Dear friends, fellow overlanders, and all readers,
This post has been looming in the distance for some time now. But no matter how hard we’ve tried to postpone this part, the time has come. The arrival home, and the final trip report from the unURBAN Adventure through North-, Central-, and South America, Africa, and Europe.
But first! We had the first flat tire in three and a half years of travel! It happened on the autobahn (German Highway) only a few hundred kilometers from home. Our tires have now done close to 90 000 kilometers (56 000 miles) and are ready for replacement, but they have done AMAZINGLY well! More action on the German autobahn was a scraping sound from our rear brakes. Worn out pads… I was hoping they would last us home as we need to replace the discs as well, but nope. Fortunately, Germany has the best prices for car parts in Western Europe, so we bought more or less all we needed for our next services. We changed the brake pads before continuing west towards Belgium and Ostend on the Atlantic coast. A small detour, but we were invited to a friend’s wedding. We also like detours…
All the way through Northern Africa, The Middle East, and so far in Europe we had no rain. In fact, we hadn’t had rain since Ethiopia! We drove from Belgium to The Netherlands, and then back into Germany. On our way north towards Denmark the sky opened up, and it was pouring down. I think maybe someone tried to tell us something, or at least, we were seriously tempted to turn back south.
On the top of Denmark we lined up for the ferry across to Norway. We arrived late in the evening and pitched our roof top tent in the line waiting for the ferry. Early next morning the crew came over and woke us up for check in.
Weather was getting better and better, and the five hours sailing to Norway was comfortable and quite nice. The ferry arrives in Langesund, only about an hour from where Malin grew up.
We were a little worried as the Patrol hadn’t been in Norway for three and a half years. In Norway all vehicles need an approval from the traffic authorities every second year, and when this is not okay, police and customs will look for the license plate numbers. However, they only do random checks, and we counted on being lucky, or rather, not being unlucky. We were waved through without any questions. Phew…
It felt strange pulling into Malin’s parent’s drive way with the Patrol. The feeling of not having been away at all is something we’ve heard about from other overlanders, but this is really true. It is of course also really nice to be welcomed back by family and friends. The Patrol was emptied of all the stuff we’ve been hauling around the last couple of years, and I think we filled up the bag in the vacuum cleaner. Except from all the car parts, the tools, and the cold weather gear, our stuff went into the barn together with the rest of our stuff that has been stored there since we left for North America.
There were still a few miles to go before we were at the end of the road for our trip around the world. We built the Patrol and prepared for the trip close to where I grew up on the west coast. The drive over the mountains was stunning. Norway really showed us its best side.
We’ve now had some great days on the West Coast. The weather has been way better than usual for this time of year, and we’ve hiked and kayaked and chilled out on the veranda.
Malin is going back south, and I’m about to start working on our Patrol. All the good stuff and the camping equipment is going off, and the original Nissan stuff is going back on. This picture of the Patrol is the end of the unURBAN route - west coast of Norway. Our journey is officially concluded.
So, here we are. Home at last. Fortunately, we have new contracts for another season in Antarctica. Hopefully this will take the edge of the “oh-my-god-what-are-we-gonna-do-now” feeling, and we can perhaps try to deal with that sometime in February. If I’m lucky, there is another blue 6x6 van waiting at the South Pole that needs moving, and Malin will be taking care of the camp kitchen.
We’ve had a fantastic adventure. Maybe we’ve been lucky, but we are also careful and try to think things through before we choose our route. In our experience almost everybody we’ve met has been friendly, helpful, and curious about us and our trip. Nothing has been stolen. Of course we’ve heard about things that went wrong from other travelers, but mostly relatively innocent stuff, and probably not more than what we hear from friends back home after a night out in town. Travel! You’ll be fine!
In more than three years of blogging and posting on six different internet forums we haven’t got a single negative comment, but lots of advice, kind words, and people saying thanks for us taking the time to share. It has been a pleasure! Reading all the positive comments on the forum has been a huge motivation to keep writing and posting.
To all of you out there who have been following, reading, and commenting: thank you, thank you, thank you! It has been one hell of a trip!
More soon? ;-)
All the best,Espen & Malin