All Overlanders know the situation: you are excited to go on your next overland trip to Whateverstan and so many people do not understand why you like this very basic way of traveling to places wild and remote instead of doing an "all inclusive trip" to a fashionable place everybody else just rhapsodizes on! ... Having to endure those situations makes it triple great and important to meet other overlanders.
Since a couple of years, Karin-Marijke and Coen from "Landcruising Adventure" (12 years on the road with no end in sight) have been organising their "Overland Reunion" in the Netherlands. Last year we were invited to join and, of course, this year that weekend was a fixed date in our calendar.
Especially impressive is the relaxed and amicable, nearly familistic togetherness at this overlander's meeting. It is the first real summer weekend after a very long, cold and windy winter - also in a literal sense. Last year we had made friends with many of the participants and this year our circle of friends is growing as well. And just like last year, we enjoy staying out boozing in Michelle's and Pieter's "rolling café" in their old Citroen and just like last year they again are our "neighbors" on the campsite.
We have the feeling to be right in the middle of the group without having been members for a long time. True cordiality!
In snuggly round cooking, feasting and drinking together, at the barbecue, having breakfast or just enjoying a coffee in between, travel tips and other important bits and pieces of information, routes and even contact persons in remote lands are shared between travelers of different experience. Scott and Robert provide us with handy tips concerning photography and travel writing.
Apart from the cosy get-together people compare and discuss gear and vehicle-conversions and give "tours" of their eyecatcher overland vehicles.
As usual, our children only need a short period to thaw and soon are somewhere on the wild and romantic campground frolicing, playing and socializing - without needing a common mother tongue.
For us, it simply is great and important to know that other people are as "crazy" as we are enjoying the overlander's lifestyle and supporting each other unselfishly. We are not alone with our ideas and dreams which at home are referred to by others as being insane and irresponsible. Especially if you are at the starting point of overlanding, it is so very important to meet other people who share the same dreams and live them, have been doing so for years even. That's what dreams are there for, right!? To be realized and lived! Again the "Overland Reunion" creates a lot of positive energy in us! Our dream job is clear as mud: traveler!
Overlanders are an international community in which nationality, origin, age, job history et cetera simply don't count ... in addition to that, it even doesn't count how long and far somebody has been traveling up to now ... there is no "higher, faster, further" showing off! Many participants have met Coen and Karin-Marijke on the road and are old travel companions, but even without that background, we never feel like outsiders.
For us, the "Overland Reunion" is an annual highlight and it is a bit sad that we can't be here next year!
This year's Overland Reunion is also important because we want to check our gear, find out what's still missing, do some maintenance work, reduce, reduce and reduce ... to pack the Land Rover ready to leave for Africa, since our final countdown has already started: it's only one month and we will be on the road as well ... going down south to North-East-Africa, which we will hopefully reach in late September or October ... We are so very excited!
When saying "Goodbye" to Coen and Karin-Marijke and thanking them for organising this very special event, Coen replies humbly, "Why? I didn't do that much for it!" But that's exactly "it", the reason behind the very relaxed atmosphere here. I thought to myself, "I have great respect for this easygoingness ... I probably would have plan B, C and D in the back of my head in case it should rain ... way too organised! ... which would have stressed me! Would I have been able to chat as relaxed and easygoing with everybody here just like Karin-Marijke and Coen did it?" Traveling obviously also means traveling to one's "self" ... Thanks a lot for organising!