Jarryd and Alesha, writers and founders of Nomadasaurus.com, have been traveling together since 2008. They are currently immersed hip deep in an epic overland journey from South East Asia to South Africa. They have sworn off the use of flights as a mode of transportation, opting instead for land based travel.
We followed Nomadasaurus via social media and blog posts before we actually met them and their lust for adventure served as a point of inspiration for us. We admired their zealous desire to experience, and integrate into, local culture and their passion for exploring the road less traveled. When we finally got a chance to hang out in person this past December in Vietnam it became clear that these two fine folks were, indeed, awesome.
Recently Jarryd took some time out of his rather busy schedule to answer a few questions for our Travelers of the World section.
What inspired you to travel from Asia to Africa using only land based transportation?
Our whole “Thailand to South Africa without flying” adventure came to us during a bus trip in Mexico. Lesh (Alesha) really wanted to travel Africa, and I was intrigued by the Middle East. The more we talked about it, the more the journey grew in size. We threw the ‘no flying’ rule in there because we believe you miss out on so much of the world from flying above it. Obviously overland travel is a lot more of a challenge and takes up a lot more time and money, but the rewards in our opinion will be incredible.
What do you think the greatest benefit of slow overland travel is?
Being able to immerse yourself in different cultures. The longer you are somewhere, the more you learn about the local customs and people. Having no time frame allows you to stop off and really appreciate every piece of beauty you encounter. It also works out to be a lot cheaper, as you aren’t constantly jumping on buses and trains to get from place to place. You have time to scope out the cheap places to eat and can even bargain down a room for long-term stays.
What is the coolest thing you guys have done this past year (other than meeting us, of course)?
Other than meeting the legends at Just A Pack, the coolest thing we have done is explore Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave. It was a last minute opportunity that we could not pass up on, and it was the most fascinating thing we have ever done. Besides that, our entire Southeast Asia motorbike adventure has been life-changing.
What is the number one place you have been that you guys would want to return to?
Phong Nha in Central Vietnam. The bucolic paradise really had a huge positive effect on us, and is one of the most special places we have ever had the pleasure of exploring. Most people only stop for one or two days and feel like they have seen it all. We were there for 2.5 months and were discovering new adventures and things to see every single day.
You meet someone who tells you they want to travel and see the world but that they think it’s too expensive or too dangerous. What do you tell that person?
The cost of living your life on a pre-defined path, structured by outside forces, and letting society tell you what you want is far more dangerous. There is nothing wrong with people who think it is normal to save up thousands and thousands of dollars for a nice car or TV, as long as it is what they truly desire. But if you are holding back on exploring the world because you feel like you have an image to uphold, you may have to re-evaluate your priorities. As for as it being too expensive, it is just about learning how to travel on a budget. In many places, you can travel for less than it costs to live at ‘home’. Most of the dangers portrayed by the media are just hype, and I honestly feel more scared for my safety in cities like Sydney and Vancouver than I ever have in developing nations. Don’t hold back on following your dreams because of an unconfirmed fear. Get out there and explore this beautiful world while you can!
What is next for Nomadasaurus?
We’re now moving our way through China, and will be spending the next year backpacking here, Central Asia, and the Middle East. We have done very little research (besides learning about the visas), so every day will be a new surprise for us.