WARNING: Skip over if you not interested in finding out about what it's like to overland...it might be really boring for you to read otherwise!!
04.06.2009 - 29.07.2009 20 °C
So Mel, our tour guide, often described living on and out of the truck as "Truck Life". It's definitely a mindset and something to get used to but when you do and you in the swing of things, it's fantastic!
So the truck is huge and yellow and is designed brilliantly. the seats are facing each other, so it isn't like a bus at all, and you actually got into trouble if you called "Barbara" (the name of our truck) a bus. and then we put cooler boxes in between the seats so we could put our feet up onto them - increased comfort on a long travel day. there was a section at the top of the truck with a lying down area called the "VIP Beach" section and usually if people were ill or had a terrible hangover, they would bag that area.
You could also open up the roof section of the Beach and stand up and look at the view whilst the truck was moving. In the main section of the truck where most of us would sit, there weren't real windows but plastic flaps which you could roll up and then check out the amazing view as we drove for hours. But it would be extremely cold at times cos the wind would blow right through the back of the truck. So we often would get right into our sleeping bags to get at least some warmth through us!
There is a better design of the truck in their website: http://www.oasisoverland.co.uk/
Check it out!
We didn't drive every day and we would sometimes have a couple driving days in a row and then two or three days in one place. Sometimes we would get up really early and head off at 6am and sometimes only arrive at 6pm at our destinations. So some days were really looong travel days. What did we do to pass the time??? Our truck had a radio and amp system where you could plug in iPods and listen to music...really really loudly sometimes...we blew the amp a couple times! Also, the truck had a little library so we were constantly reading and putting ourselves in queues to read certain books. Also people watched movies on iPods and laptops, slept, played cards, played word games, eye-spy was a hit at one time, drawing on each others' faces with marker pen and we made up stupid games like surfing on cooler boxes or seeing how long you could stay on a cooler box with "no hands" on bumpy dirt roads - all really mature games! and lets not forget the occasional parties - we used to keep our alcohol and mixers in the cooler boxes so all really accessible if the time came!
we had a buzzer in the truck to communicate to Franco, our driver, when to stop for example for a pee or poop. we soon had to get over the stage fright of peeing in front of people and Mel said that she knew the group was broken into when the girls would choose to pee right at the side of the truck instead of making the effort to find a bush to pee behind! Classy. We would even got to the point of comparing the size of our pee stains on the soil. Even classier. And discussing the inconvenience of pee backsplash on our shoes and feet. Yip, all-time low.
We didn't have chefs on the truck like some more expensive overlanding companies have. we were split up into groups of three and then were assigned cook group duties on a rotation. When it was your group's turn, you would have to decide on what meal you were gonna make, buy the food with the budget you were given, then cook dinner, breakfast and sometimes lunch the next day. I'm a terrible cook but it was lots of fun actually - thank goodness I was with Avis most of the time - an absolute dream in the kitchen!
We of course camped most of the way. We upgraded occasionally to dorms but it was rare and it was mainly in the last section of our trip. The tents were cool, two-man tents and I got put with the best tent mate ever - Emma. What a relief. I was really worried, especially after my bad South America roommate debacle, that I was gonna be stuck with a really irritating tent mate. But no worries, Emma was the best. She would even set out my sleeping bag and mat sometimes when I got back late at night (she was usually in bed first!). I hope I didn't irritate her too much - I was always up super early in the morning cos I absolutely feared being late for our departure time!
We also had this tradition where every night we would nominate people who did really stupid stuff that day. And whoever had the best nomination got to wear this disgusting old dummy (pacifier) on a grubby dirty rope around your neck the whole day called "Numpty". If you got the dummy three times, then you had to wear these absolutely Fashion Crime huge luminous orange croc shoes for the day. The photo above shows Shona demonstrating both the Numpty and crocs brilliantly! Examples of Numpty nominations: Shona tried to push a shopping trolley through turnstiles in a supermarket, I woke up freezing cold in my tent one night and could find my beanie so I put my undies/panties on my head for warmth (desperate times I tell you), Leslie fell backwards onto a fire and burnt her bum badly, Antony drank excessively and had an messy incident at a hammock in Kande Beach, and the list goes on and on.
Anyway, we shared a huge luggage locker with one other person. The lockers were so big three people could stand up in each one. Very cool. Then we would take out just what we needed for the night so we didn't have to take our entire backpack each night to our tent. You also got the hang of putting up and taking down your tent...to the point where you wanted to scream at the thought of putting it up, taking it down, putting it up, taking it down, putting it up, taking it down.........but now....what I would do for just one more night in the tent and one more day on the truck! Nostalgia.
Alright, I'm not gonna say too much more. If you are considering this kind of trip, let me know if you have any questions ok, cos it's totally different to backpacking but most people loved this kind of travel. Some found it a bit restrictive, especially with a fairly fixed itenerary and stuck with 26 other people constantly and with a tour guide, but when you think of what you have seen, how far you have travelled, the friendships you make and the fun you have, it is totally worth it!! I recommend it! totally...go for it!!