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MY STORY

I was always a very curious person and felt, the more curious I was, the more I learnt about things in general. It was this curiosity that took me on my very first over landing trip to the outback of the land I grew up in - Africa (Botswana).

Accompanied by a good friend who shared the same level of curiosity as I did, we were completely unprepared in terms of vehicle preparation and supplies. Putting it mildly it was a complete naïve attempt. In the 500 km (310miles) we covered, what was meant to be a three-day trip turned out to be an arduous six-day trek. We had to endure so many vehicle breakdowns (I would care not to remember) and ran out of food. Our 4x4 we had bought on a shoestring budget had seen better days and our utter ignorance of what terrains to expect in the outback did not do this old fourbie any favors.

If I was the type to go by first impressions then this was certainly unpleasant enough to have kept me well away from the outback for the rest of my life. Yet thanks to the old adage “it’s about the journey than the destination” turned my unpleasant first experience to a life changing moment that would keep me going back to the outback every opportunity I got as long as I am alive.

Despite the troublesome first venture, the breathtaking landscapes, the wild life, flora & fauna, the histories of the lands I passed through, the generosity & humility of the people I met along the way touched my heart deeply. This experience taught me that travel was not about getting to the destination as quickly as possible. I learnt it was more important to soak in every place along the way. To have a truly enriching experience, each place I travelled through, if I was to get to know it intimately, I had to expereience the people,the local culture, feel the smells and taste the food. To me, until I had done this, I was merely a tourist and not one with the land I was tredding on.

Over the past 25 years, since that first experience, I have done a countless number of over landing trips back in Africa. This continues since I moved continents a few years ago. A perfect way to get to know my new home - Australia.

At first I recorded my travels in a personal hand written journal as this helped me to gather all my experiences in one place for me to reminisce over as my years passed by. These became talking points when friends and family gathered. The more I talked, those around me wanted to know more. With everyone scattered all over the world, meeting to share these memories was not that easy, thus the birth of my on-line journals in the form of overlandjournals.com

I still continue to do my hand written journals as a personal keep sake. At the same time, through this website I attempt to share my journeys with not only my global friends and family, but also those who yearn to venture outdoors.

Living in an age where our children spend more time in cyber space than the real world, I hope my journals will inspire others to spend more time experiencing the diversity of this great planet.

  • Duncan Udawatta