VW Vagabond

This couple penny-pinched their salaries for several years, bought a VW Van, and drove it around the world (US, South America and Africa). They share what they have learned on one of the most helpful websites I’ve seen for this sort of thing. I really like their sensibility and advice. Very reasonable and very wise. They also “review” the tools and stuff they found vital in their small traveling home on this page. Click on a tool to see more.

They give good advice about shipping vehicles (very complex) and even saving up enough to make the journey. They have a book, too.

While living in a VW Van for three years, they got the idea that even this lifestyle was too complex so they get simpler for the next stage. They are now bicycling across Asia, another adventure and great idea. They are riding recycled 1980 mountain bikes. As usual they have all kinds of great tool reviews (water filters and the like).

Part of the reason their advice and website is so useful is that they have no sponsors — a rarity for ambitious trips like this these days. It keeps them honest and useful. Check ‘em out.

Sample excerpts:

Screen Shot 2012 01 30 at 5 35 37 PM

Screen Shot 2012 01 30 at 5 34 55 PM

Rain gear has proven to be pretty
much useless here in Southeast
Asia. To wear even the thinnest,
most breathable layer in this heat
creates a sauna-like effect. We
have taken to simply riding in the
rain… it’s refreshing, really! If it
pours too hard to see, then we
pull over in a bus stop and wait
for the drizzle to return.

Bangkok Station 4 am Rich Bike 313x230

This is Rich preparing to cycle out of the
Bangkok railway station at 4 a.m. Notice
the reflective vest and reflective tape stuck
all over the bike. Reflective vests are
available from almost any bicycle shop. The
3M tape is the stuff used on highway guard
rails in the U.S. We purchased strips of it on
eBay for a few dollars.

We purchased our down bags at the Veterans
Thrift Store. They are a few years old and
needed a good washing but are as functional
- albeit with less status – than their adventure
store counterparts. Rich paid $10 for his and Amanda’s was only
$1.65. We washed them on the delicate
cycle then ran them through the dryer on low
heat for a few cycles. If you put a running
shoe (make sure it’s clean) in the dryer with
the bag it will keep the down from clumping.
We hung them on the line for two sunny days
and now they look and smell brand new – or
close enough.