Ex Overlander Duncan Milligan from alternative adventure company ‘Tour de Force Adventure Logistics’ telling us about his experiences of how invaluable Local Guides are, being ill on the road & what to do in difficult situations
Get Duncan’s inside view on choosing local guides, eating street food and getting ill when travelling. Deli Belly and Inca quickstep are all part of the fun of travelling. You always hear the scare stories. What you don’t often hear is how easy it is to travel and the amazing hospitality you’ll receive but When it does all go wrong, never forget where you are that’s why you are there. An adventure is never an adventure when it’s happening, an adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquillity and anyone can do it.
More videos from e x overlander Duncan Milligan from unusual adventure company ‘Tour de Force Adventure Logistics’
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#02 Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventure traveller with Duncan Milligan : Tour de Force – Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
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#04 Adventure Travel: Round the World Travel Tips for the Adventurous Traveller - Filmed at the London Adventure Travel Show 2013
Transcript of ex overlander Duncan Milligan from unusual adventure company ‘Tour de Force Adventure Logistics’
You need to choose your local guides very very carefully. He was known as ‘Achmed the finger’ because he doesn’t speak much English and you sit in your truck and he guides you with the finger, you just have to follow the finger like that, and he has all these different gestures about what’s faster and what’s slower and of this kind of stuff. And he’s an amazing man and he knows the desert like the back of his hand. So I’m going to have to trust him. I don’t know how to drive across the Sahara desert, you know we’ve got GPS’ now, we’ve got all this new technology but your going to have to put your trust in people like this. Use local guides. Local guides I think are absolutely brilliant if you get the right ones. If you don’t get the right guide] you know you’re going to get ripped off, you could get lost, all sorts of other stuff, but really really do…those people live there, its their home, there going to know way more about stuff then you ever will and when I’m working, when I’m doing a job or what ever it is, taking people out there, I always make sure I’ve got that good local guide so when I need to know where can I find the nearest tire fixing place or the mechanics or a welder, this guy already knows it and he can take me to it so local guides are really really important and very very useful.
Will I get ill?
That’s the other one that people think when they’re travelling, eating street food all that kind of stuff. I love street food. This is in Cameroon. My golden rule is watch it being cooked in front of you. That’s the easiest thing. You will get ill. That happens, that’s part of the fun of travelling. Delhi belly, Inca quickstep, there’s all sorts of different names for it. Get used to it, its part of the fun of travelling.
And I think my favourite bit about travelling around this way around the world is there is always a solution. There’s always a way out. Now in the UK or in Europe we’ll end up, especially with officialdom, if a policeman or someone official here in this country says “no”, that normally kind of means no. That’s it that’s the end of the line. In the rest of the world no doesn’t mean no at all. “No” means try another tack. No means ask me a different question, “no” means wait ten minutes and go and ask the other guy over there, or lets talk about an express fee, lets figure out how we can find a solution is a really good phrase to use “how are we going to find a solution to this”, of me not having whatever piece of paper it is that you want me to have”
Weather it’s breaking down, there really useful, bits of tire inner tube that is, and you can wrap that around anything. It fixes leaks; it holds bits of metal together. Bush mechanics are really really useful. That was on the African rally, they needed to get across a river. So, what do you do? You put your car in a couple of canoes; its obvious. In Azerbaijan that was; at a bush camp at the bottom of a hill and one of our passengers spoke Russian and I said’ look I’m sure I saw a café as we were driving in, about ten minutes away, and she disappeared and she comes back half an hour later triumphantly leading these two tractor drivers. And I said “that’s amazing, how did you do that”, and she said “well I’ve never been into a café and ordered two tractor before”. And we found two tractors and they pulled us out of the mud. There’s always a solution. That might be the point to have that cup of tea, it might be that point to smoke a fag, whatever it is you need to do, regroup. There is always a way out, there is always a solution.
So as I said before, you hear all the scare stories about Africa. You hear all the scare stories about getting mugged in Rio. The stories that people come back and tell are not the stories when it all goes really well. “oh yes, we walked the Inca trail and it was fine, it was lovely and we got to the other end and there it was”. No, it’s the “oh no, I just died and I had a terrible stomach and we had to get up at three o’clock in the morning and it was really tough and…” so normally when you hear about a place, that’s what you’re hearing. You don’t often hear the good news or actually how easy it was to travel or the level of hospitality that you will get in places which in ever ever ceases to amaze me. You know I’ve had incredible acts of generosity as I’m sure a load of people in here have as well. People are buying your food for you, insisting you come to dinner, helping you fix your vehicle and not wanting any money….
A very good piece of advice I was given by a colleague of mine is ‘never forget where you are’. So when its all gone wrong, when you are in that place and you’ve missed that bus and your staying in this horrible grotty hostel or your having to eat some terrible food or whatever, you know that’s why you came away in the first place. That is why you have decided to come out of your comfort zone and experience this. And that frustration and that feeling of being on the back foot, not comfortable etc etc is perfectly normal, don’t give yourself a hard time about it, and every so often go “well actually of course its not going to work, its because….” never ever forget where you are when you’re in these places, because that’s the reason you travelled there in the first place.
An adventure is never an adventure when its happening! An adventure is physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquillity. It’s afterwards that’s its an adventure. It’s not an adventure at the time. At the time its shear terror, horror, panic, what ever it is. And that anyone can do it. Absolutely anyone can do this. I’m a passionate firm believer in this that there’s no-one in this room who couldn’t go and do it.
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