There’s no better way to inspire your own overland travels than to look at the overland adventures of others – particularly those that have been overlanding throughout the world and taken the time and effort to share their stories well.
So in this post we wanted to share a diverse selection of our favorite overland adventures from both the past and present, in an effort to spark your wanderlust and inspire you to begin your own overland adventures today!
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Overland Adventures | Books & Publications
This selection of books will provide you with first-hand written accounts of both historic and recent overland adventures – all with varied perspectives and insights into the process of setting out on an overland adventure.
First Overland by Tim Slessor
Tim’s early and well-documented epic overland adventure that took place from September of 1955 to March 1956.
First Overland: London to Singapore by Land Rover shares the story, trials, and tribulations of six men from Oxford & Cambridge Universities that set out in two Land Rover Series 1 Station Wagons to traverse more than 18,000 miles from London to Singapore along what was, at the time, a very undeveloped and at times very treacherous route.
The Overland Adventures of Mr. Graeme Robert Bell (and Family)
The overland adventures of the Bell family (a.k.a. A2A Expeditions), who began their overlanding journey in 2009 after striking out to travel the world full-time in their Landrover Defender 130, serve as a cornerstone in the overlanding community. As well as a source of passion and inspiration for those who wish to set out on their own overland adventures.
We Will Be Free accounts the Bell’s departure from their “normal” static life in Cape Town, South Africa, and chronicles their overland adventures through Africa as they find their bearings before setting out across the Atlantic and proceeding to circumnavigate the South American continent.
The sequel, Overlanding the Americas: La Lucha, picks up the Bell’s story in Ecuador and accounts the remainder of their journey north to Alaska.
The Overland Adventures of Dan Grec
Dan Grec is an intrepid overlander, with a wealth of knowledge gained through first-hand experiences and years of overland adventures.
In The Road Chose Me Volume 1, Dan shares his departure from corporate drudgery, and chronicles his 2 year solo overland adventures along the Pan American Highway.
The Road Chose Me Volume 2 recounts Dan’s 3 year journey overlanding throughout Africa.
Overland Journal (Subscription)
Overland Journal is a very high-quality quarterly issued subscription-based publication that covers a wide array of overland adventures, stories, gear, and information. Including trip reports of various overland adventures from all over the world.
Overland Adventures | Online Stories & Blogs
Countless overland adventures are available all over the internet and social media platforms. Living vicariously through others’ overlanding adventures – especially in real-time – is not only entertaining and inspiring, but also very informative.
These are some of our personal favorite online overland adventures – people whose unique stories have inspired our own wanderlust, as well as countless others’.
One of our all-time favorite and personally inspiring overland adventures was Richard & Ashley’s journey along the Pan-American in their own “Little Red” Toyota pickup in 2013.
James and Lauren traveled the Pan American in their 1987 Toyota 4runner starting in late 2011 and completed the journey in Prudhoe Bay in August of 2018. But their adventure continues to this day, and is an incredible story.
One of the longest-running series of overland adventures out there is Gary & Monika Wescott’s Turtle Expedition Unlimited. They’ve have been overlanding throughout the world since 1972. In that time they’ve driven around the world twice, and are now on their fifth overland vehicle – the Turtle V.
Karin-Marijke and Coen of LandCruising Adventure have been traveling together in their 1984 Land Cruiser BJ45 since 2003. What makes their overland adventures so unique is the incredibly slow pace they travel at – only averaging 50 km (a little over 30 miles) per day! This has allowed them to really immerse themselves in, and truly experience, the diverse cultures and landscapes along their 17+ year odyssey.
Other In-Progress Overland Adventures
If you want to follow the overland adventures of others who are actively getting out there RIGHT NOW – there’s no better spot than at Expedition Portal’s In Progress Adventures. You can learn first-hand from people preparing for, and striking out on, their own overland adventures.
Overland Adventures | Films & Documentaries
Adventure South: Rough Road to Panama and Rugged Road to Cape Horn
This two-part film details the Sullivan C Richardson Pan American Expedition in 1940-41 in which three men set out from Detroit, MI in a 1941 2WD Plymouth 4-door Sedan and didn’t stop until they hit the southern most point of South America, Cape Horn! It’s the earliest successful overland adventure from the U.S to the tip of South America along what would become the Pan American Highway.
At times being pulled by men, burrows, and block-and-tackle, over routes never traversed by automobile before, this film will help give perspective to any difficulties you might face along your own modern overland adventures.
While we definitely recommend reading the book, watching the film detailing this incredible overland adventure, complete with modern interviews with the surviving members of the expedition, is equally as inspiring. We had the pleasure of screening the documentary at Overland Expo West in 2019, and it really sparked our passion for the history of overland adventures.
The first three seasons of this overland adventure series follow a teams’ modern expeditions along the Pan American Highway from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Season 1 – the crew gets their bearings, and completes the Alaskan and Yukon sections of the journey
Season 2 – accounts the team’s journey as they traverse Central America – from Baja, Mexico to the Darien Gap
Season 3 – picks up the journey in Columbia and follows the crew through South America to the continent’s southernmost point in Argentina.
Kombi Life’s Pan American Series: Hasta Alaska
Hasta Alaska is an incredibly unique, relaxed, and heart-felt overland adventure series, chronicling a 5 year Pan American journey from Chile to Alaska in an old VW Kombi. While the story centers around “Ben Jamin,” “Leah Jade,” and their pup “Alaska,” they’re joined along the way by countless guests who tag along for sections of the journey – all sharing the space and adventure in the quirky vintage VW van.
Now, GO Start Your Own Overland Adventures!
Our goal and our hope is that these overland adventures fuel your own desire for overland travel – that they spark an insatiable wanderlust, planting a seed of adventure deep in your heart that drives you to make a plan, load up, and set out to explore this incredible world we are lucky enough to inhabit.
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