Larger-Than-Life Overland Adventures on Very Little Money: Dan Grec (Ep. 13)

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Dan camping in the Canadian Rockies after buying his little Jeep, to practice using his gear and setup, before setting out for his Alaska-Argentina journey.

At the infamous border of Mauritania, after driving through a minefield. Dan’s Africa circumnavigation started in West Africa, and will end in Egypt.

Dan grossing the Equator for the second time in his life, this time in Gabon, West Africa.

 

anybody can have a big adventure

Dan Grec thought of himself as an ordinary guy. As a middle class kid growing up in Victoria, Australia, he thought that to have a fun life, you needed money, and to have money you needed a good steady job.

Then, as he entered his 20s, he started noticing people who were having larger than life adventures on very little money. Ordinary people like him. Following their example, he started planning his own big adventure.

In 2009, when he was in his late 20s, Dan quit his engineering job in Calgary, Canada, to drive his Jeep Wrangler all the way from Alaska to Argentina on a budget of just $10,000.

He wrote two books related to that journey: The Road Chose Me, a travel memoir of that trip and Work Less to Live Your Dreams – which shares what he learned about changing his relationship to money and work to make adventures like these a reality.

Now Dan is on his second major overland adventure, this time driving a Jeep all the way around Africa, a journey of 80,000 miles that he estimated would take him about two years.

In this interview, host Lisa Hoashi catches up with Dan in Tanzania, as he nears the end of his trip in Africa. They talk about how Dan made the leap to his “overlander” lifestyle; how he financed a trip like this, and what it’s actually like to be out on the road solo for such a long period of time, in super remote places.

 

memorable insights

  • What “overland” adventuring is all about — how it’s similar to “vanlife”, though usually in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and has the capability to go off-road or on rough roads like the kind West Africa is infamous for.

  • How Dan saved money for his big adventure driving in his Jeep from Alaska to Argentina, saving money from his engineering job, in his late 20s in Calgary, Canada.

  • How growing up a middle-class kid, Dan thought there was only way to a fun life: to make money through a steady job. How working a ski season in the U.S.A. and seeing other people having larger than life adventures with little money started to open up his mind to other ways of making his dreams happen.

  • Realizing that even regular people — who weren’t wealthy or famous or sponsored by National Geographic — could also have big adventures in life.

  • To build confidence for such a long, ambitious adventure (Alaska to Argentina), he started taking mini-adventures on the weekend in his Jeep.

  • How he approached his second big overland adventure in terms of planning, financing (he went back to a full-time job to save), sponsorships and blogging/social media.

  • How he has set up his Jeep on his second journey, including the must-haves he knows he needs now to have a good time on the road.

  • Some favorite places and animals in Africa. (Spoiler: Gabon and elephants.)

  • His advice if you want to try out an overland adventure yourself.

 

3 QUESTIONS I ASK EVERY GUEST

1. What do you wish you had known before you took your leap?

2. What was the most unexpected thing that came of your leap?

3. For someone who is thinking of doing something similar, what one piece of advice would you offer? 

 

Dan’S RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

BOOKS BY DAN

Work Less to Live Your Dreams: A practical guide to saving money and living your dreams
The Road Chose Me Volume 1: Two years and 40,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina


OTHER RESOURCES

Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon - the true story of Ted Simon who went around the world solo on his motorcycle, the book that helped Dan see that even ordinary people could go on big adventures.
lostworldexpedition.com - Luis and Lacey exploring the world
homeonthehighway.com - Younger couple exploring the world
wikioverland.org - The community excyclopedia of Overland Travel (Everything you need to know to travel a country, continent or the world)

 

CONNECT WITH DAN

 

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