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Mike and Katie (Camel Trophy Overland)

Today's Explorers

Mike and Katie (Camel Trophy Overland)

June 26, 2022
6
min read
by
Charles Forman
UK
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Where are you from?

Bristol UK, Herefordshire UK

When did you start your interest in exploration?

Mike when he first passed his driving licence and purchased a Land Rover.

Katie during University holidays, but never experienced travelling in her own vehicle until we met.

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

Mike has always had a love for the outdoors, growing up camping as a family and every weekend away with the scouts, wild camping and exploring new places. Prior to overlanding, he was exploring the UK and Europe by mountain bike.

Katie grew up in a rural village in Herefordshire where her parents owned a village shop and post office. Consequently, holidays were rare as a family due to not being able to shut the shop, so it wasn't until university when she could start exploring the world.

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

Mike's a 'self-taught' mechanic who has been fixing his own Land Rovers for 17 years and will have a go at fixing anything. He's a strong believer that if all else fails, the internet will give you the answer! Mike's day job is a paramedic so it's also reassuring to know that it's not just the Land Rover he can fix if need be! We're both hands on and happy to get the shovels and maxtrax out to get out of any sticky situation. Katie also loves food and enjoys cooking/baking outdoors on the fire.

Where have you explored so far?

Overlanding: France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, East Australia

Backpacking: Thailand, Slovenia, Croatia, Iceland, Sweden, Hungry, Bali

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

We've explored many parts of the world, but are about to embark on a 12 month expedition through 14 countries through Africa.

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

Namibia is definitely on the list to visit in the next 12 months! Incredible scenery, stunning coastlines and amazing wildlife - what's not to like! Canada is also a dream of ours for the incredible mountains (Mike would love to mountain bike down these) and Mongolia for its vast remoteness.

Where would you recommend others visit?

For an easy, short trip head to Portugal for the incredible tracks in the mountains, great food (a Portuguese tart every day please!) port, wine and amazing wild camping spots next to lakes and WW2 mines!

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

1996 Land Rover defender 110. Original Camel Trophy vehicle factory fitted with; winch, bullbar, spot lights, full length roll cage, roof rack, underbody protection, raised air intake, heavy duty suspension and dual battery system.

Our top three modifications include the maggiolina roof top tent. We have had many different style tents over the years and this one is our favourite by far, due to the ease of setting up and packing down, as well as the very comfy mattress. National Luna fridge to make fresh fruit and veg last longer, as well as enjoying a cold beer at the end of the day.

The full length pull out drawer in the back, we fill this with food so makes an evening of cooking much easier.

What are five pieces of equipment that you always travel with?

-Jetboil

-Head torch

-A good tool set (we are in a Land Rover after all)

-A sharp knife

-A bottle of wine

What inspires you to explore more?

We both love the lifestyle of living out of our vehicle which enables us the freedom to explore new places, meet new people and experience new cultures.

How do you engage with others?

Being in a unique Camel Trophy Land Rover, automatically attracts other travellers and the Land Rover community in itself is like one big family. We enjoy sharing stories, food and a few beers around a campfire.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

Travelling isn't about getting from one place to another, it's about experiencing everything along the way.

What are your goals when you explore?

- To visit remote locations and camp in some wild spots

- To taste and cook local food

- To interact with local people and embrace their culture

- To appreciate the outdoors and the beauty of nature

What are some challenges you have experienced?

Blowing an engine up in a country where you don't speak the language! Trying to get it recovered and fixed was a challenge and involved lots of drawing in the dust/sand. Snapping a shock absorber when Katie drove over the only boulder in the Sahara Desert, resulting in lots of makeshift repairs until we could find a garage.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

Wild camping in the Sahara Desert, looking up at the star-filled sky with no man-made light. It was truly amazing!

How has exploration changed you?

Travelling around Africa has made Mike more patient, having to deal with constant delays and corruption at every border crossing and road block.

Katie had never known overlanding until she bought a campervan and travelled down the East Coast of Australia and now wouldn't travel any other way!

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

Take things slow for two reasons: Firstly, so you can take in everything around you and not miss anything. Secondly, without the Land Rover, we would go nowhere so take it slow and look after it!

How do you explore locally?

We regularly take the Land Rover on "mini" trips to cook and camp in new locations. We also enjoy exploring by foot, either hiking in the hills or walking local footpaths. Mike has a huge passion for mountain biking so is always exploring on 2 wheels.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

It is a community of people who share the same passion to travel the world and inspire others to get out there and explore.

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

Stop thinking about it, just get out there and do it. We do not plan our route in advance, but instead have a rough plan in mind and take it a day at a time. You never know what is around the corner.

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