Meeting with other travellers

Last night I met with Erik and Malin for a coffee in town, two of the four people heading out on a very similar trip as I mentioned in an earlier blog post – in just a few days! They’re car is being shipped to Alexandria now and they will be flying there early next week. It was so great meeting up and getting to chat to like-minded travellers, exchanging research, advice, hopes and fears.

It’s funny though because at the same as it feels like we’re doing pretty much exactly the same thing it feels like our trips are miles apart. I guess for anybody else we ARE doing the same thing, we’re all driving through Africa and you don’t come across people doing that that often. But when you’re into it like we are, the details make a big difference. Different car, different ways of funding, different goals and aims with the trip, different plans.

But despite those differences we do have a lot in common as well and it was great hearing about their ideas, their planning and research, their garage work. So much sounds just like what we’ve been doing for the past year! So now I wish them the best of luck and an absolutely awesome journey!

Status update with three months to go

The blog posts have been few and far between during the past months which wasn’t at all my plan, I’d love to post something everyday but since I’d like those posts to be substantial and worth reading I simply haven’t had time to. But as compensation for the past weeks of silence, here’s now a proper update for all of you wondering what’s happening now that the trip is coming closer.

Today is not only national day in the country west of us, but it also marks three months left for us. However, our status update is that things aren’t entirely going our way and with a few economical setbacks lately we’re slowly having to accept maybe postponing our departure with a month or two.

Now, some of you might be saying, hey, I thought you guys had everything sorted out! Money in the bank and good to go. Truth is, not yet. And with three months to go, we’re pretty stressed. And it’s difficult to blog about this, being in the middle of the process and quite under pressure I don’t feel like sharing all the details just yet at the same time as I’d really like to let you in on the whole thing, how to make a trip like this happen. But for now, the status is that we’re struggling to reach our budget, have a few pretty difficult decisions to make and almost feel like we’re stuck in a catch 22.

We don’t give up that easily though. We set out inviting companies to take part in our project offering them a great deal of exposure and other services in return for supporting the implementation of the project – something a lot of people had said would even be impossible, but have already gotten a good part of the way! Since most of our savings have gone towards getting and fixing up the car, we’re pretty much relying on partners. We knew that was going to be hard, very hard. It has been ten times harder than we thought.

We do have a lot of partners (not nearly all of them are showing on the website just yet) providing us with gear, which we’re extremely excited and happy about! We’re looking forward to a great cooperation with all these companies.

The cruiser is very close to ready for departure. It’s just standing there in the garage waiting to have everything put back on and a last few things prepared. Now we’re just going to keep fighting to reach our goal so that we can leave on time, or just slightly delayed! The trip is obviously happening, sooner or later. Sooner rather than later.

With three months left it would have been nice to be able to put our feet up… Focus on the last practical preparations, like visas, jabs, research and which t-shirts to bring. Enjoy the summer, test drive the cruiser. Instead we’ll have to keep working on the budget and make all those decisions and see how it goes. But hey, see it from the bright side. Having everything sorted out would have been kind of boring, don’t you agree? This makes it much more exciting, doesn’t it!!

Okay so back down to earth and a more specific update. Last weekend was spent at the garage as usual. Brian maybe broke his record when getting there at 9 am and leaving at 11.30 pm. I spent a few hours that day baby sitting my nephew and then spent the last six hours with Brian at the garage. He had done a great job already by then, putting the air con pipe back in, put the intercooler back in, mounting our new water pump from Kama Fritid and sorted out the last wiring for 220v. He also mounted the devices we’ve gotten from Kama Fritid, which will give us all the information we need on how our batteries and solar panel (which we will borrow from Brunton) are doing.

Aircon pipe and intercooler back in! Engine space pretty much finalized, just going to the “air con guy” Anders again sometime soon, refilling with gas.

Electrical corner with all the new devices. Looking pretty messy at this stage, looked very tidy when he was finished. Will put up an “after” photo as well sometime.

















The new water pump in front.

































Optimizing storage opportunities.













That Sunday we had another picnic, just like the last one just a few meters from the garage, and we tried out our new chairs from Kama Fritid for the first time! Our picnic table was wedged onto the roof rack so I made a temporary table out of a plank and that worked just fine unless you’d sit down too abruptly. The chairs are very comfortable. Their size made us a bit nervous in the beginning, but we know that comfortable chairs is something we will appreciate as we will be camping for six months. We might have to compromise on something else instead and just make space for them somewhere where they’re easily accessible. And who needs a knife to make a reindeer cream cheese and egg sandwich, when you’ve got a multitool!?

We’re not alone

Back in the day when I started dreaming of doing a trip like this it was still considered something rare, extreme and crazy. These days overlanding is a new way of travelling, people are tired of the chartered all inclusive trips, want to get closer to what they’re experiencing and be more in control of where and when to go. If you look at overlanding forums they’re crowded with people doing long and short expeditions in every direction possible. Okay, so it’s still a little rare, extreme and crazy I guess (why else would you wanna do it?) but it’s definitely become a way more common way of travelling.

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me she knew a guy who was heading out on an expedition. It turned out there were four of them, our age, all from Stockholm. heading out almost at the same time as us almost with the same route. It was such a cool feeling to hear about others planning the same trip! We emailed a little back and forth but they’ve been very busy since they’re shipping their car out like today or one of these days and then flying to Egypt at the end of May. But we’re hoping to get to see them before they leave!

And then it turns out there’s another group of Swedes who are out on their expedition right now! They have just recently entered Kenya, according to their blog. Also very cool because not only is it inspiring and fun to read their updates, but we can also learn a lot from it. Since they’re on the road now, what applies for them should apply for us in a few months from now. Things change quickly, and things can change in just a few months, but it’s at least way better than doing research and finding much older out of date information. For example, they have more or less given us a solution to the route problem. How to get to Africa when Syria and Libya are in the state they’re in has given us a bit of a head ache lately. We knew we were heading for the option of shipping the car across the Mediterranean, but from what little research we’ve had the time to do in the matter, we found that a lot of the ferry lines are currently not running – because of Syria for example. But just from reading these guys’ blog we’ve got a name of a company that’s up and running (it’s a RoRo company so we’d have to ship the car across and fly across ourselves), we know how they went about it and how much it cost. It didn’t seem to be easy, but then again, we’re expecting nothing to be easy on this trip. So that was a great relief and let’s just hope nothing changes and that we can imitate their plan.

You’ll find these other overlanders’ websites here (the goup leaving at the end of May) and here (the group who is on the road now) if you’re interested – both in Swedish.

Gear from Kama Fritid arriving

Unpacking all the gear from our partner Kama Fritid really made us feel that the trip is coming closer! We couldn’t really hide our excitement as we went through everything, from car maintenance products to kitchen accessories to safety gear… This was simply a great collection of gear that will come very much in handy during the trip. Well, at least the dinner set and and other everyday things, let’s hope we don’t have to use the fire extinguishers!

Saving space with a foldable colander!

Brian unpacking the car maintenance products.

The chairs are very comfortable, but they’re BIG. I know it’s not the most important thing in our equipment but still something to be used everyday – I fell in love with this dinner set at the Camping and Caravan fair we went to earlier this year and have been talking about them ever since – and now I got them, yay!

Martin - May 8, 2012 - 11:02 am

If you feel the chairs are too big, why don’t you ask Aktivus ( to give you two Crazy Creek-chairs? (And if you didn’t know it, Aktivus is owned by Emma Ising)

Anna - May 8, 2012 - 11:21 am

Hey, yeah we were kinda looking at each other thinking “WHERE are we gonna put them?!” when we saw the chairs :) But when you’re gonna be camping for six months we feel that you have to have proper chairs – plus, we might already have something like the ones you mentioned coming up actually… But thanks for the tip – and I didn’t know Emma runs that company, that’s great!! :)

And the work continues

So, we spent almost a full day at the garage yesterday and oh, was it nice to be able to take jackets and sweaters off and work in t-shirts! Finally some sunshine and comfortable temperatures.

We started off by having a brunch picnic. Except we didn’t drive very far, just reversed the car out of the garage, opened the tail gate to prepare our sandwiches and dug in. There are nicer picnic sites in this world, but when you’re really hungry – and have a car you’re not allowed to drive anywhere – this worked just fine.

We then got busy getting the air con pipe out, the mission of the day. I mostly stood aside watching Brian working on getting this pipe out, handing him whatever tool he needed at the moment, and then got to help out a bit towards the end, pulling the pipe out once it was loose. Which is trickier than it sounds, considering its bends and twists.

Once the pipe was finally out we wanted to figure out where the leak was. When filling up with gas, a device for discovering leaks had pointed us to one side of the pipe, but after trying both air and water we started wondering if there even was a leak. Maybe it was just the end nuts that weren’t sealed properly? And then what? Buy new o-rings? But with some more patience and testing with soapy water, there was finally bubbles. A hole so little it was impossible to see with the human eye, but still causing us so much of a hassle.

Today I went back to the workshop, where they helped us fix the pipe last year, and told them there was a new hole. Luckily he wasn’t too busy at the moment and was gonna fix it today so I’m picking it up again already tomorrow. We also went to see a sailmaker who we’re hoping can help us with our tent and spare tyre covers, but the right guy wasn’t in so I’m going back there as well tomorrow. Busy days!

A good, sunny start to our day off

We’re finally enjoying some nice spring weather, better late than never! Last night was Valborgsmässoafton and we went down to the lake to watch the bonfire and the fireworks.

Today is a holiday so Brian is off work. He flew out of bed before 7 am, made coffee (watered the plants!) and went out on the balcony – but soon came back in. That was apparently a little too cold… The morning sun hadn’t quite woken up to do its job although it was bright and shiny. And now we’re on our way over to the garage and we have one mission today – the air con pipe. As you might remember it had to be taken out due to a leak, we went and got it welded at a workshop, put it back in, returned to the guy who’s been helping us testing it – and there was still a leak somewhere. So now the pipe has to come back out and we have to do it all over again. So that’s today’s mission.

Celebrating our new partners and nice, spring weather this weekend

They’re called Kama Fritid, they have anything you can think of within camping equipment – and they’re our newest bronze sponsor! They will be providing us with a whole bunch of gear, which we’re very excited about. More about this soon when the cooperation is up and running!

We’re looking forward to a sunny spring weekend and today we will be showing the cruiser to a good friend for the first time so that’s gonna be fun. Here are some photos from when we checked its flexibility last weekend! It will obviously change as we load it with all our gear and fuel and what not, but it was fun to see it stretch – and not bad, hey! Agile as a cat!

And from the front…

Have a good weekend!