Posted by: Megan | August 8, 2007

There’s more to the sole of the muddy boot that meets the ground – in getting around!

There’s a lot of crazy ways to travel around the world. When I was leading I always witnessed people’s excitement the more crazy the transport. Water buffalo drawn carts in Thailand, donkey hacks in Kashgar, and disco inferno buses in India – were just a few of the modes that had people squirming in their splintery seats with delight. I have always been a foot girl myself though, taking long hikes through the Himalayas, doing the Manly to Mosman walk in Sydney, jogging the ridge tops of the remoter sections of the Great Wall of China. Sometimes its walking, sometimes power walking and sometimes it’s an outright sprint that gets my endorphins pumping. But then sometimes – I wish there was more.  And … I have found it …

Working for Intrepid Travel is not only amusing but aides my vision of the world beyond the dynamism of my well-worn boots – given it is a company that essentially uses any moveable mode of transport to view the world at differing angles … just no guarantee at an upright level – that’s all! “Would that be; Rickshaw, motorbike or the tough backside of a donkey?” – I once asked a group of mine in a bid to ascertain which mode of transport they preferred to take to the border of China and Vietnam! It wasn’t an uncommon question really when leading with Intrepid! Employee or no employee though I’m a self-proclaimed (addicted) advocator for continually adding to my comprehensive list of ways to (alternatively) travel the world – how that pig managed to survive when it fell to the fields off the top a particular local bus ride in China I took I am yet to understand …

Now then, if the truth be known, I do have a little obsession with jeeps as my ultimate way to travel. The perfect motorized vehicle for an off the beaten track experience! I will accept ‘windswept and interesting’ over ‘gorgeous and glamorous’ any day.  Sure … I’ll accept both but …

Last year was the year of the jeep (although the Chinese would dispute this with dog)! Starting out with exhilarating dust ridden miles scouring the Serengeti in a rugged jeep in sight of the big 5 – complimented (mind you) by my voluntary David Attenborough voice over in sync with the mass sightings of the wild – it was then time to sever ties with the hilarity that safari provided me with for the ultimate jeep journey to date.

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Above: On track (just) in the Serengeti National Park!

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Above: So, like I said ‘windswept and interesting’ …

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Above: It was never said the sojourn of the Serengeti would be smooth!

Santa Claus had no hope in finding me last Christmas in Costa Rica as a rugged jeep-come-tractor ride preceded a gum boot tromp through the mud and slush as the only means of proceeding to the jungle lodge of Rara Avis! Perched amongst miles of untouched rainforest – the lodge was the base for Christmas Day 2006! It was one of those classic back-to-back nature experience provided by local transport at its’ finest! In a vehicle not so dissimilar to that used in the TV series Mash – it seemed only right that on that particular journey I be known as “Hot Lips Houlihan”!

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Above: Christmas Day does not get much more fun than this!

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Above:  In black – “Hot Lips Houlihan”?

In just less than two weeks now I will be reacquainted with the Chinese local transport system when I take to leading again – my first trip since 2003. No doubt this experience will further be enlivened by the overnight train journeys!  Time soon will tell!

Have you a great local transport experience to share?  If jeep isn’t your fetish then what is?


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