What is Overlanding?

English only article – Slovak version coming soon | Článok je iba v angličtine, preklad pribudne čoskoro.

“Overlanding is independent, self-reliant traveling over land – usually in a motorized vehicle, often over long periods of time and spanning multiple countries.”

Well, that is the definition, sort of. The truth is not that simple.

 

 

No one really knows what you can call overlanding and what you can’t. There is no single definition or consensus about what exactly is overlanding, and there are many people with their own ideas about overlanding. But the common sense is – if you’re travelling independently, in your own vehicle and for an extended period of time – while camping and cooking mostly on your own, then you’re probably overlanding.

If you google search “Overlanding“, you will often find people (especially on the other side of the ocean- sorry my US & Australian pals) thinking that overlanding is some sort of off-roading and focusing primarily on having the most amazing 4×4 rig. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a glorious 4×4 truck with amazing off-road capabilities, but if your ultimate dream is long term overland travel, don’t get caught up on it.

 

It’s true that while overlanding you might encounter rough roads or perhaps there won’t even be any roads, but these trails are not usually the destination in overlanding, but the means to and end – independent exploration. Yes, you will go further in a 4×4 monster – but in the real life, you often find yourself being overtaken by the locals in their normal beaten up sedans. And if your budget is not unlimited, you will enjoy the saved money on the road more than looking at your shiny 4×4 sitting next to your house. 🙂

Offroading ≠ Overlanding. You can go extreme off-road while overlanding, but it’s usually not the sole purpose of the journey.

My personal understanding of Overlanding is more simple.

“Overlanding is freedom”

The absolute freedom of going where I want to, not where the bus goes. Freedom of staying where I want to, not where the hostel or hotel is – and staying there until I run out of supplies.Freedom of always having a safe, warm, dry and comfortable place to stay, even if the weather outside is bad or it’s getting dark outside and I quickly need a place to sleep. Comfort of my own vehicle, with as much photography equipment as I want to have – all of that while saving a lot of money by not paying for accommodation and cooking on my own.

Yes, it’s true that it does have pros and cons, as you need the initial funds for a vehicle + you go slower because you can’t fly – you can read about these in the Basic preparation article.

But that freedom, for me, is priceless.

This is overlanding. This is freedom.