Thursday, January 22, 2015

10years ago today... memories from BigSky Adventures

Ten years ago, my wife and I climbed aboard our blue Land Rover Defender 200Tdi and headed South from the UK towards Cape Town on an overland adventure called 'BigSky Adventures'.

Although the finer granular details of our trans-continental overland travels have faded into memory, there are moments which have kept that year alive throughout the last ten years.

Here are a few thoughts from these last ten years...

My trans-Africa trip was a dream come true and a dream that is cherished today.

I had made the decision to complete a trans-Africa trip back in 1994 - eleven years before I actually departed.  Time dragged towards the departure date, with moments of pure excitement and nervous planning yet in comparison, these last ten years have vanished.  I fully acknowledge that the planning phase is as important as the actual travel.

Planning extends the travels as the dreams are expanded, the journey researched and the excitement shared.

The internet was young in 2005 and was a struggle to publish content compared to the social media options today. BigSky Adventures was my way of sharing the journey.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Africa Overland Statistics - The chosen vehicle: Toyota or Land Rover?

Africa Overland Websites
Land Rover might have dominated the last decade of independent overland adventure travel but Toyota is bouncing back...
The Toyota Land Cruiser has succeeded for the 2nd year as the most popular Africa overland vehicle of choice for trans-Africa trips departing in 2014.

In this blog post I highlight the two primary vehicles for overland travel, the average travel time in Africa and the average age of the overland vehicle in 2014.

I have been recording vehicle choice for the last five years based on websites listed on The Africa Overland Network.  A quick comment on the website and the impact of Facebook.  Facebook has eroded the need to host a blog or website detailing overland adventure travel however a few overlanders have managed to successfully balance published content (website blog) and social interaction (Facebook) whilst traveling.  I fully recognise that many travelers don't blog, speak different languages or simply don't know about The Africa Overland Network.  However, this is still the most reliable website to provide these statistics.

Interested in the previous years statistics?  2010 (LR) | 2011 (Toyota) | 2012 (LR) | 2013 (Toyota).

Roll on 2014...


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Overland & 4x4 Forum Statistics

Four years ago I started collecting overland and 4x4 vehicle-based forum statistics.
Overland Internet Forums & Magazines
I was interesting in tracking the number of registered users, threads and posts on the forums and providing a comparison on the top websites.

The challenge for 2014?  Could the popular forums keep the growth momentum up and were the thread counts increasing?
What about the magazines?  Are they challenging the forums for content or are web users divided between the content creators (forum users) and content consumers (magazine & facebook subscribers)?

Here is an overview of the previous years: 2012 | 2013 | 2014

A few websites stand out in 2014 which include ADV Rider, Expedition Portal, Horizons Unlimited and Prado point.  A detailed list of all the websites (forums & magazines) are at the end of the blog post.

2014 to 2015


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tractor Tractor - the final destination: Antartica

Google Search: Manon Ossevoort
Nine years ago (2005) Manon Ossevoort departed The Netherlands heading South for Africa.
Her mode of transport was not a classic expedition prepared Land Rover or a Land Cruiser Troopy, rather a Tractor!

This vehicle has certainly been one of the most unusual overland vehicles yet to complete a Trans-Africa trip - yet her overland travels were not complete... Manon was aiming for the Antartic.
Africa overland with a tractor!
Finally on December 9th, 2014, she reached her destination driving a Massey-Ferguson tractor.
Manon Ossevoort - Daily Mail UK Photo



Congratulations Manon on achieving a dream and persevering to achieve it!

Additional Reading:
Tractor Tractor

Friday, November 21, 2014

Product Review: LED Flexible Strip Light

Do you hard-wire your LED light solution to your 4wd overland tourer or do you prefer the flexibility to move the LED strip around the vehicle for the optimum brightness in the right places?

I have LED light strips that are static (permanently wired) at the rear of my vehicle but don't have any lighting under the awning or in the roof top tent. I recently had an open discussion with Daniel from Expedition Center to discuss my challenge and attempt to find the right lighting solution, within my budget to meet my needs, which included external vehicle lighting, possible tent interior and brightness controls.