Ever heard of Overlanding?
By definition, overlanding is the concept of self-reliant adventure travel for long durations to remote locations, over the ground. The primary goal here is obviously the journey and not the destination. How many times have you read that phrase on Instagram? Probably more than the number of tough travellers who opt for overlanding in reality and make the fullest out of their journeys. Still, it is there and is very much booming. Because as many times as we say that traveling is about the journey, we tell ourselves there is much more than what we are doing.
Well here it is about Overlanding, it is the history of where ‘adventure travel’ began. Centuries ago, when Australian herders used to travel long distances on the outback to herd their cattle, it was called ‘overlanding’. Much before adventure travel became the norm, it was further propagated by the road builders in Australia. Also to note, overlanding can be done by any mode of transport where the traveller sustains long distance journeys over the ground. However, motorized vehicles have always been held in high regard among self-sufficient travellers, majorly due to the freedom it provides. The Land Rover, Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Land Cruisers have been the favourites in this segment.
So to speak, has India been introduced to overlanding yet?
The answer is a solid YES!
Indian travellers have already made their mark on the global media front with their extensive travelogues exploring the nooks and crannies of this country. Even if not a public’s choice of traveling just yet, overlanding made its entry in India with Voyages Overland – a startup founded by Bhairavi Sagar and Col. Jaidev Singh Rathore.
Overlanding is not your regular road trip – not by a long shot! At the heart of an Overland journey are safe and sturdy off-road capable trucks. It could be done in a car with roof-top tents as well. But it will be some time before the Indian traveller chooses that way and there are good products available to sustain a self-reliant journey across wilderness. Voyages Overland provides the overlanding experience in robus trucks converted to give the basic amenities for a long road journey.
The passenger truck a.k.a. ‘Bonnie’ is air-conditioned and comes equipped with a mini-fridge for those chilled beverages, personal lockers where travellers can store their daypacks, laptops and other valuables safely and roof seats to enjoy 360-degree views while on the road.
The camper utility truck a.k.a. ‘Clyde’ takes care of every other requirement one might have while on the road, including, a fully functional kitchen where all your meals are prepared, a washing machine for the long spells on the road – enabling you to travel light and five washrooms with both hot and cold water!
We cant wait to be on our Overlanding experience, and can bet it is very close to the top of our to-do bucket list. So when interviewing Bhairavi, we spoke about the feasibility and audience interest in overlanding. We also spoke about how this could change the way we look at traveling within or outside the country, just not by planes! She said, “We understood there will be challenges. Hence we provide guided Overlanding tours across India. We are the first in India to introduce Overlanding in the format where 4×2 heavy commercial vehicles have been modified as Passenger (a.k.a Bonnie) and Utility Trucks (a.k.a Clyde) which would be our vehicles when traversing India.”
If you are wondering about the amenities, don’t bother! They have got everything covered, along with five toilets! What more could you ask for? Clean toilets are the biggest deal-breaker for long road trips, which is why we carry Peesafe with us on all road trips!
When asked about the value Voyages Overland brings to a traveller seeking an experience of a lifetime on the road, by himself, she said, “Value to our customers is brought by aspects such as, our fleet of two Trucks, which are designed such that they cover every aspect of being on the road and make the entire experience of a traveller memorable. These cater for all travel, boarding and lodging requirements which a traveller may need to address, specifically on the road in India, where there is a lack of infrastructure to support remote camping and overlanding. The central idea of Voyages Overland’s itineraries is to experience the outdoors like very few have, while never losing sight of the tenets of responsible tourism. Most importantly, Overlanding with Voyages Overland is a carbon-positive, eco-friendly form of travel. Our aim is to bring back the groovy fun into community travel, gathering stories, memories, and travel mates that last a lifetime.”
That says it al, doesn’t it? So what are you waiting for! Go book yourself an overlanding vehicle and head out. The road can teach us so much more than what four walls could, right?
Voyages Overland presently covers three different circuits in India, namely – Rajasthan, The Himalayas and Central India. This circuit is recommended for the lovers of culture, art, architecture those interested to see the vibrant colours of everyday desert lives. The circuit in Central India is perfect for Overlanders with an interest in spirituality, art, and wildlife. The circuit covering the Himalayan range up north provides for a good mix of adventure and tranquil nothingness along with tremendous stargazing and nature walk opportunities.
You can check out Voyages Overland itineraries here.
Note to reader: Overlanding is considered a religion. We read an interest account of an avid overlander talking about the influence of social media on changing the idea of overlanding to an off-road drive with 4×4 vehicles. You can read his story here.