On October 1, 2019 we, Sonja and Gert Jan, started our overland world trip with our Milady Landy, an old Land Rover Defender, built in 1998. From the Moroccan desert, to the ice fields of the North Cape, we have already experienced a lot and our old Land Rover. Our Milady Landy has taken us everywhere with her reliable commitment.
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We travel full time
After our Africa adventure in 2016-2017, we decided to overland travel to make our lives. We sorted everything out, quit our job, sold our house and left at the beginning of October 2019.
Who we are
We are Sonja Van den Berge ('58) and Gert Jan ter Haar ('56), parents of 4 adult children and grandparents of Jules. We have made many beautiful trips, together and with our children. The highlight of those trips, and a life-changing journey for all of us, was our 6-week safari through Tanzania in 2006.
We realized that Africa a continent is that you don't let go and made plans for new trips, if possible with our own transport. For our children, the trip meant an intensive introduction to a completely different culture. The people we met are friends for life and the further development of our children has been influenced to a greater or lesser extent by this fantastic journey.
In her working life, as a teacher of Dutch as a second language, Sonja has always been in contact with other cultures. Gert Jan has gained a lot of international experience as a civil engineer and project manager of underground pipeline projects. Together we managed to realize our wish to travel through Africa. Despite the busy and expensive period with children growing up and studying, we got our own 4×4 with which we could drive to Tanzania.
We managed to get 2016 months off in 2017-6 and explore Southern and East Africa with the first Milady Landy, a Land Rover Series 3, all the while. Another fantastic journey, with major consequences for our future as overland/world travelers.
Our first trips as full-time overland travellers
When we left in October 2019, our first plan was to travel to and through Morocco as a pilot for the world tour and to test ourselves and our equipment. In the fall we traveled through Europe, in Salamanca we refreshed our Spanish with an intensive language course and then we made the crossing to Tangier in Algeciras.
We were previously in Morocco for a shorter period of time, now we fully enjoy the space and especially the time we have to explore the country extensively. It's fantastic, lonely beaches and ocean cliffs and arid plains and deserts of the Sahara. We have special encounters with sweet and hospitable people and especially enjoy our freedom. If we feel like staying somewhere, we will, even if it is for a week. If we want to take a new path, we can, we “Travel to the Horizon”.
Dreaming about the following destinations
We are already dreaming of our next travels, Italy in March and then further south, towards Turkey and Iran. then Mongolia, China and Southeast Asia. Then Australië, New Zealand, South and North America and finally Africa† Until the world comes to a standstill in early March 2020, a flu wave called Covid-19 hits Italy, so we can't make the crossing there. Too bad, but we have found a nice spot in the Moroccan desert for a few weeks…
Today our Land Rover Defender camper, Milady Landy, really feels like us tiny house on wheels† But how did we choose this old Land Rover Defender?
The first Milady Landy Land Rover
Our first overland vehicle was a Land Rover Series 3, built in 1980. I bought it after our Tanzania adventure for €355 via EBay in England† With my own hands I completely disassembled the car, rebuilt it and made it reliable again, our first Milady Landy.
With a roof tent and basic camper equipment, we traveled through Africa for 6 months in that car. A wonderful journey where we were introduced to the full-time overland life. The car with roof tent was fine for traveling in Africa and the interior was geared to outdoor living. We did come to the conclusion that the car was really old and needed the necessary “maintenance” on the way.
A new Milady Landy
With our plan for full-time overland travel in mind, we started looking for a new vehicle. We have reviewed countless options, from overland trucks (too big, too expensive) to standard motorhomes (too luxurious, not enough versatile). Ultimately, the choice remained between a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Land Rover Defender. When I came across a reasonably priced Land Rover Defender 130, also in red, I knew, once a Land Rover, always a Land Rover.
This car, a Land Rover Defender 130, built in 1998 with a 300 Tdi engine, would become the basis for our overland vehicle. With its long wheelbase, the car offers extra interior space and, above all, the space to build in a bed long enough for me, Gert Jan, 2,03m.
I took care of the technical part of the car myself, with the expert support of Car company Robbert Janssen in Etten-Leur and lots of useful tips on YouTube and other internet forums.
At PSP Expedition Campers we had the superstructure with lifting roof custom made. Paul van der Beek was happy that he could finally make a roof for a 130. With some extra own details and new rear panels and back door I was able to pick up the car a few weeks later. I also built the installation according to my own design and made it myself. Paul has also made an extra diesel tank and drinking water tank for the necessary supplies on our long journeys.
Also read: How to: Buy or convert a campervan
Inside we have plenty of storage space for our daily necessities, food, pots and pans, kitchen tools and of course our clothes and toiletries. A good Engel 60 liter fridge keeps our stock fresh and fresh and there is room for the necessary tools and spare parts. We cook on diesel and also heat the interior with our Wallas XC Duo. On the roof we have a roof box for the off-season clothes and dry stock, there is a solar panel and two more sturdy cases for recovery equipment and maintenance material.
All in all, our Milady Landy is designed for many overland adventures with known and unknown challenges. This car is increasingly becoming our own and when we close the curtains in the evening, we often say to each other: “how wonderful to be home again”. Milady Landy is a nice tiny house on wheels with the world around us like a huge garden.
My mother often said: “Making plans is fun, and if they don't go through, we make new plans”. One of our mottos. It has become apparent to us that the plans we make often do not (or cannot) go ahead. Whether it's security - the war in Mali -, health - the corona pandemic -, or politics - the developments in Russia en Ukraine – the plans you make must be flexible.
Our plan to travel the world overland and full-time is still standing. But we now know that the route we will drive can change from day to day. We “Travel to the Horizon” and enjoy not being locked into any itinerary or set itinerary.
As it looks like now, we will head towards after the summer of 2022 Asia, Turkey and Iran. Then on to the east, but what will the route be like? Which continents will we travel more? We'll see, we're guided by the Horizon and you'll read it on our social pages and here on Wereldreizigers.nl.