Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: Overlanders' Handbook by Chris Scott

"Be prepared", the motto of the worldwide Scout movement, is very appropriate to overland travel.
One of the tools available to 'being prepared' are books and especially the series of books written by the English author Chris Scott.  His latest book, Overlanders' Handbook, offers an excellent insight into the world of overland travel.

My copy of the book arrived on Saturday morning - no.34 signed by Chris Scott.  I must admit I was rather excited and scanned the huge volume reading paragraphs, drooling over photos and living the memories of the trip reports.

Would I recommend this book to those that have already completed a trip:  absolutely! The book covers every topic imaginable and will inspire you to pack your vehicle and head off in a new direction.
This is a must buy for those people thinking of an extended overland trip - it will help you to keep motivated during the long months of planning.

The Overlanders Handbook website lists the following subjects covered in the book.
• Planning, preparation and documentation
• Vehicle choice - from a regular 2WD car or van to an AWD truck
• Overlanding with children
• Outfitting a vehicle for long-term travel
• Guidelines on building your own motorhome-style cabin
• Life on the road: borders, wild camping, money changing, scams
• Off-road driving and recovery techniques
• Navigation using maps, GPS and common sense
• Short- and long-range communications
• Travellers health; a comprehensive resource on the road
• Travelling with dogs
• Vehicle troubleshooting and repairs
• The last word on intercontinental single-vehicle shipping
• One-page Overlanders' trip summaries
• Continental Route Outlines for Africa, Asia and Latin America
• Notes from the Road from people who've been there and done it

My overland trip was pre-family - I now have a child and a dog so was excited to when I noticed that travelling with dogs and children were included in the book.

Overlanders Handbook Website
Amazon UK - Overlanders' Handbook

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Website Content - Make it interesting!

Have you thought about the content you will be posting to your overland website?
In this blog post, I provide my thoughts on overland website content and provide a few examples of websites which I think work well.  This compliments the website tools article and the audio podcast recorded in 2011.

One of the benefits that I have managing the The Africa Overland Network is that I get to see a lot of website design and especially the type of content generated.

Here are a few thoughts that I have on content:

Who is your audience?
Is it your family and direct friends or are you aiming on reaching the broader audience?

Are you planning on sharing information to the current or future independent overlander?

If it is, consider the following information:
  • Organise your journal per country, per date, which makes it easy to find specific country information
  • Categorise your preparation phase into topics like vehicle, paperwork, finances, medical etc
  • Detail your route information with maps, route planning and if possible GPS track logs. Consider supplying GPS logs to Tracks4Africa

Overland Live Webcast - Overland website content

What type of content do you look for on an independent overland website?  Vehicle & route information, Family  & friend updates?
I have listed over a thousand independent overland websites over the last decade of managing The Africa Overland Network and have watched as the website design has become more creative, yet the content has remained the same.

On Sunday I will be hosting the next Overland Live webcast.  This session will be different as it will be an open microphone event.  I will be encouraging the participants to discuss website design, content, the audience and what works & doesn't when bandwidth is an issue whilst travelling.

Please join the session on Sunday if interested.  Register and Login details here

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Podcast - Overland websites

The latest Overland Live podcast (Episode 03) is available for downloading.   This week we discuss Overland website creation - selecting your audience, hosting your website, digital content, and social media.  A must listen if interested in creating your own overland website.

Read the Show Notes for more information and the MP3 download.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Santana - a Land Rover Alternative...

The image of a Land Rover Series or Defender, dusty from the plains of Africa, conjurer up expedition images. The ruggedness of the vehicle, the availability of expedition equipment, plus the notoriety of their reliability make choosing a Land Rover as your expedition vehicle a tough choice.
The Santana PS-10 (image from dr-uf-loitsch.ch)
But what about an alternative?  Keep the shape, but change various elements to improve on performance, reliability but leave majority of the bodywork - Introducing the Santana PS-10.