If you want to see the world but can’t afford it or can’t find someone to go, you should try going with an overland group. There are several companies that offer such trips….a few names would be Encounter Overland, Guerba (who specialises mostly in Africa), Encounter, or Exodus. All of the companies offer trips to various parts of the world, mostly no frills. There’s another company called Trek America that does camping trips in the U.S. (and maybe Canada?) too.
I signed up for a trip last year with Encounter Overland that drove from Kathmandu to Bombay on an overland truck. I went by myself and met up with 15 other people….we camped the whole way and made our own meals for the most part (eating out about 1/3 of the time). Having said that, the trip was a lot of hard work – you were up at the crack of dawn, or earlier on some days, and every day was jam-packed with driving and/or excursions. Nevertheless, we had an absolute blast. Everyone in the group was good-spirited and game for anything. We saw/did everything imaginable between Kathmandu and Bombay! ….I’ve kept in touch with about 1/2 of them through writing or meeting up with them in other travels. Three of us are even thinking of doing another trip next year to someplace else.
I would highly recommend Encounter Overland – their truck/equipment was in good condition, the trip leader was very capable (he explained their vigorous requirements for leaders), and they provide unfailing backup in the event that it’s needed. Encounter Overland is also low-end in price because you do all the work. The high-end of the companies I’m familiar with would be Guerba. For starters, they usually send a cook along, although 2 of you are helpers each night. Believe me, having a cook around is a BIG plus….but there are lots of other things to weigh about each company if you are thinking of doing it.
Anyway, if anyone is interested in finding out more about these trips you should be able to get a brochure from travel agencies around here (it’s possible most of these companies are based in Britain but they should have offices here too). If you don’t mind waiting, there’s a company in London called Trailfinders. They act as agents for all of these companies as well as book airfares pretty cheaply. You can write or call…most of the agents I spoke to had done trips themselves so they were well informed if you wanted to ask questions….expensive phone call from here tho….
Check it out!