When you’re on the road, meeting other overlanders is, sometimes, a little like coming home. Chatting to locals or connecting with friends back home is great, but only other overlanders are in the same boat as you right now – traveling the same route, battling the same bad weather, just crossed the same tricky border, or dealing with a similar mechanical issue. When you meet other overlanders who have been on the road for a similar amount of time, it doesn’t matter where they’re from or where they’re headed – there’s an instant connection, and instant yup, been there sort of a bond that’s impossible to create with locals. Whether you just spend a night around a campfire sharing stories or end up riding with them for a bit, meeting overlanders on the road is usually an awesome experience – but where do you find them? Now that the roads are starting to fill up with travellers again, however slowly, here’s where you’ll usually spot other overlanders on the go:
That’s right – just head on over on Instagram and see who’s going where. Instagram is responsible for at least 30%, if not more, of my overlander friends, and even if we don’t always end up riding the same country or meeting in real life, there’s usually plenty to talk about. Just this month, I met a couple of Italian TET riders in France heading home, and hung out with Dutch overlanders in Northern Spain – all because of Insta connections. If you’re looking for other overlanders on the road, just shoot them a message on social media – chances are, if they’re in the area, they’ll happily go for a coffee or a beer and swap stories. Alternatively, Facebook groups are an overlanding mine – from the traditional Horizons Unlimited hangouts to specific bike or route groups, you’re guaranteed to meet someone who’s headed your way.
Campsites and iOverlander Spots
If you’re not much of a planner, all you need to do to meet other overlanders is…camp. Sooner or later, you’ll hit a campsite or a wild camping spot that’s popular among other riders, and you’ll meet travellers spontaneously wherever you go. Some spots, like the Moto Camp in Bulgaria or the Steel Horse in Colombia, are famous overlander hubs where you’re guaranteed to meet people riding in the same or opposite direction of you; other campsites may be more obscure, but most overlanders camp, and a lot of campers are overlanders, so you simply can’t go wrong. And if you’re not sure where to camp, there’s always iOverlander – one of the most popular long-distance travellers’ apps for camping spots and route information.
TET or TAT
Another easy way to meet other overlanders is riding the well-trodden ADV routes. The Trans Euro Trail, the Trans America Trail, the Ruta 40 in Argentina or Careterra Austral in Chile, the Pamir Highway, the Road of Bones – all these roads are famous among overlanders, and they’ll be there for the same reasons as you. On routes like this, all you’ve got to do is…stop, especially at the gas stations, campsites, or bucket list destinations, and chances are, you’ll meet other overlanders more often than you might imagine. Better yet, you can buddy up for the longer, sketcher sections of the route – on the notorious road to Lake Turkana, for example, motorcycle riders often team up with 4×4 overlanders to stretch the fuel range.
ADV Meets and Events
Now that adventure motorcycle events are back on the menu, at least in some countries, they provide perfect opportunities to meet other riders planning (or already doing) the same trip as you. From the Adventure Bike Festival in the UK to Horizons Unlimited events all over the world, overlanders flock to these meets for a chance to hang out, catch up with friends, and exchange route and border information. Can’t find an ADV event nearby? Throw one yourself – just pick a campsite you like, create an event on Facebook, spread the word, and you’re good to go. It may not yet be possible everywhere in the world just yet, but as the restrictions ease, there’s a chance there’ll be more spontaneous ADV meets than ever happening this and the next year.
Granted, some of the best encounters and chance meetings with other overlanders on the road are usually the unplanned, unexpected ones, and there’ll be plenty of those along the way, especially if you’re planning to travel for months or years. However, if you’re already on the road and feel like you could use some company, don’t hide from people – meeting other overlanders can be a huge boost in morale, and you never know who’s going to cross your path and make a friend for life.
When you travel, how often do you meet overlanders on the road? Share in the comments below!