Overland travel is one of the best ways to enjoy several destinations in a single trip, as well as the journey in between. Like many people say; sometimes it isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey.
Road trips are a great example of how the journey can be the core part of your trip. And a crazy road trip? Well, that adds another level of adventure and creates a trip that might go well into the unexpected.
Here are a few crazy road trips you should consider if you’re interested in hitting the road for adventure.
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads measuring about 30,000 miles in total length, extending all the way from Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.
According to the GuinnessWorld Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road" in the world. But, this road trip from the top of North America to the end of South America has a gap in between called the Darién Gap. Here the road stops for 60 miles due to the impenetrable jungle in Colombia. This is part of the craziness of this road. You need to figure out how to take your car across that gap! (Hint: ferry)
Other than that, the Pan-American Highway goes from cold climates, to arid deserts, dense jungles, flooded stretches during the rainy season, and a few shady and hazardous areas, among others.
The Inca Rally is a more manageable 5,000-mile road trip, but what it lacks in distance, it makes up for in difficulty. The rally starts in Peruand crosses the Peruvian Andes, then hustles through Ecuador’s desert, followed by Colombia’s plains and jungles, Venezuela’s Caribbean coastline, and ends in Guyana’s dense and mostly unexplored Amazonian jungle. Oh yes, and all of this is done in just 3 weeks!
This adventure not only takes you through stunning landscapes and hard terrains, but it also shows you the diverse cultural side of the northern part of South America. In addition, the Inca Rally raises money for charity and donates the car you use at the end of the rally to someone in need.
This is one of the craziest road trips you can ever imagine. It is a 10,000-mile journey from London, England to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. You will literally drive a third of the planet. But you know what? There is no set route in this rally! Want to go through Scandinavia, then Russiaand Mongolia. Good! What about through Eastern Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan(and all the –stan countries), and finish in Mongolia? Awesome! What if you want to deviate through Iran after Turkey? Fantastic! The route is up to you.
The Mongol Rally has a starting line, a few optional pit stop cities along the way and the finish line. The rest is up to you and you make the decisions on your own.
The entire journey is an adventure, especially after you enter the –stan countries, but from my experience, I can tell you that the rally “doesn’t really start” until after you enter Mongolia. You will cross the Gobi Desert (the 4th largest desert in the world) and will experience bad roads, dirt roads, and sometimes no roads at all. You will get lost, and your car will undoubtedly break down a few times. And, if all this wasn’t a challenge already, your car can only be up to 1.2 liters (small engine)! But, THIS is what makes the rally so crazy.
Just like the Inca Rally, the Mongol Rally also raises money for charity, so you help raise awareness to your chosen charity while having the adventure of a lifetime.
India is intense on its own and a trip to Indiacan be quite stressful without having to drive there. But let me introduce The Rickshaw Run, which is only 2,200 miles long. That’s it you say? Yes, this rally is short, but it is done in a rickshaw! In case you don’t now what a rickshaw is, it is a glorified 7-horsepower “lawnmower” used as a taxi all over India.
In this rally, you will be driving it among thousands of other rickshaws, along impassable roads and probably some of the worst and riskiest drivers in the world. Oh, and you do all this in 2 weeks!
This independent road trip is best done with a motorcycle, given to the fact that you will be crossing through Western African countries that barely have road infrastructure outside their main cities, and in some cases, don’t even have roads or bridges to cross rivers (which are the only routes to continue the road trip).
If that isn’t crazy enough, the environment is hazardous and harsh in several countries. You will cross desert plains under the scorching sun and dense jungles in Malaria-prone regions. But, don’t think it is all a hardship. You will have the opportunity to visit places most travelers don’t even know about and will witness cultures that are completely foreign to what would you expect.
Maybe The Transfăgărășan and Transalpina roads are not the craziest, but they are gorgeous and quite hard to drive. They cross the Southern Carpathian Mountains in Romania, winding up and down with really sharp turns and dangerous edges. According to TopGear, this is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. On top of its beauty, add Bran Castle to the mix – Dracula’s Castle! Yes, you are driving in Transylvania!
This road trip might be only 800 miles long, but it crosses a few countries you might not even know of or even dare to visit. This highway crosses the gorgeous Pamir Mountains from Afghanistan, passing through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and finishes in Kyrgyzstan. This is the same route that was used once as a part of the ancient Silk Road trade route.
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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