Founder of Theroadchoseme.com
The road choose Dan!
A. We heard a lot about you Dan but can you tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Australia, and moved to Canada about ten years ago to live in the mountains and go snowboarding. I worked as a Software Engineer, and watching everyone else who was only working for retirement scared the hell out of me. These people were not living at all, just dying slowly, and I really, really didn’t want that to be my life.
Sitting at a desk for 30 years to pay for a house just does not make sense to me, so I have set out to live with more purpose, and more adventure.
A. Why overlanding ?
Turning the vehicle into a house on wheels makes perfect sense to save money – I can sleep for free and cook all my own meals, which makes Overlanding as cheap as backpacking – sometimes even cheaper.
A. What is it like to drive around Africa?
So far, West Africa has been amazing. People are exceptionally kind and friendly, and the landscape is staggering. Logistically the trip has been very challenging – obtaining visas for every country, finding a place to sleep and places to buy groceries and supplies. I have also been learning French along the way which has been a great test of my language abilities.
A. What was the most surpassing truth you found out about while driving in Africa?
Frequently people that have almost nothing – living in a dirt hut with no electricity or water – invite me in for the night or to share a meal with their family (often a bowl of rice with sauce). I also love
the way people treat each other here – actually like people. They are kind, friendly, warm and considerate to each other, all the time. It’s really great.
A. Nigeria... What’s it like to travel there?
The current president has done a lot to stamp out corruption and it shows. Never once did any Police or Military demand money or gifts, and none went past “what did you bring for me”. I felt like they were protecting me, and never once was I worried they would steal from me, or do anything bad.
There are a lot of checkpoints on the road, which makes progress slow. I found Nigerian people to be just as kind and friendly as the rest of West Africa, and speaking English made it much easier for me. It’s a massive, fascinating country I would like to see more of.
All that said, there certainly are problems with terrorism in the North, and some regions are completely off-limits to foreigners. The situation changes very quickly, and everyone needs to make their own decision about safety.
A. What do you ride today? What’s good about it?
My vehicle of choice is a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited. I made a lot of modifications to make the Jeep into a house on wheels – it has solar panels, dual batteries, a fridge, a drinking water tank and filtration system and a pop-up roof that provides ample standing and sleeping room. As well as being seriously capable off road, it’s a great house.
By far the most used modification is the drinking water tank and filtration. I need access to a lot of drinking water here, and it’s great to be self-sufficient.
A. What advice would you give to someone embarking on their first overlanding adventure? how about the first build?
For the first overlanding build and adventure my advice is to hit the road and see what works. Alaska is a fantastic destination, as-is anywhere in Central America. Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t spend months (or years) worrying about this or that. Hit the road and learn as you go – you might find you really don’t need to spend thousands on new suspension, but that you would really, really like a fridge or better sleeping setup.
Remember – it’s about the adventure, not about the build or gear.
A. How overlanding will save the world?
Overlanding and traveling, in general, are a great way to break down barriers between people from all over the world. By actually visiting these places and meeting locals on the street, we can gain a much more accurate picture of the world than the one given to us by the media.
As it turns out, virtually everyone in the world is kind and friendly, and even places the media says are hell-holes very rarely turn out to be. Who knows, maybe we can prevent world war three if more and more people get out of their home country and learn more about the outside world.
A. Tell us about theroadchoseme.com
theroadchoseme.com is my website where I post updates about my expedition. It’s packed with photos, stories and videos from over three years and thirty countries. Check it out if you want to see where I am now and what I am up to.
A. Closing Thoughts?
Overlanding is an amazing way to learn about the world at large, but also about your own region. You don’t have to drive across a continent to be an Overlander, just get out for the weekend and marvel at the world around you!