Hello, we are Ruth and John and this is our web site dedicated to our year long trip in our Landrover. Its a work in progress!

Prior to this trip we had both been inventing and developing products with a small group of engineers in Cambridge, UK, which was fun - see However, now that our ages have reached a combined average of 30 we decided to take a break and an adventure before real life caught up with us irreparably.

So we have bought a Landrover Defender 110, installed a bed, some curtains and a fully stocked bookshelf and have set off on a journey that will take us from Cambridge to Birmingham. Via Europe, the Western Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Xinxiang and Tibet in China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh, SE Asia and finally Australia on a grand tour of extended family before heading home via Hong Kong and anywhere else we missed on the way out!

Although the organisation has been a headache at times, we expect that this will be the trip of our lifetimes and we hope that you will enjoy sharing it with us. Please leave comments and better still come out and join us at some point. It is a big car and we can move some of the guidebooks to make room.


Comments (15) Comments are closed
15 Sunday, 20 June 2010 19:23
frances and duncan
How is Australia??

We have just celebrated Duncan's birthday!! and managed to have Rob and family and Kirsty and family together for the first time since babies were born. A great occasion. We await news of your return, it can't be to long now I think..

Take care, much love, f & d xx
14 Monday, 24 May 2010 19:24
guy & Arlo & Molly
Hey John,
Got an email from Helen and she told me you were travelling and gave me the link. sounds like an awesome trip. would love to hear more when you get back and of course to meet Ruth.
Keep safe and continue having fun
all the best
13 Sunday, 02 May 2010 17:01
Dunstable Downs will seem along way from Nepal - but is probably the nearest Paragliding in the UK!
See you soon (ish)
12 Sunday, 18 April 2010 06:26
Duncan ( and frankie)
Hi both, any chance of a lift on your way back. love reading about your exploits makes me realise I have hardly seen india in 30 years of visits. As you now reealise Indian vehicles are rated by Hornpower not Horsepower. I am stuck in punjab because of Volacno in Iceland!! what a small world. Hope Aussie goes well- wide open spaces etc and you have a great time.
11 Monday, 29 March 2010 12:36
frankie and duncan
We have just caught up with your latest photos and 'tales of the unexpected'!! Do hope you are now both fit and healthy and more relaxed since your time in India. Soon to reach Fremantle, I believe and a different pace of life. 'Spect Auntie Ali will bring you up to date with family news and perhaps we'll get to chat to you over a phone!! Much love to you both xxx
10 Saturday, 13 March 2010 11:24
Hey we are the family you got talking to in Cameron highlands.....
John found the art shop in Kl, thanks for the advise, enjoy the rest of your trip.
Enjoying Vietnam,
John,Nicki,Michael&Emmaline(Em)Tregembo :) x
9 Sunday, 14 February 2010 10:43
Uncle Kenneth
Fascinated by your adventures & especially thinking of you today - happy birthday!!
8 Monday, 12 October 2009 15:44
Frankie and Duncan
Dear Ruth and John,

Wow, we have just caught up with your news, what fantastic photos and what a tale to tell so far. You are having a trip of a lifetime and it probably FEELS like a lifetime!!! John, you are certainly looking more like a caveman these days, only just recognisable!! Duncan and I are just back from a week's holiday in south Spain and enjoyed some hot weather and sunshine... I was relaxing after the busy but wonderful week of Aran's birth, and the very full year of 'happenings'!!!!

John, Granny Ord is in good form and I gather from Ali, that your parents are too.

Have a great trip through China, we certainly did, although not in a landyvan!

Much love to you both,

Auntie Frankie xx
7 Tuesday, 06 October 2009 13:15
David Shaw - Former owner of Land Rover P990KAC send his greetings
Hi there both - Glad to see that the old bus has at last come into its own - a bit different from my weekly suburban runs to Sainsbury in South London. I will keep an eye on your web and progress - it looks very exciting. Speak again and hope she keeps running well for you


David Shaw m 00447956 834350
6 Monday, 05 October 2009 09:36
Rachel Nicholls
Hi Ruth & John,hope it is all going well & that you want to come home once you have finished your wonderful trip.xx
5 Saturday, 03 October 2009 14:27
Ruth and John
Just a note - we will likely be out of phone and email range for a little over a month as we travel across China and the Himilaya. we will update as soon as we can, so mums... don't worry... no news is good news!! much love x
4 Friday, 02 October 2009 10:26
Ruth and John
Hi... we are safe and well in tashkent uzbekistan. will update with a THIRD new blog to bring us up to date in a few days! Love to you all, thanks for the comments. Its nice to know we haven't been forgotten :)
3 Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:48
Frankie and Duncan
Hi there, hope all still going well. Anderson news is Baby Aran Anderson was born on 23rs Sept. All well and he rushed into the world only just waiting for his mum and dad to reach hospital!!! View facebook. much love to you both, take care, xx f & d
2 Monday, 21 September 2009 17:09
Jacky Wilson
Hi Ruth and John,
I am following your travels with great interest.I was glad to hear all your documentation arrived and sorry to hear you are unable to visit Iran due to visa problems.We were hoping to go there this autumn but have put the trip on hold for the present. I took your parents to the airport on Saturday to catch their flight to Portugal I hope they are enjoying the break. Next week your mother and I are off to Cornwall for a break and will visit the Eden project. Safe onward journey. Jacky(auntie)
1 Sunday, 13 September 2009 17:21
Aunti Ali
Hi, I've found you at last! I spent yesterday with Caspar, parents and grandparents - blue skies in sunshine in England, just amazing - and train tomorrow to visit his great-grandmother, and probably your parents John. Safe travels to you both. I'll be thinking of you.

Last Updated (Monday, 12 April 2010 10:13)


Bangladesh *NEW*


Bangladesh has left an image in our minds of many smiling, curious faces against a background of green. The faces are of men, women and children, although fewer women, that immediately gathered in small crowds whenever we stepped outside and happened to pause for more than a few seconds. The trick for turning the faces from curious stares to wide smiles was to acknowledge the attention and say “hello, how are you?” However, without that tricky ploy one could get quite intimidated by the instantaneous celebrity status that comes with being a foreigner in Bangladesh. Certainly it also helped to cover up, and our Bangladeshi acquaintances appreciated Ruth’s stylish Salwar Kameez, bought in Nepal and custom fitted in India.

Bangladesh is the planet’s most densely populated country, if you exclude the city states, so we were keen to avoid the really big centres, in particular Dhaka, its capital. This resulted in a circuitous route from our entry in the North West of the country as we made our way East then South to Chittagong, where we had a date with a container ship. Our route took in innumerable small villages: centres of local commerce arranged along the main road with small stalls, chai stops and markets dominated by men, this being a strongly patriarchal Islamic society. We stayed in hotels in the larger towns, getting out in the evenings to take a cycle rickshaw to the best local restaurants. Here we could really flaunt our celebrity status to receive embarrassingly eager service. One waiter, after persuading us to try paan, a spicy and chewy traditional after-dinner aid-to-digestion, was very concerned to know if we were “suffering OK?” Back in the business hotels, no backpacker or tourist ghettos here, the over-eager service continued: one incident required four hotel employees of escalating status to replace a broken telephone just so the manager could call to check that we had our passports safely returned after check-in.  

The cycle rickshaws were another highlight: the dominant form of transport in a largely car free countryside. They are beautifully upholstered for the comfort of the passengers and painted lovingly with scenes from the owner’s personal view of utopia, usually involving a big house by a lake with a fast car parked outside. Others had portraits, we assumed of film stars, or brand labels perhaps piggy backing on a reliable image. All had bells, and with the absence of cars, to go out on an evening in a sea of rickshaws all jostling for position was a colourful, tuneful, social travelling pleasure we more developed folks have forgotten in our noisy, steel boxes.

Once out in the countryside the many faces are far off, working on the vast, flat plateau of green that is Bangladesh’s greatest natural resource and how it sustains its immense population. Unlike the Fens or the wheat belts of the world, this flatness is largely hidden by small scale geography of terraces and dykes arranges to catch, drain and pool flood and bore water onto different leveled fields for differing crops, depending on their thirst. Each small section of fields is split by tree lined dykes that act as dry causeways dividing land and linking villages of mud, wood, bamboo and corrugated iron. Poo and straw is again a major building material, as well as an excellent fuel and everywhere there are poo patties thrown at walls or layered around sticks to dry. The latter was a novel method to us, hereby named poo-sticks. The whole scene is never-endingly attractive in its order, colour and variety. 

After a few days of this we headed South and made our final dash to Chittagong, where we had left time to arrange shipping of our Landyvan to Fremantle. Chittagong is Bangladesh’s second largest city and its major port. Its low cost base has made it popular for storing containers close to the region’s largest hub in Singapore. It has also grown its own industry of ship wrecking, a controversial, labour intensive task of breaking immense floating vessels that have passed their use-by date back into their constituent parts. The evidence for this is all along the port road leading into town. Mile after mile of market stalls and yards displaying every imaginable component of a ship: brass portholes and cleats; life rafts, belts and rings; water tight doors and hatchways; immense anchor winches, propellers and the anchors themselves; and of course the gigantic marine diesel engines lifted whole out of the ships they had spent their lives pushing to be dropped here at the side of the road in Bangladesh.

Much of this equipment is refurbished and finds its way back into ships for a new life, however much of the steel plate, rod and tubing as well as kitchen equipment and cabin furnishings finds its way into the local economy, either as found or refashioned using entire tool shops also requisitioned from these broken-but-not-yet-dead vessels.

Once in Chittagong we launched ourselves into the world of international shipping. Although we had an initial contact we were eager to understand something of the opaque pricing system before we committed to an agent, shipping line and customs broker. Once round the houses for the first time we soon discovered that everyone knows everyone else, that there is some level of pricing flexibility and that business in Bangladesh is a warm, personal, often family matter. We found ourselves treated to dinner by our shipping agent, a family business run by three brothers, as well as watching the daughter of one of the brothers perform in a business-case competition run for local schools and the university. Every effort was made to ensure that as novices to the process and visitors to the country we would make it through unscathed. The arrangements still took a week, however we were enjoying our food and appreciating the colours and the hospitality of new friends so we hardly noticed the time pass before we had sealed the Landyvan in his container and boarded the slow train for Dhaka. A sad parting, however Mr Landyvan was on his way to Fremantle, where we would be reunited in 6 weeks.

Other than an occasional flight, this was our first foray into travel without the landyvan and the novelty was exciting. We had packed light, partially in expectation of our next 6 weeks in the tropics and partially as a reaction to the sense of liability that Mr Landyvan represented. Our first journey was short, a train journey from Chittagong to Dhaka airport, however even this was full of novelty. We chose to go first class, more for the lack of a queue to buy tickets than for any additional amenities enjoyed – apparently the most significant difference is allocated seating. Once on board our special treatment continued: The train guard (with a gun rather than ticket machine) discretely left his mobile number with our neighbouring passenger in case we should require special protection, while our other fellow passengers were at pains to ensure we were happy and that we did not leave any luggage close to open windows where it could be snatched at crowded stations. In the event all this was unnecessary and we enjoyed our, slightly longer than expected, journey through a slice of Bangladesh not visible from the road. Perhaps life without the Mr Landyvan wouldn’t be so bad after all. 


Last Updated (Saturday, 19 June 2010 01:24)

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