Overlanding Families: Jeanne and Tai

Overlanding Family Jeanne and Tai

Hey! Here is my interview on Jeanne and Tai, a mom and her son from Cape Town, South Africa. For the past 3 years they have been Overlanding Europe and Asia, now they’re here in South America for a year! A truly inspirational trip if your looking to travel with young ones!

The Interview

Wyatt: so can you tell me your names, ages, and where you work?
Jeanne: work [laughs] I’m Jeanne I am 47 , and this is
Tai: Tai
Jeanne: who is?
Tai: twelve
Jeanne: we are from South Africa, from Cape Town in South Africa. And we work on the road

Wyatt: Where did you guys get the idea or inspiration for this trip?
Tai: well, I’m highly ADHD. And they wanted to give me a facilitator in school
Jeanne: and medicate you
Tai: and medicate me, I was already on the medication not the facilitator
Jeanne: so I decided to Homeschool him, and we decided. I was a single mom, working hard. We thought we’d rather go to Thailand. Because it was cheaper, I could take more time out to do the homeschooling. And when we got to Thailand we realized that acctually we only needed an hour a day and so we could move around. So we put our backpacks on and off we went. We did Cambodia, Vietnam,Laos
Tai: Myanmar 
Jeanne: Myanmar and Thailand, obviously in Thailand. And after a year we went home and realized we didn’t want to stop traveling. But Ty needed a little bit more security, so we decided to get a camper van and off we set for Europe. We went to Europe and the Balkans and the back up through Italy. Popped home for Christmas  then back again and did Switzerland, Spain, France, and Morocco  and now we are in South America.

Wyatt: Why did you choose this specific vehicle?
Tai: she needs a toilet 
Jeanne: I wanted a toilet, most important 
[Laughter]
Tai: plus it’s easy to get through. It’s two beds which is the luxury of this car the lovely soft beds. Plus it has a kitchen, cupboards and it has enough space for us, just enough. But we’re still in each other’s space
Jeanne: I didn’t want to cook outside, I wanted my kitchen inside, I wanted a toilet, and there’s a shower. Obviously water is always scarce, so you don’t use it all that much, but it’s still there should we need it. And we both work! We need to be able to sit with our computers in a space that is ok, so if there is a storm or rain we need to be able to continue to work, so we opted for the beast, his name is Thor
Wyatt: Thor?
Jeanne: yeah Thor
Tai: I don’t really know what it stands for still
Jeanne: the god of thunder
Tai: no no, I mean like obviously it has a title, like ummm…-
Jeanne: next question 
Tai: yeah next question 

Overlanding Family Jeanne and Tai from Cape Town

Wyatt: Has Thor ever broken down?
Jeanne: Thor?
Tai: No
Jeanne: Thor we’ve had a few problems with electrics and things like that, but our old campervan  in Europe
Tai: properly broke down
Jeanne: yeah, we lost 2 gearboxes. Yeah
[Laughter]
Jeanne: and our campervan in Europe was called MilesMcFlatery 
Jeanne and Tai: cause flattery will get you everywhere
[Laughter]
Jeanne: but Miles didn’t get us everywhere 
Tai: he did, he didn’t
Jeanne: so yeah we have broken down

Wyatt: What are your ideas or thoughts on this form of travel?
Tai: cheaper, easier to get around, and you get to meet so many new people it amazing. Plus the views and sights you see are spectacular
Jeanne: I think catching buses you drive at night, and the beauty of where we’ve been is
Jeanne and Tai: in the day
Jeanne: it’s the sights, things, and incredible landscapes. Catching buses we would be missing that, the negative is that we’re missing out on the socialization of the hostals and things like that. There are not that many overlanders. But yeah. So many pros and cons for each way.

Wyatt: Have you guys had a best or worst experience you’d like to share?
Jeanne: I don’t know
Tai: ummm!! Ummmm! I don’t really know
Jeanne: not in South America, yeah it’s been great! I think losing the gearboxes in Europe was shocking, that was in Morocco. I think you have so many highs with traveling, and you do have lows. It’s alot of “oh my god what’s that noise” and then you freak out. And when are going to get the next bit of water. So there’s lots of thing you’ve got think about all the time
 Tai: I think the only bad thing is feel in the car, because when you drive then you can feel everything in the car, so everything shakes, all the cupboards move everything is like [bsshhh sound] it’s just like a thunder storm in your own back car

Wyatt: Have you had any big unexpected expenses?
Jeanne: this trip? No we’ve been incredibly lucky. We had lots of things that have gone wrong. We’ve been in mechanics a good few times, and the people here have just been phenomenal. They will work on this car for five hours, then I say fine how much do I owe you, they say “oh no its nothing don’t worry about it” and they won’t take any money. It been , and it’s repeatedly been the same, we’ve had the experience five, six, seven times now. It’s been absolutely phenomenal, the generosity of the people here is just incredible. We had the same in the Balkans, in Serbia and Kosovo people wanting to help you just because they want to help you. Yeah for the love of it, incredible yeah.

Wyatt: so if you don’t mind me asking do you have a weekly, monthly budget?
Jeanne: NO
Tai: we do have a budget though
Jeanne: the budget is try and spend as little as possible, at all times
Tai: but still enjoy yourself
Jeanne: obviously the more I spend, the more I have to work. So it’s a balance between the two. And every country is different, so Chile was vastly more expensive then Argentina. You cant compare the budgets between the two. We do eat at very very cheap places, local restaurants whenever possible. We buy food at the supermarket, we aren’t extravagant at all. But we will spend money in going and seeing sights, or like white water rafting, like experiences. Because you are only here once in a lifetime. So…yeah

Wyatt: would you consider this form of travel safe?
Tai: it depends on where you go. You have to know what your doing, where your going. Sometimes  places aren’t so safe, some places are. Like we went to Italy, if you go into the center of town, she had read that people had gotten their cars broken into in the center and stuff like that. So we decided to park outside the town and just walk in and our car was perfect.
Jeanne: it’s about researching really. Being careful, making sure you know where your things are at all times, holding onto your handbag. Depends on where you are. Argentina has been as safe as houses. Albania, everyone freaked out about  was the safest country I think I’ve ever been to. Asia is incredibly safe, ya know it just depends, you just have to be street wise.

Wyatt: would you recommend Overlanding to your friends and family back home?
Tai: Definitely 
Jeanne: Absolutely
Tai: Definitely 
Jeanne: it’s the freedom. The freedom to stay here today or decide right now let’s pack up and go. Your not bound by hotel reservations and flights and things like that. Your itinerary is not set, it’s absolutely free. The biggest thing is when we’re back home let’s say we finish school and I finish work at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, what are we going to go do now? Your behind your four walls , and everywhere you got to go. It’s just different. Here everything is exciting, we can just walk down the road and it’s something new. For us there something happening every single day. We’re meeting incredible people, like you.
Tai: Definitely
Jeanne: and when I woke up this morning I had a whole different day planned. And we ended up just sitting and chatting to travelers today. Life just changes, it’s always different and exciting 

Overlanding Family Jeanne and Tai from Cape Town

Wyatt: well thank you for your time
Jeanne: thank you so much
Tai: thank you

If you want to learn more about Jeanne and Tai check them out here! https://learningtobreatheabroad.com/

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