Morocco, UK, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan (again), Uzbekistan (again), Kazakhstan (again), Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, India (again), Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore.
21/05/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: We’ve put off planning our route around Australia. Not knowing how COVID-19 would effect Australia there was (and still is) the possibility that we’d have to end the trip before even starting our second leg. But as the restrictions are slowly being lifted, and the date for when camping will be allowed is just a few weeks away, we’ve started to have a flick through our guidebook. Our rough route is highlighted on the map in the second picture. Due to lack of time, we won’t be exploring Western Australia on this trip – theres just too much to see and not enough time to see it all. Any recommendations based on our rough route would be very much appreciated!
20/05/20. Hobart, TAS, Australia: We’ve both been feeling a bit under the weather – nothing bad, just a runny nose and sore throat, like the start of a cold. In line with Tasmania’s guidelines, we went to the drive through testing centre for a COVID-19 test. As we’re posting this a few days late we can already tell you that our tests came back the next day as negative.
18/05/20. Boronia Beach, TAS, Australia: Another walk along the Boronia Beach track, this time we walked down to the beach itself. A hidden gem!
17/05/20. Boronia Beach, TAS, Australia: We saw two wallabies on our walk today. They’re pretty well camouflaged between the trees… can you spot them?
15/05/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: We thought we’d take Hamish on a nice walk to the beach. Hamish thought it’d be much nicer if he took us for a walk instead.
13/05/20. Kingston, TAS, Australia: After 26,000 miles (42,000 km) of heavily loaded, tough going half way around the world, Natalie had her first look over by a professional Land Rover mechanic. The verdict was, that apart from some routine service items, all she needed was a new universal joint in the steering column. A big pat on the back for Natalie, and also for Chris for keeping her in such good shape.
12/05/20. Boronia Beach, TAS, Australia: Just a 15 minute walk out of the house takes us to views like this!
08/05/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Child labour wages are low in Australia so we can afford a driver!
07/05/20. Blackman’s Bay, TAS, Australia: A massive thank you to Andrew from Land Rover Owners Tasmania who lent us his flat driveway so that we could do an oil change. We’ve already planned a trip out with him and his Defender when we can!
03/05/20. Blackman’s Bay, TAS, Australia: It was meant to be wet and cold all weekend, so it was a nice surprise to be able to go for a walk in the sun and watch the surfers on the beach today.
01/05/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Top tip: when unscrewing a light fixing, remove the screws before pulling out the light so that all of the screws don’t fall into the stones resulting in you spending the next half an hour searching for them. Luckily Chris had an assistant on hand to help move the stones.
26/04/2020. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Sunday night is family quiz night and this week’s theme is hats and sunnies!
23/04/2020. Moonah, TAS, Australia: McDonalds is still open here in Australia. Who’s jealous back home?
22/04/2020. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Spot the difference! We’ve swapped in one brightly coloured roof item for another. We left our big blue box in Thailand as it had been damaged for a while, and we decided to move the stuff from the box inside the car instead. This freed up some roof space which we’ve filled with the set of Maxtrax, which should help us out when we can hit the beach.
21/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Over the weekend we picked up Natalie from the port in Tasmania and brought her to Blackmans Bay. For the time being we are staying with Alex ♀, Mick ♂, Hamish 👶, and Billy 🐶 who are sharing their home with us whilst COVID-19 restrictions are in place. After three weeks of semi-lockdown, Australia has a lot fewer cases than Europe and the States. We are hopeful that in the coming weeks, cases will remain low, the restrictions will gradually be lifted, and we will be able to get back on the road. In the meantime, Chris is busy doing odd jobs on the car, and Charlie is enjoying the novelty of having an oven again with lots of baking.
18/04/20. Devonport, TAS, Australia: After five long weeks, today we have been reunited with our beloved Natalie!
17/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Today’s purchase is a Red Arc Electronics portable solar blanket. We have fairly minimal power requirements, with just a small fridge and the occasional outside light, therefore the 115 watts of additional power should keep our batteries topped up when we decide to stay in one spot for a few days running. The kit includes a regulator and all the cables needed to connect it to the battery. We’re all set for some beach camping now!
16/04/20. Finally we have had the good news that we have been waiting to hear for over a month! Natalie has passed the Australian customs inspection! We are especially pleased about this after hearing many horror stories about the notoriously strict Aussie customs regulations. We’d been told that there was no point trying to get our old (slightly) rusty car into Australia because it wouldn’t pass the inspection and we would have to pay extortionate cleaning costs. Before shipping we spent 14 days under the sweltering heat of the sun in Thailand cleaning every spec of dirt we could find, quite a few of which had originated from this boggy patch in Morocco. Today, that hard work has paid off and she passed with no cleaning fees. See you soon Natalie!
14/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: We’ve had just one flat tyre so far on our trip. It was in China and we repaired it using a borrowed repair kit. Whilst in Australia, we’re expecting to tackle some tougher terrain so we thought it was time to buy our own. Hopefully this kit from ARB Hobart will have everything we should need.
13/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: We’ve been using our time off the road to research and buy some products to help use whilst we are off-road. First up is a set of Max Trax Recovery Tracks to help out when our thirst for adventure exceeds our driving skills.
12/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: The Easter Bunny’s been. By the look of his cheeks we think he ate a few whilst making his deliveries!
10/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: During our travels, one the foods we’ve missed the most has been cheese. So we were very happy when our lockdown housemate Alexandra made us this delicious cheese board!
08/04/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: A not so super photo of this evening’s super moon over Blackmans Bay.
07/04/20. Tinderbox, TAS, Australia: Biscuit break for Hamish at the peak of our three mile walk today.
05/04/20. Taroona, TAS, Australia: Our first Aussie bushwalk! Good job we enjoyed it, as it’s about all of the exploring we can do at the moment. We are feeling very grateful that there are so many great walking routes straight from our doorstep.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, Thailand: A flashback to the days when Corona was just a beer. We spent the night at this beautiful camping spot in Thailand at the start of January.
31/03/20. Blackmans Bay, TAS, Australia: Our self isolation is over and we have stepped outside for the first time in 14 days! We have moved in with our friends who are kindly sharing their beautiful home with us for the foreseeable future. We are safe, very happy and have this beautiful beach just a few minutes walk from the house.
20/03/20: Today marks one year since we left the UK for our overland trip across the world. We knew our trip would be full of unexpected adventures and disasters, but never could have guessed that we’d be celebrating our anniversary in self isolation whilst a virus causes chaos around the world. We just wish Natalie was here to celebrate with us!
18/03/20. Mount Nelson, TAS, Australia: Day three of self isolation and we are appreciating how lucky we are. We are very grateful to have arrived in Australia before stricter travel restrictions were put in place, in a country where we (almost!) speak the language, with free healthcare should we need it, friends just around the corner who leave us food (including a delicious roast dinner!) outside our door, and this glorious view to gaze at through the window. So far, both of us are feeling absolutely fine. We’ve found a home away from home and we plan to stay put for a while (not that we have a choice otherwise…) until the travel restrictions are reduced and we can once again continue with our journey.
16/03/20. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Against the odds, and a lot earlier than originally planned, we have made it to Australia! Five days ago we were just about to book flights to Vietnam so that we could spend three weeks backpacking before heading to Melbourne to collect Natalie. We discovered that Vietnam had blocked the visa waiver programme due to Coronavirus. We could still apply for a visa, but we decided to forgo our Vietnam trip and just get to Australia as quickly as possible in case stricter restrictions were put in place. It was lucky we did this as the next day we found out that Vietnam were refusing all visa applications from European citizens. . We booked flights to Melbourne for the earliest we could possibly get there: leaving Bangkok Sunday afternoon and arriving into Australia Monday morning. Over the next few days we checked the travel restrictions multiple times a day, hoping that Australia would keep their borders open until at least Monday evening. Two hours before we were due to leave for the airport, we found out that Australia would be enforcing 14 day self isolation for all international arrivals from midnight – 9 hours before our arrival into Melbourne. . Cue a very manic cancelling of all the plans we had made to stay with friends in both Melbourne and Hobart over the next two weeks. In the few hours that followed, both before and between our different flights, with the help of Charlie’s sister and our brilliant Aussie friends, we booked flights from Melbourne to Horbart and found an Airbnb we could potentially stay in. We arrived in Melbourne this morning to find that thankfully our Airbnb host had accepted our request of “please let us self isolate in your house thanks”. So we are now sat outside Melbourne airport, waiting for our final flight and enjoying our last few hours of being outside before we start our 14 day self isolation period. Netflix recommendations will be very much appreciated!!
14/03/20. Bangkok, Thailand: We spent a day sight seeing with Chris’ parents and sister in Bangkok, who were passing through on their flight home. It’s been great to be able to see them during their 24 hour stop over!
12/03/20. Bangkok, Thailand: Today we said goodbye to Natalie as we packed her up into the container for the voyage to Australia. Just like that our overland journey through Asia is over!
10/03/20. Pattaya City, Thailand: The big clean day 12! We have cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more. Today we are finally finishing off and reattaching the roof rack, roof tent, and spare wheel. Every inch of Natalie has been scrubbed. In the background you can see Follow Fennec who we are sharing a container with. Like us, they have been working hard every day washing, scrubbing and cleaning. Hopefully we have all done enough to pass Australian customs, but if not, we at least know that we have done the best we possibly can.
02/03/20. Pattaya City, Thailand: The big clean day 4. All of our belongings are sparkling clean and ready to be put back into the car. Now we are faced with the harder job of cleaning the inside of the car! The seats, fridge, water tank and rear wooden structure have all been taken out and it’s time to vacuum. The only thing slowing us down is that our brand new vacuum cleaner keeps over-heating and switching itself off until it cools down half an hour later. This is going to take a while!
27/02/20. Bangkok, Thailand: Another first for our trip today: a visit to a hospital. Closely followed by trips to our second, third and fourth hospitals too! Nothing is wrong, we just had to get a medical examinations as part of our Australian visa applications.
26/02/20. Pattaya City, Thailand: The tricky aspect of shipping the car to Australia is their very strict rules on ensuring it is clean. Cleaner than clean. The car must essentially be “as new” with no dust, soil, dirt inside or out. This is a pretty big task to do with an 18 year old car that we have driven across 3 continents and 25 countries! So today, we stripped Natalie down, taking off the tent, roof rack, roof top box, awning, back bumper, rear lights, and almost everything out from inside. She looks like a completely different car with nothing on top!
The brilliant @illustrated_vanlife has created this artwork of Natalie. We love it! Thank you! Now we just have to try and get her this clean and shiny to ship her to Australia!
22/02/20. Chumphon, Thailand: As neither of us agree on the date that we met, how we celebrated three years of being together depends on who you ask. According to Charlie, we met on 21/02/17, and our third anniversary was spent crossing the 28th border of our trip (Malaysia-Thailand). According to Chris, we met on 22/02/17, and our anniversary was spent driving over eight hours, ending the day wild camping right by the sea. We didn’t take a photo yesterday, so here is a photo of our lovely romantic spot on the evening that may or may not be our third anniversary!
19/02/20. Ipoh, Malaysia: Our shipping plans are starting to come together! If all goes well, we will be shipping to Australia from Laem Chabang (south of Bangkok) in just under a months time. Over the next few days we will be driving back up through Malaysia and into Thailand once again. Today’s drive ended in Ipoh, so we had an afternoon of street art hunting, thanks to Balukoo Travel Blog for telling us where to look!
17/02/20. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Another sunny day in Malaysia, and another visit to a Land Rover garage, but this time just to say hello! Our friend Azuar was going to the Black Hawk workshop to check progress on his own Discovery 2, so we tagged along to see their impressive collection.
15/02/20. Port Klang, Malaysia: Today we met up with Azuar and Hamid who we originally met at the beginning of December in Thailand. Somehow that is already more than two months ago! We had a wonderful lunch at the Royal Selangor Yacht Club overlooking the river with a lovely breeze. We were really glad to be able to see them both again! It was also nice to see Hamid’s Range Rover Classic again, one of our favourites from the Land Rover Lovers weekend.
Today is all about the hero of our trip, Natalie. She thought it was about time that we introduced her properly. . Chris bought Natalie in 2016. She is a 2002 Land Rover Discovery II Td5, and had 140,000 miles on the clock when Chris bought her. She was already kitted out for the previous owner’s dream overland trip that unfortunately for him didn’t happen. However, with every overlander having different personal requirements and preferences, we (Chris) spent his evenings and weekends designing, pottering, adding bits, and taking bits off in preparation for our own trip. For this trip, her specifications are as follows: . -standard size BF Goodrich AT tyres (x5) -steel wheels (x5) -Old Man Emu springs: front 2779, rear 2763 -Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport 60024/60025 -ARB steel front bumper -12000lb winch with wireless control -sump guard -front and rear axel guards -rock/tree slider side steps -fuel tank guard -HD track rods -Goodridge braided brake hoses -EBC Ultimax brake pads -Safari Snorkel raised air intake -Tmax dual battery system -Odyssey 75/86 PC1230 leisure battery -35 litre Engel MT35 12v fridge -16 amp mains hook up -Ctek 7amp 240v/12v onboard charger -Durite 1500w 12-240v inverter -internal LED lighting -side and rear LED flood lights -front LED spot lights -reversing camera -Patriot 2.4m aluminium roof rack -Eezi Awn Series 3 1.4m tent -ARB 2.5m awning -ARB awning room -Sealey 1200C plastic storage box on roof (for light, bulky items: sleeping bags, pillows, 40 litre rucksack) -Exmoor Trim canvas front seat covers -permanent seating for four adults -42 litre drinking water tank (rear left passenger seat location) -rear comprising of: 2x metal runner drawers for food and cooking equipment, slots for two camping chairs and a table, side lockers for occasional use items. 3x Ikea twin material drawer sets which pack flat when not used -2x fire extinguishers -Mantec rear internal shelf -Front Runner drop down table -Coleman 424 unleaded twin burner stove -rear door glass replaced with aluminium sheet -rear access ladder for roof rack . Want to know more? Natalie will be happy to answer any questions!
10/02/20. Melaka, Malaysia: Last weekend we met Carine and Aleksis who have driven to Malaysia from their home in Switzerland with their four(!) children. It’s been great getting to know them over several delicious dinners. Today we said goodbye – tomorrow they fly to Australia for a few months, without their camper-van, before they drive back to Switzerland from Vladivostok, Russia. We’ve loved meeting and getting to know them. Hopefully we will be able to see them in Australia before they leave! Bon Voyage!
05/05/20: A little more about us… . Chris: I grew up with a constant companionship of my Grandad’s Land Rovers and my parents taking me and my sister on trips all over the world. So the two were bound to come together sooner or later. I bought my first Land Rover (that I still have) when I was 18, but dreams of travelling in this would have to wait until after University. Whilst still at University I bought another Land Rover (you can never have too many!) but although I planned to do some trips in this one, the cost of University had other ideas and I had to sell it before I left. I then made the decision to focus on my job as a Mechanical Engineer whilst dreaming of my UK-Singapore trip and dabbling with several other cars in the meantime. . Charlie: Unlike Chris, my passion in life is not cars, but my job. I am a Behaviour Analyst, and absolutely love it. My Mum blames this on my teenage addiction of watching Supernanny and Nanny 911. Travel has also always been predominant in my life; trips across the world with family throughout my childhood, and with friends before and during University. Once I graduated from my Masters I moved to America for a year, after the suggestion was made by one of the girls on my course. Despite only having met three times before we left, we moved, worked, and lived there together. So I suppose slightly spontaneous trips across the world weren’t exactly a new phenomenon to me when I met Chris. . Describing ourselves is hard, and we have no idea what to write, so if there is anything specific you want to know, please ask! . In our next post, we will be writing about the third member of our team: Natalie. So feel free to tell us what you want to know about her!
31/01/20: We set up this account mainly for our family and friends to follow our journey overland from the UK to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Now 10 months into our trip, our social media followers have expanded further than just family and friends, to people that we have never met! So we thought it was a good time to introduce ourselves properly for those that do not know us. . We are Chris ♂, Charlie ♀, and Natalie 🚙. We met on Tinder in February 2017. Chris advertised for an adventure buddy to drive with him to Australia and Charlie was the first to respond! Six months later we started saving for our trip, each putting £650 a month into the highest interest bank accounts that we could find. Amongst other shorter trips, we planned a month-long trial run to Morocco during Autumn 2018. This was a success, leading us to quit our jobs in February 2019, and leave the UK a few weeks later. . Our next few posts will have a bit more about the three of us. If there is anything specific you want to know, please ask!
23/01/20. Melaka, Malaysia: We’re basing ourselves in Melaka for the next few weeks whilst we are waiting to confirm our plans for shipping the car to Australia. There won’t be much going on, so we’re taking a break from our daily photos, but we’ll check in every now and then when we have something interesting to share!
22/01/20. Melaka, Malaysia: When we stayed at the Rucksack Caratel last week, we both (even Charlie who doesn’t like cats at all) fell a bit in love with the three little kittens living here. A lovely lady is looking after them as best she can, cleaning them multiple times a day, but it doesn’t seem to be enough – they have infected eyes, fleas and are so skinny. We found out that their Mum died after being bitten by a dog and the fourth kitten was eaten by a python that came out of the drains! . Last week, the white and ginger kitten followed us into the town and then got lost, unable to find his way back home again. We went on a rescue mission and luckily we found him and brought him back. . On our return to Melaka couple of days ago we went to say hello to the kittens again, but now there are only two, as another one has died. Today we are on a hunt to find some proper kitten food, so if nothing else we can at least try and fatten them up a bit. We wish we could do more for the poor things!
21/01/20. Melaka, Malaysia: We stayed in this “Poshtel” with Charlie’s parents before we went to Singapore, and it was so nice that we’ve decided to come back again. So this is our home for the next few days whilst we have a serious admin catch up: website updates, blog writing, contacting shipping companies, tax returns and more. We have one laptop to fight over, so one of us will be working whilst the other relaxes by the pool!
Go to the top of the page
20/01/20. Singapore: Our final morning in Singapore was spent catching up over pancakes with some friends from home who happened to be visiting at the same time as we were. It was great to see them and a perfect way to end our wonderful few days in Singapore. Now we are heading back to Malaysia so we can stay in slightly more budget-friendly places whilst we plan the next leg of our trip, starting with shipping the car to Australia!
19/01/20. Singapore: Another busy day in Singapore! This morning we said goodbye to Charlie’s parents. Then this afternoon we were reunited once again with Harry and Issie, our travelling friends that we first met in India. We treated ourselves to cocktails at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The view was pretty spectacular!
18/01/20. Singapore: We are not night owls or city lovers, but Singapore by night is like nowhere else we have ever been to and we love it!
17/01/20. Singapore: After a packed day of sightseeing, we finished with the light show on the Marina Bay. A bit of a different experience to our last light show in Samarkand, Uzbekistan!
16/01/20. Singapore: 16 years ago, Chris read a book called First Overland – the story of the first ever people to successfully drive from the UK to Singapore (in their Land Rover of course). Since then, he has dreamed of doing this in his own Land Rover. Today, 300 days since leaving the UK, that dream became our reality as we crossed the border from Malaysia to Singapore in our wonderful Land Rover Discovery. There have definitely been times during this trip where we thought it would not be possible, and we are over the moon to be able to say that we have made it! . So, to sum up our journey so far, here are some stats for you: Days: 300 Countries: 20 Miles: 18165 Litres of diesel: 3461 . And a final stat to put it into perspective. UK to Singapore sounds like a hell of a long way. It’s not. Before embarking on the trip, we both drove separate vehicles to work 5 days a week. Charlie’s commute was 30 miles each way, and Chris’ 27 miles each way. Just based on our work commutes alone, between us we drove 24,510 miles in 300 days. That’s 6345 miles more than our drive to Singapore! The world is smaller than you think!
Go to the top of the page
15/01/20. Melaka, Malaysia: Its been a busy day today! We have walked over 8 miles exploring the streets of Melaka, visited a 97 year old house/lived-in museum, made wishes on an antique gong, been chased by huge monitor lizards, visited museums, churches, mosques and temples, and we saved a lost kitten!
14/01/19. Melaka, Malaysia: This afternoon we arrived in Melaka, the final stop of our speedy Malaysian tour with Charlie’s parents.
13/01/19. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia: Today we left the Cameron Highlands after three busy days of car maintenance, tea plantations, and Land Rover spotting (after seeing none for months, suddenly they are everywhere!). It has been great to have a bit of an escape from the heat and humidity of the rest of Malaysia.
12/01/19. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia: Gerard is just your average Land Rover enthusiast, his other nine are just out of shot. He’s striving for the perfect Land Rover collection of n+1, ‘n’ being the number he currently owns. Gerard was my kinda guy 😂
11/01/19. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia: Time for prop shaft rebuild number two of the trip. But this time using Land Rover bearings rather than Ford Transit bearings. Last time we built it we had to use the only parts we had available to us. This time we needed the parts in the Land Rover filled Cameron Highlands, so it was a bit easier to find them!
10/01/20. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia: Day three with Charlie’s parents and we have finally taken a photo of us all!
09/01/20. George Town, Malaysia: A day of street art hunting in George Town. We couldn’t agree on one favourite, so here are our top four.
08/01/20. George Town, Malaysia: We’ve made it to Malaysia and have been joined by Charlie’s parents who are visiting us for the next ten days! We will get a photo altogether at some point but this evening the priority was catching up over a mammoth (and delicious) Korean BBQ. When ordering we were concerned we wouldn’t have enough…. a worry that completely disappeared when all of this (and more) was brought to our table!
Go to the top of the page
07/01/20. Sakom, Thailand: Breakfast with a view. Featuring the furthest travelled @bellisdaisydesign Walberswick Ferry tea towel in the world (probably).
06/01/20. Sakom, Thailand: Our final evening in Thailand. Tomorrow we will be crossing into Malaysia, the 19th country of our trip!
05/01/20. Koh Lanta, Thailand: Another perfect camping spot on a beach in Thailand. Well at least it was until we got chased into the car by a monkey trying to steal our dinner!
04/01/20. Krabi, Thailand: Yet another morning waking up to the sound of the sea.
03/01/20. Samet Nangshe, Thailand: This morning was our third time waking up to see the sun rise on our trip, and our first time actually seeing the sun rise on our trip!
02/01/20. Samet Nangshe, Thailand: Today’s camp spot. We’re doing well with the spectacular views so far this year!
01/01/2020. Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand: First day of the year, first spectacular view of the year. Today we drove across the country via Khao Sol National Park. We don’t have the time/budget to visit the park properly, but the quick peek we got has given us yet another place for the “we must come back here” list. We woke up on a beach on the Gulf of Thailand, and will be going to sleep on a beach on the Andaman sea. Not a bad start to the year!
31/12/19. Pak Tako, Thailand: Our New Year’s Eve consists of sitting on a tiny private beach, reading our books until it is too dark to see, and then having an early night. Enjoying the party animal lifestyle as ever! Happy New Year!
30/12/19. Chumphon, Thailand: Pit stop this evening at the Go Green Guesthouse. We’ll be back to wild camping again tomorrow, but first: food shop, laundry and proper showers!
29/12/19. Bang Saphan, Thailand: We spent today hiding from the rain, only coming out of the car very briefly in between showers. This is the first full day of rain we have had since we were in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the 8th April – over 8 months ago!
28/12/19. Bang Saphan, Thailand: A bit of an admin catch up on the beach this afternoon. Sand, sea, sun and an excel spreadsheet. What more could we need?!
27/12/19. Sam Roi Yot, Thailand: We’re back on the road again, beach hopping our way down the south of Thailand towards Malaysia. It’s a hard life!
26/12/19. Our final photo from the archives before normal photo of the day service resumes tomorrow. The Nicest view of our trip a whole 275 days ago. Can you guess where it is?! . The answer: Nice, France. Despite our clue, nobody on our Instagram/Facebook guessed it right!
25/12/19. Merry Christmas! It’s 33 degrees here in Thailand and despite the lights, trees, music, and other decorations, to us it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. So here is a photo that looks a bit more festive. 246 days ago, Cirtisoara, Romania. Have a great day everyone!
24/12/19. Driving home for Christmas? 211 days ago, Kazakhstan. The roads in Kazakhstan were unlike any other on our trip so far. Flat, straight, nothingness horizon to horizon that went on and on and on!
23/12/19. 120 days ago, Lahore, Pakistan. Pakistan is probably our favourite country of the trip so far. Contrary to what many think, it was beautiful, full of the kindest people we have ever met, and felt very safe. One of our many highlights was dinner at sunset overlooking the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore.
22/12/19. The next pick from our archives is one of Charlie’s favourite photos of the two of us. Tahskurgan, China, 143 days ago. The moment when we ordered from a menu written entirely in Chinese and were presented with a bowl of boiling water and a load of herbs and spices. Not what we were expecting!
21/12/19. We’ve decided to treat ourselves to a few days of staying in one place. So from now until after Christmas we will be staying at Plodd Stop, and not moving very far or doing very much – that’s what Christmas is all about right?! Rather than bore you with photos of the same view every day, we thought we’d share some photos from the past 9 months of travelling that didn’t quite make the cut for our Instagram/Facebook at the time. First up is a photo from day 2 of our trip, 274 days ago!! Trying to find Chris’ Aunt and Uncle’s house just outside of Montpellier in the south of France, we knew we were in the right place when we saw our welcome signs. The wonderful company, delicious food and gorgeous weather were just too good – we were meant to stay one night but ended up staying for four!
20/12/19. Pattaya City, Thailand: Every opportunity we get, Chris looks for problems with the car (always wearing his Twin Artichokes t-shirt). Luckily we are yet to find any, although this doesn’t mean they aren’t there! If you want your own bespoke artwork and posters have a look at Twin Artichokes (although you’ll have to ask Jim very nicely to get a t-shirt like mine).
19/12/19. Pattaya City, Thailand: We’re back at Plodd Stop for a couple of nights whilst Chris gives Natalie a small service and Charlie tries to catch up on blog writing. He might not look it, but Hovis, the Plodd Stop dog, was very happy to see us return!
18/12/19. Koh Chang, Thailand: Morning walk along Lonely Beach before we caught the ferry back to mainland Thailand.
17/12/19. Koh Chang, Thailand: Day three at the best wild camping spot of our trip so far.
16/12/19. Koh Chang, Thailand: How’s your Monday going? Ours is great, thanks for asking!
15/12/19. Koh Chang, Thailand: As promised, another day, another beach!
14/12/19. Chao Lao Beach, Thailand: For the foreseeable future our social media will be filled with beach scenes like this. We (somewhat) apologise for any distress this may cause to those wrapped up in layers, heating on full blast, trying to escape from the miserable winter weather. If it is any consolation, Charlie is literally covered in mosquito bites… she lost count at 70 on one leg! We were going to post a photo of the bites but it was a bit too gross. So be grateful that you got this instead!
13/12/19. Pattaya City, Thailand: Laundry day today! Normally we hand wash everything with our @scrubbaproducts wash bag but today there was just a bit too much to do, so we opted for a machine wash instead.
12/12/19. Pattaya City, Thailand: Putting our Thai cooking class skills into practice this evening with some made-from-scratch veggie spring rolls. We were pretty happy with the result!
11/12/19. Pattaya City, Thailand: The Plodd Stop walls are full of all it’s previous guests. We’re excited that we will be joining the wall of fame too!
10/12/19. Pattaya City, Thailand: We’ve arrived at the little overlanding hub that is Plodd Stop. Named after Plodd, an ex police prisoner van driven from England to Thailand (and back) by Dave and his wife Lesley. I don’t think we will be moving very far for the next few days!
09/12/19. Erawan National Park, Thailand: This is Des! Natalie’s holiday romance! We really enjoyed chatting to David and his son Teddy and commend their choice of car and colour! Such a brilliant weekend at Land Rover Lovers, it’s a shame it’s over already.
08/12/19. Erawan National Park, Thailand: There were so many amazing Land Rovers at the show, comment below which is your favourite as we couldn’t choose!
07/12/19. Erawan National Park, Thailand: This weekend we were invited to the Land Rover Owners Club Thailand show. We camped next to Hamid and his immaculate Range Rover Classic, kitted our with some choice ARB equipment. Hopefully we can meet up with him, and his family, again in his home country of Malaysia.
06/12/19. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Today was a Land Rover kind of day. We had arranged to meet John at his Car Spa to give Natalie a bit of a spruce up, as we have been invited to a Land Rover show this weekend. John turned up in his lovely Series III with magnificent patina, which was almost a spitting image of my own Series III back at home. The first job was to hose off 3,000 miles of Indian, Burmese and Thai mud and dust. John assured us that we weren’t the dirtiest car he had ever had in, and that it didn’t matter that we were making his floor all muddy-but I think he was just being nice! Next up was to polish everything in sight, and everything that is usually out of sight too! Before we left we bought some of his hand made soap, but what we didn’t realise was that he tucked the money we had just given him back inside Natalie without us noticing. John really was too kind to us, giving up a big part of his, and his workforce’s day, to wash and polish Natalie before sending us on our way with presents.
05/12/19. Chiang Mai, Thailand: 5 weeks ago we met Harry and Issie in Delhi, fresh off the plane on day 1 of their 11 month trip backpacking across the world. All of us not quite having the experience we expected in India, we quickly bonded over sharing tales of woe and distress. By happy coincidence we have been reunited today in Thailand. It’s been great to see them again and hear about their amazing travels since we saw them last. Hopefully our paths cross again in the not too distant future!
04/12/19. Chiang Mai, Thailand: This evening we went to a Thai cooking class. After a trip to the market to learn about the ingredients we would be cooking with, we made ourselves pad Thai, chicken soup, spring rolls, and Thai green curry. Such a brilliant evening! The food was delicious, and the best part of all – no washing up!
03/12/19. Mor Paeng Waterfall, Thailand: This morning we had a quick stop off at this waterfall before our winding journey through the hills to Chiang Mai. We are told the 90 mile journey has 762 corners to swerve our way around!
02/12/19. Pai, Thailand: Selfies with a giant Buddha this morning, Thai massage this afternoon, night markets and street food this evening. The travelling life at its best!
01/12/19. Mae Taeng, Thailand: This was not the view we expected to see as we drove across a bridge over the river!
30/11/19. Chiang Rai, Thailand: Today we visited The White Temple, which isn’t actually a temple at all but an art installation. The interior is decorated in fiery colours and has statues of characters such as Michael Jackson and Hello Kitty, not really what we were expecting!
29/11/19. Chiang Rai, Thailand: The best part of travelling is never the Instagram perfect photo moments, it’s the people we have met along the way that make it so brilliant. This evening we went back to see our Land Rover Discovery 1 Thailand friends for a delicious Korean BBQ. Great food, great company, and a perfect evening!
28/11/19. Chiang Rai, Thailand: Since we left Delhi nearly a month ago we have been on the go non stop, driving at least 5 hours every day except the three days we serviced the car. When we arrived in Chiang Rai we could finally have a proper break and we’ve hardly left the boundaries of our guesthouse! It’s been nice to have a few days chilling out and catching up on the odd jobs that always need to be done. We did venture out to see the clock tower in the town – a bit understated we think!
27/11/19. Chiang Rai, Thailand: Jobs day today. Including re-attaching the number plate after it fell off a week or so ago. This time it’s bolted on so it shouldn’t happen again. Washing the car is also on the to do list but it will have to wait for another day…
26/11/19. Chiang Rai, Thailand: This is our home for the next few days. It’s a lovely little guesthouse near to the centre of the town. The weather is glorious – not too cold, not too hot, but just right. We keep forgetting it’s the end of November!
25/11/19. Chiang Rai, Thailand: Yesterday at the border we got chatting to an off-duty customs officer who has a Land Rover (not a common occurrence so far on our trip). He invited us to see him today with the Land Rover Discovery 1 Thailand club! We had a long chat with them all, Chris spent a lot of time looking under all of the bonnets (one of his favourite things to do), and we managed to get a replacement wing mirror after having ours smashed in India. What a great way to spend our first day in Thailand!
24/11/19. Chan Chwa Tai, Thailand: Today was rather hectic and we only took one photo, so here it is! We had an unexpectedly long border crossing, taking over 3 hours to leave Myanmar. This was because a tree was being cut down in the middle of the only road into the border. So they closed the border for an hour to cut the tree down, opened it to let about 20 cars through (despite there being hundreds of cars waiting) and then closed it again for another hour! Eventually we made it though. On the Thailand side everything was chaotic and busy but much quicker. We arrived at our wild camping spot just as the sun was setting.
Go to the top of the page
23/11/19. Keng Tung, Myanmar: Another long driving day today. Our 200 mile journey took us a whopping 9 and a half hours! The hours kept adding up but the miles just refused to go down. Luckily the scenery was spectacular. What a beautiful country Myanmar is!
22/11/19. Taunggyi, Myanmar: Chris is feeling much better today. Charlie not so much. She is attempting to sleep it off and appreciating being allowed to sleep in the car as normally this is strictly forbidden! It’s a shame she is sleeping though, because she is missing all of the beautiful views.
21/11/19. Bagan, Myanmar: Instagram vs. Reality. . Instagram: Here are three of the one thousand 11th/12th century Pagodas (Buddhist temples) that are scattered across Bagan, still standing from the first Myanmar Empire. Despite not having time to explore the area properly, it truly is an amazing site and yet another place to be added to our “must visit again” list! . Reality: We are feeing absolutely awful – last night Charlie spent all night up and down to the bathroom with severe diarrhoea. Always needing to do one better, Chris was also up and down to the bathroom not only with diarrhoea but vomiting too. Any other day we would have stayed in bed and waited for our illnesses to pass by, however in Myanmar we have to drive a lot of miles each day to make sure we are at the Myanmar/Thailand border before our vehicle permit expires. So we had to drag ourselves out of bed and drive 6 hours (170 miles) to our next hotel. By some miracle we have managed it and we are once again tucked up in bed hoping that we will have recovered before tomorrow morning!
20/11/19. Bagan, Myanmar: Our longest driving day of the trip – we spent nearly 10 hours on the road covering a meagre 250 miles. But our long day was rewarded – the historical temples of this ancient city can wait until tomorrow, this evening it’s all about our hotel’s fabulous pool!
19/11/19. Tamu, Burma/Myanmar (we’re going to go with Myanmar as this is what our guide prefers): Hello Myanmar!! One side of this bridge is in India, the other Myanmar. What a difference an invisible line makes…. we have literally just crossed over a tiny bridge and yet it feels like we are in a different world. Already we can tell we are going to love it here. We have also reunited with Kitty! Kitty travelled with us during our tour in China and we are joining forces with her (and four others) for our 6 day tour through Myanmar.
Go to the top of the page
18/11/19. Manipur, India: The day is finally upon us…. our last evening in India! We’ve pitched up by this little river about 13 miles from the India/Myanmar border. It is compulsory to have a tour guide when driving a foreign vehicle in Myanmar, and this is cheaper if done in a group. So this evening we will meet up with some of our companions for the next few days!
17/11/19. Tengnoupal, India: This is my failed attempt to get a photo of the multiple armed guards that stood and watched Chris servicing the car for half an hour or so this afternoon. The guards were part of a 4 car convoy escorting the commissioner of Manipur who came to our cafe/campsite for a pit stop. We counted at least 15 of them. At first we wondered why one man needs such a high number of guards, but upon seeing how easily they were distracted by such mundane tasks as the tightening of the wheel nuts, it is no wonder he has so many!
16/11/19. Tengnoupal, India: It’s time for our first major service of the trip. Last time Chris had to change the oil it was in the sweltering 40 degree heat of Uzbekistan. Luckily this time, we are in the mountains and have perfect working temperatures in the mid 20s. The local visitors to the little road side cafe that we are staying at are very much enjoying watching Chris at work!
15/11/19. Tengnoupal, India: For the next few days we will be looking out of our tent to this magnificent view. The mountains of Myanmar are in the background calling our names – not long now!
14/11/19. Dimapur, India: It is hard to believe that we are still in India – the country that we have found to be so overwhelming, claustrophobic, and a lot of hard work is completely different in the North East. The landscape is beautiful, the people are more relaxed, and the roads are emptier (although the other drivers make sure to remind us that we haven’t left the country yet!). We haven’t been asked for a selfie, or treated like a walking ATM for days!
13/11/19. Gauhati, India: Today we drove past three elephants and a snake! We didn’t get a photo of any of them, so here is a completely unrelated road side view instead.
12/11/19. Gauhati, India: We are always super careful with our money and spend as little as possible everyday so that we can prolong our trip as much as we can, but also so that we have emergency money when we need it. Today the guesthouse we planned to stay at no longer existed, and after an hour or so of searching we were conscious that sunset was looming. Our last drive in the dark resulted in a destroyed back door and spending a lot of money getting a new one. So this evening we have blown 2 day’s budget on an “expensive” hotel, knowing that it’s cheaper than the potential ramifications of driving in the dark again! We made it to the rooftop terrace just as the sun was setting over the city.
11/11/19. Bongaigaon, India: The not so glamorous side to overlanding – eating lunch in a hotel car park trying to avoid the litter and dog poo!
10/11/19. Buxa Forest, India: We have done the almost impossible and found a private, quiet wild camping spot in India! We are currently in West Bengal, in the north east of the country. The roads are still chaos, but there are less people, less buildings, less pollution, more open spaces, and more greenery. The sky was absolutely beautiful as the sun set – the photo doesn’t do it justice.
09/11/19. Siliguri, India: We’re back in India! I’m sure many of you can guess how we are feeling about that! This is our last stretch before we reach the Myanmar border – hopefully in about six days time. No elephant sightings yet but we are keeping our eyes peeled.
Go to the top of the page
08/11/19. Bayarban, Nepal: This evening’s wild camping spot was much less peaceful! Again camped by (not in) a dry river bed, this time we were close to a village and we think almost every single villager came to visit us throughout the afternoon. They were all very friendly and inquisitive – we are fairly sure they just got the peace sign the wrong way round when I asked for a photo!
07/11/19. Shambhunath, Nepal: Spot Natalie! Charlie found this perfect little wild camping spot next to the dried up river. For the first time in as long as we can remember we had an evening to ourselves in peace with absolutely nobody disturbing us. Heaven!
06/11/19. Hetauda, Nepal: We thought it was about time for another progress photo! 232 days, 12,840 miles and 17 countries. Look how far we’ve come!
05/11/19. Tansen, Nepal: A driving day today. The views were great up to Pokhara through the mountains. The other drivers are still terrible, but there are a lot less of them compared to India which makes it slightly easier.
04/11/19. Banaganga, Nepal: Tonight we wild camped for the first time since the 26th August! It wasn’t the most scenic spot in the world, and in Europe we probably would have driven straight past in search of somewhere better, but after so long in hotels and hostels, it was more or less perfect.
03/11/19. Thakudwara, Nepal: Today is a jobs/planning day. Our change in schedule means that we will (hopefully) be crossing 4 different countries/borders before the end of the month. So before we set off we want to make sure we know as much as possible about the different visas/permits/rules and regulations of each region in the hope that it’ll make it a quicker and smoother process on the road. We’ve set ourselves up in a beautiful little lodge right in the middle of the Bardia National Park. It might be a boring admin day, but at least we have a good view when we look up from our screens!
02/11/19. Thakudwara, Nepal: Unfortunately we’ve had yet another bad day on the road. Our day started with losing an essential part of our tent, peaked with a pretty scary car crash (somehow Chris managed to keep Natalie on the road, and we all made it without any injuries/damage except a smashed wing mirror and a couple of small cuts on Chris’ fingers), and ended with us planning our way out of the Indian subcontinent as quickly as possible. We were really looking forward to exploring Nepal, but have just got to the point where the stressful roads are not worth staying to see the sights. One day we will come back without a car so that we can experience the beauty of this country rather than the stresses!
0/11/19. Suda, Nepal: Today we unexpectedly entered Nepal. We had planned to do it tomorrow morning, however when we arrived at our intended hotel in India a few miles from the border earlier this afternoon, they refused to let us stay there. With no other options of places to stay we risked crossing the border later in the day than we typically do. Luckily it only took 1 hour 45 to cross, giving us enough time to find lodgings before it got dark. India has not been kind to us over the last month or so, so we are very happy to be leaving it behind! Let’s hope we have more luck in Nepal.
Go to the top of the page
31/10/19. Rampur, India: We’re back!! We had mixed emotions about today; excited about getting back on to the road and moving on with our trip, but very apprehensive about driving as we have had nothing but bad experiences on Indian roads. Today we drove 125 miles and did it without any major incidents in 4 and a half hours. We’ll count that as a success!
27/10/2019. New Delhi, India: An idiot’s guide to swapping the rear door on a Land Rover Discovery 2: 1. Choose door to replace 2. Disconnect electrical wires 3. Remove old door 4. Unpack new door 5. Attach new door 6. Close door before connecting central locking (optional) 7. Spend over 3 hours disassembling the majority of car internals to reach rear door from the inside, and connect the central locking (obligatory if step 6 selected) 8. Open door 9. Connect central locking 10. Fit rear wheel, number plate, GB sticker and marvel at your new door
26/10/2019. New Delhi, India: Natalie, meet your new door! Picking it up yesterday was a typical Indian affair – 8 and a half hours of waiting followed by manic rushing followed by waiting. Nobody seemed to have a clue what we were supposed to do, and we had paper work coming out of our ears. But everything went more smoothly than we expected and we met some extremely friendly people who helped us sort it all out. Today we are going to attempt to swap the old door with the new door. Once we are on the road again, we will go back to our normal daily photos & weekly 2pm photos – yay!
23/10/2019: Our new door is on its way! All going well, we should be able to pick it up from Delhi airport on Friday, ready to get back on the road again sometime next week. Watch this space!
13/10/2019: Hello! We are still waiting for our new door to arrive before we can get back on the road – we hope to be up and running again by the end of the month. In the meantime we are working on some blog posts that should be published soon, and we have been interviewed by Landcruising Adventure! Click here to have a look!
20/09/19. New Delhi, India: We’ve had a bit of an accident, but we are both absolutely fine. It’s going to take a few weeks to sort out and we’ve decided to pause our social media until it’s fixed.
19/09/19. New Delhi, India: In January 2018 Charlie’s parents met Komal and her family who hosted them for part of their stay in Delhi. Today we met up with them and went out for a delicious lunch. Thank you for your kindness and we hope to see you again before we leave!
18/09/19. New Delhi, India: We went for a little explore today. In the middle of much of the hustle and bustle of the city is the lovely, and amazingly quiet, Lodi garden. After lots of walking (over 7 miles!) we were very grateful to have somewhere nice to sit in the shade.
17/09/19. New Delhi, India: Our guidebook told us that the Baha’i Temple is often compared visually to the Sydney Opera House. We thought we’d better check it out in preparation for the real thing.
16/09/19. New Delhi, India: Another tough day in India (it’s become a bit of a theme). Natalie is an absolute warrior and somehow she is still standing (thank goodness for steel bumpers). We did however find this shop full of imported goodies from Europe and America, so we brought ourselves some Cadburys for a well needed de-stress.
15/09/19. Gwalior, India: Today we left Gwalior and are heading North towards New Delhi. As we left, we drove past numerous Jain carvings in the hillside. They date between the 7th and 15th century. Makes a change from our typical road side views.
14/09/19. Gwalior, India: Another sightseeing day for us, this time, Gwalior fort.
13/09/19. Gwalior, India: Today we visited The Scindia School where Chris did a school exchange with from Woodbridge School in 2005. They’ve invited us to stay for the night, and brought us some delicious food!
12/09/19. Fatehpur Sikri, India: Our last sight seeing day in Agra. We visited Fatehpur Sikri, a 16th century city that once was the imperial capital of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Tomorrow we are leaving Agra and taking Natalie back on the crazy Indian roads again – wish us luck!
11/09/19. Agra, India: This afternoon we once again met up with Mathieu who joined us on our tour through China. It was great to catch up on our stories of the last few weeks, and then cool off in the hotel’s roof top pool!
10/09/19. Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Chris wanted today’s post to be of Natalie, to celebrate the release of the new Land Rover Defender. Charlie wanted today’s post to be of the Taj Mahal, to celebrate the fact that getting up at 4:30 this morning meant that we were the first people in, and got to see it as the sun rose. Charlie won.
09/09/19. Agra, India: We went for a little explore today and found the first monkey of our trip!
08/09/19. Agra, India: When we decided to share our journey on social media we wanted to make sure we shared the good and the bad. The last 24 hours has definitely been the bad! Car crashes, accidental stealing, running from hotels, being stopped by police, arguing with police, lots of shouting, falling in a very big hole, mud, humidity, taking the wrong roads, and a whole lot of mayhem. Far too much to detail in a single Facebook/Instagram post, but by the end of the day we were safe, unharmed, laughing the day away, using our birthday money on a four star hotel and looking out from our rooftop terrace at the Taj Mahal. Tomorrow will be a better day!
07/09/19. Chandigarh, India: This morning we went to the Rock Garden in Chandigarh. It’s a brilliant collection of artwork made by Nek Chand Saini who in 1958 started to collect stones, broken China, old rags, made them into sculptures and art work, and displayed them (illegally) in a local forest. It’s since become a 25 acre state-run outdoor gallery. We absolutely loved it!
06/09/18. Chandigarh, India: Back on the road again and we’re wondering how long before Chris gets repetitive strain injury from honking the horn so much.
05/09/18. Amritsar, India: Today’s sight seeing took us to the Silver Temple, essentially a Hindu copy of the Golden Temple (Sikh). Actually called the Durgiana Temple, it’s nicknamed the Silver Temple due to its silver doors.
04/09/19. Amritsar, India: Natalie sparkling clean after her third wash in 5 months (don’t judge) and her new decorative bumper design curtesy of the mad Indian driving.
03/09/18. Wagah border, India: A first today – going to a border but not crossing it! Every evening there is a closing ceremony at the Pakistan/India Wagah border. Indian and Pakistani tourists flock in their thousands every single evening to see this crazy pantomime-like ceremony. It was definitely one of those “wow I can’t believe what we are seeing” moments!
02/09/19. Amritsar, India: It was Chris’ turn for the birthday treats today – a day relaxing with movies, snacks and Dominos!
01/09/19. Amritsar, India: We skimped on refurbishing the front seats before we left and now we’re paying the price, but hopefully nothing that a cheap yoga mat can’t fix!
31/08/19. Amritsar, India: How to escape the locals in India for five minutes? Hide under the car.
30/08/19. Amritsar, India: It’s Charlie’s birthday today so we celebrated with breakfast in McDonald’s, a trip to the Golden Temple, a five star (free) dinner at the Golden Temple, and a movie night curtesy of a hijacked Netflix account. Great day all round!
29/08/19. Amritsar, India: The most important part of your car in India is the horn. Every other component can be missing or broken but your horn must be fully functional. Ours had become only partially functional (the low tone had stopped working) so it was imperative to rectify this immediately!
28/08/19. Amritsar, India: We’re having a week or so “break” from travelling, and have quite a lot of things to do during this time. Today we achieved the first and most important job: writing the to do list.
27/08/19. Amritsar, India: Today we had a rare, blissful day of doing absolutely nothing. Not a single job or chore. As a result, we have no photos to show, so here is a photo from a few days ago of Chris considering whether he should leave Natalie for a prettier model.
26/08/19. Whaga border, India: Goodbye Pakistan, hello India! It was rather strange driving through such a grand border crossing, especially when we had it almost completely to ourselves. Somehow it still took over 2 hours to cross though…
Go to the top of the page
25/08/19. Lahore, Pakistan: Today we were taken on a tour of Lahore with @hashaam_nasr from @karakorambikers Not only did he find us the best food, but also made sure to point out the best photo opportunities too. Such a great afternoon and evening, we loved it! Thank you!
24/08/19. Khanpur, Pakistan: Just when you think you’ve seen all the craziness that Pakistan has to offer, a bus comes round the corner to tell you you were wrong.
23/08/19. Abbottabad, Pakistan: Every long-term traveller’s dream lunch stop?
22/08/19. Babusar Pass, Pakistan: We didn’t realise that the road from Gilgit to Islamabad involved climbing 2673 metres (8769ft) in not very many miles. As we reached the top of the pass there was a red car with a non-Pakistan number plate driving in the opposite direction. The car belonged to Romy and Joss from @globooverland – a British couple driving their NZ Land Cruiser Troopy from New Zealand to England! Unfortunately we only had time to chat for a few minutes, and we forgot to get a photo all together. So here’s a photo of us, them, and the view from the top.
21/08/19. Deosai National Park, Pakistan: Good morning from our highest ever wild camping spot. At 4014m (13,169ft) it got a bit chilly over night – so much so that the diesel in the tank was so cold this morning that we struggled to awake Natalie from her slumber. The engine got going on the second attempt and we soon made it to lower (and warmer) ground.
20/08/19. Skardu, Pakistan: In case you were wondering, the inside of the trucks are just as extravagant as the outside.
19/08/19. Hussain Abad, Pakistan: We found another little piece of heaven in Pakistan. Or at least we thought we had until night came… the wind was howling and at 2am we decided it was too much for the roof tent, so we quickly packed up and spent the rest of the night inside the car – Chris comfortably stretched out in the back and Charlie not so comfortably curled up in the front passenger seat.
18/08/19. Chutran, Pakistan: On the road again, and what a beautiful road it is!
17/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Today we said goodbye to our wonderful host Yaqoob who has looked after us so well for the last week. It has been a pleasure to get to know him and listen to his many interesting stories. Thank you for your time, patience, and delicious daal!
16/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: We got a bit excited when we spotted these in the supermarket and the budget went out the window. We know you all love a guessing post, so guess how much we spent on our ketchup and cornflakes today…! The answer: we spent £4.59 on the corn flakes and £4.07 on the ketchup creating a grand total of £8.66. More than half our daily budget!
15/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Egg boxes are yet to catch on in Asia…
14/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Pakistan knows how to decorate a truck.
13/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Got some glue today to finish off the sun shades for the car. Can’t help but love a good Chinese to English translation!
12/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: It’s Eid al-Adha over the next few days – an Islamic holiday. So we spent the day exactly how all holidays should be spent: playing games in between eating the delicious spread put on for us by our hotel. Max and Julian are also staying at the hotel and taught us the not so brainless game called Qwixx.
11/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: It has been so unbelievably hot over the past few weeks and it’s not getting cooler any time soon. We are determined to try and keep the inside of the car as cool as possible, so today we have been making sun shades to put in all of the windows when we are parked up. Ironically today is also the first day we have had rain since May!
09/08/19. Gilgit, Pakistan: Our home for the next few nights is the Madina Hotel in Gilgit. The hotel rooms surround this lovely little garden area with the greenest grass we have seen in a long long time. We spent the afternoon sitting in the garden, chatting to the owner and having a delicious lunch of dahl and chapati.
08/08/19. Sumayar, Pakistan: Good morning! In case you were wondering, Natalie is doing great! She didn’t like it so much at 5000 metres but she powered on through and is much happier now we are down in the valleys again.
07/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: We have had four wonderfully relaxing days at the @kbbaithak campsite but today it was time to leave and start exploring more of this beautiful country. On the road again!
06/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: Every single person we have so far met in Pakistan has been so friendly, kind and hospitable. This evening we were taken to see the oldest house in the village (over 900 years old). After this our campsite owner took us to his house and made us apricot juice and giyaling – a kind of pancake made from flour and water which is eaten with apricot oil. Simple but delicious!
05/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: We’ve found a beautiful campsite in the Hunza valley and can’t get enough of the views.
04/08/19. Hunza, Pakistan: And then there were two! Today we said goodbye to Mathieu and Kitty who are both making their separate ways towards India. We’ve loved being in a little group and spending time with other overlanders, hopefully our paths will cross again sometime soon!
03/08/19. Passu, Pakistan: Day one on the Karakoram Highway and the photos don’t even come close to doing the beauty of these mountains justice. The trials and tribulations of China were completely worth it just to drive along this magnificent road.
02/08/19. Khunjerab pass, Pakistan: Leaving China took another 9 and a half hours of security checks, passport checks and waiting. As we crossed the Khunjerab pass (at nearly 5000 metres) entering into Pakistan there were crowds of Pakistani people excited to take photos with us – this is the only picture we managed to get that wasn’t full of people. We happily posed and then got into the car, now once again on the correct (left) side of the road, and enjoyed an absolutely breathtaking journey down the mountains to the customs office. This border crossing was in every way the opposite to our Chinese experience. We were taken into the office, offered tea and cold mango juice, and had a long chat with the customs officer whilst we waited for our paperwork to be completed. Welcome to Pakistan!
Go to the top of the page
01/08/19. Somewhere between Kashgar and Tashkurgan, China: Despite paying for a five day driving tour through China, today is the only day we actually get to drive through China. At 4pm, 4000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level, disaster struck and Kitty got a flat tyre. With oxygen levels down to 60%, there’s not a lot of brain capacity left to learn new skills. We quickly got to work fixing it, all with a different role: Kitty – Change the tyre Chris – Spanner monkey Charlie – Photographer Mathieu – Sing our problems away Our tour guide (who we are paying a lot of money to see us safely through this country) – Take selfies
31/07/19. Kashgar, China: Today we were treated to a day off from border crossings, police checkpoints and being shouted at by our tour guide. We spent the afternoon in Kashgar’s old city. Once through the barbed wire barricade gates, and past the numerous armed police, we discovered that there is a nice side to Kashgar (and maybe even China) after all. We also discovered that being Western European here is synonymous with being a celebrity – and had our photos taken more times than we could count.
30/07/19. Somewhere in China: If yesterday’s 10 hour border crossing wasn’t enough to test our patience, today Charlie waited in the hotel whilst Chris, Kitty and Mathieu (aka the drivers) went to sort out the essential paperwork. After waiting for over 8 hours, it turned out they didn’t need us or our paperwork and we drove our vehicles to the hotel. The smiles were just for the photo, we were absolutely not smiling on the inside.
29/07/19. Kashgar, China: We arrived at the Kyrgyzstan/China border at 10am this morning. Over 10 hours later, with nothing done other than waiting, having our passports repeatedly checked and driving, we arrived at our hotel for the night in Kashgar. The cars had to be left behind at the customs building to be collected tomorrow once the paperwork is sorted. We don’t have a better photo as we were repeatedly told by our guide “NO PHOTOS”. He also knew other friendly English phrases such as “GO GO GO”, “HURRY UP YOU ARE TOO SLOW”, “DRIVE FASTER” and “PASSPORTS NOW”. Safe to say that we have not had the best introduction to China. Maybe tomorrow…?
Go to the top of the page
28/07/19. Torugart, Kyrgyzstan: It is not possible to travel through China with your own vehicle unless you have a tour guide. To make our five day guided drive cheaper (from £1800 to £1200) we are joining forces with two other overlanders (found on Facebook) who happened to be doing the same route at the same time that we wanted to. Whilst we took a few photos in our pre-arranged meeting point, we didn’t realise that the white spec in the background was actually the French plated Mercedes 207D belonging to Mathieu who would be joining us (along with Kitty and her Honda CRF250) for the next part of our adventure.
27/07/19. Song-Kul, Kyrgyzstan: Quick pit stop on the way down the mountain from Song-Kul lake. Don’t be completely deceived by the photo, just after we stopped and took this photo, about 4 minibuses full of tourists came and parked next to us.
25/07/19. Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan: Most of the time we use iOverlander to find wild camping spots. This evening we followed our noses and stumbled upon this beautiful spot by the river. It’s probably one of the best of the trip so far. Parked up right by the river side, the weather was just right, and the flowing river meant no mosquitoes – perfection!
24/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: We really enjoyed our time staying at the ‘Overland Hostel’ with Karin and Coen from @landcruising.adventure with other overlanders dropping in too. Today we said our goodbyes and headed to the mountains to see some more of Kyrgyzstan, and hopefully find some cooler weather!
23/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Today we went to the car bazaar (market) with Coen in search of some relays for their Land Cruiser. Each shop operates from a shipping container: some simply open the doors and pile up their products inside, while in other shops it’s hard to believe that you are inside a container!
22/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: During our short time in Bishkek we have been lucky enough to meet and stay with Karin and Coen from @landcruising.adventure who have been on the road in their yellow Land Cruiser since 2003! As always it is great to meet other overlanders, but this time even more so as Karin and Coen have just so many fascinating stories to tell.
21/07/19. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Another day, another border crossing (Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan). Today we crossed in only 40 minutes! Our passports that were pretty much brand new at the start of the trip are getting fuller and more battered by the day.
Go to the top of the page
20/07/19. Arkyrtas, Kazakhstan: Back to what we love most – a beautiful wild camping spot all to ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
19/07/19. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: A bit of déjà vu today – we have returned to Kazakhstan as it’s much quicker and easier to get to Kyrgyzstan from Kazakhstan than Uzbekistan (so many Stans). We originally planned to wild camp but crossing the border, getting car insurance, getting diesel, and trying to fix our temperamental air conditioning all took longer than expected. After all that we didn’t have enough time to drive to the cooler mountains before dark, so we decided to treat ourselves to another stay in one of our favourite hostels.
Go to the top of the page
18/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Before we left the UK we stuck down some non-slip matting to the shelf in the back. This worked for all of 2-3 days until the mat started peeling, half the double sided tape dried up, and the other half became super sticky. Whilst home, Charlie picked up some sticky stuff remover and yesterday evening we started what we thought would be a quick half hour job. After 3 hours we were nowhere near finished so this morning we were up early doing more work before the sun got too hot. Finally this evening, after another 5 hours of painstakingly slow scraping and peeling, most of it is off and we are good to go again!
17/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Helping Peter with a few problems on his Honda Dominator was a good way to pass the time whilst it was too hot to work on Natalie. The bike was able to slip into the shade whereas the car was in the 45°C sun. After cleaning up the electrical system to get it charging again, we then drained the old fuel from the tank from when the bike had been standing for the last couple of months, whilst Peter was at home in Austria. Fresh fuel in and she (Daisy) fired right up!
16/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Today we said goodbye to Chris’ parents, and tomorrow we will be getting everything ready for the next part of our trip. Charlie had a brilliant couple of weeks at home, but we are very happy to be back together and ready to get on the road again. China here we come!
15/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Charlie’s back and we had takeaway pizza to celebrate! It was a lovely evening catching up on what we had all been doing over the last couple of weeks.
14/07/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: We have returned to Tashkent, ready to collect Charlie from the airport tomorrow. Boy is it hot! 45 degrees (113 Fahrenheit) today and the locals reckon it could soon get up to 50 degrees. Air conditioning is our saviour.
13/07/19. Burchmulla, Uzbekistan: Back to the trip, and this evening I am giving my parents a taste of wild camping in the mountains. We came here hoping it would be a bit cooler than the cities as it’s getting seriously hot. Even up high the temperature is still in the high 30s, but we found a spot right next to a river which has been great to have a cool down in.
12/07/19. Toft Monks, England: I wouldn’t have missed my best friend’s wedding for the world, and being mid way through an overland trip to Australia was not going to stop me. Here we are, bride and maid of honour, with the biggest grins on our faces because we had the best day ever.
11/07/19. Toft Monks, England: Even if the caption didn’t give it away, you might be able to guess that this photo is of gloriously green England rather than hotter, drier and sandier Uzbekistan. It’s Charlie here, taking over photo responsibilities for the next couple of days. I came back home for the wedding of @grace.lane.739 and now it is finally upon us! Today is all about getting the venue ready for the big day tomorrow. I took a sneaky break to get this beautiful shot of the grounds.
10/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Metres from the well trodden tourist path in Samarkand is the juxtaposition of real life. On one side of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque is the well manicured lawns bordering the pedestrian walkways, and on the back side is real life occurring with all of its electrical cables, gas pipes, deliveries of building materials, and people going about their everyday business.
09/07/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: The last unrestored historic building in Bukhara (according to the guide book), but it won’t be for long! The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that they are simply building the new bricks up in front of the old wall-that’s one way of doing it!
08/07/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Twice we have been to the most expensive roof top restaurant in Khiva (mains are about £3), which is a must to watch the sunset over the city walls (according to the guide book), and twice the clouds have rolled in at the crucial moment. These are some of the only clouds we’ve seen in Uzbekistan during the month we’ve been here.
07/07/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Welcome to Disney Land Khiva! Many people have compared the Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan to visiting Disney Land, with Khiva having turnstile entrances in and out. Almost all of the main buildings have been completely reconstructed in the last 30 years, and become entirely geared towards tourists. Some of the charm of visiting an old city is lost, but it perhaps gives you a glimpse of what they may have been like in their prime.
06/07/19. Somewhere in the desert, Uzbekistan: Today we took the train from Bukhara to Khiva, which mainly runs through the desert.
05/07/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Today we met Josh and his Triumph Tiger. This is the first British vehicle we’ve seen for over three months, the last being on the coast of Croatia. Josh’s inspiration for his trip was watching the Long Way series many years ago, and ever since he has been dreaming of his own adventure. I told him of my own inspiration, First Overland, and he replied that that would have made his preparations easier as he wouldn’t have needed to learn to ride a bike (which he did especially for his trip)! Josh is following a very similar route to us, but at a slightly faster pace, so hopefully he can feed back his experiences to us.
04/07/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: After seeing this pair of lions guarding the palace doorway, Mum is keen to get a pair for their house on the Suffolk coast. I’m sure they’ll fit right in!
03/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan. A bit of morning sightseeing with Mum and Dad in Samarkand before scouring the city for some diesel.
02/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Sunset on the Silk Road.
01/07/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Sight-seeing from the shade. This is the internal courtyard of one of the biggest mosques in the world when it was constructed, about 500 years ago. This was a good shady place to read our books for a couple of hours!
30/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Mum was keen to stay in a hotel as close to the sights in the centre as possible. This is the parking between our hotel and the largest mosque, happy Mum?
29/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: I was nearly as excited to see my parents, as all the gifts they brought! There’s a prize for anyone who can name them all (the presents, not my parents).
28/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: On a spare day between Charlie leaving and my parents arriving I decided to investigate the strange noise coming from our fridge. After spending a while taking the back off and peering around inside where everything seemed to be ok, I noticed that one of the feet was very loose! Hopefully this has fixed the problem, time will tell.
27/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Airports don’t feature very often in overland travel, but they are useful when you need them. Charlie is flying home for a couple of weeks for the hen party and wedding of @grace.lane.739 After the relatively slow pace of life on the road, it’s odd to think that a journey that’s taken us 100 days is the equivalent of just a 10 hour flight.
26/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Forget the Silk Road cities, ancient architecture and local culture, top of the bucket list for Uzbekistan should actually be Tashkent’s Potter Mania cafe. We sat in the Room of Requirement and had a dinner of Wolfsbane Potion, Hufflepuff burgers and a Golden Snitch for desert. Not only was the decoration perfectly over the top, the food was the best we’ve had here too! A perfect date night before Charlie flies home tomorrow.
Go to the top of the page
25/06/19. Kazygurt, Kazakhstan: Today we had to do a visa run back into Kazakhstan and reset our 30 days Uzbekistan visa. We wild camped overlooking this river and cliff, which caught the sun as it was setting and glowed red. No pictures of our camp set up, as just as we were about to put the tent up @dodiemo85 turned up and we chatted until well past dark! We’re hoping we can meet up with them in another country soon as they were such good company.
Go to the top of the page
24/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Charlie is flying home in a few days to fulfil maid of honour duties so today we emptied everything from Natalie into our hostel room and went through all of the bits that we haven’t used, no longer need, or want to swap. We ended up with nearly 10 kg to take back home! So much for only packing the essentials…
23/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: We carried these breathalysers through Europe (because we legally had to), but now they’ve expired we gave them a go. Turns out that neither of us were too drunk to drive a car at 11am.
22/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Today we were reunited with Natalie, and a couple of Toyotas. I hope they haven’t been giving her ideas.
21/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Yesterday we went to the station to check on our return train, and it turned out it had been cancelled due to ‘technical difficulties’. We’re glad we went to check as we’re now used to the way things (don’t) work in Uzbekistan. Luckily there was an alternative train later, which was a bit slower and cheaper but we didn’t think anything of it.
Arriving at the station today, the train (right photo) didn’t look quite as new from the outside as the one that brought us here (left photo). And it wasn’t quite as new inside either. Fast train economy means individual seats and air conditioning (our outbound journey), slow train economy means bench seats with no back rest and no air con (out return journey). At least we had window seats: but unfortunately the view out was almost completely obscured by the black diesel smoke from the locomotive. Looking forward to car travel again!
20/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: Today’s photo comes in the form of a quiz: guess (without google) how much money Charlie has in her purse! A grand prize of bragging rights for the person with the closest guess. The answer: £7.27!
19/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: A day of Museum, Mausoleum, Mosque and Madrassah hopping in Khiva.
18/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: After having a chilled out day mainly spent in and around the hostel, we walked the great distance of 100 metres to the fourth best restaurant in Khiva, where we had dinner for two for £5. We snapped this on our short walk back to the hostel.
17/06/19. Khiva, Uzbekistan: We’ve gone on an adventure within our adventure! After hearing from several other overlanders that the road to Khiva is in bad condition and that finding diesel is impossible, we decided to travel by train instead. What would have been a two day drive is only a five hour train. This way we get an extra two days of exploring, Natalie gets a break from the terrible roads and we won’t run the risk of running out of fuel! So for the next four days it’s just us and our rucksacks.
16/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Today we went on the hunt for somewhere in Bukhara not filled with tourists and souvenir stalls. Our hunt was successful and we found a Russian Summer Palace, as well as the Chor-Bakr Necropolis (pictured), also called the city of the dead. Not another tourist or tat stall in sight – perfect!
15/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Our favourite building so far in Bukhara has been the Mir-I-Arab Madrasa (Islamic educational institution). Most of the historic Islamic sites are now purely tourist attractions, however this 16th century beauty is still a working Madrasa today. Plus it has teal domes and teal is my favourite colour.
14/06/19. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: We mostly chilled today but we ventured out for a little walk around the city before dinner to get a taste of what’s in store for our sightseeing day tomorrow.
13/06/2019. Bukhara, Uzbekistan: We’ve come to the point in our journey where there is beginning to be the occasional vehicle travelling towards us on the (wrong side of the) dual carriageways. It started with the occasional bicycle, then a tractor or two and now cars. It’s ok though: as you come around the blind corners towards them they have their hazard lights on.
12/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Another day exploring the beautiful sights that Samarkand has to offer us. This was described as a “surprisingly modest” mausoleum in our guide book… not sure it’s quite what we would call modest!
11/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Today we went to what lonely planet claimed to be “the most awesome single site in Central Asia”. Registan (translated to sandy square) has three medressas, the oldest dating back to the 15th century. Whilst the buildings themselves were beautifully impressive, we felt it was ruined slightly by the sheer volume of souvenir vendors and tourists. We went back this evening to watch the light show projected onto the buildings – think Disneyland meets 15th century Muslim medressa. A strange, surreal and unforgettable experience to say the least!
10/06/19. Samarkand, Uzbekistan: The roads in Uzbekistan aren’t brilliant and our 195 mile journey from Tashkent to Samarkand took us around 6 hours. With a case of treacherous travellers tummy it was not the most enjoyable of days. This is the view from the bedroom in our guesthouse for the next few days. As soon as we arrived we went to our room, skipped dinner, and straight to bed.
09/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: Once again we have been blown away by the kindness of strangers. We met @halilovoybekargentina when we checked into our hostel on our first day in Tashkent and he offered to show us around his city. Oybek took us to Hast Imam Square where the oldest Quran in the world is kept and then took us for a traditional Uzbek meal of plov which was absolutely delicious. He showered us with kindness and we couldn’t say enough thank yous, so here is one more: thank you Oybek!
08/06/19. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: As we were walking down a street in Tashkent we couldn’t help but notice this meat delivery to a restaurant. Not quite visible in the photo is the lack of refrigeration in the car and the small puddle of blood dripping out from the back.
07/06/2019. Tashkent, Uzbekistan: ‘Welcome to Kazakhstan’ said the border guard, with a huge smile on his face, as he handed back our passports. How have we managed that? We’re supposed to be leaving Kazakhstan and entering Uzbekistan, but somehow we’ve managed to re-enter Kazakhstan? I knew the border looked confusing, but we didn’t have time to dwell on it as we were ushered towards the Uzbekistan entry desk. And sure enough, our passports had been marked up correctly with a Kazakh vehicle exit stamp dated 07.06.1950. Excellent.
Go to the top of the page
06/06/19. Kularyk, Kazakhstan: Today we left Shymkent, and drove towards the Uzbekistan border. Whilst looking for somewhere to wild camp we came to a dead end and a man in a Lada pulled up next to us. We attempted to explain that we were looking for somewhere to camp, and he said we could camp in (what we think is) his field. Next thing we knew our new friend Raha, who spoke absolutely no English at all, had taken us into his house and cooked us a traditional Kazakhstan meal of horse meat, pasta and fermented cows milk as a sauce. Thankfully he also bought out ketchup! He then made us delicious sweet tea and introduced us to his three children and his parents (pictured). After dinner Raha’s children and their friends swarmed the car all wanting to look inside the roof tent. Luckily we distracted them with many games of mini bowling before Raha told them it was time for bed.
05/06/2019. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: With temperatures reaching 38C (100F) it was decided that we probably should have a look at our non-functioning air-con today. Starting at the closest garage, a Subaru specialist, we enquired about a re-gas (as that’s surely all it needs?!). A price was agreed at £30 which seemed reasonable based on UK costs, but when the gauge was connected the price dropped to £4 as we apparently only needed a little bit of gas. After we were topped up and posed for photos with the owner, our money was refused-that was all the payment they needed! Hopefully this form of remuneration continues for awhile…
04/06/2019. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: After getting some jobs done over the last couple of days, we allowed ourselves a sight seeing day. Our favourite place was the Stella Monument which was dedicated to all of those who gave their lives in WWII, with their names listed along a walkway several hundred metres long.
03/06/2019. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: We’ve been staying in a pretty cool hostel in Shymkent whilst we tick off a few housekeeping jobs, but we should be able to fit in a bit of sightseeing tomorrow!
02/06/19. Shymkent, Kazakhstan: On Thursday Chris gave Natalie a service and today he got her all foamy… (couldn’t let that opportunity pass). In what Chris has decided to be the best self service car wash he has ever been to, we had a surprisingly enjoyable hour or so cleaning our very grubby car! We couldn’t help but laugh at the strange looks we got from the locals whilst putting up the roof tent so we could hoover inside. Three of them were so impressed they came over and shook Chris’ hand!
01/06/19. Turkistan, Kazakhstan: Thought I would take a picture of our lovely morning view, but somebody decided to poke their head out of the tent and ruin my photo!
31/05/19. Sauran, Kazakhstan: Today’s drive took us past Sauran, the ruins of a fourteenth and fifteenth city which was apparently home to Kazakhstan’s most magnificent castle. 2300m of the city walls still stand. A pretty amazing sight which was made even better by the fact that it was not packed with tourists, and had no entrance fee.
30/05/19. Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan: Today has been a very busy day! Chris got up at 7 to service Natalie before it got too hot. At 10 he finished, just as it hit 27 degrees. We got in the car seeking cool air but unfortunately the air conditioning does not seem to be working (unrelated to the service). We drove to Kyzylorda, did a food shop, topped up on fuel, gave way to oncoming traffic whilst on the roundabouts and had a bit of a nosy around the city. Now we are cooking dinner, with the solar shower on the roof soaking up the last rays of sun so we can have showers before bed!
29/05/19. Lake Kamyslybas, Kazakhstan: After weeks of cold and rain the sun is finally shining down on us. This morning we woke up next to this beautiful and breezy lake. 10:00 and already 25 degrees. Things are hotting up in Kazakhstan!
28/05/19. Aral, Kazakhstan: It turns out that in Kazakhstan, camels are like buses. Not a single camel during our first 800 miles through the country, and we got so excited this morning when we saw the first group. Then suddenly every few miles were more camels.
27/05/2019. Irgiz, Kazakhstan: Thanks to @kiwis_in_africa for the Desert Camp spot suggestion. It was a very relaxing place, well it was until it got dark and the scorpions came out!
26/05/2019. Karabutak, Kazakhstan: We had tonight’s dinner at the truck stop, not from the trucker’s cafe but cooked by ourselves in the dusty carpark. We are staying in a hotel (nothing fancy, £8.50 a night) but couldn’t cook inside and it was a lovely evening: not too windy, or too many insects, but just right! Most of the trucks here are old European ones, often still with their previous company’s sign writing still visible, but occasionally there is an old Kamaz which looks like a lot of hard work for the driver.
25/05/19. Akzhar, Kazakhstan: We had a shorter drive today and found this beautiful field to camp in. Spending the afternoon sitting in the sun, reading, blog writing, and checking over Natalie was pure bliss.
24/05/19. Ersary, Kazakhstan: In terms of latitude, this is the half way point of our trip. Not in terms of miles, or as the crow flys or even accounting for the fact that we will be travelling through much wider latitudes as we venture south. But purely in latitude numbers, this is half way.
23/05/19. Uralsk, Kazakhstan: We started our day with a traditional Kazakhstan breakfast of Nesquik and Coop long life milk.
22/03/2019. Uralsk, Kazakhstan: For our first few days in Kazakhstan we’ve been staying in a hostel. As far as we can tell it’s in the upstairs of what used to be a family home and it has ‘interesting’ design and decor. There are beams at odd angles, fake brick, real brick, recesses in the walls and a man almost continually asleep on a bed behind the reception desk. Our room (which has a double bed and two bunk beds) is mainly cream artex walls with gold window surrounds and coving, but with a feature wall of mint green and 80s pink recesses. Each to their own…
21/05/2019. Semiglavi, Kazakhstan: After we crossed the border we bought car insurance through the rear side window of a Lada, from a man who had set up a mobile office complete with laptop and printer. We then continued east along a perfectly smooth, new road. Every 10 miles or so there was an inspection ramp in each lay-by, so we picked one that didn’t have a broken down car on it and peered underneath-all seems to be well (for the moment)!
Go to the top of the page
20/05/19. Yershov, Russia: For the majority of our long drive across Russia this was our view. Big skies and big fields.
19/05/19. Saratov, Russia: We visited the landing site of the first Cosmonaut-Yuri Gagarin. There was a fairly small monument considering that this is the place where a human being first walked after being the one and only to leave our atmosphere. And they got the rocket wrong.
18/05/19. Sinenkiye, Russia: This is the first and only bad road that we have come across in Russia so far. It is pretty bad though, lots of time spent in 1st gear. At what point do they stop patching it up, and just resurface the whole road…?
17/05/19. Listopadovka, Russia: Despite us crossing Russia at one of the narrowest points – it’s still massive. We’re driving 1000 miles and apart from a few cities and towns it’s pretty much a straight line. The forests and fields are huge, and tractors ploughing away across the horizon disappear from view. Most nights we’ve camped far away from anyone else, without a man made object in sight.
16/05/19. Voronezh, Russia: After a day of driving on excellent roads, and covering the most distance since our first day in France, we checked into the Geek Hostel in Voronezh. We chose to stay in the Iron Man Room where one wall had this image, one had his heart light thingy and another was covered in clippings from a Russian Iron Man comic strip. Charlie was not happy that the Harry Potter room was already taken!
15/05/19. Troyebortnoye, Russia: Almost all of Today was spent crossing the border into Russia. Everyone was friendly, but the process took five and a half hours for no reason at all! We didn’t mind too much as we only have to do it once, but we felt very sorry for the people who have to do it regularly. Passports, visas, immigration cards, customs declarations, vehicle importing and car insurance.
Go to the top of the page
14/05/19. Kiev, Ukraine: This morning we went to Kiev Pechersk Lavra (aka the monastery of the caves) where dead monks are laid in glass topped coffins in underground passageways. After that we walked to see the Motherland Monument – at 102 metres tall she towers over the city. It was then time to leave Kiev and start making our way towards the Russian border.
13/05/19. Chernobyl, Ukraine: Yes @erny_p we did go to Chernobyl, but don’t tell our mums! The budget took a bit of a hit today, but we couldn’t not visit.
12/05/19. Kiev, Ukraine: Today we were very hungry and missing Italy so we cooked all the Italian foods. Actually we only ate one (large) plate of pasta each for dinner, and the rest was for our trip tomorrow…
11/05/19. Shibenoye, Ukraine: There was no room for us at the hostel (inn) tonight, and I found an airline ticket in my passport where my name was just written as ‘Christ’, so we stayed in the forest. Turns out that we were only about 20 miles from Chernobyl, but Natalie was the only thing that wasn’t a tree to photograph.
10/05/19. Kiev, Ukraine: This bike belongs to Martin who we met at the hostel. He is riding from The Netherlands to Mongolia in 3 months, with no phone or sat-nav. He’s looking forward to meeting people on flashy BMWs, swapping stories and then reminding them that he has done the same mountain passes on his 24 year old Honda TransAlp that cost him €650. We liked Martin.
09/05/19. Cherepashyntsi, Ukraine: This is the field that we woke up in this morning (luckily, it was the same one that we went to bed in the night before too). We had to make an early start before the cows came back out for the day, so we headed to Kiev.
08/05/19. Babyn, Ukraine: What a difference a new day makes. It was very windy in the night, which meant the tent dried out for the first time in several days and the campsite only cost us £2.90! We still can’t understand anyone though…
07/05/19. Babyn, Ukraine: After returning to the border this morning to buy car insurance (we tried yesterday as we crossed, but had no cash and the closest ATM was a 45 mile round trip…), we explored a little further into (The?) Ukraine. Maybe it’s just the 48 hours of drizzle we’ve had so far, but it does seem a little grey here. And we don’t understand anyone…
06/05/19. Chernivtsi, Ukraine: Today was all about CHEXIT – Charlie & Chris exiting the EU. First stop Ukraine. Unlike in every other country we have been to so far, not a single person yet can speak English. We drove to what google maps told us was a campsite and when we spotted 4 lions in front of us we realised we were in a zoo. We think they’re letting us camp here tonight for free, but maybe we have accidentally signed ourselves up to be tomorrow’s breakfast.
Go to the top of the page
05/05/19. Suceava, Romania: After we stocked up with water on our shopping trip, and since we had been wild camping for several days, we thought it was about time we braved the Solar Shower. We filled it with cold water and laid it in the sun on the roof for three hours and… it was hotter than quite a few showers on our trip so far, and more powerful too! We used 15 litres of water for two showers, including washing our hair-not bad for a first go!
04/05/19. Suceava, Romania: Taking advantage of European shops like Lidl and Carrefour for what might be the last time on our trip. Fully stocked, we have gone back to our wild camping spot to have a relaxed weekend before we venture across the border to Ukraine on Monday.
03/04/19. Suceava, Romania: My brand new @thenorthface trainers bought especially for the trip lasted a whole four weeks on the road. Luckily Chris was able to pick up a replacement pair from the friendly people at @ellisbrigham on his return home. We just need to send off the old pair now to get our money back. Thanks Des!
02/05/19. Suceava, Romania: Today Natalie was due her 36k mile service, which includes four oil changes, four filter changes, brake pad thickness measurements, tyre rotations, greasing of everything and a 76 point check. Only took two days to complete in the middle of a Romanian forest, new PB.
01/05/19. Suceava, Romania: The plan was to give Natalie a service today and we had found a perfect wild camping spot to do it in. It chucked it down with rain all day long, so instead we stayed in bed, watched downloaded BBC iPlayer, napped, and played cards. Maybe tomorrow the rain will stop!
30/04/19. Suceava, Romania: Chris has returned and to celebrate we tried out cooking pizza in a frying pan. It was a success! Our diet will be going rapidly downhill from this point onwards…
29/04/19. Suceava, Romania: Today I ventured out of the hotel to find a laundrette so we could give our bedding and towels a well needed clean. Unfortunately I did not find a laundrette. I did find a fortress though!
28/04/19. Suceava, Romania: It’s Easter Sunday in Romania today and the hotel has lots of little rabbits hiding in slightly odd pottery egg halves. After making my way through three courses of the (complimentary) all you can eat breakfast, I spent the day doing washing, catching up on non-travel life admin, and watching Netflix – all of which are even less interesting to photograph than this rabbit/egg combo. Happy Romanian Easter!
27/04/19. Suceava, Romania. After blowing more than a week’s budget on somewhere for me to stay for the next 3 days, there’s no chance I can afford to eat at the hotel restaurant. Instead, I have smuggled the stove in and cooked my dinner in the bathroom (as it’s close to the extractor fan and far away from the smoke detector). The maid is going to get a bit of a surprise when they come to clean in the morning!
26/04/19. Suceava, Romania: We had our most difficult day of the trip yet. We had to be in Suceava as Chris was catching a flight home for a few days, and Charlie was due to be left behind to stay at a friend’s house nearby. Unfortunately the friend was taken into hospital which is awful, and also left us with nowhere to stay over the Easter weekend. We spent all day looking for reasonably priced accommodation, but in the end we had to throw money at the problem in the form of a four star hotel for three nights. We were a bit preoccupied all day, and this is the only picture I took – a photo of a flower that I thought my mum would like.
25/04/19. Hangu, Romania: After a long drive north we wild-camped for the evening on the shore of this lake (which was actually man-made by a dam). It’s a lovely spot, but unfortunately there was a lot of rubbish like so many of our other wild camping sites – on a beach of about 300m we found the only clear section big enough to camp.
24/04/19. Lepsa, Romania: This wasn’t our first choice camping spot for tonight, that wildcamp had to be abandoned because of bears! But we found this campsite next to the river with lovely owners and hot showers. Apparently (if we translated properly) we’re the first ever English people to stay here…
23/04/19. Lake Balea, Romania: Once again we have been stopped in our tracks by snow, today on route to Lake Balea. Whilst reading the Wiki page about the road and when it would open higher up, we found out that it had been voted as Top Gear’s best driver’s road in the world! I know a bad workman blames his tools, but I don’t think we quite had the car for the job! I gave it my best shot but had to call time when the brakes overheated and Charlie said she felt sick.
22/04/19. Sibiu, Romania: We didn’t do anything today because it was a Bank Holiday, and being British you must always observe them, so here is a video of us putting the tent up yesterday (bonnet is only up as that’s where the electrical hook up is).
21/04/19. Alba Iulia, Romania: More recommendations of where to visit led us to two citadels today, this being our second. There were many squares, a church, a university and this cathedral in the centre. Maybe tomorrow’s picture won’t be of a building…
20/04/19. Hunedoara, Romania: We’ve lucked out with more local knowledge on tap from a friend of mine, who’s given us a long list of places to visit. First up was Corvin Castle which claims to be the inspiration for the setting of Dracula, but further reading suggests that all castles in Romania make this claim! We couldn’t afford the entrance fee, so we just sat on a bench with this view and watched a YouTube tour instead…
19/04/19. Timişoara, Romania: Today we visited the town of Timişoara which is right on the western edge of Romania. Luckily we had some local insider knowledge from a friend of a friend so we knew all the best places to go. There were lots of lovely squares and characterful buildings. Thanks Corina!
18/04/19. Sag, Romania: Just having a little rest at our wildcamping spot on the riverbank after spending most of the day stocking up on supplies, at Carrefour, for the bank holiday weekend.
17/04/19. Cebza, Romania: Its our first night in Romania tonight and we are wildcamping by a river. We cooked a yummy meal of chips (sort of), burgers and fried eggs to celebrate this new country!
Go to the top of the page
16/04/19. Novi Sad, Serbia: we spent the day #exploring #NoviSad in northern #Serbia which we actually much preferred to Belgrade. This was the #church in the main square which had a #multicoloured #spire and roof.
15/04/19. Fruska Gora, Serbia. We found a perfect #wildcamping spot in the #forest near #NoviSad and then cooked ourselves #curry on the #ColmansStove
14/04/19. Belgrade, Serbia: After so long of only having one other person to have extended English conversations with, it’s nice to #chat and #playcards with some other #EnglishSpeakers at the #hostel in #Belgrade
13/04/19. Belgrade, Serbia: Tonight we’re staying in a very cool #industrial style #hostel called @fair.and.square.hostel and Natalie has her own parking space too! Tomorrow we’ll be doing some #city #sightseeing in #Belgrade
12/04/19. Rudnik, Serbia: Again we were struggling to find somewhere to #camp so we pulled over and spoke to some #friendly #locals who asked us which direction we were going. Our reply: #Singapore via #Belgrade They told us we should try down this road as it was #TheMainRoadToBelgrade #Hmmm
Go to the top of the page
11/04/19. Nr Bijela, Bosnia: Today we really struggled to find somewhere to pitch the #Eeziawn and #wildcamp after trying down every track. We were about to settle for a small pull off on a dirt road when we turned the corner and found this #memorial shelter to a #Bosnian hunter. It had cover from the #rain and a water tap, tables, chairs and even a BBQ! The few locals who passed gave us big #waves and #smiles
10/04/19. (not quite) Lukomir, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Today we attempted to #drive to the most #isolated #village in #Bosnia called #Lukomir which, according to the guidebook, is only accessible in summer. After an #earlystart and driving for hours along #roughtracks without seeing #anotherlivingsoul we came to a compacted #waistdeep #snowdrift which hadn’t been crossed since last autumn. Turns out that Bosnia’s most remote village can only be accessed in summer.
09/04/19. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina: Today we have been #city #sightseeing in #Mostar (translates as ‘Bridge Keeper’). #Crazy #locals #dive 25m off the #OldBridge into the 6 degree C river below. This photo was taken from the ‘Lucky Bridge’. We walked over both, but dived from neither. Yes
08/04/19. Blagaj, Bosnia & Herzegovina: In between #rainshowers we #hiked up to the #hidden #monastery in #Blagaj (can only be found by following the line of tat sellers and surrounding restaurants 😂), where the #river emerges from the #cave mouth. Then we got #soaked walking home.
07/04/19. Blagaj, Bosnia & Herzegovina: From now on our #internet will be a bit patchy, so you lot might not get a #photoeveryday but we’ll always take a photo everyday and post them up when we can. Today it #rained a lot and we had #nointernet so the only thing to do was put up the #awning and #playcards all day!
Go to the top of the page
06/04/19. Ploche, Croatia: After two and a half weeks on the road we have found our first #signpost to #Sydney and it turns out we are #goingtherightway after all! Last night #travelling through #Croatia then next stop #Bosnia (and Herzegovina)
05/04/19. Split, Croatia: #BigSkies and #BigSeas in #Split #Croatia today. We #climbed to the top of the hill #overlooking the #city #harbour and #RomanTown and then back down again!
04/04/19. Split, Croatia: We’re staying in the #cheap (read #dodgy) end of #Split this evening, so enjoy this last ever picture of #Natalie the #LandRover
03/04/19. Starigrad, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, Croatia: She did drive better today! All the way to the #seaside and this #campsite on the #beach where we had a #sunset #dinner
02/04/19. Rijeka, Croatia: No #beautifulviews today, unless you count the underside of our #LandRover #Discovery as one? #BrokeDown and bought a new #universaljoint this morning, and then fitted it this evening – a mere 5 hours! We’ll see if she drives better #tomorrow
Go to the top of the page
01/04/19. Ljubljana, Slovenia: #Ljubljana should be on anyone’s #bucketlist for a slightly #offthewall #citybreak as the place was just #beautiful (and so clean)! Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere else to stay in Slovenia, so we’ve moved onto Croatia this evening. #ByeBye #Slovenia
31/03/19. Lake Bled, Slovenia: And then the view from the other side of #LakeBled the next morning, after a rather #steepclimb but the #view was #worthit because #NoFilter
30/03/19. Lake Bled, Slovenia: We crossed the border into #Slovenia today, the fourth country on our #overland trip. After a recommendation from my cousin we’ve come to visit the #laketown of #Bled where we have had to book into a #hostel as it’s a little #chilly for the #rooftent
Go to the top of the page
29/03/19. Vencie, Italy: We’ve had a busy day today! Driving to #Venice and then being #tourists all day in the city. After the #hustleandbustle of the #GrandCanal it was good to come back to the #LandRover for a #sitdown
28/03/19. Lake Garda, Italy: We washed our #pants and #serviced the #LandRover #Discovery in the #poshest #campsite on the shores of #LakeGarda in #Italy
Go to the top of the page
27/03/19. Gorges Du Verdon, France: 9am Wednesday morning: what’s your view? #nofilter
26/03/19. Gorges Du Verdon, France: We’re back #ontheroadagain after a slightly longer than expected stop over in #Montpellier due to some #insectbites but we have now found a lovely little #wildcamping spot next to a #river
25/03/19. Montpellier, France: If anyone is wondering what it looks like after you #accidentally set off your powder #FireExtinguisher in the back of your #overland car, then #imagine no more! Luckily we had access to a #Hoover and a #spareafternoon to clear it up…
24/03/19. Montpellier, France: Just when you think you’re already pretty far from #home in #Suffolk and your uncle produces his #last bottle of @adnamsburysteds @adnams #Broadside for you in #Montpellier in the #SouthOfFrance You can take #TheBoyOutOfSuffolk but not the #SuffolkOutOfTheBoy
23/03/19. Montpellier, France: And we have a winner! The #insectbites have come before the #starrynights and they are whoppers! The funny thing is that we are still in the South of France, not anywhere exotic yet… #WhatsYetToCome #gross
22/03/19. Montpellier, France: We’ve driven across a whole country, but really it’s like we’re still at home. #FamilyTime in #Montpellier with my #aunt and #uncle
21/03/19. Allaines, France: #Bonjour #France #BritsAbroad
Go to the top of the page
20/03/19. Portsmouth, England: Day number one, rule number one broken: no #DrivingAfterDark On our way to the ferry, for the 11.30pm crossing from #Portsmouth
18/03/19. Walberswick, England: The ferry is booked and the adventure starts tomorrow. If you’re somewhere along the route, or fancy joining us for part of it then drop us a message.
17/03/19. Walberswick, England: We’ve been having a #holiday from our #holiday today and #chillingout a bit. Back to the #packing tomorrow though!
16/03/19. Walberswick, England: It’s hard to imagine (and hopefully will become reality) that this #LandRover sat on my #childhood driveway will carry us to the other side of the world! #LeavingSoon
15/03/19. Walberswick, England: I’m sure we will meet lots of animals on our travels, but none quite like our pets here. #NoWeHaventQuiteLeftYet
14/03/19. Walberswick, England: #Expedition #packing has been slightly slowed today after spotting @teddysphotos (Ed Sheeran) in #ThorpeNess and trying to get a #selfie with him. I failed.
13/03/19. Walberswick, England: Change of plan – probably just going to stay here in paradise. We’ve got the beach, the pub and home cooked meals! What more could we need! 😂
12/03/19. Walberswick, England: Packing, packing, packing. It’s not too bad as we’ve written and refined a list over our last few trips, but we need to find everything after our house move last week! #NearlyThere
11/03/19. Walberswick, England: There’s not much that I’ll miss when we’re away, but a pint of #Adnams Bitter and #FishandChips at The Bell is probably one of them (they only count as one thing).
10/03/19. Barnham, England: We’ve had a bit of a #lazySunday and not left the house, so here’s a picture of the #Discovery from our #CoastToCoast #adventure last September. Looking forward to being reunited with her tomorrow.
09/03/19. Barnham, England: Going away card with a fairly accurate representation of our car (minus the crossbow) 🏹
08/03/19. Reading, England: Picking up some last minute supplies from our main expedition sponsor @ikeauk #PleaseSponsorUsIkea
07/03/19. Stotfold, England: Today has been an #admin kind of day. Unfortunately it can’t all be panoramic vistas and tales around the campfire, but hopefully there’ll be some of those soon!
06/03/19. Stotfold, England: A spot of #restandrelaxation (and also some #pool) on our #waydownsouth All part of our #MiniAdventure
05/03/19. Lincoln, England: Making our way down south, via a climb of #SteepHill in #Lincoln All part of our #MiniAdventure
04/03/19. Newcastle Upon Tyne, England: Although this is technically the start of our trip, it’s not really the beginning. It’s taken years of dreaming and planning to get to this point, but today it’s finally here. Next stop: Sydney Harbour Bridge, just like this one but upside down!
03/03/19. Walberswick, England : We’re off! Not exactly how we’d planned it, but really the car is only a small part of the trip and we’ll be back to pick her up soon enough! For now, it’s time for a Mini adventure
Go to the top of the page
Morocco: 6.10.18 – 29.10.18