An idea is born
To drive the same car across every continent on earth at it’s furthest points.
To be honest, I have no idea where the idea came from. It was my idea but I don’t remember it. It’s a bit like a lot of my friendships. I don’t remember becoming friends, just being friends. It was around July when I can first recall the wheels already being in motion. I’d began the first step in my usual process when I have an idea that is not really normal. I start telling everyone that will listen that I’m doing it. In this instance the person that I was telling was Solène, my girlfriend of only 2 months. It may sound sudden to bring this up so early in a relationship, but we had known each other and already lived together for quite a few years. Although now I come to think of it, she hadn’t started farting in front of me yet, so perhaps it was a bit soon to be planning a life changing adventure.
Anyway, to say that I was obsessed would have been an understatement. Whilst Solène was busy planning our trip to Europe for me to meet the family, I was thinking far beyond that and spent most nights up well past midnight Googling. I Googled everything from fuel prices in Nicaragua to the current security status of Niger. To be honest, it is probably not the most romantic way to spend the honeymoon period of a relationship and I’m lucky we’d already known each other for as long as we had. There were numerous occasions during that period where it looked increasingly likely that I’d be going solo. But, thankfully we made it through.
I was under strict instructions during the trip to Europe to not under any circumstances mention the trip to her family. It was already enough that she was bringing home a man that hadn’t shaved or cut his hair for 2.5 years. She probably didn’t need me to also tell them that I was taking their daughter around the world for the next few years. So, I stayed on my best behaviour. I understood why Solène asked this of me a few months later when Solène told her parents her plan. Her mother was unimpressed. Her response was something in the lines of “You didn’t put yourself through law school just to throw it all away and go travelling for a couple of years”. Bobby response was “OK”.
When we got back I moved the plan along a few gears. I started with the route, checking border crossings, reading blogs. Initially the idea was to ship the car up to Asia and then drive all the way across to India where we would drive across the Himalayas into Tibet. Then wander up the back of China and into the Stans. China put a big fucking red cross through that idea when I found out they charge USD$5000 just to import the car, THEN they give us our very own guide at a charge of USD$200 a day, WHOM we have to take with us in our own vehicle, AND as we would only have 2 seats we’ve have to pay for him to hire a car. So no, thanks China but I think we’ll go around.
Going around meant going through Pakistan or Pakistan and Afghanistan which sounded fun to me but then I remembered Solène's mother and decided it best to find a plan C. What’s all that land above China? Siberia. OK that sounds fun, and when else will we ever have the chance to drive through Siberia. So it was settled, we could ship into Magadan, the eastern most point of the world. From there, I looked for the western most point in Eurasia which is Portugal. Not too far from Solènes house. Bingo!! Then the Americas, upon first glance I found what i thought was a pretty logical route, to drive from Ushuaia on the Southern tip of South America to Deadhorse, Alaska the Northernmost point in North America. You’re starting to see a pattern? Exactly!! To cross each continent at it’s furthest points. This was when the idea of Antarctica come up. I googled to see if anyone had ever done it and I found that indeed yes, it had been done. It was driven across for the first time ever in 2017 by Patrick Bergel in a Hyundai Santa Fe. He drove across the harshest continent on earth in a soccer mums car. We should manage in a Land Cruiser I thought as I added that to the list. Solène at this point reminded me that we hadn’t even left Perth yet so there would be plenty of time to worry about Antarctica. Right she was.
I asked Solène where she would like to start the trip. Her answer, Australia. I wasn’t too keen initially as I’s seen a lot of Australia and I wanted something exciting and exotic as the first destination. But it made sense, we could test out the car and if there’s anything we need to fix, we can do it before we go. The next continent was either Africa or South America. Solène chose South America which also made sense as we imagined (rightly or wrongly) Africa to be the most stressful and difficult continent to drive across.
With everything starting to come together the only thing left on this front was to decide on a start date, which isn’t quite as easy as just picking one. Weather around the world isn’t as lovely all the time as it usually is in Perth and we soon realised that we would have to do a winter somewhere in the Northern hemisphere. The decision for the start date all came down to that choice. Where to spend the winter? This choice was made by me, and it is probably the most illogical choice of the trip. We’ll be crossing Siberia in winter. I made this choice for 3 reasons. Firstly, I googled Lake Baikal in Winter, secondly if we have to do a winter then to do it in a place where winter is such a huge part of its identity will be unforgettable and completely different from anything we’ve ever experienced. Finally, if our plans come to fruition and we are lucky enough to make it to Antarctica, it will be a great test run.
With that in mind we’d need to be in South America around September to have enough time to really enjoy the Americas and ship the car in time for the lakes to be completely frozen in Russia.
That’s it, that’s how this idea all came about.
To see how we built the car we are going to do it in click here