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Three Days in Yerevan

Up until very recently my knowledge of Armenia, the smallest nation in the Caucasus region, was embarrassingly thin.  So upon booking flights to Yerevan to go and join our first Oasis Overland trip through the region, I didn’t know what to expect.  I briefly looked into it and built up in my mind a number of preconceptions: this was a former Soviet city, nestled between Iran and the Caucasus, so I expected bland concrete tower blocks, grey skies and nondescripts restaurants selling earthy meals of meat and potatoes.

Once I actually got off the plane and had a look around Yerevan, these stereotypical and frankly UKIP-ish views were, of course, way off the mark.  As I had a day to spare until the Oasis group arrived from Iran I spent my time idly wandering around the city.  With a crumpled map handed to me a friendly member of the hostel staff (who spoke better English than me) I strolled lazily and without any direction through the city centre and found myself in a cosmopolitan, buzzing and yet remarkably relaxed place.  I walked down one street lined with pavement cafes, from which the aroma of freshly ground coffee drifted while locals sat flicking through broadsheet newspapers in the warm autumnal sun.  More than anywhere this reminded me of the less-touristy parts of Barcelona.

Reaching the end of the café street I next stumbled across a huge open square dominated at one end by an intimidating-looking opera house, with harsh bruatlist architecture.  ‘Ah, this is more like it’, I thought, ‘that last bit was obviously the exception, this is definitely what Yerevan is like, it’s so Soviet.’  This was instantly reversed when I turned around to see some local traders setting up small, battery-powered racing cars that toddles were jumping in and zooming around gleefully aiming for the adults who walked across the square.

As the day wore on, having one impression instantly turned against you became a constant theme.  Approaching a kiosk to buy a drink, a hard-looking man in scruffy clothes who I would’ve put good money on having just escaped from a homeless shelter approached me and as I prepared myself to be mugged he simply put out his hand and welcomed me to Armenia before carrying on happily with his day.  The streets were spotlessly clean, the shops full of exotic and interesting goods and the food and drink plentiful, cheap and delicious.  Not once did I even see stewed vegetables, let alone eat them.

Walking down a dark alley one night we went past a bar where a man who was stood outside appealed for our attention.  Expecting to be accosted by a drunk man, as you would find if you went past a Wetherspoon and someone started taking to you, I found myself in discussion with a man no older than his mid-twenties who invited us in, using perfect English, to see his band play.  we played road bike for a while ,We accepted, and entered a smoky underground bar that would not be out of place in a Raymond Chandler screenplay, and were treated to a rousing display of Beatles covers and big Armenian beers.  We even got some free peanuts.

In total I spent three full days in Yerevan, and during that time ticked off many of the main sights, such as Republic Square, a huge public space with intense Stalinist buildings providing a backdrop for an incongruous water and light show every night, the vast Cascade, a flight of steps dotted with modern art installations leading up on the hills that surround the city, and also the hugely significant Armenian Genocide museum (if you haven’t heard of this I wouldn’t be surprised, I hadn’t beforehand, but do yourself a favour and look it up).

There were many museums and brandy distilleries I didn’t make it to (did you know Armenian brandy was Winston Churchill’s favourite, and when his preferred distiller was imprisoned by Stalin, Churchill personally lobbied for his release, which Big Joe agreed to), but this was probably because the real joy of Yerevan was simply being there, soaking it in and being surprised at every turn.  Sometimes it’s nice to be proven wrong.

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TNT Travel Show

We will be at the TNT Travel Show  in London on Saturday 4th March so come along and chat to us about all things overlanding!

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You’ll find us at:

  • Business Design Centre Islington
  • Saturday 4th March 2017 – 9.30am to 5pm
  • Stand 18

Entrance to the TNT Show is free for those who pre-register – jump online here.

 

Our UK office staff and overseas crew will be on hand to answer all your questions and help you plan your next adventure.

Also at the show will be an online flights booking zone powered by StudentUniverse so if you need to book a flight for your trip you can do so with discounts on offer too.  There will be opportunities to talk to lots of operators and to win a free trip with TNT’s famous Lucky Dip!

We hope to see you next weekend!

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Three Days in Yerevan

Up until very recently my knowledge of Armenia, the smallest nation in the Caucasus region, was embarrassingly thin.  So upon booking flights to Yerevan to go and join our first Oasis Overland trip through the region, I didn’t know what to expect.  I briefly looked into it and built up in my mind a number of preconceptions: this was a former Soviet city, nestled between Iran and the Caucasus, so I expected bland concrete tower blocks, grey skies and nondescript restaurants selling earthy meals of meat and potatoes.

Once I actually got off the plane and had a look around Yerevan, these stereotypical and frankly UKIP-ish views were, of course, way off the mark.  As I had a day to spare until the Oasis group arrived from Iran I spent my time idly wandering around the city.  With a crumpled map handed to me a friendly member of the hostel staff (who spoke better English than me) I strolled lazily and without any direction through the city centre and found myself in a cosmopolitan, buzzing and yet remarkably relaxed place.  I walked down one street lined with pavement cafes, from which the aroma of freshly ground coffee drifted while locals sat flicking through broadsheet newspapers in the warm autumnal sun.  More than anywhere this reminded me of the less-touristy parts of Barcelona.

Reaching the end of the café street I next stumbled across a huge open square dominated at one end by an intimidating-looking opera house, with harsh brutalist architecture.  ‘Ah, this is more like it’, I thought, ‘that last bit was obviously the exception, this is definitely what Yerevan is like, it’s so Soviet.’  This was instantly reversed when I turned around to see some local traders setting up small, battery-powered racing cars that toddlers were jumping in and zooming around gleefully aiming for the adults who walked across the square.

Freedom Sq 9

The Soviet-era Opera House in Yerevan, with tricycles for hire in the foreground.

As the day wore on, having one impression instantly turned against you became a constant theme.  Approaching a kiosk to buy a drink, a hard-looking man in scruffy clothes who I would’ve put good money on having just escaped from a homeless shelter approached me and as I prepared myself to be mugged he simply put out his hand and welcomed me to Armenia before carrying on happily with his day.  The streets were spotlessly clean, the shops full of exotic and interesting goods and the food and drink plentiful, cheap and delicious.  Not once did I even see stewed vegetables, let alone eat them.

Walking down a dark alley one night we went past a bar where a man who was stood outside appealed for our attention.  Expecting to be accosted by a drunk man, as you would find if you went past a Wetherspoon and someone started taking to you, I found myself in discussion with a man no older than his mid-twenties who invited us in, using perfect English, to see his band play.  We accepted, and entered a smoky underground bar that would not be out of place in a Raymond Chandler screenplay, and were treated to a rousing display of Beatles covers and big Armenian beers.  We even got some free peanuts.

Artist Sq 2

Local art for sale in a European-style plaza in the centre of Yerevan

In total I spent three full days in Yerevan, and during that time ticked off many of the main sights, such as Republic Square, a huge public space with intense Stalinist buildings providing a backdrop for an incongruous water and light show every night, the vast Cascade, a flight of steps dotted with modern art installations leadin

Genocide Museum 6

The flame that burns at Yerevan’s Genocide Museum

g up on the hills that surround the city, and also the hugely significant Armenian Genocide museum (if you haven’t heard of this I wouldn’t be surprised, I hadn’t beforehand, but do yourself a favour and look it up).

There were many museums and brandy distilleries I didn’t make it to (did you know Armenian brandy was Winston Churchill’s favourite, and when his preferred distiller was imprisoned by Stalin, Churchill personally lobbied for his release, which Big Joe agreed to), but this was probably because the real joy of Yerevan was simply being there, soaking it in and being surprised at every turn.  Sometimes it’s nice to be proven wrong.

 

Fancy seeing it for yourself?  We now include Armenia in the following Oasis Overland trips:

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Adventure Tours to Peru or Bolivia

Here at Oasis Overland, we’re passionate about adventure holidays and we think they’re one of the best ways to see the world and explore. In Peru and Bolivia, we will take you across breath-taking landscapes and allow you to reach new terrain, all with the help of our knowledgeable and experienced crew – Ricardo from Peru and Marco and Williams who call Bolivia their home. You’ll be able to meet new friends, see incredible sights and go on a trip you’ll never forget. You can choose an adventure holiday in a multitude of eclectic countries, but the two countries that we want to highlight are Peru and Bolivia. You can truly get a taste of South America and experience everything it has to offer. Read about a couple of the adventure tours we have on offer.

Colourful knitted hats in Bolivia/Peru

La Paz to La Paz (15 days) Bolivia Encompassed (Inc. Amazon Jungle)

Head to Bolivia and take a trip around this amazing South American country. Bolivia has a very diverse terrain, with snowy peaks and bustling jungle to be explored. You’ll start this trip in the vibrant city of La Paz, which is situated within a valley and surrounded by mountain peaks. You’ll learn about Andean Culture and wander the market lined streets. You’ll travel through Bolivia in a variety of transport including buses and trains and will explore the salt flats by 4×4 Land Cruisers, visiting Inca Huasi Island and the Red Lagoon on the way and taking in the awe-inspiring scenery. You’ll feel like you’re in the film Jurassic Park when you’re taken to The Cretaceous Park, which is home to thousands of dinosaur footprints.  Returning to La Paz you can either finish your trip here (11 day Bolivia Encompassed) or continue to experience 4 days in the Amazon rainforest and the Pampas grasslands.

4x4s on the salt flats, Bolivia

Cusco to Lima (12 days) Inca Trail & Titicaca

You’ll start off in Cusco where a local guide will help you get used to your surroundings and show you what the city is all about. Have an unforgettable experience when you embark on the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu. Your trek will take 4 days, where you’ll be with expert, professional guides who will ensure your safety and enjoyment. You’ll witness breath-taking views and visit one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Then you’ll move on to Lake Titicaca, I saw a carport kit.which borders Peru and Bolivia. Here you’ll have a memorable experience visiting the floating reed islands and spending time immersing yourself in the community and culture of the Uros Indians. Spending a night with a local family, you’ll learn about their customs and traditions and you will gain a unique insight into their way of life.

Plaza de Armas at night in Cusco

Smiling women of the Uros islandsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

We have several more tours to Peru and Bolivia ranging from 11 to 34 days.  Book your adventure now, and travel to some of the most vibrant, welcoming and exciting places in the world!

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Kilimanjaro Climb Review

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If you’re thinking of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and booking it through us, we recently received some great feedback which you might find helpful.  It’s always good to see a review or two to help you decide!

 

 

Matt and Bryci recently scaled the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro – a massive acheivement!  They booked their trek with us alongside their overland adventure and we’re pleased to say they had a fantastic trek.  Having a great guide is a really important factor when you’re pushing your limits as Matt and Bryci told us:  “This was an incredible trip and our guide Evance was fantastic – he was definitely the key to the trek being so great!  I’d highly recommend it to anyone”.

Here’s how they rated the rest of their trek:

Mount Kilimanjaro Climb – Marangu 7 days

  • How would you rate your mini adventure – Excellent
  • What was your overall level of satisfaction – Excellent
  • Value for money – Excellent
  • General structure and itinerary – Excellent
  • Was it what you expected? – Yes
  • What were the highlights? – Reaching the top, meals, talking with Evance (our guide)
  • Would you recommend any changes to improve it? – No it was awesome

How did you find your guides/drivers/cooks/porters…

  • Communication and organisational skills? – Excellent
  • Guides local knowledge? – Excellent
  • Driving ability of the driver – Excellent
  • Level of helpfulness and attitude of the guides? – Excellent
  • Any further comments?: Evance and Daniel were amazing, the pace was perfect and they were very knowledgable.
  • How would you rate the food – Excellent – did a great job of accommodating me as a vegetarian

Views of Kilimanjaro (1)Matt and Bryci booked our Mount Kilimanjaro Climb – Marangu 7 days trip which involves a 6 day trek up Kilimanjaro plus a free day in advance for a briefing and preparation and some time to relax before the trek.

We also offer the Machame Route as well as 6 and 8 day options and you can book these as a stand alone trip or in conjunction with your Oasis overland adventure.  If you are travelling as a family, you can trek the Machame route on our Family Adventure!

Read about our Director Chris and his Kilimanjaro Climb with his two sons.

Click here to see all our Kilimanjaro treks.  If you don’t see the trek you are after, please contact us as we can arrange treks on most routes.

 

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What To Read?

If you’re anything like me (a wannabe geek who is easily distracted from “clever people” books, but still loves to learn about the world), then you also search for a “reading list” about the places you’re travelling to.  Whether nonfiction or fiction, sometimes it’s nice to delve into stories and facts that can help you understand more about the history or culture in a new continent.

I decided to put this list together because I have worked for Oasis for a while, and within that time, I’ve done a lot of reading! I’m sure there are other lists out there to cross reference with, but I’ve enjoyed learning and escaping within all of these books.  Some of them have made me angry, some of them have inspired me, some of them have bored me (sorry, I have to be honest!), and some of them have made me so excited I want everyone to read them!

So wherever you’re looking to travel, or perhaps you’ve been and want to return there, take a look at the list and see if anything tickles your fancy…..

Happy Reading! 🙂

 

AFRICA – I worked here the longest, so this is perhaps the most comprehensive list.  It’s mostly nonfiction because I became fascinated with how complex this continent is. There are some older books about the whole continent, which I still love, and others which concentrate on one country.

Colour Bar – Susan Williams (I have loved Seretse Khama since this book, and now the movie United Kingdom is giving others the opportunity to do the same!)

The Power Of One – Bryce Courtney (A fictional story that I’ve read again and again, about one boy’s struggle through apartheid South Africa )

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver (A story about a missionary family who move from the USA to Congo…and all that they learn and endure)

Mukiwa; When a Crocodile Eats the Sun – both by Peter Godwin (both these books helped fuel my fascination for Zimbabwe and where it’s heading.  He’s got another book out now too).

Whatever you do, Don’t Run – Peter Allison (this will have you in stitches; a fun collection of tales about working as a safari guide)

The Africans – David Lamb (a very old book but still admirably relevant and interesting)

King Leopald’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild (to remind you how cruel colonialisation really was)

Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela (it’s a classic!)

Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux (almost a “must-read” if you’re travelling from Cairo to Cape Town)

Blood River; Chasing The Devil – both by Tim Butcher (great expeditionary tales with historical updates along the way)

Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles – Richard Dowden (factual but readable; it’ll teach you about this crazy continent)

Emma’s War – Deborah Scroggins (The love story of an aid worker and a War Lord…. great read!)

Out of Africa – Karen Blixon (An old-school classic!)

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (This is on “Books you must read” list all around the world)

Cry the Beloved Country – Alan Paton (An oldie but an interesting book written about apartheid South Africa)

 

SOUTH AMERICA – There are so many books for this list, and so many written by South American authors that I haven’t yet gotten round to reading! But these are all ones that I have enjoyed, so hopefully you will too….

Open Veins of Latin America – Eduardo Galeano (a must read for anyone interested in the history of this continent)

The Motorcyle Diaries – Che Guevara (a classic – and a great movie too!)

Viva South America: A Journey through a Restless Continent – Oliver Balch (Another “learning” book, but again, really interesting)

Marching Powder – Rusty Young (Given that you could visit Thomas in La Paz’s iconic prison, as suggested by The Lonely Planet years ago, this is a very topical book!)

One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera; The General in His Labyrinth – anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (The legend of Colombian Literarture)

The Gringo Trail – Mark Mann (Dark and funny, but also sad – readable because of the places it covers, but shows you why drugs are a bad idea!)

The Alchemist – Paul Coelho (he’s Brazilian so it fits…and this a travellers’ favourite!)

The Candy Machine: How Cocaine took over the World – Tom Feiling (The go-to account of why this drug industry is so entrenched in South America)

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time – Mark Adams (because it’s one of the jewels of this continent!)

In Patagonia –Bruce Chatwin (a travel book about this stunning part of the world)

The House of Spirits & My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey through Chile – both by Isabel Allende (Another epic writer of South America, she loves her continent!)

 

CENTRAL ASIA: I ran the trips along the ancient Silk Roads in 2016, and the reading I did before the trip really helped me understand more about this incredible part of the world.  It’s still much less explored than the other continents Oasis travels to, but no less amazing

The Great Game – Peter Hopkirk (The go-to book of Central Asia: How Russia and the British battled it out for additions to their Empires. Easy to read and inspiring!)

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road – Peter Hopkirk (Another interesting book about how the treasure along the ancient Trade Routes found their way to European holdings)

On the Trail of Genghis Khan – Tim Cope (one of my favourite books I read – it’s an incredible true story of this man’s journey following the trail of the Mongols)

City of Lies – Ramita Navai (A eye-opening book about life in Tehran. Really good!)

Empire of the Mind; Revolutionary Iran – both by Michael Axworthy (For a great history of the country, or an update since the revolution; both are good and detailed)

Out of Steppe – Daniel Metcalfe (This book will teach you how many different groups of people live in Central Asia, and what has happened to them)

Apples are from Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared – Christopher Robbins (So you can learn that this country isn’t only famous for Borat!)

1421: The Year That China Discovered the World – Gavin Menzies (A book that challenges world history as we know it, really interesting!)

Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi (A look at how women live and want to learn in this crazy city)

Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran – Azadeh Moaveni (This gives you a great insight to a Tehran you wouldn’t realise existed)

A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road – Christopher Aslan Alexander (He went to write a travel book, but ended up wanting to live there. Great to read about Khiva!)

Full Moon over Noah’s Ark – Rick Antonson (It covers religion, travel, genocide and a mountain – a really interesting read!)

 

This is a personal favourites list – if anyone has read anything else that they would like to recommend, please do so!

Happy Travels! 🙂

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Adventure Travel Show, London 2017

Come and see us at the Adventure Travel Show this weekend!  A few of us from the UK office and overseas crew will be at Stand E25.  If you would like to speak to a ‘real’ person about your upcoming travels then please come along for a chat!

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Our very own Chris and his two sons will be giving a talk about their Mount Kilimanjaro trek on Sunday in the Incredible Journeys Theatre at 11.15am.  If you’re interested in hiking up Kilimanjaro with your family, come and listen to Chris’s talk and take a look at our Family Kilimanjaro climbs online.

There’s something for every adventurer at the Adventure Travel Show, an array of inspiring talks, lots of travel companies to talk to and an Evening with: The Adventure Travel Film Festival on Saturday night.

Sunset in the Namib Desert

Get your tickets for only £4 when booking in advance! Just quote OASISOVERLAND when booking tickets online at www.adventureshow.com or when calling 0871 230 7159. (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras.)

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Finding Love on the Big Yellow Truck

“So how did you guys meet?” It’s a question I’ve always wanted to answer with a fun, exciting story: how we abseiled down a gorge in Zambia and bonded over the shared terror; how we paddled the rivers in the Amazon Rainforest and he looked hot in his life jacket (hmmm…); or even, how we trekked through the Zimbabwean bush in search of the magnificent white rhino and he promised to push me up the tree first! It’s an answer, that, while being elusive for me (the question begs some sort of partner first), is one that many of my colleagues and friends can answer with a broad smile, a casual shrug of their shoulders, and a “Well, it all began in Botswana, where we….”

Holiday friendships and romances are (usually) a bonus to anyone’s vacation, and always a wonderful source of gossip at the end! Everyone enjoys a love story, or a steamy flirtation at least. And everyone loves to make new friends, especially ones that span the globe. There are countless magazine articles and romantic novels about people who have met their dream man or woman while away, generally involving an intoxicating cocktail of sand, sea and hot sweaty..errm…moments! There are less graphic tales of friendship found abroad, but it’s no less special or happy.

Come the end of the holiday, many of these liaisons fizzle out; people return to their respective homes, possibly in different countries, and life goes on. But sometimes, these relationships, be it romantic or otherwise, last, and then love really does mean a happy ending. These are the relationships that I value: the ones that endure; the ones that begin on holiday, sometimes on a “trip of a lifetime”, and that render the trip, well, life-changing!

Overlanding strips away a lot of barriers, I believe. I guess travelling does in general; people let down their guard, they become more open to making friends and entertaining new experiences. There’s no one from home to remind you of your normal routine, or of what your character is, and you can be who you really want to be. Brought together by a love of travel, people join our trips solo or in pairs/couples, but often finish with a new family of friends and, occasionally, a new love.

The expeditions can be extremely challenging. You push your physical limits with simple but demanding activities like chopping wood or digging out the truck; you might push your hygiene limits by only being able to shower once in 4 days (although this does help you discover all manners of coping strategies; did you know how effective campfire smoke is at disguising smelly clothes?!); and you can also push your “personal space” boundaries, by constantly being together with fellow travellers in the small living space that is the truck. But for all of these semi-hardships, there comes something more fantastic: an incredible bond with people that no one else will understand.

Shared toilet experienceIt’s horrible being ill when you’re away, when all you want is your own bed and instead you have to make do with a lumpy roll mat and a sweatbox of a tent. But when you have new friends looking after you, running over with yet another loo roll, or forming a barrier where there’s no tree to hide behind and talking loudly to disguise any “noise”, it becomes a chapter in your travels; an event to laugh about together afterwards. No one at home will understand the magic of cuddling up around the campfire and gazing up at the stars, and then waking up all together sandy and dishevelled, ready to put the kettle on last nights embers and toast some bread. It’s hard to convey the real fear of watching rapids approach as your rafting guide screams at you to “Paddle!”, your silent scream as you propel overboard, and the sweet relief of being pulled back into the raft. It’s tougher still, to communicate the pure childish delight at seeing an elephant in real life, or the majestic giraffe – may be even one of the big cats patrolling the savannah. And it’s more impossible to relate all the shared jokes, the banter that flies back and forth between the group, the new snacks to discover and enjoy (or not!), and the sights to gaze and marvel at as the truck drives through new and wonderful countries.

IMG_2926You end up spending hours and hours with these new friends: playtimes, activity times, beer times and down times, where you really get to know one another. You share things about yourself that you wouldn’t dream of sharing with just anyone at home: ambitions, feelings, opinions, even emotions. They see you at your happiest, they might also see you at your worst – they almost definitely see you at your most “unwashed”! And these special connections are so incredibly good for your soul that it’s only natural when people find a kindred spirit amongst their group, someone to seek out and establish a deeper relationship with.

There have been a few Oasis weddings – some between crew, some between travellers, and some between crew and travellers. There are even now Oasis babies (though none have yet been named after a truck or even me – I live in hope!). But perhaps more special to me are all the interconnecting webs of friendship that spider across the world – strands linking the UK, Australia, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan…and that’s only a few of my passengers-come-friends home countries! These friendships are relived through photographs, through reunions, through Facebook reminders (!) and they are the sort of relationships that literally can change the way you live your life.

It’s a busy world we live in, one currently not seductive to establishing meaningful relationships from scratch. Sometimes we need to escape just to be the version of ourselves we want, away from all the craziness, the stress and pressure to conform. Sometimes we go away to find a totally new world, live a different life, and sometimes we simply just want a holiday. But when these breaks throw up new friendships, new experiences and new loves, well, then I reckon it’s worth jumping aboard that big yellow truck and seeing what it has in store for you!

Happy Travels! 🙂My kinda love...

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From Poshy La La Princess to Overlanding Pro: Life-changing travels on the Big Yellow Truck

“Euuuuwwww”, she exclaimed, as Amazonian Jungle mud oozed through her toes, marring the pretty purple design.  Suddenly she started madly flapping her hands about her head, desperately trying to persuade the oversized fly that she wasn’t a suitable enough perch to land on.   After a pause to make sure the bug had definitely moved on to the next person in line, Lauren finally stumbled out of the boat and started trudging up the hill into our Jungle Camp.

“Wow” my driver Kyle murmured under his breath, “this might be a long 4 months…!”

And a long four months it was; it was an absolutely brilliant trip through South America, one that I’ll never forget.  Because I met and got to know Lauren; a girl who’d never camped before in her life, didn’t particularly like getting dirty, had (and still has) issues with shower curtains that left me in fits of laughter, and has a not so small terror of flying things (I won’t even go into her fear of the dark!).  Yet, despite all of this, she’d decided to embark on a 15 week journey from Quito to Rio de Janeiro, on a truck, where half her nights were under canvas.  It was her first foray into the world of “Adventure Travel”, and she was jumping in at the deep end.1452358_10152022634580733_1310999367_ncheap bns goldbuy bns gold

Overlanding attracts a whole demographic of people from all over the world.  Generally speaking, they like the outdoors: they have camped before; they might enjoy trekking, and like cooking over the fire.  They’re sometimes even used to rolling out a sleeping bag and brushing the bugs away before putting their head down for the night.

Occasionally, (and thankfully it’s happening more and more), you get people who have no idea what they’ve let themselves in for.  Sure, they’ve read that they will be spending most of their nights sleeping in a tent (yes, that means on the ground!), have glanced at the temperature chart to check if they really need that woolly hat when they’re also packing their bikini; they might even have thought to bring a car charger that means they can fire up their smart phone while the truck is driving!  But the idea that they won’t be able to have a lie in on every morning of their “holiday”, or that they will have to cook outside for the entire group even when it’s raining, or they might have to help dig out the truck and then not shower for 3 more days…that’s all new.  And not always exciting.

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Lauren was a complete newbie.  Her first time putting up her tent was her first night sleeping under canvas ever.  Her first cook group was the first time she’d ever cooked outside, and for a big group of people (she later admitted to going out to eat almost every night of the week at home, because that’s what people in the city do).  And, just to help set the scene, I should also let you know that Lauren is very pretty, very blonde, speaks in a wonderfully posh accent, and at first glance, could be assumed to be – in overlanding terms of course – a  “Princess”.  But she’s also a person who gets involved, who always wants to help, who loves to start the party, and who endears herself to everyone because she’s a great person to be around.  The perfect person to have on an overland truck, and very much not a princess! (Well, until there’s mud…and bugs…)

And get stuck in she did!  She tackled and completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (and the mandatory 24 hour challenge afterwards!); she survived three days in the Amazon Jungle; she pitched and took down her tent about 100 times; prepared not only her own cook groups’ meals but helped out with almost all of the others, and wasn’t even the first in the shower queue after not washing for 4 nights!!  And to think that at the very start of the expedition, she’d never done anything like this before!

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Overlanding is a “different” way to travel.  It challenges you; it takes you so roughly out of your comfort zone that often you have to redefine the boundaries.  It will probably make you sweatier, dirtier, and more dishevelled than you’ve ever been before.  You will learn that pooing in a hole you dug yourself is nearly always preferable to every other option; that t-shirts really can endure 5 days in a row without disintegrating (and that you smell yourself before others do…usually), and that talk of bowel movements is perfectly acceptable at breakfast time.  You will also realise that drinking beer around the campfire is the best way to enjoy them (as long as there’s ice in the esky!); you really don’t need to care about what you look like (an incredible relief!) and you will probably make some of the best friends you’ve ever had on your trip, as a result of the amazing (and some not so amazing and way more personal) experiences you’ll share.

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Lauren, in fact, enjoyed her first Oasis trip with me so much that when she saw I was later running trips through Central Asia, she was the first to book! And this time she came armed with knowledge about the sh*t shovels, how best to roast marshmallows around the fire, how long her hair can last before she really does need to wash it, and when to party and when not to risk that hangover at altitude again!  She also arrived with bucket loads of enthusiasm and “getting involved” vibes, which infected everyone and helped us all have an incredible few months. And, I think she’d agree that her trip also gave her the confidence to start travelling all over the world.

So if you’ve always thought overlanding wasn’t your thing; that you couldn’t handle it, or you’re scared, think again.  It takes all sorts to travel on a big yellow truck, and as long as you want a challenge; fancy travelling off the beaten track; want to meet new people; can enjoy dinner around the campfire; and don’t mind missing out on a shower or two, you might just be missing out on the trip of a lifetime.]

See ya on the road….!!

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12 Days of Christmas Day 12: 20% off South America overland tours

Day 12: 20% off Andes and Amazon Santiago to Quito/Quito to Santiago 53 days

Save £357 when you book a 53-day Santiago to Quito or Quito to Santiago overland adventure, departing Santiago on 25 February 2017 or departing Quito on 17 September or 27 October 2017.

Llama overlooking Machu Picchu

Trip Highlights

The Amazon jungle, rafting and canyoning options in Ecuador, beach life in northern Peru, ascending into the Andes, hiking to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail, stay with a local family on Lake Titicaca, explore the bustling streets of La Paz, optional excursion across the majestic Salt Flats, northern Argentina’s wine region, Santiago, Chile’s modern and cosmopolitan capital.

 

To Book

Please click on the following link: Andes and Amazon (53 days)

Go through the online booking process as usual and use voucher code: OAS12DC

 

Terms & Conditions

This amazing offer is valid until midnight (UK time) on 28th Dec 2016.

All bookings are non-transferable

This offer is only valid for the 23 February 2017 departure from Santiago and 17 September and 27 October departure from Quito.

Subject to availability.

All travellers must pay full local payment.

 

Any Questions

Contact us at info@oasisoverland.co.uk or call us on 01963 363400

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