Paul Marsh on Preparing the Vehicle and Yourself for Overland Travel
Show notes for podcast #158
Paul Marsh on Preparing the Vehicle and Yourself for Overland Travel
Scott Brady interviews Paul Marsh, legendary vehicle consultant and expedition leader. Paul prepares vehicles for continent-crossing expeditions, and has worked in mechanical support roles for major vintage car rallies, and overland trips like Driven to Extremes. Paul helped us with Expeditions 7 by preparing the VDJ78 for Antarctica. Paul's travels equally impressive, including multiple continental crossings. Our conversation includes Paul's overlanding principles, and the fundamentals of working as a team with your travel companions.
Paul’s passion has always been for the great outdoors and overland travel. His first adventure was an 18-month odyssey through Africa – north to south and back again – in a vehicle he had built himself! With this experience and his engineering background, he developed a keen interest in the end-to-end process of expedition planning, vehicle preparation, training and support. This gave birth to his career as an independent 4×4 expedition specialist – first in England for 18 years and now back in South Africa since 2014. Paul’s purpose is to enable people from all over the world to fulfill their dream of overland travel in their own 4×4. In addition to this, Paul has successfully led expeditions around the world, traversed every continent, and provided technical advice and support for numerous prominent worldwide events. @paulmarsh4x4
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
If you would like to learn more about Paul and 4x4 Expeditions, you can look at his website for full gallery of builds, travel locations and adventure: Here
Some of his most memorable adventures include:
- Camel Trophy selections in South Africa, now known as the G4 challenge (a grueling event that pushes contestants to their limits).
- London to Sydney through Iran, Pakistan and China.
- Nordkapp Arctic Winter Rally (supporting 40 vehicles around Nordkapp in Norway).
- London to Cape Town with 80 vehicles, half of which were post-war and classic cars.
- Cape Town to Eritrea and back (70 000 km and 14 months, single vehicle).
- Panama to Alaska.
- North to south traverse of South America – Colombia to Tierra del Fuego.
- Siberian Challenge, West Ireland to Eastern Russia (three vehicles, 20 countries, two continents).
- South-east Asia, including Myanmar.
- Circumnavigation of Mediterranean.
- Canning Stock Route Australia.
Paul Marsh on Preparing the Vehicle and Yourself for Overland Travel
Scott Brady: Hello, and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I'm your host, Scott Brady, and for this week's conversation, we have Paul Marsh. Now Paul is a legend in the overland industry for his exceptional vehicle builds for crossing continents. He started off building vehicles in the UK and then has since moved down to Cape Town where he prepares overland vehicles for crossing the continent of Africa. Now, Paul is not only a vehicle preparer, but he's also extremely accomplished as a traveler himself. So we go into his early life in South Africa, his early travels throughout the continent, his crossing of the continent of Africa, but then also his multiple trips around the world. Supporting vintage vehicle rallies. Paul has some really insightful thoughts around preparing a vehicle for overland travel, but also for preparing yourself and your partner for the same trip. [00:01:00] He's forgotten more than I've ever learned. So please enjoy my wide ranging conversation with Paul Marsh. [AD] And a special thanks to Rocky talkies for their support of this week's podcast. Rocky talkies are backcountry radios designed by a small team in Denver. The radios are extremely rugged, easy to use and compact weighing in at just under eight ounces. They have a range of one to five miles in the mountains and up to 25 miles line of sight. The batteries will last from three to five days, and you can recharge them easily via USB C right in the vehicle. Our team uses Rocky Talkies, and we also used them recently at the Overland Expo. The next Overland Expo, stop into our booth and say hello, and check out the radios for yourself. And as a listener of the Overland Journal podcast, you can get 10% off a pair by going to rockytalkie. com forward slash Overland Journal. Thanks again, Rockytalkie. [00:02:00] Scott Brady: Paul, it is so great to be with you in South Africa. Thank you for being on the podcast. Paul Marsh: Hell, Scott, last time we met was a long time ago, nine years, I think you recounted. Scott Brady: It was, and it was here in Cape Town. Paul Marsh: It was, hey, wow. Scott Brady: And that was, that was such an amazing moment because, and I won't mention the name of the four wheel drive shop in Johannesburg that was going to help us build the 78 for Antarctica, but they just were not able to pull it together. And so, Jess from easy on, I was talking to him and he says, you got to talk to Paul Marsh. And I knew who you were already, but we hadn't had the chance really to work together. And I reached out to you and we made a plan in very short order to somehow shoehorn 38 inch tires on a 78 series Land Cruiser. Paul Marsh: And build it for Antarctica. \And it was actually, it was quite interesting because I'd just come back to South Africa and I'd lived in England for [00:03:00] 18 years. Set up my company there. Then moved to Australia and a couple of years and I figured actually, I wanted to be back in South Africa actually came back for a school reunion and you know, my, my heart just rested so easy coming back into South Africa. I felt I need to be back here. You know, when you come back and you just feel whatever it is, I never thought I'd ever be back in South Africa. But I'm really glad that I'm back in South Africa, and I've never lived in Cape Town, but. Scott Brady: And if I remember, we drove it down to Cape Town, and that we had somehow gotten the tires to be delivered here. Because, so we didn't have to drive that. Paul Marsh: Can you imagine driving on those? Scott Brady: Yeah, a thousand kilometers or so, 1200 kilometers maybe. From Joburg to here on those tires. So yeah, we, we, we look like we skipped leg day with that Land Cruiser. It was, it was so lifted in the, in the air. Paul Marsh: I don't think people really understand, you know, quite honestly to prepare a vehicle and take it into Antarctica, I mean, there are specialist companies who do [00:04:00] an amazing job of that. And obviously to make this vehicle work, it needed certain modifications, but what a beautiful challenge and what an incredible opportunity just to be a small part of what that represented in the bigger scheme, your achievement as expedition leader, taking that whole expedition right round the globe. It was impressive. It was really good. Scott Brady: It was a joy. And I was so grateful to have you involved. And I remember you were here in Cape Town and a mutual friend of ours, Mack McKinney, happened to be here as well. So we were all working, strapping, you know, bags and luggage to the top of the Hilux before it went into the Antonov. Into the IL 76, but we have, we've bumped into each other many times throughout my career. And you've been at this much longer than I have in it at a much greater detail and accomplishment than I've seen. But it's just been, it's [00:05:00] been so neat to watch what you've done. And if I remember correctly in the UK, was the name of your company there Footloose? Paul Marsh: That's correct. Yeah. Footloose and Fancy Free. You know, it's interesting. People said, why Footloose? And I said, you know, I, for me, I was. Probably footloose as a kid. I was always wandering off and getting lost and, my mother would have people would find me down by the river and bring us, bring me back and this is your son, but it was exactly that. And it was, it was a great experience. I really enjoyed my time in the UK. It gave me good opportunities. I met great people. I connected with some great people. I did some great expeditions with Mac and yeah, it was a pivotal point. You know, you, you grow through your life and then you look at the lessons and the experiences and. You know, it was a passion, it was my passion and I was very privileged in a way that I could follow my passion and turn it into a business that ultimately gave me something to enjoy. Something to learn by, probably opportunities to really meet [00:06:00] fascinating people because I always enjoyed the people side as much as I enjoyed the vehicle side. The vehicle side is challenging and it's interesting and it's, you know, you find out what can go wrong, what does go wrong. And if you want a trip, you make a plan to fix it. But people sides equally as fascinating. Scott Brady: If not more so, I mean, we, it's hard to get ourselves wrapped around the vehicle as a tool and not as a character in the adventure. It's very easy to make the vehicle, the main character of the story and to get them as simple as possible, but also to help, help others recognize that the main character of the adventure is you and your travel companions. Paul Marsh: And I think asking yourself. Exactly, asking yourself the question. Why am I doing this? Why am I actually taking my time and my energy and what am I going to invest this in? You know, and if you look at probably the time of your life, how do you build up your life? And where do you put your time and energy and [00:07:00] nowadays? I think we're looking back to reconnect back with who we are I certainly find that when I go out on on trips and it gives me a really amazing opportunity to look back at my life and see Where I am would probably give me a chance to evaluate things that I need to improve on things I need to make right, things that I don't need. And, you know, really more and more, I feel that we need less. The simpler my life is, the better and the more I enjoy it. And I guess, is that age or is that just a realization? A bit of both. Scott Brady: I think it's both. And I think that we, society has pushed us so hard towards things. A couple of us are finally realizing like, and maybe it comes later in life, that that stuff doesn't bring us happiness. It's our experiences. It's the people that we love. Those are the things that bring us joy. Or probably our dogs too. Yeah, those are the things that bring us. [00:08:00] Those are the things that bring us, bring us joy, absolutely. So where did you grow up in the UK? Paul Marsh: So no, I spent my life, my childhood in South Africa. Scott Brady: Oh, you did? Paul Marsh: Yeah. Yeah. So I grew up, I'm South African. Well, the last time I looked at my passport, I was, I grew up in South Africa. I spent a childhood. Exploring. My, my, my challenge was always to get, I was a wanderer kid. I think we have, our birthdays are two days apart and we Sagittarian. So we explore by nature and Max is similar. He's a few days after us, but the reality is that I think my nature, it was always, I loved just exploring and I, the, the, the real crux for my overlanding came when a guy called you suck Barnard from Pinduka safaris through a contact connected with me. And he needed someone to help him on a trip going into Africa, taking some tourists on a trip. And he needed someone to drive a 45 [00:09:00] series Land Cruiser. And my name was put forward and I went and met him and I spent a couple of years working with him. And I learned so much from a man who had a connection with nature, the bush, the Bushman, the animals. He could, you could walk and he could tell you anything and everything about the bush. It was probably something that sunk deep into my being that. This is what life could really be, really to connect with nature in this way. I mean, we would camp, we'd have elephants walking through the camp, we'd had a lion sitting around the fire the one day, a group of us, and this lioness walked literally a meter from behind us. And he just calmly said to everyone, don't move, just stay still. And the more you understand nature, the more you realize that actually there's a balance in nature. There's a harmony. We are probably out of sync with that. You know, so that, that, that spurred a lot. But when I was 10, I sat in a, [00:10:00] a mountain hut in an old man, looked at me across, old bench and he said to me, what's your dream? That was kind of quite daunting and with clarity, absolute clarity, I told him, I'm going to drive through Africa. Now, you know, at 10, yeah, he said, really? I said, yeah. You know, South Africa had sanctions against it. There was very little possibility of driving through Africa. And he said to me, he said, I'm going to give you some advice. If you focus on your dream every day for 10 minutes, you'll realize your dream. And I took that to heart to the point that every time I saw an overland truck, mostly the Germans or the Dutch who came through Africa, I would stop and talk to them and clean as much as I could. And then I worked with Penduka safaris, which gave me an in depth, deeper yearning for the bush. This was going to happen. And the dream was there. It was going to be on a motorbike first. And I'd met my girlfriend and it was a very nice Tenere, Yamaha Tenere, [00:11:00] promptly went and offered to buy it from the guy and eventually came to a point that if I was going to go through Africa, would I do it with my girlfriend? Why not? And I would actually say that was probably the best decision I made was to do it with her. Yeah. Because it's lonely at times to share something like that by yourself and be, you know, you meet you when you travel alone. And I think that's really good. I did numerous motorbike trips and I really enjoyed that solitude where you get to ride out on that road and, and you meet you, you know, there's, you're talking to you, you, that loneliness at night as you, you break down somewhere. But that's growing those, those growing pains. It's scary. It's challenging at times taking that trip and going on this trip through Africa, which I told her was three months to start, but I knew it was going to be a year and it ended up, it ended up being one and a half years. It was amazing. Scott Brady: On the bike? Paul Marsh: So we, no, we actually, we took a four wheel drive. [00:12:00] I had a friend who owned a Hilux and I said to him, I said, I'm going to drive your Hilux through Africa. And I had a workshop in Johannesburg and I built up a Golf GTI, and I basically said to him, his wife, when the truck broke down. Brought it to my workshop and I gave her the keys of the golf. And I said, thank you for the Hilux And then I phoned him and told him that I've now acquired his Hilux And she was going she loved she loved the golf. She hated the Hilux. So he just the profanity that came down the phone was but I promise you it was so I stripped that vehicle down. Scott Brady: What year was the Hilux? Paul Marsh: 1981 or 82 There's an old truck. Scott Brady: Yeah, slightly rounded front. Paul Marsh: That's it. Yeah, so I took that Hilux. Scott Brady: Was it diesel or petrol? Paul Marsh: It was a petrol, but the motor was no good. And so I took the, I put a 22R Cressida engine in, which I got the, 22 RER, left the four speed gearbox, made all the mistakes you could believe. I [00:13:00] had a garage packed with stuff. I mean, you know, I had The 20, 220 liter drum for water. Cause that's all I could get. You know, I had no money. Scott Brady: 220 liters of water. Paul Marsh: That was kind of, that was like water. I just plonked it in the back and thought that'll work for water. I'm not going to run out of water. I had, it was nicely laid out, but you know, and I was meticulous. I stripped it right down to the last nut and bolt. I would never do that again. It wasn't worth it, but I had a lot of fun. I learned so much about what it would take to put a truck together. Now at that time, I mean, we're talking almost 30 years ago. You know, when you went through Africa, you didn't have GPS. There were no sat phones that we could certainly afford or look at. So it was the Michelin map, compass. and whatever map you could buy in the country. And when you drove past other fellow travelers, yeah, yeah, exactly. And you'd pass someone on the road and you'd flash your headlights and you'd stop and you'd take the map out and you'd make some tea and you'd swap information and [00:14:00] write it on the map. And, then you'd have your friends would write to the general post office and send mail. So if you're lucky enough, you pitch up at a Post office, let's say like Nairobi, and you go and stand in the queue that said post restant. Now most people don't know what post restant is, but post restant was where you could mail a letter to the post office, put the person's name on and just write their post restant, which basically meant it would be held by the post office for a period of time until you came and collected it. It might be months before you pitch up, but generally you go and. If you're lucky, get some mail. That was really exciting to get a mail from someone. So we did that. And then we took a little bit postcards. Scott Brady: And did you go up West or East Africa? Paul Marsh: We went up East. We basically decided to go and explore the East. And so each country, we had a postcard and, and we used to write little things on the postcard, then fill them out and mail them back. So, you know, at that time. You, the way you made contacts [00:15:00] was, to talk to people and, Nikki, my ex wife was a GP and she worked in Botswana. So we had kind of a delicate in one way, we make medical mechanical team between us and every contact she made, we wrote down, you know, the contact and we'd, you can stay with people. You, you wouldn't, you would just pitch up really for tea, you'd go and have some tea and. Next thing you know, you're staying and if it got more than a day or two, I'd feel bad and I'd want to, I'd go and get a list from them, start fixing stuff around the house. So it was very special. And I think that trip. At that time I got support from an amazing guy who owned a motorbike company in South Africa and he's sadly passed on, Cytech, Ray and, and Ray owned this motorbike company. And then I remember going to pull it out and knowledge and what he had. So going and getting information like we do today, you didn't get it. You actually, you, you, you [00:16:00] found what you could along the way. So, you know, you, you, things would happen in the country and you wouldn't be aware of it until someone, maybe you phoned home and they go, you know, what's happening in the country. Well, not really. It's not affecting me. And isn't that a lesson? Scott Brady: That's such a lesson. Paul Marsh: How many times have you been through a country where something's happening and Actually, it's not really affecting the whole country, but it's been blown out of proportion by the press. Mostly. Scott Brady: It's usually highly regionalized. Paul Marsh: So sad. So, yeah, that was one and a half years, 70, 000 kilometers. Scott Brady: And then did you end up back in South Africa or did. Paul Marsh: Actually. We went, we were intending to drive through all the way through. We could have gone through Sudan and Egypt. Although it was really risky at the time then, and we, we got into Eritrea, which was phenomenal. I loved Eritrea and Ethiopia was totally different. You know, you go from Kenya, Northern Kenya to Ethiopia, and it was so different. So I really thoroughly enjoyed it. So [00:17:00] we spent months in countries, you know, just really exploring and staying with people and staying with local folk. And yeah, you know, it was, it was an incredible experience. We drove all the way back down, got married and went to the UK and that's when Footloose was born in the UK. Scott Brady: And that was, did you go to the UK with the intention of creating Footloose? Paul Marsh: You know, initially not, initially when I went to the UK, I really wasn't sure what I was going to do. I'd sold up my business that I had here, which was a The workshop repairing and building vehicles. And we did a lot of jeeps and four drives and cars nowadays, classic cars. So and I love that. I had a great business and it was good finance and good partners and one not so good partner. But the point was when I got there, I really wasn't sure, you know, coming to the UK, it's first world and what would it be like? And I think, you know, what you do is you embrace a situation and you figure out. And the first thing [00:18:00] I would, what was so fascinating is. Jack from easy on Jess's father came over and he was going to sell his Landcruiser Troopy. He'd driven through Africa. He wanted to sell it. And, I ended up selling his, his Troopy for him, which is another story we might share. But he, I saw the fact that roof tents needed to come into England. So he agreed that he'd fly four in and I would fit them. And we'd see how it went. So the first tent, it was the middle of winter. I ended up fitting on a Land Rover, and a big tarpaulin that I draped over everything. I was busy fitting this tent onto this Land Rover, and some guy came and tapped me on the shoulder. And he was the farm manager, and we were living on a farm. And he said, listen, you can't be doing this. I've got a barn. Don't you want to come and look at it? So he opened this barn and it was top to tail full of stuff. I mean, you could have gone back 50 years or 80 years with farming implements full mess. It took me three weeks to clear it and to [00:19:00] pack it and to sort it and to make some space. And that's where I started Footloose, literally working out of a bar on a farm that we lived on called Sacrowell Farm, just outside Peterborough. And it was tough. It was really hard, you know, by yourself, I'd worked for a local company and, and kind of figured that it wasn't going to work. And the whole four by four industry was UK’s predominant Land Rovers. So, you know, and then there's the off roading and there's no overlanding really in a big way at that time. But the rooftop tent, the first show I went to, a friend and I put this rooftop tent at 1. 2 meter on the roof of his 90, parked it at Billing Land Rover Show. The two of us, now he's a big guy. And he's dog fast asleep and we wake up the next morning and there's 20 people around this. What the hell is this contraption on top of the roof? And that actually, I guess was one of the key things that gave me [00:20:00] hope that, that there was going to be possibility to do something in the UK, you know, products from South Africa that you could bring into the UK and then launch. And then probably educate in a way I had experience in Africa and I saw, well, you know, the overlanding is something that people need to know about. This is not just off roading where you're playing in the mud and dirt and trucks are built in a very different way. So you know, the business developed to build up where we bought in, bought in container loads of stock from South Africa, roof tents, ground tents, fridges, battery management systems and you know, the business grew up slowly. Scott Brady: I heard Jess the other day told me that. I've known you for over 30 years. Isn't that amazing? Paul Marsh: Yeah. They're just, they're just a great family. Scott Brady: Wonderful family. Yeah. We're talking about easy on, but, yeah, what an incredible family business, family legacy for sure. Paul Marsh: And you know what it is? It's the relationships you build. And I've realized that, you know, in the UK for me, it was about building relationships between companies. [00:21:00] You know, if you're my competitor, we can work together in a way. And why not? It's, you know, it is. Yeah. It's such a naive thing to think that there's not enough business or there isn't and I have to keep my bit and do that. And it's sad because I think the world we live in is vast. The opportunity, there are more people who don't know they want to go on an overland trip than those who do. Scott Brady: Yeah, it's not a zero sum game and that's unfortunate. Most people feel that if, if a competitor succeeds, then that's taken away from them and it's not true. It's not a zero sum game. There's unlimited possibilities and unlimited options in being successful. The best thing that you can do to stay true to your own vision and not be jealous when someone else has a moment of success, because yours will come too, if you keep the right attitude. Paul Marsh: That's it. Yeah. And that's probably the hardest thing, you know, in the UK, Footloose was born and the Footloose was about preparing the vehicle and the people. [00:22:00] And quite quickly, I realized that actually people came to me with dreams and probably most of them had never driven a four wheel drive. That was interesting for me to see. They had a dream to drive through Africa. That was a big thing. When a drive from London to Cape Town, some on the West Coast, some on the East Coast at that time, both were doable, very easy. And you could get through West Coast was challenging with a different type of trip, the roads and all that. So it was a fascinating opportunity to take and a privilege actually to take someone's dream in your hands and then help them make it come true. As I'd had help in my time. I wanted to pay it forward and I think that's been the basis of how I've lived my working career is to pay it forward in a way that I believe is true to who I am. Every time I travel. When I go, I'm humbled and I'm humbled by people who have less than me to give me more than I could even begin to appreciate. I'm [00:23:00] humbled by the roads that you go on, which take you to places that are just surreal. Someone dug that road. Someone made that road. You know, seeing people build roads by hand with rock and stone. In Northern Vietnam is it brings tears to your eyes, you know, so it's such the opportunity of what do you want and how do you want to achieve it? And if you can help, and I can play a small part in someone's, someone's opportunity to focus and have their dream. And so that was, that was a very good time in my life where not only was I able to do that for other people, but I certainly had time for my own trips. And, and that's, that was something I really enjoyed, you know, UK was a great place to travel from. I mean, it's very central and. Scott Brady: It is, you know, and there's a, there's a, a desire for that kind of travel to get out of sometimes the weather, sometimes the crowds, right? [00:24:00] Paul Marsh: Yeah. I think that, that was part of it. I mean, it was, for us, it was. Well, I guess the reason I stayed so long was I could travel and to go and explore amazing parts of the world and, you know, cross every continent on different trips and expeditions. And I got involved in classic car rallying and that came back to the story when Jack's Land Cruiser came to England and I, I had a guy who phoned me up, his name was Terrence and he said to me, Paul, I'm doing this classic car rally to drive from London to Cape town with 80, 80 old cars, 40 classic cars and 40 four wheel drives. I'm thinking of taking my Bentley, your cruiser looks like it might be an option. So anyway, I said he needed to come and look at the car and he came to the farm the next day and I'd read up about this rally, this classic car rally and the four wheel drives. And then I'd read up about this guy, Terrence, it was a gentleman called Sir Terrence English. Now, so Terence English is a man, for those who don't know him, he did the first heart [00:25:00] transplant, successful heart transplant in England. And you know, I didn't even know what a SIR was, it was very amazing. He sat down and I said, Terence, well, what is the SIR business about? And he is such a humble man and he, you know, he explained and he said, well, you know, I did a bit of heart surgery and yeah, we'll talk about that sometime. But the long and the short was I got involved in classic car rallying because this rally needed someone who had a bit of experience in Africa and he vouched for me and put my name up and I. I had a lunch with the guys and was invited to be on the rally to go add the Africa experience. Scott Brady: So they, so they had many classic cars and then a group of four guys too. Paul Marsh: So it was a combination of both. No, and it's, it's a big event. I mean, I, I wouldn't do many, I wouldn't do any more big, big events like that. Again, it's very risky and dangerous, you know, it's, it's not. Scott Brady: What about it makes it risky? Paul Marsh: People take unnecessary chances. And I think, you know, that happens in. In people going on overland travel by themselves, they take [00:26:00] unnecessary risks, partly because they maybe are not prepared properly. They don't take on the responsibility, but when you get an environment with a group of people together and you're chasing a competitive edge and now it's a race, although it shouldn't be a race. It's just the time trial. Things go wrong. And when they go wrong, they go wrong big time. And when you start unraveling what went wrong and why, which I do for all the sort of situations that have happened, you start seeing that people broke basic rules, you know, rules that you need to commit to yourself. If you're going to travel, you know, traveling is not like a holiday. People get that really mixed up. You're going to go on vacation. You are going to a place you familiar with the responsibility. The stress is taken away from you to give you that time out. When you're going on an expedition, you embrace all that, you embrace the responsibility, you embrace the change, the stresses, the changing environment. So it's a lot to take on. But if you don't [00:27:00] manage your, your own wellbeing, your hydration, your concentration, your sleep, all that, it's all plays a part and things start undermining and going wrong quickly. Something goes wrong. And you know, when something starts to go wrong, it spirals. And the end result is the catastrophic accident that happened was, was really a small thing in the beginning, which started going wrong. So it's important. And I try and impart that to people that when you travel, you absolutely put boundaries in place with how you're going to travel. Not driving at night. I mean, it seems so obvious, but people do. Things go wrong. Accidents happen. You know, not driving when you're tired, hydrating yourself, you know. Understanding the risks you're going to take on being responsible in what you do, you know, and I, I advocate that in a big way, because I think as overlanding is becoming more popular [00:28:00] and more accessible to people, it's people are taking less responsibility. Scott Brady: Yeah, because a lot of, a lot of the difficulty has been removed now you have GPS, you have reliable communication. You have much better roads in a lot of countries, like drive up East Africa, it's paved the whole way now. Paul Marsh: Yeah, exactly. You don't have to drive the paved road, but it's, but it's there. Scott Brady: But you, you feel like you can come back to that lifeline. Paul Marsh: Yes. And, but do you think that's wrong? I'm not sure. Scott Brady: I do not think it's wrong, but I think it results in some of that complacency. Yeah. I think it, I think it can result in some of that lack of preparedness. But we're in, we're in unique places that have, that are dynamic and things can change very quickly. You know, there were several overlanders that were in Sudan when the fighting kicked off. You know, it's, it's about being, having a plan. Paul Marsh: Yeah. And I think that's about being prepared. [00:29:00] You know, the, the scenarios that I often talk about with clients, I go, we're going to talk about scenarios, the what ifs, you know, what if you knock an animal over? But how would you deal with it? What if you knock a child over, how are you going to deal with it? Okay. Now you never want to put the fear of God into people, but at least if you've thought about the scenario, you've already got a plan of action. You've already got numbers to hand. You've already got, you know, a medical incident, you know, accident management is quite often overlooked when people go traveling and it happens. And then suddenly, you know, it's the biggest risk you take and ask people, what do you think the biggest risk is on your expedition? I don't know. It's an accident. It's your biggest risk. Massive. It's like the thing that can go wrong and when it goes wrong it can go so horribly wrong and you can be in the wrong place with no communication. So how do we mitigate that and how do we prepare for that? Scott Brady: Yeah, it's definitely not the banditos that people worry about. It's really not. I mean, people really [00:30:00] do, the boogeymen that they envision in travel, that is a very rare thing. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, in all of my travels, it's been one time. And you know, it's just very, very rare, but the amount of close calls that I've had driving. I mean, I'm glad that I was not tired. I'm glad that I was not driving at night. I'm glad that I was in a properly prepared vehicle. If any one of those things had been different, it could have resulted in a very different outcome. Paul Marsh: Well, you know, I did have that, you know, I was in a rally around South America with a hundred vehicles. That sounds insane. It was. We had 50 classic cars. We had 50 four wheel drives. We were driving right, pretty much Rio, Lima, Lima, Tierra del Fuego and back up. So it was a three month rally and the friend next to me was an orthopedic surgeon. We were the last truck. We were the last truck, the sweep truck for the entire rally. So over the course of the rally, we'd been getting more tired, there were more accidents to deal with. There was more people getting [00:31:00] lost. There were more breakdowns as you'd expect, more roads not, you know, destroying cars and people struggling. Three months is a long time to the point that in Uruguay. I lost control of my vehicle and I flipped it and rolled it six times and broke my neck, you know? And I think we've shared the story, but for those who are listening, it was something that I could have avoided. I broke all the rules that I should have. We had little, no sleep for three days. We were racing to catch the rally when a remote part of Uruguay, thank God and thank the angels that the set phone we hung up in the car, normally that we could answer it quickly. We put it in the glove box that morning and it didn't get crushed. And also Mark sitting next to me, his airbag went off and he was able to climb out the vehicle and pull me out the truck, drip me, call for help when a military helicopter came in to pick us up. You know, and I had very good medical care in a [00:32:00] third world country or a third world. I wouldn't call Uruguay third world, I'd say the medical care I had was one of the best in the world. Cause the neck surgeon was one of the best in the world. I was blessed. So I'm sitting here today with a series of circumstances where I had no control of the outcome. I was very fortunate to have a good surround medical, all that, but I had control of the situation before, before the accident. And that's, that's the crux. So where do we draw that line? You know, you get in the car, people arrive ready to go on their trip. The first night is five, 600 kilometers. They've flown in, they jet lag, they're really tired. They've been stressed out to try and finish up work and wrap up stuff. What are the risks? They hire in the first few days until you settle into your trip. So yeah, it's, it's a learning. And I, I only, all I can say is that to pass on those learnings, [00:33:00] I think are hugely valuable. Scott Brady: I also think it's, that's where it comes back to responsibility. Like you talked about earlier, I think that that is something that needs to be covered more often because as a traveler, we're recreating, we're literally, we're, even though it's, we get, some people may call things an expedition or whatever, but we're doing it usually for fun. So we have a responsibility to not put kids in villages at risk because we're driving tired or we're driving late at night. We have responsibility for all the other people in the car with us. We have a responsibility for ourselves and the impact that that would have on our families if we were be injured or killed. So you're right. It's really important to get back to the fact that there are many simple things that you can do, boundaries that you can put in [00:34:00] place with yourself. And I think about the times, well, the time I had an attempted carjacking driving at night. Late two in the morning. And there was a bunch of other things that I did after that, but that was the one that actually got me into the spot. If I just pulled off the road and camp instead of trying to rush to keep up, it would have been a different outcome. Any of the close calls that I've had is usually because it's, I'm tired. Paul Marsh: Yeah. Tired. And you know, you don't realize how tired you get. Just tired. Just the speed. You know, we, we talk about speed and people driving at different speeds, you know, if you're driving at 80 kilometers an hour, 90, even a hundred compared to one 20, you relax so much more and if you'd get your seat posture, right, you can relax even better and you don't have a sore back. So, you know, it's not just the preparation isn't about always building the truck. The preparation comes in your wellbeing. It comes in your mental [00:35:00] preparation for the trip with yourself and your partner. And that's what Joe and I are doing. You know, we're working hard on our YouTube channel with the essence of overlanding. And that is really about. Enabling people to share their wisdom and their stories and their knowledge, but where did it come first? Where did the preparation start? People talk always about the truck and I think that's actually the personal preparation. Sometimes, are you on the same page? Is your dream, are you both together? Are you walking? Is that river flowing? Is it two separate rivers flowing or is it one flowing together? And it can become one flowing together. Scott Brady: Yeah, but it requires good communication. And that's such an important point that you made about just speed over ground. You know, I, I used to drive much faster than I do now. And at the time, I probably felt a little more confident for that because I was actively racing too. So my skills were at [00:36:00] the best that I could have been given those circumstances. But I have steadily slowed down with time because I feel like I'm more relaxed. I have more options. Going one 40 as opposed to a hundred. You're. Paul Marsh: That's a big difference. Scott Brady: That's a big difference. Now, a lot of these vehicles today will do 140 k an hour down the road. You're, you're 40% deeper into the problem. Paul Marsh: It's true. Very true. Scott Brady: Yeah. So you, you've given yourself just a chance to slow down in time. If you slow it down a little bit, the vehicle gets better. Fuel economy, the car is less stressed. You know, you're less likely to get policed by the police, all those things start to improve. So it is really important just because you can drive fast, or just because you spent 20, 000 on the suspension to be able to drive fast, doesn't mean you should. Paul Marsh: You know, it's interesting because, you know, Namibia, Namibia is a beautiful country. You've been there, you know, it's stunning. It has some [00:37:00] of the best. dirt roads in the world. Okay. Scott Brady: Everybody's a rally driver. Paul Marsh: They, they're on the road. They can do 120 because the locals can, the locals on empty car and they've got a fully prepped car. What they don't realize is that the highest incidents of rollovers in the world happen on roads like that, where you're driving way too fast. You need to compensate, you haven't adjusted tire pressures or you don't quite understand tire pressures, your suspensions maybe not set up, although you've got the fancy shocks you can adjust. So that's where you've got to come back and slow down. But you know, before you head off, did you really take that test trip and take time to learn those skills about tire pressures? controlling your vehicle on a dirt road, what to do. So that's, that's the responsibility. If we come back to that, you know, and I think it's probably something I spend more time on when I'm discussing and training people, but that's critical. Scott Brady: That's a gift for them that you do [00:38:00] that, that you take the time to do that. Well, let's, let's move on to, I think some of the questions that I have for you, which is when you sit somewhat, cause the main service that you provide as, as I understand it. Is you sit down with travelers that are planning to do cross continent or around the world trips and you help them prepare vehicles and themselves to do that. So you're in every way that I'm aware of, you're the preeminent overland consultant. That can execute on all of the solution sets that someone needs to go around the world. So I suspect that when you sit down with a traveler, that you ask them a series of questions. What are the questions that you ask, or the core questions that you ask, that you think are important for the listener to consider that you think that they would gain some insights from from your decades of experience? Paul Marsh: It's [00:39:00] a good question. Thank you. Because I think a lot of the time when people sit down in front of me I'll ask them, how well prepared are they on their journey? And many people have done a lot of research. The Internet's there, you're interested, you're keen, you research, okay? The problem with research comes a lot of information, and a lot of information leads to a lot of different opinions. And opinions are subjective to circumstance or to application. So now you get someone trying to manage all these different opinions, depend who's the better person on the YouTube or the sales person they've walked into. So that, that's the biggest challenge I think people have is when you've got all this information and quite often I find people going down the wrong road. They're driving down that terrible road where they get, it's going to cost them money, pain and aggravation and actually what they didn't want, they wanted the much easier road to go and enjoy the journey in a different way. So my first thing is about [00:40:00] understanding who am I, who am I, who am I with, who are the couple that are sitting in front of me who have their dream, who've come to me for some advice and if I don't know the answer, I can find the answer out or I can check out something. But my service to them is to give them an opinion that based on years of experience and mistakes and lessons learned. That's going to hopefully avoid them making those same mistakes because too often when you go to a business and business is there to generate profit and money, nothing wrong with that. Businesses buy certain products that they're going to make good margins on and they want to sell them. That's business, I get that. But that doesn't mean to say that's going to serve you and what you want. And all too often I see people going down the road and a business is there. Someone who's selling the product hasn't got an experience. First of all, of traveling in the way that they should have. To give that sort of advice. And if they do have some travel, have they sat down and understood what their clients are need, but they want to sell them [00:41:00] everything they think they need before they understand what they need. So that's the key thing is to, you need to understand how do you want to travel? Where do you want to travel? Scott Brady: Yeah. Somebody who's got a bad back. Paul Marsh: Yeah, exactly. Scott Brady: A roof tent might not be the right choice. It'd be fine accommodation every night. It's okay. Really understanding instead of selling them something that they don't need. Paul Marsh: So to understand, you know, what is their experience, what skill sets they have. And sometimes, you know, yes, the key skill sets, if you mechanical is great. Do you need to be a mechanic? No you don't. I'll teach you to be a good checker though. You'll learn to check your truck. When there's a problem, you'll have a list of spares in your car which we've gone through and we've worked out what you need to carry. Spares, repairs, recovery kit, tool kit, first aid kit. So that's in your car with a list. So if you have a problem, be it medical or mechanical, find someone who can help you. You'll find people who are good mechanics, but they won't have tools [00:42:00] maybe, or they won't have the spares with them, but you've checked your car through and not just once a week, once a month, every day you set it. [AD] Built by off roaders, for off roaders. OnX Off Roads Route Builder provides a new solution to your adventure planning with a snap to functionality. Just draw a line with your cursor and the route will automatically snap to the road or trail. Hit save and the route will sync to your mobile device. Now you're ready to hit the trails. Go farther with OnX Off Roads Route Builder. Paul Marsh: So yeah, it's got the challenge. Obviously, when you speak into clients to try and understand what they want, you know, you can go into a business where it's, it's their business. They, they, they buying products to make a margin on it and people go in there and then they get a whole lot of advice. They get a whole lot of kit that's maybe fitted to their vehicle. And I think the understanding of where people are going to go [00:43:00] with their vehicle and how they might want to travel. Some people don't know what they don't know. And that's, that's a term I use often because. You know, if you haven't gone down that road and you haven't got that experience and you haven't driven or camped, you need to sort of find out a bit. So how do you, you know, and, and part of that exploration with, with that initial consult or the initial chat that we do is to work through that. What is your experience? You know, as I said, medical experience and mechanical experience and, and those two key things are sometimes the biggest fear people have. What if I break down? What if I have an accident? Okay. I fear other things that can go wrong. You know, what if you fall out that you haven't actually, you know, you're not communicating and that, that becomes the biggest problem you've got. Now we can mitigate a lot of stuff with a lot of, with a lot of couples. Yeah. Well, you know, I think it's important that I think on all the trips I've, all the vehicles and people I've prepared, I think one couple came [00:44:00] back and got divorced and okay. So if that's what it took and it didn't work out, well, that's, that's all right. At the end of the world, you, you did a trip, maybe you didn't spend 10 years together and realize that after 10 years. So trying to understand and get the basics of what people's strengths are. Now, sometimes someone's strength doesn't mean to say you're not a mechanic, you're not a doctor, you can't do it. As I said, you can check. You can learn to check a vehicle. You can learn to recognize symptoms. These days, if you're sick, what stops you taking a photograph of a rash, sending it to a doctor that you've got back home, or getting some advice. You know, you're carrying enough in your first aid kit that with a bit of guidance, you could probably take the right medication. Scott Brady: There's so many good, devices now. I mean, even the ring that I wear will tell me that I'm getting sick before I'm sick. I wake up in the morning and it tells me my, you know, my body temperature is up 1.2 [00:45:00] degrees and, and I'm like, you know, actually I'm not feeling great. And, you know, it's amazing these. Paul Marsh: So sometimes that awareness, those tools are there, but I think, do we always listen to ourselves? So do we check in? Okay. So check in is interesting. A check in takes on two realms. Okay. Okay. Most people live in their head. Now, I don't mean to be, you know, but we live in our heads. I have to, I've spent so much of my life living in my head. Now, when I'm going to go and do something, I'll check in, I'll check in with my gut. We talk about a gut brain and a head brain. And you know, I always say to people, you'll know when it's right, when it feels right. If you're still thinking about something, then it's not right. You haven't actually finished processing the situation or the thought. But when you get that feeling, you go, ah, it's just that truck is just right. I know I can feel it. It's right. Okay. So the more you check in. Scott Brady: Don't overthink it. Paul Marsh: Don't overthink it. Exactly. So going back to what you asked about what, you know, what, what's important, it's important to get a very good history [00:46:00] with someone, you know, what, what do they do gives me an indication of not, not what, not their money bank value and gives me an indication of where their interests and strengths lie. How, how would they approach a situation, you know, in regards to if you had to deal with something, who would take the lead? And that's important because, you know, and are they both on the same page? Sometimes one is driving the dream and the other person's actually following. Scott Brady: Yeah. Or being drug along. Paul Marsh: Or being dragged, dragged along. Yeah. So, you know, sometimes you need to address that before you go any further. Yeah. And that's important. So that's where the people side comes in and you. Scott Brady: And making sure that both. People can operate all of the systems on the vehicle, both people can drive. Paul Marsh: Yeah, yeah. So, so that, that's exactly what you're saying is so true, you know, so they're taking on that, that acknowledgement and listen, you're going to need to learn some skills, okay? To be responsible and take on the journey you want to go on with your kids. So don't put your family in the car if you don't know how to [00:47:00] change the wheel, use the jack, dip the oil, check the daily checks, adjust tire pressures, because you're being irresponsible. So, you know, just putting that awareness out, I think gives people an opportunity to go, well, let's just slow down and let's take that on. So for me, it's about, that's the initial understanding. Okay. Then you can look at moving on to how is you, how are you looking to travel, you know, and I know you like remote, you know, really remote places. You love the challenge of going there, taking yourself to explore these places, but taking you with you to go and see it as fantastic. But is your experience up to that or do you need to build that experience because it doesn't help to go and jump in a vehicle you've never driven and hit a road that you're not capable of driving on, lose confidence, have an incident and then give it all up. After you've invested all the money. So if you can go in and, and slowly build your experience, so maybe it's a test trip for a weekend, [00:48:00] then it's a week and it's a couple of weeks. Now that's important for two things. When you build a big truck and you engage a whole lot of people and it takes a team to build a truck. You know, if one company does, uh, builds the entire truck, then he's pretty significant because there's mechanical, there's body work, there's suspension, the electrical. The whole ergonomics, the whole system that you're going to put in. So putting that together is a complex scenario and actually takes, if you think of all the different components to consider all the different manufacturers, what's available, it's like a minefield. You know, you, you, you know, yourself every time there's a new product popping up. And so again, I put parameters in place. How do I make decisions about certain products? And why doesn't mean that it's a bad product, but if I'm supplying your product to me, building your truck in South Africa, it needs to be a product that we can get good service and we get spares. Okay. Is it, is it available on your trip where you're going that you [00:49:00] can get that support? So that, that's really key to making a decision on a product. It may be not the best product in the world, but it's going to be the best one for your expedition. Scott Brady: And we oftentimes see that's where people really do get in trouble is they’ll make such a significant change to the vehicle that it cannot be serviced in other countries, and that's, we most often see that around suspension systems where they will go with long travel or wide track axels. Who’s gonna make that? CV axle. Yeah. Somewhere in Venezuela or wherever. Paul Marsh: They're not. Scott Brady: Like, whereas if you have a Tacoma and you break a CV axle, a Hilux CV axle, oftentimes will swap over or a Prado or whatever else. Paul Marsh: Well, you speak about a Prada. So I drove a Prada across America on my one rally. Yeah. It was amazing. We'd ride across America and we broke a lower ball joint and I can't remember where we were, but anyway, we're this town, it was a tour agency, a quarter to five in the [00:50:00] afternoon. It I went in, the truck was, the Prada was on the back of a truck dumped at a hotel. My co-pilot went on with the, the trip with someone else and I was left to fix the car. Now you don't get that Prada 90 in America. No. They were never imported. So I sat with the parts guy and we went through vehicles and I said, I know that this is a chassis, it's gonna have a similar part to one of the other ones. And we identified the part and what it looked like from this, the thing on the computer. . It was a forerunner or it was, it was, yeah, one of those. Anyway, we looked at that. Eight o'clock the next morning, he phoned me up. He had my part in his hand. I could have kissed him. I was so impressed. The fact that he'd ordered that it was the right part. I changed the lower ball joint in the hotel car park, put it all back together and off I went, you know, that was actually what it was. And the alternator also packed up and Greg was kind enough to help me out. We've got an alternator sent over and I stripped the one and took the bits from the one and put it in the other and we made [00:51:00] one work. So that's where you look back at. When you make significant changes to a vehicle that you can't get parts for easily, you're adding actual complexity to the traveling. Scott Brady: And you're really adding unnecessary stress. It's the truth of it. I mean, the closer that you keep these things to stock, the happier, just the happier you're going to be. I thought about this the other day. I actually wrote it on Twitter. Yeah, little post and I said, I said, overbuilt truck, happy ego, simple truck, happy travels. And it's. Paul Marsh: I like that, that's, that's good. Scott Brady: And I think it's like, are you building the truck for your ego or you're building the truck to go see the world or to go see the things that you really want to go see. And I think if you really consider that you might end up with a different outcome than what you're starting with. Paul Marsh: So I have three core values that I look at simplicity. Safety and reliability. Okay. So when people come [00:52:00] back and we're looking at stuff and they're saying, I really want this, but I want this, I want induction cooking. I'm going, I'm not building in your truck. Okay. So you really want it. I don't think you need it. Why would you not just cook on a fire, a simple gas burner or a. Mixed pair of mix, mixed fuel stove or something. Now you're adding complexity and when it goes wrong, if you can't fix it, you're relying on someone else. So, you know, we go back to design phase. So the design phase is really important because you're looking at the truck. It's been the main focus for the people because it's everything on most people's minds is about the truck until you sit down and start breaking down the different, how would I say? Things you need to learn to make a trip happen to the truck is one of, and I try and put that back into perspective. The truck. We'll come back to the truck. You can see people get weird. I want to talk about the truck, and I'm going, no, no, no, we're going to come back to the truck. I need to understand more about you and why and how, and then you look at the [00:53:00] truck and when you're looking at the truck, if it's to identify the truck, that's a conversation on itself. You know, you're going to identify which truck is going to be right for you for a number of different reasons. How are you going to build the layout of the truck and why? How you're going to access everything, most important, most, the biggest mistake people make in the experience I've had, is that people put stuff in the places where they can't access it and they can't get to it in an emergency, or it makes them very vulnerable when they do. So you're going to change a wheel and you've got to unpack half the truck to get to it, or you need your jump leads and they're buried somewhere, okay? So the things that you. Scott Brady: Or you never tested any of that. Paul Marsh: Or, you never tested it, yeah. Scott Brady: Yeah, I remember, this is, this is one that's always stuck with me. A solo female traveler building a beautiful 80 Series Land Cruiser. And she asked me to do some four wheel drive training with her. This was a long time ago when I used to do that. And I said, well, the first thing that we're going to do is change a tire. And she, [00:54:00] she looked at me so confused, and I said, I said, I don't know how much your truck weighs, But I think it probably weighs close to eight thousand pounds, is what I told her. And, and I says, what do you have for a jack? And she says, well, they, they sold me this high lift jack. And I said, do you still have your bottle jack? She said, no, they told me to take it out. I don't need it. And I said, well, let's... Kind of what you need. Let's change, let's change the tire. And of course, an 80 series, long travel suspension. So she, she couldn't even get it two clicks up. Yeah, because and she was strong. She was fit and strong, but she wasn't, I mean, she didn't weigh enough to get enough leverage to lift the vehicle with the high lift. And I struggled to get the thing. And by the time it finally got up off the ground to change the tire, because the suspension is so lethal. That's the thing easily fallen over. And so that was an eye opener. So we had to start back with like, what's the most likely thing that's going to go wrong [00:55:00] on your vehicle? You're going to get a flat tire. Yeah. It's the most common thing. Paul Marsh: Absolutely. And do you know how to fix it? Yeah. Have you got the right? That's true. So, so again, you know, when you're looking at building the truck, you're also looking at what is the equipment that you need? So I've got, you know, I love lists. Okay. And everyone likes their list. And over the years, I've refined it. I try and take less and I'm going to give you the options and we'll talk about why you take something. But some, some certain things are non negotiable and people ask me what's non negotiable. So one of the things I do is I'll do my accident management, sort of tutorial, you know, discussion with the guys. And I'll often put a picture up of an accident scene. Okay. And we'll talk about it and all that. And then I'll drop the penny that that's me lying on the floor and that's my accident. And if I didn't have my sat phone, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you today. So the, the, the reality, the sobering thought there is like, where am I putting my priorities? Okay. And why am I, am [00:56:00] I spending it? Am I spending my money in the right place and have I got my priorities right? Cause that's important. Sure. And by doing a lot of research, you can, your priorities can be skewed from what actually is real important. Okay. Go back. Simple, safe, reliable. Are we safe? Have we got communication equipment? What are we going to take and why? Okay. Yes, we're going to need to do the suspension if the vehicle weighs more and we're going to do the brakes for sure to make it safer and we're going to put redundancy built into certain components and we're going to fit the spares to build back in reliability. Based on mileage and based on, you know, the wearability of the part or the problem, the weak point, you know, so, so that every, yeah, every vehicle's got weak points. So when you're looking at that, you know, you want to carry less spares But fit the spares, the ones that need to be changed To take, give you peace of mind and then have you got the contacts that can help you? So that's the other thing, you know, you, you, you're looking at the vehicles now beautifully prepared. You need [00:57:00] contacts, your doctor and people that can give you support and help when you're on the road. Um, but you also have to test this vehicle. So you know, it's great, it's ready built and we're pushing, we want to go. And that's where it comes, comes unhinged. And I, quite often, you know, you've pushed so hard to get to the line where you want to start that you're so exhausted. You're so tired. You don't know how tired you are until you set off and that wave hits you and we've all done it. Okay. And we've said we've driven off and we feel the enormity of what we're about to undertake and your adrenaline and everything washes out from you and suddenly you feel like it's risky. So, you know, my advice is just go a few hours out of. Where you started off, camp up for a couple of days, sort yourself out, figure it out. And if you've done a few trips, so, you know, when people have tested out their vehicles and obviously before testing, you know, I wouldn't engage with someone if they're not going to do [00:58:00] training because for me, it's part of, you know, and once you've Got a vehicle and people want to own vehicles in Africa. It's, it's interesting. It's, and 90% of my clients are from around the world. So some of them are just a consultant. I never get to meet them or see their truck. I'm just advising them on how to build a truck. Some of them we're doing training over Zoom and some of them we're going to find a truck new or used, help them register it in South Africa, build the truck up, train them and then support them on their trip. Every one of the guys I use, I use a team of people. Who I engage, which I don't know in the companies that these are guys who have their own companies, but they trusted suppliers of mine. And each of these guys takes on the responsibility to look after the client. So if there's a problem, come back to us. If you've got a problem, phone me, give me your sat phone number. I want to be sure that if you're on your trip, cause I know, and you know what it's like when you're in the middle of nowhere, who [00:59:00] the hell do I phone? So, yeah, it's, it's, it's, I guess. You want to build the confidence in someone so that they feel confident with enough preparation and, you know, less is more. We've spoken about that, you know, I think. Scott Brady: Well, I think you sum it up so beautifully. Simple, safe, reliable. And does, if you look at that as the litmus test, does the vehicle satisfy that? Does, does all of the pieces of equipment satisfy that? Maybe even does your travel companion satisfy that. Are they simple enough where they're not going to be over complicated or toxic? Are they reliable? Are they going to be there when you need them to be? Are they going to step up when you, when things get hard? Are they safe? Are they safe? Are they going to drive safe? Are they going to make good decisions? Are they going to be mindful? I like that. Paul Marsh: And if it's a couple who drive, you know, and you spoke earlier, [01:00:00] as you said, you both need to be able to overlap each other. So it's a team, a team effort. So both need to drive the car. Because if you're not feeling well, it doesn't help if you do all the driving. Scott Brady: You sprain your ankle or whatever. Paul Marsh: So little things can go south quickly. And I think if you've got the situation where you've got in hand that you both support each other, you both know the roles. Then it actually becomes really safe, fun, enjoyable, and. Scott Brady: You can just learn a lot. You learn a lot about yourself and you learn a lot about each other. Paul Marsh: I think that's probably the biggest thing. Hey, if I have to look back on, on the time trips that I've done, and now with Joe and I, we love our travels. I mean, I'm very blessed to have Joe so involved in, in, in what I do. I mean, Joe's background is people. And I think what we've really focused on is. Bringing the people side, Joe, Joe actually coaches and coaches, coaching is a terrible word, but she actually empowers people to really live their life [01:01:00] fully. And so a lot of the clients that we have actually have taken support from her to prepare themselves on the people side. So how are we going to communicate? You don't be surprised when you, when you get a couple and they've retired. And now they're going, we're going to go and travel because, Hey, what do you do? You know, you've made your money and you bought this car and now you want to travel. But perhaps in the life of your marriage, you've never really spent 24 hours together. Hey, and that's kind of scary. And the kids are gone. So that bridge has got to be crossed and often successfully, you know, it just takes a little bit of time. Scott Brady: Yeah. Especially if you like each other to begin with, you can find your way back. Paul Marsh: You find your way back. Scott Brady: You find your way back. Paul Marsh: And isn't that probably very symbolic of you. You started off in this, this, these two tributaries I love using, sorry, analogy. So bear with me. These two tributaries come down and you met up and along the way you've hit some whirlpools where you've been spinning around and you possibly spun out in one side and possibly the other side, but you find your way back [01:02:00] together and eventually you reach a point in your life where you are together and you're just looking for the next way forward, you know, and I think when you look back to nature, which I often look at nature teaches so much, but if you can look back and go, where are we in our journey on the river? Okay. Are we in this whirlpool? Are we in a different tributary? Because we need to navigate back to that same river and travel together, peace, calm, inner peace. You know, if you ask, if you'd asked me many years ago, what would freedom mean to me? And what we did in the piece, I chased expeditions, I chased trips, I chased all the adrenaline stuff. Was chasing. Scott Brady: You are South African after all. Paul Marsh: Yeah. Well, listen, forgive us. Born in one way, but I, I now look for a place of being and I feel more free. Because I'm more with me and I'm much more centered around, you know, what's [01:03:00] important that I want. I have, if I have me time, Joe and I can have we time. Yeah. And if we have we time, we've got time for friends. And if we look at our time and energy that we have available, how are we going to spend it traveling and exploring? Scott Brady: And how little we have left of that. Paul Marsh: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's true. Scott Brady: There's a couple questions that I like to ask, one of them it's a little more selfish, but do you have any favorite books that you've read about travel or resources, guides for overlanding? Is there, is there, are there books that you, you have a love for? Paul Marsh: You know, Cry of the Kalahari will always stay clear to my heart because I was reading that book at the time I was asked to go and work for Penduka Safaris. And it's a story of Mark and Delia Owens and their time in Botswana. So when people write stories about what they're doing and where they're living and how the challenges that they overcome and adversity, [01:04:00] those are the sort of books that interest me. Scott Brady: Yeah, that's a great book. Paul Marsh: You know, and when I look at resources at the moment, you know, I've always, I've got probably a few editions of Tom Shepard's Bible, and he's a man I always look back on and think, Every one of us who shares our knowledge and experience, or not so much our experience, but our knowledge, leaned it initially from someone. A group of people, someone, a book we read. So I owe huge respect to the people who shared their knowledge with me, and I want to share my knowledge with people that I can mentor to, to actually hopefully make the overlanding travel arena safer and more enjoyable so that we can all go and play and have fun and take what we need to out of it. Scott Brady: If, if someone was to sit down with you for coffee and they said, you know, I would, I would love Paul to go travel across Africa, what would be the couple key pieces of advice that [01:05:00] you would give them just to get them started thinking about travel? Paul Marsh: So, you know, Africa has the ability to take on all kinds of travel. Okay, so. If you're going to travel in a vehicle, it's fine, but look at what you're going to spend on your budget. You know, a budget shouldn't rule the entirety, but people tend to put their money in the wrong places. And if you can't afford to buy a brand new vehicle, then don't buy. Adjust your sights. Buy something older. Go with less. The guy who drove. The same road as you sitting in a fancy kitted out vehicle next to you at the campsite has no more than you at the end of the day, he's seen the same sunset, he's driven the same tough road, he's smelling the same air and you're enjoying a fire and ten to one, you'll have a beautiful conversation together. It just so happened that you evaluated your needs in a way that serves you. And I think sometimes people don't adjust the needs and wants and what do I [01:06:00] need and what I want. And if you can identify that and put it in a balance. You can come away with a better perspective. It doesn't help to have everything that you don't need, but you need to be responsible. So I think if you embrace being responsible, responsible doesn't equal everything and the best of everything. Responsible means taking on, you know, travel with less and take more knowledge and, and, and less kit. Scott Brady: Yeah, for sure. More training, less kit. Paul Marsh: How much training that you could look back on and go, I got out of that with less kit. But I had used my training. So I think that I'd say to people, invest more in your, your training and your skill set. And I think it would serve you better so that you actually feel confident in your skills and then confident in your partner you're traveling with. It's about, that's what it's about. Scott Brady: You know, that's great advice Paul. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story and thank you so much for sharing some insights that you've learned in your three decades of helping people [01:07:00] explore the world and explore the world yourself. What was, what was the favorite trip that you've ever done? What was the one trip that you loved that was the one that brings the smile to your face? Paul Marsh: It's interesting. I get asked that often, you know, what's the one trip? I think if you had to ask me what was my, one of the biggest achievements, it was Driven to Extremes, which was a three part series with Shell, you know, Driven to Extremes on three different environments. Yeah. Minus 60 plus 60 degrees in the desert and then the jungle that was challenging because I enjoyed the challenge of doing that, but the most enjoyable trip was probably one of the ones where I drove from London to Sydney. It was. An amazing adventure. I remember sitting under Marble Arch and thinking, I'm gonna drive to Sydney. It's a long way. And it's a good three months driving, you know? Yeah. it was, it, it was a group of us and did that. But my favorite type of travel is to travel by [01:08:00] myself with Joe. And just to go and explore when actually I can be remote. Scott Brady: Yeah. Be together. Paul Marsh: So, yeah. There's never one perfect trip. Scott Brady: Well, thank you Paul, and thank you all for listening. And remember it's really about, is it reliable? Is it safe? And is it simple? So let's come back to that and we will talk to you all next time. Paul Marsh: Thank you. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, it was a pleasure, my friend.