An unexpected start to the trip of a lifetime

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For the past 8 months we have been dreaming, planning, working hard and fighting to make our dream of driving around the world become a reality.

More than just a simple trip, Greeting The World has been and will be our life project – we decided to risk almost everything we have in order to experience something unique and make our mark on the world. We’ve spent countless hours defining an itinerary, planning what we intend to do, researching everything from traveling visas to road rules in Morocco, not to mention the unbelievable amount of effort we’ve put in to making our van a safe and comfortable home for the next few years.

As we are short on resources, we’ve had to embrace the challenge of doing everything ourselves… and by this we mean everything. From the very website you’re looking at right now to all the mechanics and modifications you see on the van, every single video we film and edit to the incredible amount of paperwork needed completing, we’ve done every single thing with our own four hands.

For months now we’ve been learning how to be carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, webdesigners, photographers, videographers, researches, sponsorship applicants and writers.

There has not been one single challenge we have avoided and we’ve cherished every moment. The video below can give you a quick idea of what we’ve been doing so far and how excited we are about it all.

Between working to save money and working on the car there is basically no free time for ourselves. If you don’t find us at the office, we’ll most likely be inside, under or on top of the van working hard to get everything done in time for our trip. We’ve pulled apart every centimeter of Vanda, checked every single part of the engine and built everything extra we wanted, exactly the way we like (with a few learners bumps here and there). We may not have even started driving yet, but our trip began long ago.

And now, just at the moment when we’re beginning to see the physical reality of our dream, tragedy strikes…

Yesterday we spent the morning exploring some waterfalls and bushland with some friends at a local national park. What stunning scenery and a glad escape from all the hard work! At about 2pm we said goodbye to our friends at the parking area and jumped in the van to head home. 50 metres down the unsealed road our lifelong dream was almost snuffed out for good.

Straight after the second curve, we were surprised with an offroad vehicle coming towards us at unbelievable speeds. My immediate reaction was to pull as far left as I could and stop the car, trying to make as much room as possible for the racing buggy to get past. Unfortunately the crash was unavoidable and we watched in what felt like slow-motion as the driver of the buggy locked his brakes and slid for 25 metres before crashing into us at 40 km/h. That was the speed locked on his speedometer after the crash, not the speed he was at when he saw us for the first time. Believe it or not, the speed limit on that road was 20 km/h.

Thankfully no one was seriously hurt. Vanda however had a shredded tyre, damage to the bullbar, bumper, four-wheel drive hubs and panelling, not to mention any internal damage we don’t yet know about. The superficial damage should be easy enough to fix, but at first sight our main concern is the fact that the bullbar is connected directly to the chassis and damage to the chassis could potentially mean a write-off. This could be some of the worst news bearable for us.

Immediately after the crash we panicked. It was tough to get our heads around the fact that even though we are so careful, someone else’s irresponsibility could potentially mean all those months of hard work are gone.

Now that we’ve had time to cool down we feel a lot calmer. At the end of the day the outcome could have been a lot worse. If Vanda wasn’t in the way, the buggy could potentially have ran over the two six year olds that were playing at the carpark just 50 metres behind us. We are very glad that nothing more tragic happened.

It’s eye-opening to realise that this could have happened anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter how careful we are, we’ll always be subjected to other people’s actions – we’re just thankful this happened while we’re still in Australia. If it had happened in a foreigner country where laws are different and police could potentially be corrupt we would have been in big trouble.

At the end of the day, if you’re commited to driving 100,000+ km around the world, you need to be ready for all sorts of challenges. This was just one of those challenges that has tested us and prepared us even more for the journey.

Although only a few months before our scheduled departure Vanda is now unroadworthy, it’s clearer than ever that our dream will not stop here.

We are determined to realise our dream, and in so doing we hope to encourage you all to chase what makes you happy. No matter what obstacles are thrown into your life, there’s always a way around them that will make you stronger and appreciate your dreams even more.

Update

We had our fingers crossed for Vanda’s visit to the mechanics and thankfully her chassis is repairable! This means the van won’t be a write off and, once we fix the damage, we can continue to prepare for our big road trip.

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