overland leads to Intrepid
Little did Darrell Wade, Intrepid CEO and co-founder, know that an impulsive journey 26 years ago would lead to an Intrepid Travel adventure that’s been going strong now for over 20 years…
“In 1984 I headed out from Kathmandu on a 3-month adventure that would change my life. I was in a 4 wheel drive overland truck operated by Encounter Overland. There were 19 of us and we spent the next 14 weeks crossing India and Pakistan into Iran, Syria, Jordon and Turkey. Amazing landscapes, diverse cultures and a brilliant group. It’s no exaggeration to say that every day was an adventure and it absolutely changed the way I looked at the world.
On that trip we met up with a competing company called Dragoman at a border crossing in Amritsar in the Punjab. I started chatting to a guy called George Dury, who was the driver but also the co-founder of the company. He was amazingly knowledgeable and also remarkably personable – overlanding drivers weren’t known for their people skills in those days!
As luck would have it, we ran into the group again some weeks later in Jordon and I jumped truck to join the Drago group for a few days. A few of us made an ever so slightly illegal night time trek through the famous lost city of Petra – we climbed high into the hills above Petra and camped overnight. Full moon and all. Amazing.
That expedition inspired a friend and I to buy an old Bedford a couple of years later for a 6-month overland across Africa – then Intrepid arose out of that trip.
As much as I love the Intrepid way of travel, somehow my heart still goes back to my overlanding days and the sheer adventure that entails. And so I was interested to see a Times article published recently on Overlanding. The words are by Charlie Hopkinson – the other founder of Dragoman – and it traces the history of overlanding from the 60’s when Tony Jones of Encounter Overland drove an old Austin from London to Kathmandu with a bunch of people. Tony formed Encounter Overland on the back of that journey, and Overlanding was born.
As luck would have it, Intrepid are now minority shareholders in Dragoman – and Tony Jones. after selling Encounter moved to Nepal where he still lives – and heads up our Nepal operations. (It’s a small world in overlanding!)
If you’d like to read about the history of overlanding and get inspired about the ultimate journeys, take a look at the article at timesonline.co.uk. Be sure to look at the photo albums for some great photos of current overlanding – and also some archive photos going back to the 70’s. Better still – get out there and do it yourself. It might change your life too!”
* photo by Tamalee Roberts – Intrepid Photography Competition