Whether you’re cycling, walking or driving an Electric Car on your Career Break, there’s a logic to Sabbatical travel… it’s just probably not the logic you’re used to, that is why we travel.
When you’re travelling things will go wrong but with the right-mind set, things will turn out OK. To do this, all your western preconceptions need to be replaced with a completely new mind-set.
More videos from ex-overlander Duncan Milligan from Tour de Force Adventure Logistics
#01 Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventure traveller with Duncan Milligan : Tour de Force – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
#02 Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventure traveller with Duncan Milligan : Tour de Force – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
#03 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
#04 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller - Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
#05 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
For more information on Duncan and his company ‘Tour de Force Adventure Logistics, click here
Transcript: Duncan Milligan – Tour De Force Adventure Logistics – Part 3
[In part's 1 and 2, Duncan has talked about his life as an overlander, setting up his areer Break adventure travel company 'Tour de Force Adventure Logistics' as well as getting his first Sabbatical job as Tour de Force, which was to take a FLYING car to Timbuktu].
What sort of Career Break experience are you looking for, because this is going to completely decide on the nuts and bolts of your Sabbatical leave? How are you going to do it? Are you going in your own vehicle, are you cycling, are you walking, are you going on public transport on your Career Break or Sabbatical leave? Because each of those different experiences will be brilliant, ones not better or worse than the other but they’ll all be different. I had a client, really nice couple, long story short they were going to take an electric car round the world on their Career Break. I said ‘why do you want to use an electric car on your Sabbatical’, it was a brilliant idea, why, and he said ‘well’ he was a really nice guy, and he said when he first started to put it together he didn’t have his partner with him, his wife, and he said ‘I knew if I went in a fully kitted out land rover with all the bells and whistles and winches and roof tents and fridges and blar blar blar’ he said ‘I knew I’d turn up in a place and I would then sit there in the restaurant and read my book or I’d id sit in my beautifully kitted out land rover ad I wouldn’t I actually go out and see anyone because I’m English and I’m reserved and I find it quiet difficult to do that. The electric cars got a hundred mile range’ he said, that it, and he said ‘at that point I’m then going to have to knock on someone’s door literally with a plug and go can I plug my car in please’. And that was his way of having a great experience. He knew that this car would give him the experience he was looking for, it would force him to do it and I thought that was a great idea.
This is really important when you’re travelling. There is a logic. It might not be the logic that you’re used to and India is a fantastic example of that. India is a totally chaotic cultural explosion of sounds, smells, people, colour, no sense of personal space, billion people there, they all want to know where you’re from, are you married, etc., etc. etc. Now in India you build a truck in one factory and then you’ve got to get that truck to another factory to get it finished. Now in the UK you’d put it onto a low loader and you’d take it down the M1 and you’d take it off and blar blar blar. In India you just get in and drive it. Now if you saw that down the M1 you can imagine how far he would get. In India, no-one bats an eyelid at that at all. It’s a perfectly logical, cheap way of getting one vehicle from one place to another. So when it comes to road rules, when it comes to crossing a border, when it comes into checking into a hotel, whatever it is, you’re going to find yourselves in situations going ‘this is ridiculous, why on earth are they doing it like this’ and you’ll feel yourself getting frustrated and annoyed and saying ‘bloody hell, it would be so much more efficient if they could do it this way’. There is a logic; it’s just not the logic that you’re used to. So when you find yourself getting frustrated, and I’ve been there many a time, you have to go ‘well hang on a second, ok, this may not be the way that I do it but actually this is the way they’ve been doing it for years for various reasons and I’m going to have to go with that logic’. So try and find the logic. It is in there somewhere. You’re just not quite sure what it is. And you’re going to have to put on a different mind-set. Again, if you saw that going down the M4 he’s not going to get very far, and I think this was just in Morocco, we’re on the edge of Europe here, perfectly natural normal thing to do, no-one’s going to bat an eyelid at that.
All your western developed preconceptions need to go out the window. You need to kind of start with a clean slate in terms of your mind-set and everything that you’re doing. And any time you find yourself getting stressed I bet you most of it is because you are trying to apply your mind-set to a different kind of area.
[Diplomacy] This is the really really important one, you know, it’s such a cliché but it’s true. You’re a guest in these countries. I’ve seen tourists doing horrific things and for me to be there and you immediately want to go out there and go ‘I’m not like them, I’m not like them. Diplomacy, tack, patients, are you doing things the way they should be done, are you culturally aware, say in Muslim areas, something like that, in fact these kids, these are the Karate kids, these are the ones that thought I was Chuck Norris, and so your trying to bridge the gap between them thinking I’m Chuck Norris and me not knowing how to speak to them etc. etc. etc. So, diplomacy is really really important. Everyone, you are an ambassador for your country and you need to be really really aware of that.
Things will go wrong. This is why you travel. It’s not if it goes wrong; it’s when it goes wrong. Have a plan and then be ready to throw that plan out of the window. Here’s me driving through India ‘this will be find, this will be no problem at all, I’ve got to get the group to wherever’, I can’t remember, Deli or somewhere like that. They’re all getting flights tonight, ‘oh, we’re nearly there, this will be great’, coming round the corner and see this. And this is not good, this is a road that is completely washed out, there’s a massive flood and there’s just chaos everywhere. And suddenly I’m going ‘but I’ve got to get to Deli, I’ve got to get these people to Delia and you know that’s just not going to work. You can’t get angry, you can’t start shouting. You’ve then have to be able to throw that plan out the window and come up with another one. I’m not talking about if, I’m talking about when. When it goes wrong, because it will go wrong and don’t forget that’s actually part of the reason your there, I’ll talk more about that [later on], but it’s not going to go to plan, I absolutely guarantee.
When stuff does go wrong when you’re driving through the Ecuadorean jungle and you come across this, that’s full of fuel, and it’s the only road that you can take, stop. If you…I was going to say have a cigarette but not in this particular instance, it wouldn’t be a good idea. But that moment of stopping, having a nice cup of tea, or going away and smoking a fag, having a think. Don’t dive straight into what you might think is the initial immediate thing that I need to do. Actually ten minutes sitting having a cup of tea having a think, you get somewhere and you’ve missed your bus, or the hotel is full or you’ve got to this place and it’s all gone wrong, so as we talked about when it goes wrong, it will go wrong, just take that ten minutes to kind of go ‘all right, let me think about this.
Has anyone read Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon? Amazing book, I highly recommend it. He talks at the beginning of that, and I think it’s the opening chapter, about his bike breaking down, he’s on a motorbike, rides around the world, and his bike breaks down and it kind of rolls under a tree in India and he gets off the bike and there’s obviously something really wrong with it, there’s oil pissing out or something like that, and he says all he does is he gets off and I think he sits down and lights a cigarette or something like that; and he said ‘I sat down and I waited because I knew it would all work out. And then the rest of the book goes on to tell you about how he ended up in India and how he ended up with that mind-set, that he’d gone through all this stuff going wrong and trying to fix it, and realising, and it takes a while, that actually sometimes all you need to do is just stop and sit and it will work out. It will happen. You are going to be travelling though places where stuff goes wrong all the time. So there’s an entire infrastructure built in already. Like tires, people go on these big vehicle based expeditions. They take six spare tires with them because you know what if we get a puncture and then we get another puncture. You go around the world, there is, all the tires are rubbish in most of the places, so there’s an entire infrastructure there of a little man at the side of the road with a pump and a patch to fix rubbish tires, so you’re never going to have a problem fixing tires wherever you go, because that infrastructure is already there, it’s not like Quickfit here where there’s one between each town. There that infrastructure for stuff going wrong is already in place because it goes wrong all of the time.
Duncan Milligan from Tour de Force Adventure Logistics talking at the Adventure Travel show in 2013 about the type of jobs his adventure company receive.
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