Having met in the British Army, Alec and Jan's love for each other immediately shared a love for adventure! After working in Canada, Antarctica, and the Sultanate of Oman, they finally had enough savings to follow their dream and venture out in their Series III Land Rover (their first home as married couple) to explore more of the world, to engage with others, and to embrace global cultures.
"At the beginning of February 1977, all our lists were checked off, the ferry was booked, the Land Rover was ready and there was nothing more to do. The time had come to realize our dream"
Traveling down from England, Alec and Jan began experiencing life on the road and the joys of living in the confines of their new home. Their bed was just thirty-nine-inches wide, and sat snug up against their kitchenette and concealed chemical toilet, and it was perfect. They drove through Germany, reminiscing where they first met, then South on through France, Spain—eagerly into the ferry port harbor of Algeciras to cross over into Africa!
"We awoke the next morning and listened to the waves rhythmically lapping the seashore...Raising the blinds at the back door, we lay in bed, cherishing the scene before us."
Navigating with only maps and a compass, Alec and Jan plunged into the soft desert sands of the Sahara desert. The adventure had definitely begun as they crossed in convoy with another overland couple.
The sand turned into lush green forests as they made their way through Nigeria and Cameroon. Unfortunate trouble at that time, on their planned route ahead, meant they would need to change course and head back through the Sahara for a second time, this time alone.
"The tarmac road stopped and the Land Rover plunged straight into the desert."
Back in the busy streets of Europe, Alec and Jan delighted in some relaxation and taking in the sights of historical tourist spots. A time to casually walk the water alleys of Venice, learn the history of Rome, and wake up in the quiet forests of Vienna.
After receiving much needed water filters from England, they started up the Land Rover and drove East through Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and into Turkey.
"We really liked Romania, such beautiful scenery and friendly people. The journey up to Sighetu Marmetiei and south to Bogdan Vodă to Borsa was one of the most fascinating. People lived in little wood houses, with carved wooden gates."
Driving through Iran, the landscape and architecture changed again from the majestic Elburz Mountains to the bustling streets of Tehran.
In Afghanistan, Alec and Jan joined other overlanders, in convoy, to tackle the rugged central route from Herat to Kabul. They witnessed the world heritage sight of the Minerat of Jam and the terraced lakes of Band-e Amir. Smiling locals waved as they traveled along, pointing the way and welcoming them into their homes.
"Our Land Rover led the way out of town, followed by the Swiss and backed up by the other Brits: three Land Rovers fitted to the hilt with cross-country equipment, winches, shovels and spare parts, and topped up with fuel and water."
Sharing the road with bicycles, elephants and hordes of people, Alec and Jan relished the energy of a colourful culture.
Climbing in the Himalayas, a highlight of their journey was to park their trusty Land Rover at the highest point of the highest road in the world.
The journey continued as they made their way home to England, their hearts full with memories to last a lifetime.
Alec and Jan first met in Germany whilst both serving in the British Army. Alec, an aircraft engineer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and Jan, a midwife nurse in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps. They instantly shared a love for each other and a hunger for adventure.
Their 1977 overland journey changed their lives, and led them into careers working in community development projects in Mali, West Africa, Germany, and Moldova.
Today they delight in the adventure of sharing their story and inspiring travelers to explore more of the world, engage with others, and embrace global cultures.
"If you've ever dreamt about travelling around the world in a Series Land Rover, read this first"
"What the Formans found was not just an epic off-roading adventure, but a new perspective on the world, encountering new landscapes, foreign cultures and kind strangers along the way — the kind of life-changing experience we all dream about."