One family's never-ending road trip

One family's never-ending road trip
PHOTO: Reuters

How one intrepid family shook off normality for a life on four wheels.

It's one thing to talk about quitting your job to hit the road. It's another to actually do it and set out to traverse the entire world, one continent at a time.

And, it's a whole other world to load your wife, your two children, ages 9 and 4, into your DIY-modified 2003 Land Rover Defender 130 to drive until, well, the money runs out.

That's what Graeme Bell, 41, began with wife, Luisa, 40, and their children, Keelan and Jessica back in 2009 after Luisa's adventurous father unexpectedly passed away.

Feeling the weight of impermanence, they decided it was now or never. In the seven years since, they have logged more than 100,000 miles, driven through 30-odd countries, and tried to live on the equivalent of £40 (S$80.55) per day.

"We're at our best when we're travelling," says Graeme who describes his family as "longtime nomads" who prefer the backroad journey to the actual destination.

The Bells hail from Cape Town, South Africa, and first tested the life as short-term nomads in their beloved Defender, "Landy". Long-haul road-tripping - or "overlanding", as it is known to those who do it - involved plenty of vehicle research.

After considering Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols and even the odd Unimog, the Bells settled on Land Rover's venerable Defender 130 Double Cab Pickup.

In the family's back garden, Graeme installed a stout aluminium canopy before embarking on their first big overland jaunt - to Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro and back, a distance of close to 7,500 miles.

Overland bug bitten, the Bells have since shipped Landy across the Atlantic and explored South America and Central America and into the US and Canada. Most recently, they drove from Argentina to Alaska.

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