In January 2008, Graham Naismith, 37 year old IT consultant and former police detective, and his wife Eirene, aged 38 and a former teacher, spontaneously and with no prior experience whatsoever, decided to embark on a 30,000 mile drive to Australia with their three daughters, aged 1, 4 and 6. Having previously sold their house in anticipation of a drop in the housing market and with Graham's job at the infamous ID Cards Scheme looking precarious, the climate was right. So, with the decision made and the trip endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Lance Armstrong and not forgetting The Hairy Bikers, four months of intensive planning and preparation followed. A suitable four-wheel drive vehicle was bought and built to expedition standards and the relentless quest for sponsorship commenced. Satellite phones, emergency beacons, needles, drips, medicines, vaccinations galore and mountains of equipment and bureaucracy were all sourced and courses in vehicle repair, remote emergency first aid and Russian where embarked on before they departed. On the 1st May 2008 they waved goodbye to their friends and within 15 minutes heard their first “Are we nearly there yet, Dad?”. This proved to be a constant as they travelled through nineteen countries including Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China and onto South East Asia before driving the entire circumference of Australia. As they travelled the global economy went into meltdown.
The book charts, in diary form, a journey through desert and jungle, from Auschwitz to the Beijing Olympics and from opulence to third world poverty. The family encountered terrorist bombings, earthquakes, blood-clots, gun-toting soldiers, corrupt policemen, covert tracking devices, AK47 carrying locals, an attempted car-jacking, landslides, mines, convicted drug dealers at the Bangkok Hilton, lice, leeches, ghosts, scorpions, snakes and sharks not to mention their car being confiscated in China, blowing up in Thailand and getting stuck in the middle of the Australian desert. Arguably the overarching theme throughout this is one man's mid-life crisis that led to a physical journey of self-discovery and realisation. On a less pretentious level, it gives a painfully honest insight into how a family and a marriage cope through the good and bad. It is, above all, a funny book.
If you’ve ever thought about throwing it in and doing something completely different, then this is a must read.
Includes full equipment list, visa details, preparations required, costs, route, vehicle maintenance tasks and sponsorship details.