When I think about traveling, I immediately imagine myself in a car. In this ideal, I am surrounded by stunning landscapes, and hunting for the “perfect” capture. For as long as I can remember, I prefer traveling by car and motorbike; in my mind, a plane or ship just ‘brings’ me to the destination. Rather, with land-vehicles, I can explore and photograph.
Being self-sufficient and able to decide any second to change the travel route and destination is a giant element of freedom for me. A lovely 5-star luxury resort is an amazing thing, but put in front of a decision between that and trillion star night sky, I will always pick the latter.
I remember very vividly, exploring the D-Day-Beaches in Normandy in December 2010. On a long highway stretch through rainy and cold France I contemplated about what and why I am actually doing this. Sitting in a car seat for hours, mesmerized by the landscapes and people I pass by, listening to audiobooks or podcasts and soaking up every stimulus about the region, like a sponge. From thus musing, it suddenly struck me – SLOVERLANDING. That’s what it is called. That is what I LOVE to do, and that is how to describe this type of traveling.
So what are the core ingredients of a sloverlanding-travel-style?
“Slow” and “overlanding” is the starting point of the explanation.
Overlanding: is a growing individually travel style that even has a Wikipedia entry. According to that, the meaning comes from Australian cattle farmers droving their livestock to markets over huge distances. Nowadays it denotes “self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal”.
But what does it mean when one says the journey is the goal?
To me, as a quite visually primed person, it means to observe as many optical impressions of landscapes and people as I can get. This is my indulgence where I spend my maximum time budget to enjoy. My journeys unroll veeeeeery slowly.
Slow, literally in every possible way, not only determined by the odometer of the vehicle. Taking an unplanned break in a surprising scenery, staying in a cafè for hours because I stumble upon contextual information about the region, town or piece of nature. I get pulled down a rabbit hole to explore more or just grab a tinny and enjoy the sunset observing from afar.
These are the moments when you forget about time, like when we played as children.
At the end of the day, it means flexibility and exploration in a pure form. Almost like a constant meditation.
Now I clearly admit, that there also exists extensive pieces of road which are not always as interesting and thrilling as the first part of my description mentioned. Driving a thousand kilometres through the Nullarbor Plain in Australia has, of course, an adventurous scent.
But without another sensory input, it possibly can become boring.
What about our auditive channel?
Audiobooks and podcasts are my time machines if the visual impressions become somewhat scarce. My favourites are Audible and the Apple podcasting platform. The spectrum of book topics is impressive and I bet there is something for you in there too.
My current favourites in the podcast world are:
- Master Photography Team
- Photography Tips From The Top Floor
- The Martin Bailey Photography Podcast
- BBC World Service – Business Daily
- Tim Ferriss Show
I recently downloaded the complete edition of Arthur Conan Doyles “Sherlock Holmes” in Audible. About 70 hours of my most ever beloved fictional character, that might get me halfway across one of the vast red-centre deserts. With this in my backpack, I guess the X-Australia journey can come. See you on the road!