Janet A Wilson

I was born to wander, and fortunately, I was very young when my parents finally relented and gave up trying to keep me from wandering off. My mother said they should have named me, “Where’s Janet?” because that became the family constant question.

A large field in front of our home became my childhood adventurous playground. I loved the African sun on my face, racing on my bike through swarms of locusts, collecting silkworms and other critters. I wanted to be a biologist, a vet, a wildlife ranger, but that was not to be.

But the urge to escape the clutches of urbanization never left me until I dared to walk away from all that I knew and return to Africa. I was more than ready to leave Tom, my grown sons and everything and everybody I knew or had accumulated in my past. My decision to drive from the most southern tip of Africa was the most daring decision I’d ever made and the one that saved my life and our marriage.

Tom and I were in marriage therapy when I decided to return to Africa. The marriage therapist helped us to begin talking to each other rather than at each other. I had worked in mental health for about thirty years and had incredible colleague support.

On our trips across Africa, I was challenged beyond anything I could have imagined.

If someone had said, “This is what you’ll have to do!” I doubt I would have set off.

On our journey, I realized I was part of the relationship problem, and before I could work on my marriage, I needed to work on myself. Tom needed to work on his issues. We both were part of the problem.

To survive, alone in a car for months, we learned a new way of being alone and we talked about things we hadn’t talked about in years.

Our relationship changed and we became a formidable team.

About Us

Our love of independent travel began in 1974 when we headed to Europe from South Africa for our first international overland trip. We purchased a little battered vehicle and spent 8 months driving, camping and youth hosteling throughout Europe for less than $5.00 a day. We were hooked on travel, and by the time our youngest son, David, was 3 years, he was carrying his own backpack and comfortable camping or sleeping in youth hostels.

Once our sons, Derek and David, were launched, Tom and I set off in 2005 in a Land Cruiser with a rooftop tent across Africa, travelling over 80,000km for more than 500 days on the road: a distance equivalent to twice around the world. We have travelled through 34 African countries.

In 2010-2012, we explored the Americas, heading south from Alaska to Eastern North America before heading south to Central and South America. After 17 months on the road and 65,000km, we arrived at Ushuaia, the most southern town in the world. Our passion and curiosity about the world and what lies beyond our borders have taken us to over 95 countries. We’ve hiked and biked, taken trains and planes, sailed, paddled, and once even went on a cruise ship. But our first love is independent vehicle overland travel.

Toms’s energetic nature and fearless risk-taking have resulted in broken bones, near-death experiences, and every moment of life fully lived. He tried golf and fishing but couldn’t stand still long enough. He started his adult life as a navy diver and tried professional scuba diving before he decided to study geology. Janet has endless energy and curiosity. Her first love are her children and grandchildren, who share her sense of adventure and ongoing learning about the diversity of our planet, the wonders of wildlife, nature, people, cultures, and treasures of the world. She also loves writing, photography, and dogs.

We are fascinated by the changes in travel over the years. Some things, such as GPS, cell phones and the Internet, make it easier, but other influences have made it more challenging. We continue to learn how to travel well without breaking the bank and still have a fantastic adventure.