©Pablo Rey. Published on Overland Journal Magazine, Winter 2014.
After 15 years overlanding the world, Pablo Rey shares some important tips on how to not end up walking in your underwear on a faraway road in the middle of nowhere.
Let’s Do Some Math
Our beautiful planet has 316 million square miles of surface. The part of it that has emerged above sea level is 92 million square miles. About 4 million of those square miles are inside the boundaries of the United States. Now, take out all the area covered by those ugly, modern cities that have polluted the soil. Take out all the private land you cannot explore. Take out all the areas covered by tar, garbage dumps, all the places that serve food you have already tried, and all the roads and forests you’ve already been to… What’s left?
So expand your horizons. Go further. Take your time. Travel to a place where you don’t speak the language. Don’t be afraid. Break down somewhere far away from home. Fall in love with a foreigner. Live an adventure. The United States is a huge country, but why restrain yourself to your own boundaries when the entire world is waiting, full of explorations and cultural challenges?
Tips To Overland The World And Return To Tell The Story
- Whatever you choose as a self-defense weapon, don’t keep it in a bag or in a place where you cannot access it fast. If you don’t have it at hand, it’s not useful, and it’s better not to carry it.
- Hide your money in different places. Looking for an unexpected place? How about inside an empty roll-on deodorant. Nobody steals deodorant.
- Different doesn’t mean dangerous. Always be courteous and kind to all the people you meet. Money, education, color of skin, and religion are mere accidents of life.
- Don’t follow the safety recommendations of your government to the letter. The world is not as dangerous as they would lead you to believe.
- Auxiliary lights, bicycles, jerry cans, and anything at hand is a temptation and a target for people who earn a fraction of the lowest wage in the U.S. Properly lock everything you have, or store it on the roof, out of reach. Or much better, out of sight.
- When someone talks badly about a country, ask if they have been there. People usually repeat what they’ve seen on television, and television only shows conflict, war, outrage, corruption, and decay. Good news doesn’t spread as fast as bad news.