What is the main purpose of the expedition?
The main purpose of the expedition is to enlighten people to the world in a way they have not seen before. Through our documentary, website, book and speaking tour we believe that we can broaden people’s views of the world by showing them things that the mainstream media rarely showcases and in a way that is easier to relate with. Ultimately, we hope to inspire other’s to become more interested in the world and go investigate it themselves.
What makes your expedition unique?
The World by road is unique in that it is one of the most ambitious expeditions of its kind in terms of the number of countries visited and the number of miles covered in such a short period of time. Our overall goal is to educate and inspire others to shape their own views of the world instead of just believing what the media tells them or what they might read in books. We will be highlighting not only the humanitarian/environmental/social aspects of the countries we visit, but also the diversity and beauty of the natural environment though participation in a wide range of adventure activities. It is all of our duty to better understand the world and how our choices affect it with increasing globalization.
Will you be helping others along the way and how?
Originally, we wanted to get our “hands dirty” with a lot of the aid projects and organizations we will be visiting along our journey. However, given our time frame for certain locations, it has not always been feasible to physically help out. One of the best ways we have been able to help these organizations is by promoting the work that they are doing through the content we produce. Whether it is a magazine article, video clips on our site or our upcoming documentary, increased awareness of the issues these organizations face is a sure path to solving the problems they face. As we have realized in this journey, most of these problems exist because many people are not aware of just how much they are part of these problems, and what little it takes to contribute to fixing them.
What kinds of activities will you be doing?
We have a wide range of experience in a variety of adventure sports. Our itinerary has taken us through some spectacular natural surroundings and we strive to take our audience there with us. Whether it is climbing in the high mountains of the Andes, diving pristine reefs in Malaysia, or braving the extreme temperatures of Siberia in winter, the expedition continues to be a wild adventure.
The Expedition Team
Who are you guys?
We are a group of individuals interested in finding out more about the world world that is less traveled and less known. We come from a broad range of professional backgrounds including video production, graphic design, politics and more. We also have a wide range of qualifications and hobbies such as canyoneering, Ironman triathlons and of course traveling. Over the last couple of years the ever changing crew has proved to be an interesting mix of misfits from all over the world.
How have you guys managed living out of a car for two years without killing one another?
Steve and Steve have been room mates since college (nearly 7 years) and the rest of the crew we have met on the internet, on the road, or in the places we visit. It is tough being on top of each other all day, while working, then going to sleep in tents small enough that your arms touch while you sleep. You wake up in the morning with everyone grouchy or chipper sometimes freezing, sometimes soaking, sometimes ecstatic, but regardless of the ups and downs, no one here would argue that it is not worth it.
What do your family and friends think about the expedition?
Our families have been our biggest supporters. They realize that this is something we have wanted to do for a long time and are supportive of that. While obviously concerned about our safety, they trust that we will make educated choices while we are on the road. Our friends have also been supportive, although many of them have been sad to see us gone for such a long time. Two years is a long time to be away, but modern communication makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch.
How long have you been planning for the journey?
The expedition was in the planning for over a year before leaving. Planning has been a daily job for the entire expedition and takes a considerable amount of time. With language barriers, primitive means of communications, and difficult laws in the countries we have visited, logistics and planning has been one of the most difficult hurdles to our success. We have learned that persistence and brainstorming can always bring a solution to even the seemingly most unsolvable difficulties. There are no obstacles, only challenges…there is always a way.
What types of sacrifices have you had to make to be part of this?
All of us have made many personal and financial sacrifices in order to be part of this. We have had to quit jobs, end relationships and leave friends, family and pets behind. Ultimately, the sacrifices we have made have have paid off with the cultural and personal experiences we have had over the course of the expedition. As the expedition comes to an end we have drained our bank accounts, struggled with sponsors, had tough times with family and friends, but looking back could not imagine making a different choice.
What kinds of permits are required for a trip such as this?
Many permits are required for crossing international borders and the requirements change with every country. In addition to personal entry and exit visas, we have documents related to our vehicles such as a Carnet de Passage (you could call this a car passport) and special permits issued by the local government to gain access into typically restricted areas such as China and Uzbekistan. In fact, in China we had to get official driver’s licenses, Chinese license plates for the trucks, a guide to stay with us 24 hours per day and even submit our itinerary to all of the governors of the provinces we planned to drive through.
What kind of insurance do you need for an around the world expedition?
Given the countries we are traveling to and more importantly, the activities have done along the way, health insurance is a necessity. Health insurance must also carry with it provisions for medical evacuation so that if we get ourselves in too much trouble, we can be flown by air ambulance to the nearest trauma center to get patched up. Insurance policies also offer KRE riders (Kidnap, Ransom, Extortion) but we consider ourselves low profile individuals (we are not oil executives or political operatives) and not really worth that much, so we passed on that expensive addition.
What about disease?
Two years into this thing we have all had our share of sickness. Both Shoppman and Bouey have had Dengue Fever(in Thailand) and Malaria(in the Congo). We have had plenty of stomach bugs, colds and upset bellies. Before we left we got vaccinations for just about everything that was available, and we highly recommend others to do the same. Some of the vaccinations can be very expensive such as Rabies, but it is a small price to pay instead of actually getting the disease. In fact Shoppman has been bitten by two dogs and one monkey since the start, luckily enough no rabies yet!
What if you get sick in an area that is not near medical facilities?
This is the risk you take when driving to remote places. While the likelyhood of getting sick is very slim, it is always a risk and it is scary to think what might happen if you fell very ill in a place like Western Mongolia where you can be thousands of miles from anything off-road. All of us have first aid training and some advanced field medical training as well. We have big medical kits that go far and beyond what you would find at the local drug store. So we like to think we are about as prepared as possible for this unlikely event.
What type of equipment are you bringing along?
Check out our equipment page to learn more about what we pack.
What type of camera equipment will you bring?
We have a variety of equipment that we have used to document the adventure. We use both professional and consumer equipment and you can learn more about that stuff here.
How are you going to upload pictures and videos?
Internet is surprisingly accessible around the world. Sometimes in small towns with only dirt roads in the middle of nowhere we have randomly picked up wifi signals.
Where are you going?
What makes you decide how long you stay in each place?
We have a grand schedule that we have tried to keep, but problems always arise or we have encountered interesting people or places. If a place is dangerous or boring or we are behind, we speed up. When it is worth it, we make the schedule work to stay longer.
What countries have been the most dangerous?
Many of the countries on our route have been US Dept of State DO NOT TRAVEL advisories, but we went anyway, and to our surprise, the advisories were wrong or a blanket statement for a isolated problem. Countries with rebels like the Congo or Georgia, which had a state of emergency just days before we arrived turned out to be relatively safe. The real dangers for us came while crossing Western Mongolia, the horrible roads of Africa and the remote reaches of Northeastern Argentina when vast territories or bad roads with very few inhabitants had us running out of gas, water and sanity lost in the middle of nowhere or freezing in the winter cold.
How did you get the trucks across the oceans?
For the most part, our route avoided large stretches of water, although we did have to ship the vehicles via overseas containers at 4 spots in the expedition: Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia to Singapore, South Africa to Argentina and Colombia to Panama around the Darien Gap. Click here to read more in our guide about how to ship your vehicles.
Have you used guides along the way?
Yes. In China we were required to have a government approved guide in the vehicle with us 24 hours a day. In other countries, guides have helped us to identify culturally and geographically significant areas and definitely enriched our experiences in certain places. However, more often than not we have just found our own way by talking to the local people ourselves.
Where do you sleep?
We try to find a diverse range of places to stay. We have stayed in local villages, camped in the middle of fields, stayed with locals in their homes, and sometimes we have even been lucky enough to have some 5 star hotels give us a few free nights of R&R. We never
Why are you driving cars around the world?
The decision to use cars comes from our desire to truly explore the countries we are traveling through. By having our own means of transportation we are not constrained by the timetables of trains or buses or their routes. Additionally, the first impression of a country and experiencing it by driving across a land border can be far different than simply arriving there by airplane. It is the view of a country that mainstream travelers may not experience that we really want to showcase throughout the expedition.
Why are you driving 4x4’s?
The decision to use vehicles with a good off-road capability also stems from our desire to have as much freedom as possible. We want the ability to go on roads less traveled, and have the ability to access parts of the country that may not be accessible by a standard vehicle. We also want the ability to carry a reasonable amount of gear and equipment. Besides, those six-foot deep potholes on the road to Tangiers can really wreak havoc on your average grocery grabber.
What about vehicle insurance?
Believe it or not, there are companies out there that offer international vehicle insurance and insurance specifically designed for expeditions such as this. It is obviously a little more expensive than your E-surance policy, but if we get into a wreck (which is probable) or have other auto problems (which is a guarantee) we are not totally out of luck.
Are you guys going to pick up hitchhikers?
We are open to having people we meet along the way travel with us in the vehicles, although we will have strict policies that must be followed (no exceptions) if we do extend that invitation. It is not worth jeopardizing the entire expedition, or our lives for that matter, because someone we met in a hostel in Australia thought it would be o.k. to carry a joint in their pocket as we crossed over into Indonesia.
How are you funding the expedition?
We are funding the expedition through a variety of methods. Product and financial support from sponsors, revenue from media content and articles as well as personal savings and donations are all playing a role in funding the trip.
What kind of sponsors are you looking for?
Our trip caters to a wide audience. As a result, there are several potential products and services that we can showcase throughout the course of our expedition. Everything from vehicles, to travel services, logistics companies to clothing and camera equipment… the expedition offers a unique opportunity for a wide variety of companies to gain exposure.
How can I help?
There are several ways that you can help ensure the success of the expedition. Following the expedition as it unravels on our website and spreading the word about what we are doing is one simple thing. We are also looking for information related to the countries we are traveling to and the people who live there. For example, if you lived in a certain country or region or perhaps served in the Peace Corps or know someone who did or know of any other contacts that might be interesting to meet up with, we would love to hear from you. Finally, we have a donation page where you can contribute to the expedition. No donation is too small and we appreciate any help you are willing to provide.
Can I join the expedition?
We get many requests for people to come along on the expedition and obviously, we can’t bring everyone, but we are open to having people travel with or along side us on various legs of the expedition. Follow this link to find out more.