It’s not every day that you see a little Suzuki hatchback with Greek license plates in the middle of Kenya.
It was a unique first impression of a unique couple, whose overland around-the-world journey we’ve had the fortune to follow.
It was Nikos that approached us at that campsite in Nairobi three years ago. He was a passionate fan of Le Petit Prince (we’ve met several of them over the years, including, most recently, at a Lowe’s parking lot in Tucson!) and wanted to show Bruno his Petit-Prince necklace. The two – obviously – hit it off.
Nikos and Georgia became friendly neighbours over the following few days. We watched the bush babies jump from one tree branch to the next every evening. We showed Georgia the interior of our vehicle (they slept in a rooftop tent and she was dreaming about a more comfortable future vehicle design). One evening, they brought beer to share with us under our little awning, and we talked of travel and freedom and life.
I listened to them share the creative ways they’d managed to fund their travels through Africa, mostly by staying longer in each place, and occasionally of finding a volunteer or work exchange opportunity. Not only had this helped them make their dream of long-term travel a reality, but it had clearly created meaningful connections and memories, and a deeper understanding of the places and people they visited.
Though I didn’t know it then, Nikos and Georgia called this style of travel traveliving.
Our time with our new Greek friends was brief. They had their visas for Ethiopia and Sudan, and would continue their journey northwards, towards Europe, toward home, and then, who knew? Yet, as with most meaningful encounters during travel, they left a lasting impression on me (and Bruno on them – they forevermore have referred to him as their mentor!). Not only did they share a similar passion for and style of travel, but they were the first young overlanders I’d met.
Perhaps this is why, over the past three years, I’ve kept in touch with our Greek travel buddies through email and their blog, The Pin Project. I’ve followed along as they returned to Greece to make money and plan the next stage of their overland adventure (which involved trading in their Suzuki for a minivan). I followed along as they took their new vehicle to Canada (my homeland!), and I pushed pins into my mental map of their journey as they’ve made their way slowly down the American continent. Along the way, I’ve often asked them for tips and on-the-ground info, since they’re always a step or two ahead of our own overland journey!
It was during one of those emails that Nikos announced to us that he was writing an e-book about overland travel, and asked for our feedback, editing skills, and photos of our beloved Totoyaya. We’ve been pretty busy these past months with our bus conversion project, so I wasn’t able to contribute as much as I would have liked, but I still feel like I’ve witnessed the incredible amount of time, research, and hard work that Nikos has put into this book (which has me convinced that I won’t be writing my own anytime soon!).
My goal with this post, then, is more than simply to introduce another set of overlanders to you (which is something I’ve enjoyed doing on this blog here, here, and here): it is to support Nikos by sharing his personal contribution to our wider traveling community!
Introducing Nikos’ e-book: Traveliving: A Romantic and Practical Guide
It makes sense that Nikos would title his E-book, Traveliving – it is, after all, the term he coined to describe his traveling philosophy and style. He and Georgia deliberately slow down and extend their stays in places so as to better understand and interact with a place and its people. They are more interested in connection and understanding that in ticking items off a bucket list. Traveling, for them, is a lifestyle (a mindset, even) rather than a trip with a set route and return date. I’m pretty sure they plan to travel forever – or at least the foreseeable future.
This is also why they seek volunteer, work-trade, or working opportunities along the way. By working along the way, they travel according to their values, but they also make their trip sustainable, from a financial aspect. (In this way, they are similar to our overlanding friends, Phil and Angie, who do a lot of HelpXing, housesitting, and other random work-trades as a way to offset travel costs, connect with locals, and travel differently.) Nikos and Georgia have done some of the most random jobs possible – from working at a cattle farm or fishing lodge to a doggy salon.
Written from the lens of a traveliver, most of Nikos’ e-book details the many aspects of how to live and travel this way. This book is exhaustive, and I am very impressed that Nikos has described literally every aspect one should consider in preparing to live this way. He details the following, using his own experience and that of others he has met along the way:
1) Choosing your mode of transportation, with the largest section devoted to choosing and kitting out a vehicle
2) Trip paperwork, bureaucracy and logistics
3) Route planning, with lots of online resources and forums
4) Financial planning
I think the practical stuff is the strength of the book. The section of transportation alone is almost 100 pages long, and details every different type of possible road transportation, suggests considerations when making one’s choice and setting up the vehicle, and gives tons of personal tips from people who have actually made these choices (and lived with the consequences!). He offers charts of all the possible gear you could/should buy for each mode of travel.
The section on finances and budgeting is especially encouraging for people who dream of traveling but don’t have passive income or tons of savings. Nikos and Georgia travel on 500 euros/month (the amount they get from renting an apartment in Greece), and they describe very openly how they make this work for them. They even provide detailed breakdowns of their pre-departure and travel expenses for each continent they’ve visited, and they give some tips on how to make money on the road. Because finances have always been a struggle for them, I think they have become very well-educated on this topic, and they have a lot of light to shed in the pages of their book.
This book is written by a traveler for anyone who wants to make long-term travel a part of their life. I’d recommend it for someone curious about the lifestyle I describe on this blog, and especially for someone who is in the process of making this choice or is actively preparing/planning for an eventual departure. Because of its exhaustive information and list of additional resources, I think it’s a great starting point for someone with little or no experience of long-term travel.
If you or anyone you know fits that bill, please do consider purchasing a copy of Traveliving: A Romantic and Practical Guide. You can find out more, and order your copy, here.
Big congratulations, Nikos, for writing this e-book and offering a comprehensive practical contribution to the growing community of people wanting to live lives outside of the box! We wish you and Georgia the best on your continued South American travels and beyond, and hope to meet face-to-face again someday!