I’ve seriously considered building a 4×4 camper and shipping it to South America next year to travel the continent.
I write this on my last journey on the Dragoman overland trip. For the last 13 days I have traveled on a truck, called Archie, with 7 other travelers, and 2 crew, from Kathmandu to Jaipur. The others will continue to Delhi. From Jaipur I will travel south, hopefully by motorcycle.
I love traveling with my own transport. In particular I love the freedom to explore what I want, when I want. I have driven around Australia and around western Europe. I hope to ride south thorough India.
The benefits of having my own transport (transport, accommodation, food, etc.) outweigh the benefits of public transport (meting people, reduced costs, railway scenery, etc).
I have longed to travel in South America for some time. Because distances are far, and many things out of their way I had thought about taking an overland trip, which is how I discovered Dragoman.
Chatting with Hugo, the driver of the Dragoman truck I am on, I am seriously considering building a 4×4 camper and shipping it to South America to spend a UK winter there. Hopefully with my girlfriend, Abs. If she is not keen then perhaps I’ll do a shorter trip on a motorbike, like Ed.
In terms of vehicle I think a Toyota Land Cruiser is a good candidate. The build quality and reliability are excellent, as too are the prices. Landcruisers are 4 wheel drive, diesel powered and capable of carrying weight on the roof, and tyres on the rear door.
I would remove the rear seats, and make a raised floor for sleeping on. Underneath the raised floor would be spares, food, a safe and luggage. On the roof would be a tent, jerry cans and a tarpaulin. The raised floor would have bedding for the two of us, normally folded away, so that we can sleep in the back if necessary. Hotels would be my first choice, for security and comfort. But being able to sleep in the vehicle is great when necessary, and perfect at allowed bush camping sites. Abs loves being a girl, but can happily miss a shower and live with dirty fingernails on traveling adventures.
A 4×4 vehicle can go just about anywhere, anytime, allowing us to visit remote sites at out own pace.
Also in the back would be cooking and washing equipment. I would probably black out the rear windows for security and privacy.
Ideally I would convert the front seats to rotate around 180 degrees to face the rear, like in a camper van. This makes a more conformable living area, but this can be tricky to do.
Hugo and Zoe told me that their friends shipped a heavy vehicle from Spain to Argentina, with 2 people on the boat for £1,000. The trip took 1 week. This is cheaper than two people flying and is great news.
Would I sell the vehicle in South America, or bring it back home? I’m not sure, but I would like to bring it home, and then drive to India, and who knows, maybe across China, SE Asia, Australia, the USA and back home. Right around the world!