Weekly Feature: Luisa and Jessica Bell of A2A Expedition
Note: We are thrilled to have Luisa and Jessica Bell as our first mother-daughter feature this week!
We are a South African family who have been on the road continuously for over 6 years across the globe. Before we left, I ran a successful Immigration firm and Jessica was a teeny 7 year old in second grade.
Who or what inspired you to choose independent vehicle travel as your mode or transportation?
Luisa: My father always wanted to travel and did a bit later in his life but when he passed suddenly, I realized that I couldn’t wait until retirement to travel, as a person just never knows when your time is up. My husband helped inspire me once the decision was made and we had to endure a year extracting ourselves from the lives we had worked so hard to build.
Everyone always asks a traveller what their favourite country is. Do you have a favourite country? If not, what is a place that is special to you (do you have a picture of you there?)?
Luisa: Argentina for its picturesque scenery and its close proximity to travel to the rest of South America, it’s delicious food and wine and wonderful people. I loved the people and coastline of Turkey and there is no better country to do business than the USA.
Jessica: Brazil, the USA and Switzerland. I loved Brazil because of the people, the food and hospitality, America I loved because of the national parks, the convenience and the great people and Switzerland is very beautiful but expensive.
What is your favourite quote?
Luisa: “And there are new kinds of nomads, not people who are at home everywhere, but who are at home nowhere. I was one of them ” - Robyn Davidson, Desert Places
Jessica - “If not me, who? If not now, when?” - Emma Watson.
I’m a badass woman because .…
Luisa: I risk everything by taking my children on this journey, not knowing where we will be in a few days or even years time but I get to spend every moment with my family, which is the best of this journey. I refuse to be sidelined and I make my own rules.
Jessica: I have travelled through four continents, I have been to 51+ countries, I can basically sleep through everything (off road trails, roller coasters, etc). I am happy of what I have become and who I am today.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for women overlanders?
Luisa: Staying focused on the bigger picture when times are tough.
Jessica: Safety is a huge challenge sometimes. We are in Morocco currently and two girls were murdered on a trail which we explored recently. Women have to be more careful when travelling.
Traveling has taught me .…
Luisa: That everybody wants and needs the same thing - to be treated with respect and love. And to never judge a book by its cover.
Jessica: Almost everything, I have been living on the road since I was a small child. I have experienced and learned new things such as different cultures, new languages and other types of people in this world. I am pretty sure that I have learned more while being on the road than in a school classroom.
Overlanding sucks sometimes because…
Luisa: I don’t have a trust fund to pay for my travels, so finding new and inventive ways to make money in order to keep on travelling.
Jessica: Sometimes we have to stop for a while and my parents have to work on their books and videos and I have to do homeschooling. Sometimes we meet wonderful people and animals and have to leave them behind. Sometimes we struggle to find a clean bathroom. And I have to share a tiny living space with my stinky family! Washing dishes in freezing ice cold water sucks!
What is a simple life hack that you’ve discovered while on the road?
Luisa: We pack a lot of underwear so that I have to do much less laundry, when cooking I make enough food for two meals (even though my boys try and eat everything at once), and everything Jessica says below.
Jessica: Wet wipes are probably the most useful products while being on the road. Especially if you do not have a shower in your vehicle or if you are in the middle of nowhere. Another useful hack is to roll your clothes instead of folding them, you get more space in wherever you pack your clothing. Also, a good music playlist for those long drives helps keep the journey fun. We also listen to the NPR podcast, our favourites are “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” and “Car Talk”!