Have We Lost The Sense Of Adventure?

Overlanding, off-road travel, remote travel, what ever you want to call it, has always been an adventure, a chance to explore remote areas and experience nature in its purest form. 

toyota hilux overlander

I started travelling remote in the early 90s in my teens. This was back in Southern Africa where i spent the vast majority of my life since very little. I was young, naive, had no clue as to what it meant to travel remote. All I knew was I wanted to go exploring the path less travelled to destinations that sounded very mythical because some random person I met at the local pub had heard about it  from someone else. Who most likely heard from someone else. Naive I might have been, but approached it as smartly as possibly as I could. The local 4x4 club I had joined was very helpful in trip and vehicle preparations.  It is with this historical reference point I approach this topic I am about to write on.

In the past, travelers would set off on their journey with very little information, relying on their instincts and sense of adventure. Today, however, travelers can easily access a wealth of information on the journey and the destination, including photos, route maps, and even reviews from other travelers. While this may seem like a positive development, it has come at a cost: the loss of the true meaning of adventure.

hilux river crossing

To me the sense of adventure that comes with this type of travel lies in the unknown. The excitement of setting off on a journey without knowing what lies ahead is what makes it an adventure in the first place. However, with so much information available today, travelers can easily plan their trip down to the last detail. They know exactly what to expect, where to go, and what to see. 

In the past, overlanders would rely on their instincts and skills to navigate through unfamiliar terrain. They would have to rely on a map and compass, or a very basic form of a GPS and their knowledge of the area, to find their way. This meant that every trip was unique, with its own set of challenges and rewards. Today, however, with advanced GPS and route maps readily available, the challenge of navigation has been greatly diminished. In fact it will be quite the task to find somone who can actually read maps. 

Another aspect  that has changed is the experience of the destination itself. In the past, travelers would arrive at a destination without any preconceived notions or expectations. They would experience the place for what it was, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. Today, however, travelers often arrive at a destination with preconceived notions and expectations based on the photos and reviews they have seen online. This, in my opinion, can lead to a sense of disappointment or disillusionment when the place does not live up to their expectations. After-all with all the information available it is hard not to form one's own expectations. This has actually happened to us on a number of occasions. 

toyota hilux river crossing

The lack of knowledge at the pre-trip planning stage was another dimension which added to the sense of adventure and excitement. When travelers had little to no information about the places they were traveling to and the routes they would be taking, they had to rely on their own knowledge and experience to prepare for the journey. This included making sure they had enough food, water, fuel, spares and other supplies to last them throughout their trip. Possible delays due to unforeseen circumstances had to be part of the equation. Not knowing what to expect meant that they had to be prepared for any situation that might arise. As overlanders it was essential to be resourceful and self-sufficient. 

Furthermore overlanders had to be prepared for emergencies. SAT phones, personal locators and mobile internet connections were none existent. Travellers had to carry first aid kits, emergency blankets, and other supplies to ensure that they could handle any unexpected situations that might arise. They also had to be aware of the potential dangers of the area they were traveling in, such as extreme weather conditions or wildlife, and take appropriate precautions.

While the availability of information has made overlanding more accessible and convenient, it has also, in my opinion, taken away the true meaning of adventure. The sense of excitement and discovery that comes with setting off on a journey into the unknown has been replaced by a sense of predictability and familiarity. 

I would love to hear what you think of this. So please leave a comment to this post. 






1 comment

  • Yes, we have absolutely lost our sense of adventure. I think it’s this country or the times we are living in. Everything is so regulated and controlled that there is no mistery, no chance to make mistakes and take a wrong turn. Technology doesn’t help either with so much live info available to us. We are so fearful of the unknown that we over research every last detail to the point where we know the outcome of the trip as if you purchased a package holiday on Expedia.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published