Principles of Overlanding: 30 Insights on Traveling the World by Vehicle
Show Notes for Podcast #164
Principles of Overlanding: 30 Insights on Traveling the World by Vehicle
Summary:Scott Brady and Matt Scott discuss the Principles of Overlanding Tweet Storm, a 30 point overview of the core tenets of vehicle-based overland travel. Lessons are often learned the hard way, which in Scott and Matt's case includes screwing up, getting stuck, carjacked, impounded, detained, delayed, and generally mired in the throes of adventure. Even the worst of scenarios had a silver lining (maybe not the carjacking) as their awareness grew and they adjusted their traveling operating systems. During their travels, they have also been fortunate to meet countless overlanders far more skilled, knowledgeable, and clever than themselves, contributing to the source code for sound overland principles.
These principles of overlanding are an attempt at sharing those learnings in as concise a way as possible, distilling the first principles of vehicle-based adventure travel while attempting to strike a balance between Laissez-faire and pedantic. The list is organized from the macro to the micro, and an argument could be made contrary to any of them. This list is our view on a pursuit we all adore- but ultimately, the most essential principle is to go.
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
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world's most remote places by 4WD and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. He is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore
Scott Brady: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal Podcast. I am your host Scott Brady and I'm joined today by my co host Matt Scott. For today's episode we go into the principles of overlandings. Now this was a list of 30 principles that I put together and posted to my Twitter account this was a list of insights and attributes of overlanding that I've been gathering over the last couple of decades.
I would write them down in a notebook and I finally had the time during the COVID lockdown to assemble all of these thoughts into 30 principles. I actually wrote these principles when I was crossing the Pacific Ocean in a sailboat. I had a lot of time on my hands to really think about the fundamentals of this.
Pursuit that we're all so passionate about. We talk about in the podcast, the fact that this is not a end all be all. These are [00:01:00] not rules. These are not regulations of overlanding. These are just the things that I've learned the hard way through a lot of mistakes and through a lot of blunders and getting stuck.
And I'm hopeful that those insights might help you in your own travel. So please enjoy my conversation with Matt Scott. On the principles of overlanding. 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 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 [00:02:00] 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 website at overlandjournal. com. So welcome to the podcast. We're going to talk through literally the principles of overlanding and So it's intentionally at its most basic and a little bit of backstory.
So I was traveling with Brian McVickers across the Pacific Ocean. We were on an expedition class sailboat. This was during COVID when the overlanding things were not possible, but the cross ocean things were. I had a lot of time on the boat to think about the craft that I've, this, my profession for the last 20 years, and it allowed me to kind of distill down the things that I've learned along the way.
And I wrote these principles primarily on the sailboat. I did a lot of editing afterwards. The team was involved [00:03:00] with with providing a lot of feedback including Graham Bell and Stephan Edwards. Others provided some really Ashley Giordano provided some great feedback that allowed me to refine the list.
But the goal was to create what's called a tweet storm. So on Twitter now X. There's a way to do a stream of tweets where there's 30 of them. So you can find them at Scott underscore Brady on Twitter or in threads. If you are one of the last three people on the planet that still use threads, there's a, there's a Scott dot a dot Brady account that I only put the tweet storm on.
I've not done any other posts other than that, but you can find those things there. So Matt and I are going to kind of work back and forth on it. Matt's. Got some good insights. There might be sarcasm and sarcasm, sarcasm, those kinds of
Matt Scott: things. Scott Brady, expedition leader back to Scotty.
Scott Brady: That has been the process of my life is to stay Scotty.
Matt Scott: I just imagine you like forging and tonics in on a sailboat in the middle [00:04:00] of, in the middle of the ocean and a hammock,
Scott Brady: like writing these things. That's pretty much what happened. That's, that's a great. Yeah, that's exactly what happened. Yeah. Yeah. Between trying to not trying to throw up and everything else like that when the sea state changed.
But the most important one from my perspective, given the Scotty expedition leader versus Scotty, is that the majority of these insights just came from a lot of failures. So my, all of my own mistakes, my learnings that have come the hard way, So the goal is really to share insights that might help others to avoid some of the pitfalls that I've encountered.
It's really important that I didn't, I wasn't like birthed an overlander. I learned these things by screwing up a lot, getting stuck, breaking down, you know, not doing a good job with teams or whatever, just lots of mistakes. So that's really what the first one says is. I've arrived at these principles mostly through countless failures, mistakes, mishaps, and blunders.
While these principles represent a practical and [00:05:00] measured approach towards overlanding, they should be modified or completely ignored based upon individual needs and tendencies. The goal is just to go As travel will teach us the rest along the journey. Yeah. Travel's a great teacher.
Matt Scott: When I see new travelers, they will oftentimes kind of get mired down in their mistakes.
They don't just take it as an opportunity to learn. You know, you, you're going to make mistakes. Don't let it ruin your trip. Yeah. You know, because Or the relationship with. Yeah. You know, if you walk into something with that kind of mindset of, oh, I just failed at this. You're going to continue doing that.
So brush it off. Like things go wrong when you travel. Yeah. You know, it's important to recognize that and it's okay.
Scott Brady: And the most successful travelers that are far more far more successful than me, they'll all admit to many failures along the journey. And that's how we get a little bit better at it is by when we work out, we are muscles hurt because we've done a little bit of damage, but we come away [00:06:00] stronger from that.
So it's the same thing with our travels. Okay. Number two is, and this is the intent of number two is to kind of define what overlanding is. So overlanding is vehicle based adventure travel. Adventure is an undertaking with an unknown outcome and travel is a journey, especially to a distant or unfamiliar place.
By saying overlanding is vehicle based adventure travel. It's the most concise yet most constructive definition of that. That definition was came to many years ago, a combination of Graham Jackson and Jonathan Hanson and myself, we sat down and we, we kind of put together what we thought was a reasonable definition.
We've stuck with it even 20 years later, that kind of helps framework. And the next one is because there's a lot of feedback that we get, a lot of feedback that Matt and I both get that overlanding is too expensive. And I think that the, that the public facing version of overlanding is too expensive, but there's lots of people traveling around the world that [00:07:00] aren't spending a lot of money on fancy gear.
There's lots of people who don't travel that spend money on fancy gear. And we're also not
Matt Scott: always the best representation of that. Yeah. Yeah. I think to call ourselves out, we always try and say that as You know, some of the things that Scott and I do do not reflect what you should do and, and do not reflect
Scott Brady: what the majority of real travelers do.
Yep. We get access to things that we're, we're privileged to have access to, and they're not necessary in order to travel spoiled brats. I've definitely been a spoiled brat for sure. Overlanding doesn't need to be expensive. So the example here is motorcycle travelers that have explored the globe. For less than 22, 22 a day on average.
That's actually a friend of mine, Stefano Malgrati. That's he kept track of every expense that he had traveling the length of Europe, the length of Africa, and then writing his motorcycle all the way up South America, Central America, and North America back to Alaska. He used a Yamaha two 50. [00:08:00] It's a very simple bike, very fuel efficient motorcycle.
It gets almost 70 miles of the gallon. He camped most nights. And he told me that most days he only had one meal. Now he looked great. Like he looked fit and healthy because he wasn't overeating. It was, he wasn't on the standard American diet diet and he was incredibly happy and joyful of his experience.
It's a reminder that dollars spent do not translate into necessarily a positive happiness or a positive experience. So it's about going in the way that you're most comfortable. So it's possible to get an inexpensive motorcycle travel around the world on 22 bucks a day. So, which is pretty amazing. If you think about it.
That's a couple of years for 10 grand. I could not do that. But isn't it cool that like, if you really wanted to, you could. Yeah. I mean, I think you could check
Matt Scott: out tomorrow and say, there's always, there's always like the priorities in life. And we talk about that a lot. If your priority is travel and that's what you want to dedicate yourself to, like it, it [00:09:00] can be done.
It can be done. You know, it's going to be a little
Scott Brady: uncomfortable sometimes. Yeah. And he had plenty of uncomfortable nights where he was camped next to a road or, you know, in a, in a gas station parking lot. All right. Number four, overlanding is not synonymous with car camping or off roading. It is possible to drive around the world without a single mile of dirt or a night of camping.
So we, we have seen a lot of. Positioning of overlanding in recent years, which is really kind of the off road market attempting to latch a hold of this new growing segment by showing that you've got to go off road to go overlanding, or you got to be camping to go overlanding. You may choose to do those things.
You may do them some of the time, but they aren't, they aren't, they actually are not the definition of overlanding, the definition of
Matt Scott: kind of that North American overlanding and that global terminology are cousins, but. That's right. Related, but you know,
Scott Brady: not as close as some think. Some people don't want to go travel [00:10:00] overland or don't understand how to connect in with the community because maybe they don't camp.
There's been trips that I've done where there's no reason to camp because accommodations are so cheap or they're not, there isn't public land available. We're so fortunate. In North America where we have a lot of public land that we can use to go camping. There are places in the world where everybody owns every inch of ground.
And so you're going to be in a campground or in some form of accommodation and it doesn't make it any less. Yeah. I think I think again,
Matt Scott: overlanding is the experience of cultures and things that kind of come along with that. It's not, it doesn't mean that it's a test of your driving or prowess of camping.
Scott Brady: No, it's not competitive. Yeah. It's yeah, exactly. Overlanding isn't competitive. Because someone did a harder trail or they have a more capable vehicle, it doesn't make them any more of an overlander than someone else. Or because somebody does
Matt Scott: the camping on the side of the road and you are in the position of staying in hotels, it doesn't mean that the journey, the experience [00:11:00] necessarily has to be any different.
That's right. Get out there,
Scott Brady: do it, do the thing. Yeah, that works for you and your family, your travel companions. All right. Number five, the majority of Overland routes do not require a modified four wheel drive, stock four wheel drives, passenger cars, and touring motorcycles. Have completed notable trips across continents or around the world.
Think about our buddies that took the London taxi around the world. I mean, and those were some rough roads that they took it on. Yeah. I mean, they got deported from Iran. They did.
Matt Scott: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that again, with that North American perspective, Of overlanding being four wheel driving, there's this, I'm going to say capitalist perception that you have to have all of these things you have to have the 35s and the bypass shocks and all of this stuff.
Like, no, like you actually do not want those things. You don't want shocks that have to be rebuilt every. 10, 15, 20, 000
Scott Brady: miles. Where are you going to rebuild
Matt Scott: tires that you can get? Yeah, that's right. You know David Pritis, when we were [00:12:00] traveling around kind of leapfrogging each other in Australia, ran a very specific Michelin tire, not an XCL had pretty much a street pattern.
Why? Because it got 80, 000 miles of tread wear. And it
Scott Brady: was probably a size like 235, 85, 16,
Matt Scott: probably available everywhere for 95 percent of the driving. That's
Scott Brady: right. If not more. And his goal was to see the world. And he did. So yeah, it makes a big difference. Every modification that you don't do to the vehicle is part of the pool of money that you can use to actually go and travel.
Yeah. So we talk about that a lot. And we'll talk about that more in this list. So number six, be the student, and this is a place of humility for myself because I, I remember when I got started in overlanding, it was such a new thing and we were pushing so hard to try to bring this community to bear in the marketplace.
I just, I spent years in this sense of imposter syndrome and I [00:13:00] was an imposter. I didn't have enough experience and I forced myself to be in this position of authority that I wasn't really there yet. I hadn't gotten there yet because I wouldn't force myself to be the student. I felt like I had to be the expert.
So If anybody can learn from me in that is it's okay to be an amateur. It's okay to not know what the hell you're doing. I still don't, I'm still an amateur in many ways. And by changing my mindset to being the student and learning from people who've gone before me, then my world got a lot bigger. It's very small when you have to try to be perfect, even though you don't know what you're doing.
And I didn't know what I was doing. Again, I say it. Overlanding is not a competition. Yeah. Don't treat it as one. It's
Matt Scott: a personal journey. And you're going to, when you put your hand up and you ask for help, you're probably going to
Scott Brady: enjoy it a little more. Yeah. And one of the ways that we can be a student to continue on with this, this number is prepare for visits to a foreign land by studying its history, its culture, and its laws as part of being a gracious [00:14:00] guest at a minimum, learn to say basic salutation in the host country language and attempt to speak.
The native tongue is a gesture of respect. One of it's not an overlanding is an assault on other cultures. We have to come in from a place of humility and openness and understand that they may pray to a different God. They may have a different set of cultural beliefs. They may have a word in, in their language may mean something totally different than it does to you.
So taking some time to learn other cultures and being open to feedback and learn is really important. It's so easy now. I mean, literally just Google it.
Matt Scott: Yeah, just Google it. Not, not, not to sound a
Scott Brady: little too broad, but that's the world's
Matt Scott: information is quite literally
Scott Brady: at your fingertips. So true. So true.
And when, when you travel to some of these countries, they're used to everybody speaking in English because tourists, that's the lingua franca. Yeah. Tourism. If you make the effort to just say hello in their language or [00:15:00] thank you in their language, their faces light up because they can tell it's a effort that you've made to learn.
Matt Scott: And if you can't speak the language, make, make the gesture, you know, like, like there, there are these kind of universally understood. Yep. Gestures that you can make That's right. Of kindness or of appreciation. So true. You're not you, you're probably not gonna be able to speak Swahili, putting your hands together.
Right. But you
Scott Brady: can't speak enough Swahili to say Omo. Yeah. Or to say asti, which is Thank you. Yeah. In Swahili. And those are the little things that you can learn. Yep. Along the way. Let's move on to number seven. The world is safer than it has ever been. That's per a Gallup poll. We can put reference to that.
The news media, especially the divided political situation that we have right now, everything is all about capturing people's attention through fear mongering, doom scrolling. The world This is a fact. The world is safer than it's ever been. We've never had more of a period of peace, more [00:16:00] opportunity. The number of people who've been brought out of poverty, the longer lives that people are living now than ever before.
We live in a peaceful time compared to history. We need to remember that the world is a safe place and be really careful about getting your news. From the news, dig a little bit deeper, a couple layers deeper to find out good information. Conflicts are typically isolated to hotspots within countries, not regions.
As a result, be critical of travel advice from mainstream media or from individuals that have not recently visited the area that you intend to explore. Yeah. It's like when people say Mexico isn't safe. Yeah. They, they've clearly never been there. Like there's, there's parts
Matt Scott: of Mexico and neighborhoods in Mexico.
Yeah. That aren't safe. Yeah. Like I'm from Chicago. There are neighborhoods I do not go to. But like when you go to. What about St. Louis? Yeah. It's like, you know, Wrigley Field is different than the south side of Chicago, even though they're only, you know, what, 10
Scott Brady: miles apart. That's right. Trust local knowledge.
In general, the world is incredibly open, [00:17:00] welcoming. I've had one bad experience in 20 years. It was a really bad experience. We're not going to talk about it, but just one in 20 years of travel, everything else.
Matt Scott: I also find it like the energy that you have, I'm going to say as, as a first world person or an American almost makes you just like feel that the world is a little less dangerous.
Like you're used to hearing you're bombarded all of these negative things all day. Sure. And then you get on the ground there. And, and the guy that, you know, is trying to help you with your bag is just generally trying to be nice and help you with your he's not trying to steal your stuff. He's not trying to steal your stuff.
Scott Brady: Take it, take it down a notch. Yeah. Take it down a notch. Okay. Number eight, our responsibility is to be good stewards. Leaving the places we visit better than we found them. Lower tire pressures and engage four wheel drive early to limit road damage. Pack out all trash and if possible human waste. Tag and share locations responsibly, leaving little known routes wild and unadvertised.
So this is an important one. It should be [00:18:00] number one, but it's also part of, you know, getting through the philosophy of overlanding early with the definition, some other things, but we really have, we're recreating by our own choice. So that means we have a responsibility to be very careful with the places we visit.
Let's leave them better than we found them. Let's be good stewards. Let's be good ambassadors of the countries that we live in and let's be thoughtful travelers. So to emphasize the
Matt Scott: tagging of things. Yeah. How many places, how many
Scott Brady: campsites have been smoked? Yeah. So be really mindful of putting that thing up on Instagram because the next thing you know, your favorite campsites now are going to be everybody's favorite campsites.
So you're not trying to be gatekeeping. You're just trying to disperse the use way. Xavier
Matt Scott: has said it the best. I won't tell you where it is. But I will show you whenever
Scott Brady: you want. Yeah, true. Yeah. Come, come with me. Yeah. All right. Number nine, the best way to prepare for vehicle based travel is to first travel by backpack, bicycle, or motorcycle.
Reality dictates that [00:19:00] there are few essential items. The rest can be done without. Or sourced locally. Start with being simple. It's amazing how many people will do months across the John Muir trail or across the Pacific Crest trail with everything that they can carry in their back. And somehow we end up with 10, 000 pound Tacomas.
It's like, you don't need all that stuff. You don't have to prepare for it. Every contingent, because you can't, you literally can't. Yeah, you're never gonna be able to. And all of that extra stuff actually results in more likelihood of failure to begin with. So yeah, start with a robust vehicle and keep it simple.
All right, number 10, engage with your companions to determine their wants, needs, and travel goals. Make your fellow travelers a part of the planning process and vehicle configuration, increasing their sense of ownership and connection with the journey. Answer the why before you leave. So why are you going?
Know why you're going, make sure it's not just to check a box or to look cool on Instagram. Understand why you want to travel and understand why your partner wants to travel or why all of your family [00:20:00] members want to go. You may find out that your son or your daughter loves archeology and then you incorporate that into the trip.
You may find, find out that your husband really loves the opera and you're going to incorporate that into some of the cities that you travel through. So just make sure that you understand what everybody's goals are before you leave, not just your generally,
Matt Scott: not everybody's going to be on the same page.
And you mentioned, you know, the opera in the city thing. There's nothing wrong with when you travel of spending time in a city there, there are, there are beacons of culture for a reason. For sure. Enjoy them. Don't avoid
Scott Brady: them. Like so many people. I think it's a highlight. I love the cities. There's just the vibrancy and the activity
Matt Scott: checking in, you know, it allows you to check in
Scott Brady: with.
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. Or see what their world is all about. All right. Number 11 essential travel items include the quality clothing you're wearing, a passport, a credit or debit card, and arguably a smartphone. An experienced traveler can solve most challenges with those tools. The reason why I [00:21:00] wrote that particular tweet was Because we have to be able to get down to what is the core of what we need to travel and then add as necessary, not start with the huge laundry lists of things that you've got to buy, but say there's a traveler by the name of Rolf Potts and he did what was called a no luggage challenge.
And he traveled, I think three continents, many countries for several months and he had no luggage. He had an extra pair of underwear stuffed in a And he used some kind of a jacket and an extra pair of underwear. He had a little, he had his smartphone, you know, very well traveled guy. And he traveled with no luggage, not because it was a bit of a stunt, but it also proved the point like that.
You don't have to have all of this stuff to go see the world. And he, he had everything that he needed in the jacket that he was wearing, you know, an extra pair of socks, extra pair of underwear, you know, I'm not saying that you do note that in
Matt Scott: most cultures, it is weird to have a pair of used underwear
Scott Brady: in [00:22:00] your jacket.
Exactly. Especially when you're going through TSA. What I love about that example is that it shows how little you really need to go see the world. And, and the more stuff that we have, the more things that we're attached to and we're afraid of losing. And that continues to degrade the experience. So be prepared, whatever you bring with you, just consider it a write off before you even leave the car, all the gear.
Matt Scott: Yeah, don't bring stuff with you that you can't
Scott Brady: afford to lose. Number 12, Overland planning starts with coordinating required visas and shipping logistics with those items defined and secure. The remaining planning can be more fluid or serendipitous, including inter country routing and provisioning.
This is something I've really learned the hard way. I have spent a lot of energy trying to pin down a perfect plan with expedition seven, sometimes we had to, so I spent an enormous amount of energy making sure that things went, that the trains ran on time, which took 10 times more energy and [00:23:00] 10 times more money than if you allow for a little bit of serendipity and flexibility.
There were reasons for it. It wasn't anything negative. It was, in fact, I learned a lot from that process, but. What I realized now is I've got to have my visas in order, or I've got to be prepared to get my visas in order. And I got to know where the vehicle is going to get shipped to. And then after that, like for example, this last trip in Africa, the vehicle got released from customs three weeks late.
So I made the best of the time I didn't like, I wasn't. I went and stayed in a little Airbnb next to a game reserve and took pictures of lions and read books. And it was fine. It was just fine. The trips
Matt Scott: that I've been the most rigid with on my planning in hindsight are probably the trips I've enjoyed the least.
Sure. Like give your schedule breathing room and realize that things are going to go wrong and that's okay. That's part of it. If you arrive in a country. And you have this campsite booked and this thing and the, this thing booked and you have to be here for this thing, [00:24:00] whatever that may be, know that it's probably not going to go that way.
And you're just going to add stress. And then your mindset for that travel is just going to be screwed
Scott Brady: or it forces you to drive at night or make other compromises. And also. So allow for things to go really well. You may come to this one little campsite on the beach and there's, they bring in the fresh fish every day and like, and you may want to stay there for a week.
Yeah. So allow yourself that flexibility to bring in the things that add more joy or allow you to. To have some safe compromises. Like, I'm going to
Matt Scott: like time constraints are just a you know, whether you have five years to do the trip or five weeks, just don't bite off to like, don't bite off more than you can chew, right?
You're better off seeing less and experiencing more than you are seeing more and
Scott Brady: experiencing less. Yeah. And, and a huge number of my trips, I. Saw a lot, but experienced very little. So I've learned from that. [00:25:00] Again, this is, this is my own learnings that have come to that realization. So, number 13. Travel light and in small groups of one to five vehicles with one or three being optimal to avoid damage to remote tracks and small capacity campsites.
Many overlanders travel solo. There's a lot of advantages to travel solo. There are downsides but you learn a lot about yourself when you travel solo, you're more open to interactions with others. It was just recently tried traveled for 12 days by myself and. I just found myself interacting with a lot more other travelers and talk to the person that you had the
Matt Scott: similar interest
Scott Brady: with because you're not really talking to anybody.
That's right. And I'm not a loner. I'm, I'm in kind of a introvert, introverted, extrovert, I don't know, whatever they call it. I like to have people in my life, so I like to experience things with others, but you can learn a lot being a solo traveler. The really important thing is here is to avoid the 2030 vehicle convoys.
This is not responsible for our community. It's not [00:26:00] what we want overlanding to be. It will result in... This particularly
Matt Scott: goes for North American
Scott Brady: overlanding. Bad
Matt Scott: news. Yeah. When you see 20 vans going down a road to a campsite in, you know, Utah or something, it's, it's not a good look for anybody. And who really wants to do that?
Scott Brady: Most campsites in the West are for, they were set up for a couple of vehicles or they started off for a couple of vehicles. Isn't it eight
Matt Scott: vehicles in the, in, in Utah? Most of the West, if you're on public lands, that anything more than that actually require
Scott Brady: permits, a group permit. And yeah, it's totally, totally possible.
The most important thing is it just does a ton of damage to the trail. It does a bunch of damage and extend, extends campsites. Think of all the poop from 20 cars. So just like, keep it simple. One vehicle's great. Three vehicles are great. Two is okay, but it's not as good as three. So, so number 14, keep multiple originals of travel documents along with printed copies.
Scan all documents along [00:27:00] with new records from each border crossing and keep copies on a thumb drive and in the cloud. I, I like to have an original, multiple printed copies. I do have. I don't use a thumb drive anymore. I actually use a micro SD card because they're even smaller. They go right in my wallet with all of the, the, the documents copied on there.
I take photographs of, of the documents that I incur along the way with my phone. And then I upload those to both Google drive and to iCloud because I'm using an iPhone. So the photograph goes to iCloud. So I have backups of all of these documents. It's a really good idea to maintain copies of all of that because you never know when you might have to refer back to them or you could help a fellow traveler.
But you really want to have those extra copies. And there's a lot of documents that you can make a copy of that look like an original. That way you're handing some of these second tier officials, maybe. Corrupt police checkpoints. You're handing them copies of your original document. I always have [00:28:00] three driver's licenses with me two international driver's licenses So that way if you've got a yeah, let one go you let it go.
Yeah, get a burner id Go
Matt Scott: to the dmv. You've lost your you've lost your license. Keep the old one most governments I'll speak to americans will issue a second passport. It's 10 years validity on your first passport It's four years validity on your second passport I know a lot of people that will travel with two in two locations, some individuals
Scott Brady: that just as a reality.
And it allows you to send off one of your passports to get a visa to get a visa done. So yeah, it's actually why I'm in the U S right now. It's cause I've got to get a whole bunch of visas for the Congo and everything else. While I'm here in my home country. So it's a lot easier to do it from here.
All right. Number 15, who we travel with is more meaningful than how we travel or what we travel in venture into the unknown with calm, rationally optimistic travelers eject the toxic personalities as soon as possible. But we're allowed to have boundaries with our [00:29:00] travel mates. We're allowed to say, you know what, this isn't working for me in the same way that you would say that.
Romantic relationship isn't working. We're going to go our separate ways. Don't stay in a situation that you don't feel comfortable or you don't feel safe or you don't feel heard because when things really go bad, you need to be able to, your life may count on those people. Travel with optimistic, well, well traveled, settled people.
Matt Scott: that everybody has different comfort levels too. You know, you, you may be putting somebody else. In a, in an environment where they're not comfortable and that's why they become negative and that's right. And you're just it's not a personal thing. It's just different. Appetites for different
Scott Brady: things.
Totally. Exactly. All right, number 16. Recognize the planning fallacy when estimating travel distance and time. Plan for fewer miles traveled due to road closures, mechanical issues, fuel availability, driver fatigue, serendipity, and more. Expect that travel will not go as planned and you will never be disappointed.
We talked about this a little bit a few minutes ago. I think that stands on [00:30:00] its own. Yeah, like
Matt Scott: the scale of travel time in your mind, say as a North American, you look and you're like, Oh, cool. I could drive across the state in a day. It's not real.
Scott Brady: No. It might take seven days. You know, and,
Matt Scott: and what Google maps says outside of the U S do not take that as gospel.
Scott Brady: Or even the route as gospel because people have gotten themselves into a whole bunch of trouble. You end up in the wrong favela because you follow the Google maps. So really Like, make sure you know where you're going. Be mindful about that. Okay, number 17. Training before tools. Enhancing vehicle capability through modifications is often more expensive and ultimately less effective than achieving the same result through driver training.
Driver training doesn't necessarily have to be paid for. There's a lot of training available at events like the Overland Expo. You can become part of a local club, four wheel drive club and learn a lot. You can find other experienced travelers that might be willing to share their information with you.
Focus on getting training first and then only add the modifications that you feel like you really [00:31:00] need. Less is
Matt Scott: always going to be more. Yeah, there's people around like this, like everywhere I always go. Like there's, there's always people that can help you and don't be afraid to ask, you know, like, don't, you don't have to be this wild Thornberry's expedition vehicle thing that, you know, can pick itself up and fly.
Like that's just never
Scott Brady: reality. It's kind of fun to get stuck every once in a while. I mean, like don't take it all so seriously for sure. Okay. So number 18, the driver's primary responsibility is occupant safety followed immediately by mechanical sympathy which preserves the vehicle and equipment.
All age appropriate occupants should be trained on vehicle operations and systems. Those that you're traveling with need to be able to drive the vehicle, need to be able to recover the vehicle, need to be able to operate all of the systems of the vehicle. Imagine if you're knocked unconscious. You break your leg.
If you need to be evacuated and they have to get the vehicle to the next place or, or meet up with you later, everybody needs to know how to operate the vehicle. And when you're driving, stay off your phone, especially, I mean, especially when you're in other [00:32:00] countries that you have a responsibility not to run kids over.
And the kids are running everywhere. So stay off your phone, slow down. It's not a competition. Keep an eye on your driver. If they're getting fatigued, force them to swap out or force them to stop. If they pick up their phone and they start checking things, tell them to knock it off. It's just, there's no excuse for it.
Period. People run out of talent a lot quicker than you think. They, they run out of talent all the time. And we see that in these trips and they're cut short. And beware the
Matt Scott: ego as well. You know, if you are whatever your circumstances, you get in a car with somebody. You know, oftentimes people want to show off, they want to drive fast.
They want to do these things, you know, it's, it's better to get out in the middle of nowhere than to end up severely
Scott Brady: injured in the middle. Yeah. Just say like, this isn't working for me. I'm just going to, it's all good. You keep going. I'm going to catch the next flight out because you want to arrive.
Alive and have a good experience for sure. All right. Number 19 pinnacle vehicles and equipment are always less expensive in the long term and often help support [00:33:00] favorable travel outcomes. The Toyota land cruiser is considered a pinnacle overland vehicle. If not the pinnacle overland vehicle, along with other similar halo models, models from other manufacturers.
So think G wagon, you know, think Nissan patrol thing. Toyota Land Cruiser. Yeah, hopefully Grenadier. Yeah, Grenadier once we get it proven a little bit. So far it's off to a good start.
Matt Scott: Start with the right vehicle. Like we, we, we see this. In North America a lot. I'm going to pick on the Tacoma where the guy builds the Tacoma and it's overweight.
So then they put a new axle under it or they put brakes under it. These are all band aids. You're better off starting with, if you're going to put a camper on it, start with a truck that's designed to have a camper. Get a full size truck or whatever. It will be cheaper and you will have so much
Scott Brady: more money for travel.
Or if you love Toyota, start with a Land Cruiser. It's that the Land Cruiser is meant to do that. And know that you don't
Matt Scott: always have to buy the vehicle here. Yeah. Like that's the other thing is that you can buy vehicles in other countries and it is totally fine.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Yeah. You can get them registered and insured and [00:34:00] drive the vehicle of your dreams.
You can drive that classic Defender that you can't get here. All right. Number 20. If the vehicle is stolen or totaled outside of the insurance coverage area, does the loss materially impact your financial security? As a result, buy a vehicle you can afford to lose. I think this is really important.
Vehicles do get. They do burn down, they do get stolen, they do get totaled they get lost in a container at sea. You don't want to start off with a thing that has maxed out your credit cards and maxed out your personal finances where you're traveling with a letter of authorization from the bank because you still have a loan on the thing.
Be really, really careful about where you're driving around in. If we check our ego, when we buy a vehicle that we can afford to lose, we're going to have so much more fun. I think about the trip that I did with Charlie across the Silk Road in that Suzuki Jimny. The car was so inexpensive that we were able to give it away to charity at the other end.
And it was one of the best trips I've ever done. Cause I just, it just wasn't a big deal. It wasn't super expensive. [00:35:00] Okay, number 21. Understanding the influence of Parkinson's law on vehicle selection and consider buying a smaller vehicle, which will create a physical limit to the available space for stuff.
So the Parkinson law posits that most systems will expand to fill the available space, time, or budget. So amazingly enough, people have traveled around the world on motorcycles with a couple of panniers and somehow people, somehow, somehow people with man trucks have extra storage boxes and roof racks on the top to carry more stuff or even pull a trailer with more stuff.
So if you start off with less. Vehicle or less space or less boxes and everything else like that. Surprisingly, you're going to do the same trip, put some physical limitation on the space. Yep. And also there's nothing wrong with if you want a big giant vehicle with a whole bunch of stuff strapped.
Matt Scott: Even like this year we went through the process when we went to the Arctic and the earth roamer last year, we thought we needed all this stuff this [00:36:00] year.
We went through, we took out like almost 500 pounds of just stuff. Yeah. And I don't think that I had that much. Like I wasn't like a hoarder level, like it was organized. There's just generally don't
Scott Brady: need as much as you, you just don't need that much stuff. Yeah, exactly. And which directly relates to number 22 weight is the enemy of vehicle safety, durability and performance.
Know the vehicle's payload and roof load limit and do not exceed those. Reduce that limit by 10 percent for each additional 30 millimeters of lift. or increase in tire diameter. So we really want to keep these things under gross vehicle mass. It affects their performance in the mud and the sand. The heavier these vehicles get, even if they've got all the lockers and all the cool tires and everything else like that, the heavier the car is, the poorer it's going to perform.
Keep the vehicle light for sure. There's a reason why
Matt Scott: we harp on about
Scott Brady: gross vehicle. That's right. It's a, it makes a big difference. All right. Number 23. This is one that I wrote. Okay. To myself as a, as a reminder, a simple vehicle equals, equals happy travels, overbuilt vehicle equals happy ego. [00:37:00] So I try to remind myself that keep the vehicle simple and I'm going to have a great experience.
The more stuff that I add, the more gadgets that I include. Yeah,
Matt Scott: the more. Recognize that so many of these modifications. It's okay if you're doing it for yourself, but like no one really cares. They don't care. No one cares if you have. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the F 250 with 12 inches of lift and 44
Scott Brady: inch tires?
Yeah, exactly. He's compensating for something. I mean, sometimes I am that guy, but... All right. So number 24 consider the 80, 20 rule, 80 percent of the Overlanders budget should be spent on the travel and only 20 percent should be spent on the vehicle and modifications. I have found that the closer that I stay to that 80, 20 rule.
So that's the Pareto principle. It. Tends to play out in most human endeavors. We really want to focus on if we want to be travelers, we need to focus 80 percent of our energy, 80 percent of our time, 80 percent of our funds on the experience itself. And only 20, [00:38:00] 20 percent of it. Time, budget, et cetera, on the gear and the
Matt Scott: things.
The only place where I would maybe disagree with that respectfully is like, let's talk about the expedition vehicles and things like that.
Scott Brady: They can
Matt Scott: afford to it. Yeah. But I often find sometimes though, the way we travel is that. Yeah. You're less likely to need that night in the hotel. Sometimes the investment in shelter can actually make the trip a little bit more enjoyable and actually your day to day costs
Scott Brady: can go down.
No question. That's actually a, no, that's a really good point. You're right. I should append that with the caveat of if you are not budget constrained, if someone is.
Yeah. I the most. Whereas if the man truck is a rounding error in their personal wealth, yeah, then it really doesn't matter how expensive the vehicle is or how expensive the travel is. So you're right. If your budget mindful of your budget, which most of us are, myself included, I try to really focus on spending more on the trip than I do on the truck.
All right. Number 25. [00:39:00] Complexity is the enemy of reliability. Keep the vehicle as stock as possible, only modifying as conditions demand or limitations are discovered. Match the vehicle selection to occupant count, payload, and anticipated route conditions. If the vehicle is over payload, it is overbuilt.
I'll say that one more time. If the vehicle is over payload, It is overbuilt buy a different car, trade it in, sell it, get something that can carry the weight. And there are
Matt Scott: so many things that go into what that vehicle is rated for. It's not just throwing bigger brakes on it. It's, and also recognize that when you're, when you're increasing the diameter of the tire, you're, you're actually decreasing the available payload of that vehicle.
Like it's more stress on everything, your cooling system, your brakes. Your driveline
Scott Brady: everything all of that has a factor so we want to keep them as close to stock as possible And we just really want to avoid complexity where we can we need to be able to service it in the field number 26 Only the most austere remote or [00:40:00] challenging routes require specialized vehicles and modifications Otherwise almost any vehicle the world That brings up your example of wanting to take a Porsche around the world.
It also reinforces like the Grenadier that I've now taken through a big chunk of Southern Africa. It is stock.
Matt Scott: I like to think of like when you guys did the canning stock route, which in my opinion is the most remote technical overland long distance thing that you can do. It's the longest. You did that on 255.
85 16s with steel wheels. Like that's, that's less, slightly less than a 33 inch tire. Most vehicles come with that now. I mean, that's, that's the same overall diameter of a Wrangler these days. You don't just always have to have more recognized that modern vehicles are very capable and that's a good
Scott Brady: thing.
It's a really good thing. And there's only very rare instances where I've had to have a highly modified vehicle. I actually enjoy the challenge of driving more of a stock vehicle off road. A more [00:41:00] simple route is actually feels more challenging. But when we crossed Antarctica and when we crossed Greenland, you had to have a specialized vehicle.
It had to have 44 inch tires. It had to have all of these. These mechanical attributes in order to accomplish the goal. But that is so rare. You really don't need a heavily modified vehicle for the vast majority of routes, including the canning stock route. So be very careful listening to pundits that say you have to do all these things in order to do the canning stock, you could do it in a stock Hilux with a couple of fuel cans in the back.
It's the truth of it. Let's go on to the next one here. Number 27. Vehicle modifications for overland travel can be limited to the following. Communications should be the first thing that you look at. That's for your own safety. So that way if you have trouble, you get stuck and you can't get out, you have a way to call for help and assistance.
Number two, emergency medical and survival supplies, just in case again you get stuck or the road's closed or... You run out of fuel or anything, any of those things happen. Weather comes in that you can [00:42:00] keep you and your, your fellow travelers safe and fed and warm and dry. And then the third one is navigation.
So we need to have multiple forms of navigation that I use a Garmin GPS. Plus I use my phone with maps on it. And then I also always bring along paper maps and a compass because GPS systems can go down, electronic devices can fail, U. S. government can employ what's called selective availability and shut all that off.
So you need to be able to have a way to continue on with paper maps. It says tools, spares, and recovery equipment. So you want to have the stuff that you need in order to do basic repairs of the vehicle, spares of known failure points. And then you want to have good recovery equipment along.
Cause that's the most likely thing that's going to happen is you're going to get stuck and you need to get out. And then the last one is a quality set of all terrain tires. You really don't want to venture off into the unknown on P metric tires. It doesn't mean you can't, but it's a good idea to go out into the remote areas of the world [00:43:00] with a high quality light truck tire
Matt Scott: and something that will actually be available, the 17 that you're going to put on your Jeep, where are you going to get that?
Where are you going to get
Scott Brady: that? You really are. So the tire size that I'm running on, on, on the Grenadier is the same as the tire size of a Hilux. Yep. 17 inch. It's a two 65 70 or 17. It's like the same size tire that's on a Land Cruiser, everything else. So number 28, we've got just a couple more here to go.
Electronics and wiring will be the most common failure mode for modifications. So install limited electrical systems with the highest quality components and installation. Matt, you and I have both, like, this has literally come from all of our own suffering. Yeah, I
Matt Scott: mean, how many vehicles, generally it's always Jeeps, have you just seen that come into a four wheel drive shop partially burnt down?
Yeah. It's like everything that the OEM has done within reason generally is reliable and the less that you deviate from that, [00:44:00] the better. You don't need 50 lights because you're probably not going to be driving at night. You know, you don't just, just be careful like electrics, things, rattle things, chafe things short out, they can cause, you know, even though it's an aftermarket system, they can cause issues with the factory electronics for sure.
And on a lot of vehicles these days, if you're shipping, let's say a modern North American spec vehicle, you know, overseas to a lot of different places. Those parts just aren't available. You can brick a car so
Scott Brady: easy. Yep. As simple as possible. Nothing wrong with a dual battery system. Nothing wrong with a simple isolator or a DC or BCDC DCDC system, but keep it very, very simple and make sure that it's installed properly.
All right. Number 29. Suspension changes. Should be, should emphasize both on and off road performance, ensuring that the vehicle retains limit handling capability to allow for emergency stopping and accident avoidance. A lot of overland vehicles [00:45:00] that I see, they are really too heavy, especially on the roof rack.
So, if you've got to avoid that kid, which you, which your responsibility is to avoid the kid, you may total your vehicle in the process of not hitting him. So start off with if any suspension changes that you make, make sure it improves the handling of the vehicle. So there's companies like AEV. ARB is another one, but AEV is a great example of a company that even though the vehicle, the Wrangler is on the three inch lift with 35 inch tall tires, it exceeds the performance standards of the factory stock height Wrangler.
So make sure that the suspension system that you fit takes that into consideration. If you can't do it right. You're better off not doing it. Yeah. Just keeping it stock for sure. Or just really limit the, the, the height change. You really want to be careful with that center of gravity. All right. So now we've come to the last one.
Number 30. There's never a perfect time to travel. There will never be the ideal vehicle and there is never enough money in the bank. The rapid passage of time is the [00:46:00] only constant that we have in our lives. So toss off the bow lines and go. I'm 50 years old now, man. It's crazy. Like time flies. And it's crazy to think that I've been doing this for 20 years and there's so many things that I still want to see in the world.
Don't wait. Yeah. Go with, go with less, but also make a plan. Yeah. A degree of a plan. Yeah. But if you, if it's really important to you, find, find a way to do it. If Matt or I can help, if there's questions that you have in preparing for your own joyful trip around the world, please reach out to us. Matt's available as mattexplorer on Instagram.
I'm scott. a. brady on Instagram. Please feel free to reach out if you've got questions something that we can help with something that we've learned from throughout our travels. You
Matt Scott: can't take money and you can't take your career into the
Scott Brady: grave. That's right. Yeah, that's right. We don't know what tomorrow brings.
We really only have today. So let's try to make, do the things that we really want experiences that we want to have [00:47:00] with people that we love. That's kind of the cornerstone of all of it. So thanks for listening to our tweet storm to my mindful brain of Scotty and my mindful meanderings from the middle of the Pacific ocean.
If there's any. Feedback you've got or things that you think we need to add. We forgot about, please send them over and we'll make some adjustments. So we thank you all. And thanks Matt for your feedback to try to be in sarcastic. You did some snark. So, well, we thank you all for listening and we'll talk to you next time.