‘A dream that comes true, leads to other dreams…’ – Gaston Rebuffat
The legendary French Alpine climber Gaston Rebuffat’s ability to write in a graceful and profound way was almost as legendary as his exceptional skill as a climber. Of his many quotes, the one which sticks with me is the simple sentence above, given how completely it sums up the cycle of turning strange dreams into reality which is a dominating feature of my life. Before I even complete a journey, I always find myself looking forward, dreaming up the next adventure and savouring the dream as it forms.
So as the grand journey that was V8Nam slowly fades into the past, it’s inevitable that my thoughts have been drifting to the future. But how do you even try to surpass the gritty toughness of the African Porsche Expedition, or the glorious excessiveness that characterised V8Nam? Difficult question, but there is a way – you just have to think in a different direction. While both of my previous big trips were amazing in their own ways, neither was what I consider to be my ‘perfect’ trip, and next time, that’s the impossible goal I’ll be aiming for. I’m aware this sounds like a rather strange thing to say, but bear with me, as I’ve been thinking about what my prefect road trip would be, and the more I’ve dwelled on the subject, the clearer it’s become. So enough whaffle, what’s the who, what, when, where and why of my perfect road trip?
First of all, the perfect big road trip needs the perfect backdrop. It needs vast grasslands hundreds of miles across, crisscrossed by dusty tracks. It needs snowcapped mountains towering over empty deserts, and salt flats which stretch beyond the horizon. Soaring seacliffs and perplexing jungles are a must, as are awesome roads and epic cultures. Basically, it needs everything this planet has to offer in microcosm (except corrugated dirt tracks, of course). And for me, there’s one continent which fulfills my heady ideal better than any other, a place which from the Strait of Magellan to the Darien Gap is crammed full of tantalising vistas and amazing sights just waiting to be explored. Yep, as my big trips across Africa and Eurasia become memories, scenery such as that in the pictures below means that my mind has become increasingly fixated on South America.
So, what car would one want to cross South America in? Well predictably, I’ve got a few ideas. Firstly, it has to be a sports car. One of the real classic shapes in the world of performance, a perfect marriage of beauty and aggression. It’ll be fitted with one of the most charismatic engines out there, a torquey lump with a rarely-matched pedigree and one of motoring’s all time great soundtracks. And in a first for me, I want to have the vehicle fully ready for the challenge, with a roof tent and raised suspension like the Porsche had, but a level of reliability far beyond that poor, suffering steed. I’ve spent enough time lying under broken cars in the middle of nowhere; it’s time to do a trip with a tough, fully prepared expedition ready vehicle. So where am I going with this, what’s my dream road trip car? I’m afraid I’m not going to divulge that crucial bit of information until I’ve made it happen, but trust me, it won’t disappoint. It’s gonna be awesome.
So that’s the what and the where, which leaves who, when and why. Ignoring why as it’s blatantly obvious why someone would want to drive a sports car across South America, I’ll skip to the ‘who’ part of the question. My previous big trips have all been 2-car affairs, which is great from a moral support and banter perspective, but somewhat less so when you’re in a sports car and you’re forced to follow a Rolls Royce or Shogun at a stately 55mph for weeks on end. Because of this, I quite fancy a smaller, simpler trip next time – a trip distilled down to 2 people, 1 car and 1 amazing continent. Total freedom. Right now, as I muse this over while sat in Cambodia, I’ve no idea who the other person will be, but given what an amazing experience driving across South America should be, I doubt I’ll have too much trouble finding a potential partner in crime; the real challenge will be finding someone who shares my outlook on travel, and can face spending months on end in a car with me!
Which brings us to when. This won’t be happening for another 2 or 3 years, as there’s a more pressing project which I’ve got to give my post V8Nam time to – namely making a success of Dewerstone, the Dartmoor-based adventure clothing company which we’ve been using V8Nam to launch with a bang. There’s been some pretty epic progress on this project in the past 5 months and despite having very big ambitions for where we want to take the company, we’re getting there at quite a rate of knots, as this little video by Rory, Dewerstone’s man in the UK, shows.
So there it is. In 2013, we launched Dewerstone by driving a Corvette halfway around the world. In 2015 or 2016, if all goes well I’ll be setting out on my perfect road trip across South America, cruising from the Andes to the Atacama in a frankly awesome motor, with the instantly recognisable Dewerstone logo slapped proudly on the side, promoting our now-mature business.
Bring it on!