Kiwis Greta and Sam have spent the last 18 months travelling the Northern Hemisphere mixing up their travelling styles as the journey dictates. Everything is based around Baloo, their epic camperised Defender. Covid 19 has forced them home to NZ, so what better time to catch up with the couple and get the inside scoop on how it all works.
We bought Baloo in August 2018 very quickly after our last Defender was stolen so we wanted to make a quick turn around so that we could still hit the European summer. We picked up Baloo and we were on the ferry to France the next day.
We had the mindset that we had all the basics already and anything that we needed we would just pick up along the way. We didn’t really think first that the language barrier was going to be an issue but we got there in the end.
Our travels mainly consist of living in the vehicle however we have done a few small trips in between. We have had family fly over to Europe and meet us so we have gone for a few weeks at a time with them and left the car in storage. We also like to follow summer around so when it got to winter in Europe we flew to Sri Lanka for two months until it warmed up again.
We also managed to travel the Middle East while Baloo was on a shipping container to Australia. We did take a month long trip to Morocco sadly without the car as we couldn’t quite sort out insurance for that country. We like to mix it up as sometimes, on the road it’s harder to meet other travellers so when we mix it up and go backpacking we make loads of friends who we then visit all around Europe!
Check out Baloo in more detail HERE
Before Sam’s Defender addiction became apparent, Greta, did you even know there was such a thing as overlanding, or thought you’ll be doing it?
Sam has always loved Defenders yes! I have always had an appreciation for them as we have used Sam’s Series III every summer to road trip and it is such a cool car but I never imagined travelling in one.
Originally I was the one with the urge to travel so bad and for a long period of time that vanlife seemed to make the most sense from a budget perspective. Sam was not so keen to travel in a van so he suggested a Defender, which is very small, but we eventually decided it was the right vehicle for us.
Sam had always watched many Youtube videos of people overlanding to super remote destinations and that was always his dream. Europe you cannot get super remote but it was a start. In the end I didn’t care how I travelled as long as I got to do it for the longest period of time possible so overlanding worked out to be the best option for both of us to enjoy!
Check out Greta’s How to Buy a vehicle in the UK HERE
What’s the sketchiest thing that has happened Overlanding for you guys?
To be honest we have been really lucky at not having that many dangerous things happen to us while in the car. We have of course had a few questionable moments on some off road tracks but we don’t do anything to intense as we would be risking our home. Obviously we have also had our fair share of bad luck (car stolen, Car crash, had to go home because of Covid).
One of our most memorable moments that we laugh about now is the time we got caught in a hurricane in the south of Spain that resulted in flash flooding. We were camped up for the night next to a beach and had a crazy lightning storm all night. The next day there was a lot of water around where we camped but that was no stress for the defender. We drove into town to do our laundry to find that all the streets had completely flooded. We took one street that looked fine but the whole road actually dipped in the middle resulting in the water completely above the bonnet. We had water gushing in our doors but it only broke our heater. We found out later that day that 10 people in the area had died so it was a bit of a scary time.
Do you alternate between the roof tent and the bed in the back; like what determines where you sleep?
We love our roof tent! We sleep in it 80% of the time as it is a lot more comfortable and has a lot more space. We built the conversion in the back for times that we are trying to be secretive camping in cities or if the wind is to strong for the tent. It’s nice to have both options so that we are prepared for any situation. We stupidly bought cheap foam that is not very dense so we have to layer a lot of blankets underneath us if we sleep in the back.
We also like having it as an option for friends. We have slept 4 of us in the car quite a few times. Our roof tent is a standard double. The back of the car is a single so its quite tight but perfect if you don’t want to set up the tent.
When you look through the One Way North Insty account, you’ll see Greta and Sam have gone places! It’s not cheap to do all that travel.
We have both been working since we were 15 years old and to be honest we are just really good savers. We were originally saving for a house deposit but then decided to spend it to go travelling. We worked out roughly how much money we would spend each year and then we figured out that we would be able to travel for about 3 years if we stuck to a budget.
We live super cheap on the road and with good planning on supermarkets you can save a lot. We have actually only picked up work once; it only lasted 4 days grape picking in Australia while we were trying to kill some time. It ended up paying badly and wasn’t worth it so that was the end of working life for us hahah.
Another way we managed to cut costs down is that when we go to Sri Lanka we have been for four months now over our travels. We volunteer at a hostel in exchange for accomodation and a little food so that helps us stick to a small budget when we are away from the car. Before travelling Sam was a kitchen designer and I worked for a property development company.
You’re back in NZ because of Covid19, Baloo is parked up in Western Australia… what’s the plan for the rest of the year?
Yes we are back in NZ which brings mixed emotions. It is lovely to see our families but sad to stop our trip for now. We have no clue if it will take less or more than 6 months but we are just seeing how we go. As soon as Australia opens up and it is acceptable for people to start traveling again we will head back over to Australia. Depending on what time of year it is we will have to change our route so that we can hit the right places at the right season which unfortunately may mean we have to miss a few things that we wanted to do.
We are planning at this point to try and convert Sam’s Series III into a simple camper and possibly explore a bit more of NZ while we wait for all the travel restrictions to lift.
The One Way North’s Five Tips
1. Just leave, no-one is ever going to be prepared enough, better to just have the basics and then buy things as you go. You figure out pretty quick that you don’t need all the things you thought you might.
2. Invest in quality gear. Its annoying when things break all the time and you are always needing replacements. Buy quality and reputable brands for items that will be used all the time. e.g. fridge or roof tent.
3. No one cares what you look like on the road. Pack what you think you will need then half it. You really only need the basics depending on what climate as you end up wearing the same 4 outfits on rotation anyway.
4. Keep one top of your Jobs. Looking after a rust issue or replacing parts of the car. This always needs to be done especially if you have a Land Rover. Its good to keep on top of all your jobs so that nothing goes wrong when you least expect it.
5. To help stick to a budget pre plan supermarket shops well so that you don’t waste any food or have items that take up space that you don’t need, We cook 3 meals a day 7 days a week and hardly ever eat out. We are able to fit everything inn our car and a 47L fridge. We do one shop a week and carry two back up meals incase we can’t get to the shops.
Check out Greta and Sam’s Instagram account One Way North HERE
And for some of Greta’s excellent, detailed travel blogs and tips check out their website One Way North HERE