3. Moving houses, and an overland adventure to Germany

We’ve been thinking for a while to go to the Annual Overland Show that is held in Bad Kissingen, Germany.


It is a 4-5 days fest in June for overlanders and off-roaders where they can show off their luxurious vehicles with tremendous equipments and tyres size of a car, mingle with like-minded folks, meet manufacturers and companies who are specialised building parts or perhaps the whole of these vehicles.

So it seemed like a good idea to go but a couple of things we needed to consider were;
1. it is quite costly. We thought perhaps driving would be more convenient in case we buy some bits for the vehicle so we just chuck them in the car and drive it home.
2. it is exactly at the time when we are moving houses. And it isn’t just a quick move. We need to sort hundreds of items and think 4-5-6 months ahead: what goes to storage and what comes with us then later to storage but keeping the season change in mind too, then prepare and clean the whole house and the garden for the new people moving in.

So, of course, we decided to GO!

After a long few days dropping off the truck at the engineer company, boxing, packing, lifting, storing and moving, just as we were in our ripped jeans and worn-out T-shirts, with a few last bits in our car boot -some cleaning products a pair of rubber gloves and the hoover; Plus! leaving the house keys with the purchaser’s mother (practically a stranger) as we wouldn’t be there for the completion day, we headed down to Folkestone to catch the Eurotunnel.

A puncture, a few wrong turn-offs (as the satnav broke just as we left England! So I was the map-reader) and about 5 kg of cherry munching later we finally arrived and headed to the show.
We really came here to get inspired, find an answer, as it were, for how we should do this project also get a few tips and perhaps some good offers, meet manufacturers and of course to feel the buzz and shoulder-rub with hardcore globe-trotters. What we really saw on the show was some unbelievable vehicles, custom-made for a fortune for their owners who travelled extensively in their dreams but probably never got further the borders of Germany. OK that might not be true but I mean, just look at these beasts all shiny not a scratch on them.

Bad kissingen 01Bad kissingen 03

Bad kissingen 01a

(photos: All copyrighted from Google Image Search)

So the next morning we decided to ditch the show and visit the campsite instead where most of the visitors were staying with their overlanders. This was far more exciting than the exhibition. I felt these folks were the overlanders camping with their converted MAN and Merck trucks, sometimes, DAF etc. And these vehicles had far more creativity put into.

Bad kissingen 04Bad kissingen 05Bad kissingen 07

(photos: All copyrighted from Google Image Search)

These people were all very friendly and happy to chat through how they converted their trucks. We had a few good chats, invites in to their vehicles to have a look inside. Most of them had dogs that they picked up on their travels in Egypt, South America or in remote Mongolia. I quite liked that!

So we got the inspiration we wanted.

2. Hunting for engineers

Good job I learnt yoga. I needed the pranayama breathing technique… But here we were.
Luckily we found a place, near our home to park it but only for a few weeks. And here it is in its early form.

Back Camera

BURT before his makeover
April 2012

Back Camera

BURT before his makeover
April 2012

With a nervous smile on our faces, we used to say “we don’t know what we don’t know” but trying to stay optimistic, keep adding “but how hard can it be?”
John’s research of the whole project and search for an engineering company, who builds this kind of vehicles started. (Although we wanted to build it ourselves, there still were certain things that needed to be done by vehicle engineer professionals.) Unfortunately the only guy, we heard of, used to exist as an Overland Vehicle converter in this country, has vanished. So this needs a some more searching…

Meanwhile, my notice at work came to an end and I finished my job. At the same exact time, we sold our house and we needed to move out within just a couple of weeks (the speediest house-selling process in property history!)
We had a generous offer from family to move in to their spare empty house in Shepshed (in the Midlands), under the agreement that, within 2-3 months, this house needs go on to the market too so we need to look after and maintain it which was fine with us. But most importantly we had a peace of mind knowing that we have a place to go to.

During these hectic weeks, John’s desperate but rock-solid determination to find an engineer company was unbelievable. He literally moved mountains to find one in England, in Scotland, Wales -we really didn’t mind where just needed a place. It was pretty much race against time at this point.
Finally, Google Search page 34, there it was: MR ENGINEERING HIMSELF. And guess where? In Shepshed. 10 minutes walk from the house we’re about to move in. If this isn’t a sign then what is?