Land-trips: a travel concept you’ll love

Would you like to rediscover the spirit of long-distance travel with only a few days or weeks to spare? The “land trip” concept makes it possible!

The Holy Grail: circumnavigating the globe

Some millennials have popularized long-distance travel across continents and even around the world. This has given rise to a multitude of blogs recounting their adventures.

For many, these are journeys lasting several months, even years, or even a lifetime for the most ambitious. They do so at the end of their studies or between jobs.

Not content with visiting one country, they often traverse an entire continent. They adopt a new approach to travel in the spirit of “slow travel“, which they adapt to their personalities.

Of course, the Holy Grail is to circumnavigate the globe! Many travel blogs began with such an adventure.

One of the best known is Alex Vizeo ‘s “1 year around the world in 5 minutes” video, which has been viewed over 1.2 million times! If you haven’t already watched it, I invite you to do so. It’s in French, but the images are self-explanatory.

But most likely you’re running out of time!

As a Generation Xer, you’re a little envious of all those young people who have dared to give up everything to travel. Do you agree?

But your life is well structured now. Even if the kids are grown up and you’re freer with your vacations, it’s unlikely that you’ll have more than 3 or 4 weeks to devote to a trip. Whether it’s because of your job, sporting, cultural, or family activities!

So, should you be content to travel by proxy by reading the blogs of the “millennials” generation? Or take one of the classic excursions offered by travel agencies, with the advantage of safety, but also of a bit ordinary trip.

However, in my experience, it’s possible to recapture the spirit of long-distance travel with just a few weeks to spare. It’s the “land trip” concept!

We’ll explain everything! Now it’s your turn for exceptional travel… with the “land trip”!

Crossing trains on the Peruvian Altiplano

Land-trip inspired by road-trip

The “land trip” is inspired by the “road trip”. A travel concept that has been popularized by films such as “Thelma and Louise” and “into the wild”.

Its first characteristic is that it runs from point A to point B. Your final destination must be different from your starting point. This will make you aware of a path to follow and a goal to reach. A bit like life. A round trip doesn’t have the same expectations, because you know what’s waiting for you at the end.

One of the most beautiful land trips I’ve ever done was from Buenos Aires to La Paz. Bolivia’s geographically astonishing capital was both the goal and the end of our trip. This means that all along the way, we kept up the tension of discovery. A loop around Buenos Aires would have made for a blander ending, as we’d already discovered the city.

Map showing land-trip route from Buenos Aires to La Paz
Car stopped in the desert near Salta

The second characteristic of the “land trip” is, as the name suggests, to travel at ground level.

Unlike the road trip, which is only on the road, you are encouraged to adopt all means of land travel: train, car, bus, boat, bicycle, horse or even your feet! This introduces diversity and helps you avoid long journeys by choosing the most suitable mode of transport. So between Buenos Aires and La Paz, we took an overnight train, a rental car, a bus, and cabs.

No flying during a land-trip

The magic of the airplane is that it lets you move from place to place almost instantaneously. In Paris, it’s summer. A few hours later, you find yourself in Buenos Aires in winter. The change is immediate and the change of scenery brutal.

The “land trip” is there to make you aware of the geographical and human evolutions along a route. That’s what makes it so special. Our Andean trip gave us a good idea of how Argentina and Bolivia are so close and yet so different.

Buenos Aires train station
Bus in Bolivia

A “Slow Travel” approach

Another hallmark of a successful land trip is a “slow travel” approach. It’s better to shorten your journey than to go on an extraordinary trip.

So we did a “land trip” along the Pyrenees chain, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, in 3 weeks. We remember it with awe.

If you only have 2 weeks to spare, avoid a “land trip”, for example. Paris – Beijing. Although it’s doable, you’ll be frustrated, as you’ll be spending most of your time in transport with little sightseeing.

A land trip doesn’t have to be remote and adventurous to be a success. Of course, our land trips to the other side of the planet, such as Irkutsk – Tokyo or Darwin – Sydney, have been quite extraordinary. But we can also mention a trip from Geneva to Marseille to discover the French Alps, or a trip from Naples to Ljubljana, which dazzled us just as much.

Signposts at the Iseran pass

A successful land-trip requires more preparation

In our example, Buenos Aires – La Paz. We could have booked a car from the Argentinian capital to the Bolivian capital. Except that the distance was really long, 2600 km, and no rental company would allow it.

We juggled our means of transport: overnight train to Tucuman, car rental to La Quiaca where we took a bus to the border. Then cabs, 4X4s, and buses in Bolivia.

If we’d had more time, we’d have left without warning and considered how we’d get around. But we had a reservation for the return flight from La Paz on a specific date.

So we had to do a lot of research on the internet before we left to build up our trip, which had to be completed in three weeks. But this research was already preparing us to travel!

Railway station in Siberia
Ferry from Bari to Dubrovnik

Land-trip is your score!

The“land trip” is, above all, a personal journey that you compose yourself. The places you visit are your notes, the means of transport are your musical instruments, and the journey you take your score! As we love trains, especially at night, you’ll often find them in ours.

Convinced? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

For some of them, you can find our impressions by clicking on each trip. As the blog is brand new, there aren’t many posts yet. Be patient! They’re coming!

And of course, I’d be interested to know what your best land trips have been. Let me know in your comments

Author lying on the tracks in Bolivia


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