Over the past 17months, this adventure-seeking couple has driven through 9 countries and 3 continents with the sole mission to overland around the world! Month by month they’re ticking off this goal, experiencing new cultures, foreign destinations and inspiring new friends and followers to start planning to get out and explore! The hashtag #vanlife fits their overland lifestyle perfectly, and they’ve proven to doubters that you don’t always need the biggest, modified four-wheel-drive truck to get you to those remote, off-road locations. Enjoy Alex and Michaela’s story.
Who are you?
Michaela and Alex Ferreira
Where is home when you’re not on the road?
We divide our time between Perth, Australia and Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Describe yourselves in 5 words.
Adventure addicted, curious and creative!
What are you up to right now?
We are currently in Mexico after driving through 9 countries on 3 continents in the last 17 months. We’re attempting to overland around the entire world and expecting to visit over 60 countries in total on 6 different continents. It’s a dream come true, and we’ve been surprised at how easy, safe and affordable it has actually been so far. We want to inspire and encourage others to get overlanding through sharing our experiences online.
What is your current off-road vehicle including your set-up/living arrangements?
We drive a 1994 Mitsubishi Delica 2.8TD, which we converted ourselves into a camper van. We fondly named the 4×4 van Vanda! We built a kitchen set up accessible from the back door including a gas stove, Engel fridge, 70L water tank and lots of food, clothing and equipment storage. We built a fold away double bed that converts into a seat for 2 passengers, and we also have a rooftop tent that allows us to sleep 4 in total!
How old were you when you started your 4WD adventures?
We bought Vanda, our first 4WD vehicle when we were 22 and 25 and started getting offroad straight away! Alex has always had a passion for getting off the beaten track, adventure riding on dirt bikes since the age of 18. Once he met Michaela, he decided to upgrade to 4 wheels, but the passion for off-roading never died! We left on this adventure of a lifetime at 26 and 28 after 3 years of planning and saving.
What was your first 4WD/touring vehicle?
Alex did some of South America on his first motorcycle, a Honda XR 250. But as a couple, it was Vanda, our current van!
Who inspired you into this ‘adventurous’ lifestyle?
Both our parents played a big part in inspiring us to travel a little differently. Michaela’s parents spent a couple of years sailing from England, through the canals of France and around the Mediterranean Sea. Her dad was also a tour guide and mechanic in the Isreali desert! Alex’s parents have always searched for the most remote and unique destinations to holiday at – places like the Atacama Desert in Chile, Miyajima Island in Japan and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. When you grow up hearing travel stories from exotic locations, it starts a massive desire to explore the world that only grows the more you travel!
The Overlanding bug really bit us when Kamil and Helena, a couple driving their Delica all the way from the Czech Republic to New Zealand, came to stay with us at home in Perth and shared with us how possible driving the world actually is. Now we want to pass on the good news, because it’s true!
What’s your all-time favourite Australian 4WD track?
In Australia, it has to be the Gibb River Road. It might not be the most challenging track but the sheer isolation and beauty of the Kimberley region – its gorges, waterfalls and mountain ranges – makes it so captivating and adventurous.
The most bizarre experience you’ve encountered on your travels?
We’ll never forget the nights we spent sleeping in the van during winter in Canada. We got down to -15C on multiple nights with no heater – a single hot water bottle and each other’s body heat made it just possible to sleep! Eating scorpions and tarantulas in Cambodia was also rather bizarre.
Describe your ideal campsite.
In between the ocean and a crystal clear hot spring, starry skies, a campfire, a slight breeze and, of course, no bugs!
What tracks are on your bucket list?
When we get back to Australia, we’re super excited to explore Cape York and the Simpson Desert. In the near future, we’re looking forward to the Carretera Austral that winds it’s way to Patagonia in Chile/Argentina.
Fondest memory while exploring tracks?
Being laughed at when we asked if our Japanese van could tag along with a group of Jeep Rubicon’s at Elephant Hill, Utah, USA (one of the most difficult 4×4 tracks at Canyonlands National Park). And subsequently watching the jaws of 4 grown men drop as they watched Vanda tackle the track with no problems. We’re definitely proud of our kick-ass mini van!
Name one product you wouldn’t leave home without?
Having our 40L Engel fridge is an utter luxury for us. It makes life on the road so much more enjoyable – there’s hardly anything a cold beer can’t fix, right? Our fridge runs straight off our solar set-up and a second battery which makes life even easier.
Advice to new 4WD/adventure enthusiasts?
Our advice here is a little contradictory – first of all, don’t be afraid to get out there and adventure! But saying that, we are also big fans of staying safe – don’t take any crazy risks and always be prepared for the worst case scenario (take spare parts, recovery gear and lots of water).