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Wifi or No Wifi?

That is the BIG question on our lips: how far is this wifi obsession going to spread? It’s already at almost every hotel/hostel/campsite that we stay at! Is it going to make onto our overland trucks…??

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If I have anything to do with it, definitely not. I have already threatened to hang up my keys within minutes if Oasis Overland build a truck that is capable of reducing everyone to silence on the back, with merely the tip tap of their finger swiping as the soundtrack.

Pax side of truck Kyrgyzstan mountains

Great views!

And why would you want wifi on an Overland truck? To laugh at whatever Donald Trump has done now? Check the soccer score? Check In @ “driving through the middle of nowhere”….Oh, wait! Oh, you just missed the elephant crossing the road, because you were too busy staring at your phone…! Don’t get me wrong, I like to stay in touch with family and friends as much as the next person. I enjoy posting photos of incredible sights and proudly chuffing that “I woz ‘ere”. I just don’t see the need to publicise every minute of my journey, especially if it means I might miss some incredible experience that I came on the trip especially to do. These may sound like the rantings of some technologically-challenged, prehistoric-thinking hardcore overlander, but that’s not quite true. I have a ‘device’, (more commonly known as an ipad) and even learnt how to use my (work) clever phone this last trip! And I love taking photos to show people around the world where I’m at, what I’m up to, and what crazy adventures I’m having. And yes, I do that through FaceBook. But I also (hopefully) know when to put the phone down! Leave your wifi-connecting-machine behind and go and enjoy a beer with your fellow travellers. These people could become new friends, new lovers, or even new enemies! But as fellow passengers, they are people who should have an impact in your trip, not just be passersby. They are going to give you better stories, make your experiences, and provide you with waaaay better memories than your little electronic thingymagig.

Drive day, card playing

Games in the back of the truck

Overlanding has changed over the decade I’ve been on the road, there’s no doubt about it. People expect more, and sometimes it is up to us, as tour operators, to step up and provide more. If that means that our accommodation has to provide wifi, then for the most part, I’m okay with that. Obviously I’d prefer it if not all of them did: my favourite places still include Snake Park Bar in Tanzania, where Ma asks for everyone to talk to each other face to face instead of through their phones! I also understand that clever phone’s have fantastic cameras, and of course you want to use them to capture exciting memories from your trip.


Greeting the locals!

But that’s where it should stop. One of the best things about coming away is leaving the social media whirlwind behind you, breaking free of your inbox ties, and enjoying some peace and quiet. One of my favourite things about being a Tour Leader is the people I meet; not only do I get to make some great buddies, but it’s awesome watching people form friendships (and relationships – I love a happy ending!). I really enjoy seeing people bond over beers or hot chocolate while sitting around the campfire, playing games on the back of the truck and even waving to locals as we drive through incredible locations!


Chillin’ by the camp fire

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if people still want to embark on adventures while their eyes are glued to their iPhone, who am I to stop them? If people want to hash tag their way through the Amazon Jungle, or ‘Like’ their way across the Serengeti, then that’s their call.

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5 Responses

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  1. Rick Algar says

    A very well written and thought through post. I have little to add other than that I agree 100%

  2. Derrick says

    Very well said, its really sad when all people want to do is gawp at their phones when they get to a destination (and I hate to say it, our driver was the worst for doing it)

    I use wifi to post my blog,(but I could do that after my trip, I do take notes) I don’t use Skype, I don’t use any video messaging, I get emails, I send emails, people just want to know where I am on a particular day, NOT every 5 minutes

    No, they get enough wifi where ever they are going, its bad enough when they arrive at a destination and they just spend al their time gawping at their phones, let alone on the truck as well, they can look at their phones, FB when they get where ever they are going, on the road, look out of the truck, its what they paid for

    I wouldn’t travel on a truck that has wifi

  3. Sophie says

    I agree with your reasoning in almost every way except that it is very difficult if you are leaving a partner at home. I went on my first overland trip this year and left my partner at home as he couldn’t accompany me. We went from talking every day on the phone (as we were long distance at home as well) to not being able to talk for weeks on end. As much as I knew I was leaving him for this time it can make you feel very lonely on some of the long periods of driving time, especially when you have just met a group of people you cant confide certain things with these people, and they probably don’t want to know most of the things! It was always disappointing when we had done several days of bush camping and then we would arrive at a basic campsite with no wifi and i would have to let my partner know it was going to be another few days till we could talk It can get you quite down after a while and you spend the first couple of hours in a new hostel catching up all in one go.

    I did enjoy my trip and the only downside was feeling lonely at times even living with a group of 20+ individuals. I think no wifi is great for certain people but not for others, a good solution could be limited wifi times during long drive days, that way people can catch up when they are bored in the truck…..maybe when it is dark and all the elephants have gone to sleep

  4. Lauren says

    Completely agree 💯 %

  5. Kenzie says

    Are Oasis now actually going to parts of the world where the trucks could have wifi? If so then routes need to be changed – ‘action this day’ HQ! Put up Wi-Fi signs, then tell those who complain of lack of connection ‘What do you expect out here?’

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