the travel industry, were you always attracted to travel as a kid or why did you end up going into it as a job? 

Maria: My parents also traveled a lot with us kids just in Europe, you know, always with car, but they traveled with us and I love being surrounded by people. I love seeing new cultures, new landscape. I love languages. The food. So all these things together, I always love traveling. 

Ashley Giordano:  What kind of trips were you doing when you were doing that job? 

Maria: Well, completely different ones. Exactly like this. Yeah. So you get invited by two operators, you know, if you do good jobs you get invited and they show you for sure the best they have, you know, so I was used to staying five star hotels and totally different. It's cool as well, you know, cause you know another side of the [00:22:00] travel industry, but this all was, I think 20 years ago. So even this world has changed a lot. I was happy leaving all this behind me cause it changed a lot and I didn't feel comfy anymore. I loved it for a long time. Now we are traveling like this.

Ashley Giordano:  What were the different sides that you saw, like in your job, you saw obviously the like high end hotel side and everything was planned for you and they.

Maria: Right. 

Ashley Giordano:  You saw what they wanted you to see in a way.  and now you're seeing it all based on your experiences and being traveling as a family rather than as an industry person.

Maria: Right. Well, I see what all this, how you say, I see what all the travel industry is doing with the, with the whole world. You know, I saw behind the scenes. Now I got it. Which I didn't do when I was young and just traveling, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Right. 

Maria: Just enjoying the beautiful and nice things. But now I think all of us, we really realize what it also [00:23:00] means traveling for all of us, you know, what it means for the world, for the planet, the change, you know?

Ashley Giordano:  What were some of the biggest or most impactful changes that you noticed that when you realized, you were like, I don't wanna, I don't think I wanna do this anymore. Maria: Well, it started with, I think when the internet came, you know, it started only becoming a prize matching. No one was any more interested in information and about cultures or stuff like that. You know, they just wanted to have the cheapest flight. The cheapest, cheapest, and best hotels. And then I realized, well, that's not me anymore. I wanna tell people more about places I know, not only, look, that's the best five star here. You can get the cheapest pizza, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  That's really interesting. 

Maria: Now we use Google Maps for that.

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah, exactly. What were some of the trips that you did when you were growing up that were really memorble. 

Maria: We traveled. I have two brothers. So we traveled in a car to Italy to the beaches. We traveled with buses. 50 person in it to [00:24:00] Spain and Greece, Croatia. While all this, we always went to see.

Ashley Giordano: Right.

Maria: With my parents here for a week related senior cousins and. So sometimes 20 people, all of us. 

Ashley Giordano:  It must be really interesting to go back to those places now. Like you guys went to Croatia when you first started traveling and you were there as a kid. Is that interesting to see or did you kind of not remember? Or how is that? 

Maria: Well, I'm not sure if I can remember. It's more imagination how it was 20 years before, you know? Cause I now, I'm already told you, 49. I saw some places in different stages, you know, but everything is changing. Yeah.

Ashley Giordano: For sure.

Maria: Everything is becoming more maturist and.

Ashley Giordano:  It is, I think it's important as a traveler or as a tourist, to think about those things and think about where your money's going. And I think a lot of people, you know, they, especially in North America, we, we may only get two weeks of vacation time and we're like, how can we make this the [00:25:00] cheapest, fastest? Vacation. 

Maria: I know, I know. Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. Maybe that's 

Maria: And it's okay. You know, if you only have got this time in a year, it's okay. But I think you really should think about it a bit more than just going there, doing all the highlights, spending your money done next year, coming back, maybe, you know, you should think a bit more about it.

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Maria: What's going on? What about the people? And, but it's a totally different kind of experience. You know, being on a foreign, in a foreign country for two weeks, uh, if you have time, and really can travel and experience it, so.

Ashley Giordano: Yes. Yeah. Being a conscious traveler.

Maria: It goes deeper when you have the time. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yes. 

Maria: So, yeah.

Ashley Giordano:  Absolutely. What are some experiences that you've had that you felt like you went deeper, you went to that level because you had the time in that place? 

Maria: While we are traveling now. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah, sure. Yeah.

Maria: Yeah, definitely. I think it started with Central Asia. 

Ashley Giordano:  Okay. 

Maria: And peak maybe was in Indonesia. You know when [00:26:00] you are in hotspots like Bali, you know, you have to see it. You know, you can't close your eyes cuz it's everywhere. The litter, the garbage everywhere. And. Front beach lines, the nice coffee shops, you know, it doesn't work together. So if you don't start thinking, seeing all this, something is wrong with you. In my opinion. I don't know how to enjoy holiday in a five star hotel and, and behind people are starving and the garbages. Big, you know, I, I don't know how it works. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. Tell me more about that dichotomy that you see. 

Maria: Well, it was, for me it was cuz I'm always more in animals. . For me, it was born when we saw Orangutangs. You know, we saw them in sanctuaries, which is cool as well. But we also got to see as in wild ones and thinking about that this maybe could be the only ones, the last ones.

And we were allowed to see them. That gives you a great feeling, you know? And then we started, you know, he has a, a drone and it's amazing in a way how to see it from above, you know, cuz when you're just [00:27:00] traveling, everything is green and you know, you think you're in the deepest jungle ever. But from the few, from above, you can see it's all palm oil. You know, you really start to rethink. And then you start realizing all your surroundings, you know, you see all the tracks with the fruits. People working on the fields and the burning. So yeah, this was a very emotional moment too, airing everything in the water. Especially when I saw Lennox, you know, he's the Aquaman in our family.

Ashley Giordano: The Aquaman.

Maria:  And swimming and surfing, and snorkeling around corals, which are dying, doesn't make fun, you know? And he knows exactly what's going on. So he's not one of the kids. Uh oh Mom, look, I see a fish. So he knows what's going on. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah, that's good. 

Maria: And it continues, you know, if he wants, realize that the world is running away. It shouldn't, I think You can't stop thinking about it, you know?

Ashley Giordano:  Yes. 

Maria: I don't know. 

Ashley Giordano:  It just feels like, what can I do. [00:28:00] Is there anything I can do? You know what I mean? 

Maria: You start rethinking about your way of living. Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Right. 

Maria: You should. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. What are some, I mean, obviously you guys have thought a lot about your way of living and your way of life and the planet is very important to you. I can tell. Uh, what are some ways that you felt like in your day-to-day life, there's a way that you. I don't know. Make your impact a bit less. 

Maria: You mean what what we are doing? 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. By the nature of it, you're not in a house, you're not using electricity, you're not using a lot of water. 

Maria: Yeah, I know.

Ashley Giordano:  Enlisted. 

Maria: But that's, that's, uh, that's the question. You know, the first thing when people are seeing us, it's the old truck, you know? So, and that's their comments And old truck. You destroying the planet, you know? Cause you need lots of fuel. Yes, they're right in a way, but that's not the only thing. You know, this truck is nearly 50 years old, so it's recycled. We have solar panels and in the end, if you match a normal household and us, I [00:29:00] think we are better maybe than them. Well for sure we use pla uh planes and this one goes on whistles, but in the end, so I don't feel bad. 

Ashley Giordano:  One time I added up all the kilometers that Richard and I drove to South America, and it was equal to the number of kilometers that somebody in North America drives in a year.

Maria: Yeah.

Ashley Giordano: And I was like, ok. 

Maria: Yeah, yeah.

Ashley Giordano:  Commuting. Right? Cause people have really, some people have hours and hours of commuting. Interesting to think about for sure. When you first decided to travel by vehicle, was it a decision that you guys made together? Was it Andrew's idea? Did you have it as an idea? Like how did that come together? As a plan that you both on board with? 

Maria: I love traveling, but he definitely came up with the idea. The goal was going to New Zealand. It was always on top of our traveling list. And then me being in a travel agency, you know, I knew exactly flights, . It was too expensive. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yes.

Maria: For all three of us. And then you wanna stay longer, you [00:30:00] know, not only five weeks. We decided, well, maybe we are looking for a vehicle and drive down there step by step, you know? But definitely he was the one pushing, pushing it. 

Ashley Giordano:  When you were talking to Lean, he was saying that there weren't as many kind of overland specific blogs what Or vehicle truck building blogs to look at. So how did you guys kind of figure out. Oh, it's actually possible to drive there. Did you just see somebody else do it or did you think of it yourself because flying was expensive? Or do you remember, was it just like, let's drive? 

Maria: No, and you're right. There was not that much You can could read about it. So what's the best way to go to, or what do you recommend? You know? So I don't know why we decided to go the east side was the plan going to New Zealand. So we drove. During the trip, it wasn't possible anymore to do the, the route we have planned. 

Ashley Giordano:  Ah. 

Maria: Cause Thailand was closed and for some reason, so we had to decide what to do. So we did the [00:31:00] whole east side to Ladi, Bostock, and then yeah, step by step. So we had to change plans very often. 

Ashley Giordano:  What were some of the most memorable experiences on that kind of Silk Road, central Asia, Penn, Korea. Indonesia. It's a lot of different types of.

Maria: Yeah. Right. 

Ashley Giordano:  Culture. 

Maria: Yeah. Right. Yeah. Well, the silk road is, is just amazing. When you see people running around, smiling, kids are waving and you, and you see their homes and the places they live, you know, they live such a simple life, but, but they are, yeah, they're definitely more happy than we are being in this amazing landscape. You know, Stan, the mountains, you know, it's, And incredible. Russia is like, you think Russia is, you know, the people are kind of rude, but you need to go deeper. And then they're super, super friendly. We figured out they do need Waka for surviving in Russia. [00:32:00] Japan was amazing. We've been there in winters. Keying is incredible. I always didn't know when people were talking, oh, there's snow in Japan. It's amazing. . I always let snow. It's snow, but it's not. Yeah. Indonesia being a year. Besides the ocean and the culture, you know, the food. 

Ashley Giordano:  And in Japan, what's the uniqueness of the powder there? The “Japow”, they say. Right. 

Maria: I don't know. It feels different. 

Ashley Giordano:  So you guys went through Iran. Uh, what was your experience like there as a female? 

Maria: First of all, Iran is a, it's a beautiful country, but for women it's a bit. Well, I experienced it like that. It's, it's definitely harder than for men. You have to cover your whole body. You have to wear a heat chip, you know, and. Well, it depends on the area. The north is very religious, so. You even have to wear this black, uh.

Ashley Giordano:  broker. 

Maria: There's so many different names. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah, hundred percent. 

Maria: So, and you are not, you know, coming from Europe or so many [00:33:00] other places. You used to be a woman, you know, but you don't count there. So I have one story. We went into a basar buying some stuff and I paid the guy and he went out of the, the shop with the change to him and gave the change to him and, uh, to me, . So he let me standing in the shop completely alone. You know, they don't talk to you really? Mm-hmm. , well, it depends. There are exceptions as well. But normally no one is talking to you. You are always walking behind your husband and stuff like that, and you need to get used to it, you know? It's, it's hard.  because I know people 30, 40 years before it was like here, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria:  And I know we talk to so many people and women are not happy over there. So, and under their broker, they're dressed like you and me, you know?

Ashley Giordano:  Right. 

Maria: So it's, uh, um, there are two worlds, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: The one, they're living out of the house and they want to live inside with the families. So, and I think it's hard living like [00:34:00] that. You can't be yourself. 

Ashley Giordano:  Were there moments where you had an experience that was different from the males you were traveling with because you were a woman? Like did you get invited into somebody's house and have a different experience related? 

Maria: It's, I think Lenox is opening up doors as well, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Sure.

Maria: So.

Ashley Giordano: They love families over there. Yeah. 

Maria: And the Iranians, they do, you know, they can't leave the country, so it's very, very hard for them to cross the border. They do this to the tourists cuz they expect they're doing the same for them when they're visiting the country. You know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Ah. 

Maria: We told them, well man, try it. Come to Salzburg and knock at the door. I don't know if that will, if that will happen. So, yeah. But they're super friendly. They're so nice. But it's too much in a way, you know. No means no, no thank you. But they don't accept. 

Ashley Giordano:  Gotcha. Yeah.

Maria: That makes it hard sometimes.

Ashley Giordano:  Did you go for dinner at somebody's house? [00:35:00] 

Maria: Ah, yeah. Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh, okay. 

Maria: Yeah. Yeah. When we arrived in Iran, there was NOS Festival. It's kind of New Year, is it New Year, the Iranian New Year. So in the Iranians they like to go out and having barbecue, and so all the parks, they're full with locals. So if we park in front of one of, of this parks, then we get invited. All the families, you know, sometimes they really started fighting. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh no.

Maria: So yeah, they all wanted us to sleep in their house and cause they have air condition, you know, and we don't. So it's really nice. 

Ashley Giordano:  It gets pretty hot in Iran obviously. But I was hearing a little story about when you guys were in the desert and it was 50 degrees Celsius and do you get stuck, right? 

Maria: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  Tell me a little bit about that, that experience. 

Maria: Well, it was his idea. He wanted to go into the desert and we didn't have a good map. Just a few pictures I think, I can't remember. And we didn't go very far into the desert. And then we got stuck, so it was super hot outside, I [00:36:00] think really 45, 50 degrees. We couldn't make it out, so we had to shovel and dig and use the sand plate. Well, we. Before without the sand pla plates, but it didn't work. And in the meantime, uh, a sandstorm was coming up, so it felt like hundred thousands of needles are hitting your skin. So, but in the end, yeah, we, we, we made it totally sweaty, dirty, exhausted, full of pain. We jumped into the truck and Lennox was in the here, well, can we go on now? What have you done outside, you know so.

Ashley Giordano:  Wow. 

Maria: He didn't realize but it was really, yeah, hot up. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. That must have been stressful. The elements though, it's you're living outside and the weather is changing depending on what region you're in, and you may not be in the best time of here to be there. When you guys first started out, were you kind of planning quite a bit or were you leaving things a bit loose and going with the flow? Has that changed? Longer you down the [00:37:00] road? 

Maria: I think it has changed several times. Ah, so it took us a while to figure out how it works in a truck. Uh, how, how to live in a truck. You know, nobody knew what to do. When do we, when should we get up breakfast? I, we didn't know. Lots of talking was necessary and we slowed down and, but we had to figure out everything, when to work, when to do school. Do you have to do it every day? You know, it's in the end, it's a normal life, like everywhere and you need to learn by yourself what's important for you, what works best for your family. So, but it took us a while to go into it and during the trip it changed several times. So I think we are still too, too fast to experience the country and to have time for each other, you know? But bureaucracy and stuff like that doesn't allow really traveling like you want. You know? 

Ashley Giordano:  What has been kind of a good balance in terms of that for you guys? Cause it's, you said it's [00:38:00] changed a little bit and you're kind of getting closer to it. Does that mean you have a little bit of a schedule or no schedule, or a routine?

Maria: I think you need a bit. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: You need a bit of a schedule and, and a bit of a routine. I think you should plan also the next. Days coming, what to do we do most of the time. And then also sleeping. We discuss what we do the next couple of days. So, but we do have a routine. Yeah. In a way. 

Ashley Giordano:  What are some things that you guys do every day? Obviously eating, you know, but are there certain things that you've intentionally decided to do every day? 

Maria: But you know, most of the time, every day looks different. But I think I really, do love is having dinner all three together. I don't know, it's hard to say. You.

Ashley Giordano:  Every day's so different cuz you're usually in a different place. 

Maria: Yeah, well we try to do, figure out to do stuff what we all three of us are interested in, which is not that easy all the time, so.

Ashley Giordano: Oh, does everybody have kind of different things they're interested in? 

Maria: It's changing. [00:39:00] 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: No, in the end we most of the time do like the same things. 

Ashley Giordano:  Okay. 

Maria: You know, it, it's hard. You, you, you're going somewhere and then suddenly you have to climb Cause there are the rocks. You have to hike cause there are the mountains. You have to dive. Cause here is the sea.

Ashley Giordano:  Yes. 

Maria:  But what is, if I'm not in the mood.

Ashley Giordano: Right. 

Maria: You know, which happens sometimes, you know. 

Ashley Giordano:  Sure. 

Maria: But in the end, Super cool. Being on spots where you can do all the different stuff.

Ashley Giordano: Are there any specific dishes or recipes that you have all picked up from your travels? 

Maria: Well, there are definitely some abroad from at home and we still love them.

Ashley Giordano:  Ooh, what's that? 

Maria: So, I don't know if he talked about, uh, Austrian Kaman. 

Ashley Giordano:  No, no. 

Maria: It's a sweet thing. It's a dessert and it's, most of the time it's served in ski.

Ashley Giordano: Shall 

Maria: Right after skiing, you know? Really nice. 

Ashley Giordano:  What is it like? 

Maria: It's, um, kind of a, [00:40:00] a pancake, but you slice it and put apple and Dr. Apples and raisins in it and then roast it a bit. So, but it's pretty similar to, to pancakes. 

Ashley Giordano:  Do you make that then? 

Maria: Yeah. And this one when, well, all the time when people helped us, you know, what could we offer them except being thankful, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Great. 

Maria: So we started making a kaman for them to show them, well, that's an Austrian dish. We really hope you enjoy it and thanks for everything you know.

Ashley Giordano:  Aw. 

Maria: So this one went around the world with us, so I made it so often. Sometimes just for them.

Ashley Giordano:  It's sounding familiar. I feel like it was in an issue of Overland Journal V Chef. Maria: Right. 

Ashley Giordano:  Recipe. I've seen this, uh, apples and I remember the list, what you wrote about. 

Maria: Right. 

Ashley Giordano:  So that's really lovely.

Maria: Lennox talked about Japanese family, they added with chopsticks as well.

Ashley Giordano:  Nice. 

Maria: That's funny to see. 

Ashley Giordano:  I love it. Oh, are there [00:41:00] foods that you.

Maria: Uh, yeah, there's some, some ingredients that come from.

Ashley Giordano:  Okay. 

Maria: And se. Some, 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: It's, I don't know. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Maria: Well I think you need to go in, in really special shops to find, but while I'm not happy with your, so with sausage and cheese, it doesn't take, like at home, it's the same in Australia. I don't blame Canada, you know, the us So it's uh, the same thing in Australia. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yes. 

Maria: So.

Ashley Giordano: You're not the first person who's told me that. Yes, there have been other, uh, European overlanders that were like. So what's up for your cheese and why is it so expensive? Maria: Yeah. Right. 

Ashley Giordano:  Was it pumpkin soup Recipe? At some point too. That looked really good. And with some Indonesian spaces. 

Maria: Yeah, it was with uh, coconut milk and then the west doodling. That's the dish brought for Austria as well. After long driving day, it fills your stomach and you fine. So. 

Ashley Giordano:  Oh, I love it. 

Ashley Giordano:  I feel like we could do, uh, an Overland journal food [00:42:00] podcast and I could just do that. 

Maria: There's so many things because you asked about dishes from other countries.

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Maria: I always love going in foreign kitchens and, and watching what the women are doing or even I'm allowed to help. And it's more about, you know, in Indonesia, I was in a kitchen. I even couldn't realize it's a kitchen, you know? And she, they show you things. You can't make, you know, you can't find ingredients or the fruits or the wedges they use. It's just amazing wedging and trying after it.

Ashley Giordano:  They must have had a lot of fresh everything and beautiful spices there. 

Maria: Yeah. Starting with Indonesia. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. 

Maria: In, in Central Asia it's hard to get. It's hard to find fresh stuff. 

Ashley Giordano:  Right. 

Maria: They don't have super supermarkets like we are used to, so it's hard. 

Ashley Giordano:  So were you mostly going to small markets there or stocking up on canned and potatoes?

Maria: No, we always try to cook, uh, fresh. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: And well, it depends totally on the country. You know, I don't wanna spend days for, [00:43:00] for looking for good food, you know, it could spend hours on that. Most of the time we, we go to normal supermarkets. 

Ashley Giordano:  And in Central Asia. How does.

Maria: In Central Asia, there are no supermarkets, they're just, Wooden shacks.

Ashley Giordano:  Ah.

Maria: Where you are lucky to buy half of a cucumber or maybe bottle of milk so they're not hundred thousand of different milk things. You know, just one milk, one tomato, maybe three potatoes. That's the good. 

Ashley Giordano:  How did you make that work food wise? What did you make or how did you. Maria: Well, the kitchen needs to be more simple, you know?

Ashley Giordano:  Yes, for sure. 

Maria: It says if you. That you can buy your stuff every day freshly. You can cook like this, but if you only have potatoes and carrots and maybe noodles and rice.

Ashley Giordano:  That's what you're having. 

Maria: So that's what you have. Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  You can get creative, I guess.

Maria: In a way.

Ashley Giordano:  Must have been interesting to come back after that trip in or a specific area that like the Central Asia section and go into a supermarket [00:44:00] like a big supermarket.

Maria: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  And see like 47 different types of toothpaste, you know? 

Maria: Oh, yeah. It's shocking sometimes. Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  How did that feel for you when.

Maria: Yeah. Well, I don't know what to buy, you know? There is, I just wanna have milk and you standing in front of it for hours. It's skim milk, 1%, 2%, 3%. I don't get it. I don't understand why people, why we need all of this, you know? Why isn't just milk? I don't know. I don't get it. 

Ashley Giordano:  I had that same experience coming back. I was in the US and we had finished our 10 American trip and I went into one of the grocery stores and I was like, oh my goodness. You get like indecision or decision fatigue. I don't know if that's a thing, but it was, but sometimes it's overwhelming.

Maria: It happens. Sometimes you're so overwhelmed that you just leave your trolley and get out.

Ashley Giordano: So interesting.

Maria: And never go shopping when you are hungry. 

Ashley Giordano:  That's just a good life advice. Tell me a little bit about your role in the education program with Lennox. Cause he was talking about [00:45:00] how you teach him some things and.

Maria: Well, I started with him four years ago. I'm doing the basics. So I always. By the books concerning the grade. He is so he did great the last couple of years cause cuz of Corona, we had to ship back two years ago when he attended a public school there for eight months and he had no problems. You know, he really is doing great and, and well he already explained that we are not do, we are not doing it on a daily base. It depends. As he already mentioned, we haven't done it for a long time right now, but we made a commitment when we back at home in Austria for a months, from Monday to Friday, like all the other kids being at school, we do school work as well, and it's one by one, you know? It's way faster. So, and I can see way faster where he has problems and we can work on that. Yeah. So the basics is, is my part. 

Ashley Giordano:  Gotcha. 

Maria: It's a mess. And German, and we [00:46:00] started, Biology, but we are doing it out of the books and they are doing well. History, geography, I think you already explained. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yes. 

Maria: Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  What are some of the challenges and some of the rewards of a homeschool program? 

Maria: Hmm. Well, it had to be being the mom and the teacher at the same time, you know? Cause I, I saw him when he was at school. You know, my teacher said, my teacher said, I think he's never going up. My mom said, you know, That's sometime a problem, but you can enjoy everything so much more. You know, there's no pressure about time, about homework cause you are deciding when and what. So, and that's priceless. I think. 

Ashley Giordano:  Good balance. 

Maria: We can travel whenever we want. We don't need daycares. It's really cool. 

Ashley Giordano:  That's great. 

Maria: But like you said, it's, it's also the other side. Being together 24 hours, seven days a week, it's challenging. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. How do you take breaks, ? Like, do you take breaks? Do you not take breaks. 

Maria: Yeah, I think. [00:47:00] 

Ashley Giordano:  How do you do that?

Maria: Yeah. I think I'm the one who needs time. I need time for myself. I think they don't need it that much like I do, but I love being alone, so it's sometimes hard. But in the end, I think we are a good team, so we know and see what the other one needs at the moment, and give him room or space so we can talk to each other. And if I see he's. I don't know, exploding I can send him. So, yes, and vice versa. So it's hard, you know? Cause especially Central Asia, it was so beautiful. But you only get 30 days.

Ashley Giordano: Right.

Maria: The countries are huge and the roads are not like this. And you wanna stay longer, you know? But you can't. So you have to go on and go on. Bureaucracies is chasing you. Definitely in countries where Weers do exist. 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: And also, you know, it's not having a break for, for yourself. It's also a break for the family. It's hard, you know, we just [00:48:00] parked here, I was just preparing breakfast and someone knocked at the door and started talking and I told you, I'm sorry, I just wanna make breakfast maybe later, you know? But in a way they all think they're the first ones and they're all asking since five years the same questions. You know? And this is destroying your privacy as well in a way. Cause sometimes you're lucky and find a beautiful place and then someone is coming and started. You know? It's not well.

Ashley Giordano:  The tour begins.

Maria: The tour begins, right? 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria: Sometimes you are in a mood, you love it, and it depends who is talking to. But in the end it, it kills your privacy as well, in a way. 

Ashley Giordano:  Sure. Especially in the populated areas. 

Maria: Right? Yeah. 

Ashley Giordano:  It's good for people to think.

Maria: That's why we are complaining about Canada at the moment, you know? Cause it's so hard for us to find a spot where we could be just this realest, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah. Hopefully soon. 

Maria: And that's the next one. Why are we blaming all the people? You know? We are exactly like them. We just wanna have fun in a beautiful [00:49:00] area, you know? 

Ashley Giordano:  Yeah.

Maria:  So it's all a circle. 

Ashley Giordano:  Sure. Thank you.

Maria: You're welcome. 

Ashley Giordano:  Thank you so much for taking the time and everything. I appreciate that so much. 

Maria: Again, thank you. 

Ashley Giordano:  Well, thank you so much for being on the Overland Journal podcast and uh, thank you to all the listeners for taking the time to listen and we'll catch ya next time, thanks.