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Paperwork and Planning

Posted by on April 2, 2012

The address book, and the diary.

This is all about our route planning and documentation of our overland journey. When we decided to make this trip, I knew that Merv would be photographing everything that walked, talked, crawled, drove or stayed still long enough. And I know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture with no words is often taken out of context so I am writing up our trip as we go so we will end up with:

1. Photographs. Nuff said.
2. Online Blog and Facebook. Snippets and bits and pieces of what we see, or what we think may be interesting to our friends and family.
3. The Journal. This is my log of the trip, written up every few days from notes taken as we do stuff. I have always enjoyed the physical act of writing, putting pen to paper, so I am doing this the old-fashioned way!

4. (Update May 2013) We now have online maps that document the route we have taken so far. You can see them at the maps and routes page on our site.



My journal supply! The one on the right is the current one.

I enjoy good quality journals and stationery, so we’ve brought a supply with us. I also keep an eye for local supplies, and in fact have just bought a nice journal in Marrakesh in the Souks. I’ve been collecting journals for quite a while, and most of these are from some small Italian stationary stores in Rome, while others are from the TK Max selection and gifts from friends.

I don’t dislike using the computer and blogging, but I think there is something nice about a properly completed book that a blog post cannot replace.


Keeping the Journal up to date. No slacking here!

As well as journals, we have collected a lot of bits and pieces of paperwork other than the usual stuff – Passport, Vehicle Registration documents etc.



And Checklists – the more the merrier. We didn’t use that many, and perhaps we should have. Some folks live on lists, ┬ábut we don’t. We used the mog for a few weekends in Ireland to try things out before we left, so we learned what we need to bring, and what we could leave behind.

The bible by Chris Scott.

The book even has its own web site called Overlanders Handbook!


a few language issues to be sorted. Imagine being somewhere that you couldn’t order a beer!


Maps used for route planning in the americas

As well as jounals, I like to navigate using maps. Real ones.

We got most of our maps in Stanfords in London, well worth a visit if you have some hours to spare while visiting London.


The backup navigator – Garmin Montana 600.

For some reason, Merv likes to have this running, as if we needed it when i have all these maps! It’s on a proper Garmin mount on the dashboard, and is powered and charged by the mog as we drive. It records where we’ve been, and we use the files from it to generate the maps of where we’ve been which is handy i guess. He also brings it out on the bike to make sure we can find our way back to the Mog. Getting lost in the Mog is fun, but loosing it would not be so funny!



Route planning and route recording are all done on paper maps as well as on the GPS

On this map of Morocco, you can see the highlighted line where we’ve been.


South American guide books on our bookshelf over the bed


This “weather to travel” book is super for planning


One of the things about planning this trip is deciding when to be in each place we wish to visit. If we get it wrong, we will be driving from one rainy season to another! Great for waterfalls, but not much fun for camping. We got a tip to use this book from Stephen Stuart, one of the clever people over at the Silk Route Club (Uk branch).

We plan to read all of these guide books, and go over the maps during our sea voyage, when we sail from France to Argentina in July this year. That should help to pass some of the 28 days at sea!

4 Responses to Paperwork and Planning

  1. wastedwords

    I’m with you Sarah, there’s nothing like the written word. I kept a hand written diary when we went on our trip, scribbles really, but never the less a record of our day to day escapades. Brilliant to look back on and jerk the old memory! Josie typed out my rambleings and inserted some of our pics – we thumb through it often.
    Looks like your is much more comprehensive than mine (a travel book in the making me thinks?). Whatever you do with it eventually is of little matter except to yourselves. I enjoyed writing mine and although not an obsession, I could not switch off to the day without the days events being scribbled down.
    I look forward to having a peep at them sometime – shame you have no one along with you that’s handy with a camera really – ah well, mustn’t grumble!

    • sarah

      Yes if only I had a photographer with me, fancy a job !!!! I love the writing too,

  2. Claire Lyons

    well done Sarah with the writing, keep it up

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