A friend has recently been “caught” by the police in Romania driving along a road where, by law, vehicles without special permission are not allowed to drive. He was completely unaware of the fact, since there was no clear sign stating that, and he didn’t take notice of the barrier, since it was opened. When he returned, the barrier was locked, and the policemen were waiting to catch those who have fallen into the trap. A lively discussion sprouted on Facebook, with lots of dissenting voices.
We know that most overlanders avoid taking part in organized tours, feeling uncomfortable with a strict timetable and a fixed itinerary that those tours usually mean. They want to have a much more relaxed feeling while on vacation exploring the unknown, with a chance to modify the plan on the move and adapt the tour pace to their likings.
We understand them very well, because those are our preferences too. So when we started organizing tours we thought how it could be done without becoming some kind of a disciplined, military drill, quite common for most tour organizers. And we found a good model. We just don’t conduct our organized tours any differently than when we travel with friends. What does that exactly mean?
Although I spend most of my time exploring the world in a 4×4 vehicle, I drifted away from the mainstream offroading community long ago. Every invitation to a local 4×4 offroading event was a big bore to me, and over time the guys in the community started regarding me as some sort of an arogant asshole, who thinks is “above” them and something special. But the truth is that, for some reason, what they were doing was unbearably boring to me. Pushing the pedal to the metal, inventing artificial obstacles to master and competing against each other, simply didn’t light my fire.
IT technology has given many people the means to explore hidden and obscured parts of the world and to do individual tour planning without the help of commercial tour guides. Google Maps are a great tool for getting an insight into topography not covered by official roadmaps, but if you think you can plan a tour only based on what you see in Google maps coupled with the tracks that can be downloaded from the free GPS data portals like Wikiloc, you’re in for some nasty surprises. And should be well prepared for changing your plan often while you’re on the move. Continue reading Self-organized or guided tour?→
5 gute Gründe warum Sie an einer Rustika Travel Overland Tour auf dem Balkan teilnehmen sollten:
1. Wir haben die größte geografische Datenbank mit interessanten Allradstrecken – 150.000 km, gesammelt durch 40 Jahre Abenteuerreise in der Region, garantieren Ihnen das Beste in einer kompromisslosen Tour.
Exactly three months ago we’ve tried to give an analysis of what is going on in Romania, and the future of offroading in this, probably most popular European country for organizing offroad tours (we’ve covered the theme in this post). In the meantime we haven’t become much smarter or better informed about the subject, so the essential dilemmas still exist. There have been people doubting that there is any truth in what we’ve written, with the key argument “but tour operators are conducting business as usual in 2017?”
Well, if you analize the Romanian tour market carefully, it’s not exactly “business as usual”, or at least not the way it was done some years ago. Of course, the big tour operators, especially those whose main focus of business is on Romania and Carpathian tours, have a vital interest to keep the tours functioning as normal as possible, hiding all the efforts they’re investing to achieve that. But subtle changes in the tour spectre can be seen.
The Romanian Carpathians have been a European top destination for offroad and overland touring in the past decade, especially for tourists from central and eastern Europe. The beauty and wilderness of those mountains became so famous, that merely mentioning the magic word “Carpathians” or “Romania” was the selling point, no need to do any further marketing. On top of the beautiful nature and desolation, it offered the people everything that they didn’t have elsewere in the EU countries anymore, and more than anything, it was a possibility for a relaxed exploration and wild camping virtually anywhere outside of the national parks. However, very few people were aware that a law practically forbidding public traffic on forest roads and in the wild had been passed in Romania all the way back in 2007. And nobody knew that simply because Romanian forest authorities never really cared to implement that law. But it looks as if those things are going to change. It’s only a question of time…
Do you know who we really are? Are our offroad tours right for you? What can we give you?
What moves us? Is it risky to take part?
When you first encounter a new team of offroad guides, you approach with caution, trying to find out if they share the same offroad philosophy as you do. And there is a reason for that – there are almost as many approaches to 4×4 travel as there are owners of 4×4 vehicles. For some it’s a pure adrenaline rush, a dynamic technical challenge which makes the rest of the world non-existent. For others it’s a journey of discovery, where the vehicle is a home on wheels that will take them to the end of the world. And there are many variations between these extremes.
Za definisanje svojih avanturističkih pasija obično koristimo neke strane termine, što je na neki način logično za stvari koje nisu izmišljene u Srbiji. Za ljude koji poseduju terenska vozila i dotična s vremena na vreme voze i van asfalta odomaćeno je da se nazivaju ofrouderima. Postoji još jedan termin koji je daleko manje pustio korena kod nas, a koji se obično vezuje za ljude koji su nekim ekspedicijskim vozilima krenuli na neku dugoprugašku avanturu oko sveta – overlenderi. Međutim, ovaj termin je jako pogodan da se podvuče jedna bitna razlika u pristupu i motivaciji, a ne samo da se definiše oprema vozila i dužina putovanja. Kako su do sada kod nas svi nazivani ofrouderima, u istom loncu su se našli ljudi veoma raznorodnih interesovanja, često i međusobno nespojivi.
Contemporary ecologists usually regard motorized vehicles as enemy #1 of life on our planet. They talk about cities without cars, sustainable development, renewable energy sources, repeating the same phrases over and over again as mantras with a strong dogmatic power, without feeling the need to substantiate or offer proof for any of the claims. If anyone dares to ask for proof of these, to put it pollitely, half-truths, if anyone dares to call those claims exagerration and asks for scientific tests or measurements, he becomes cast off, mocked, regarded as “barberian”. So contemporary ecology moves in big steps in the direction of a new religion, in which people believe without questioning, and where anyone who doubts any of the dogmas becomes a heretic, rejected by the society which embraced the new religion.