EP42 | Did We Experience an Overlander’s Paradise? Iceland, Scandinavia, and More with Clay Croft

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Episode Description

What were the best parts of Expedition Overland’s Nordic travels? 

Expedition leader and film director Clay Croft reflects upon his experiences while overlanding throughout Northern Europe, Scandinavia, and perhaps the most intriguing country yet—Iceland!

Listen in as Clay discusses everything from camping opportunities along the T.E.T. (Trans Euro Trail) to exploring European history to river crossings in Iceland. 

Get insight into the differences between overlanding in Europe vs. Central America, tips for developing a traveler’s mindset, and the seemingly daunting task of shipping your overland vehicle overseas.

When we recorded this episode, Clay, Rachelle, Cyrus, and the X Overland team had just returned from 10 weeks of overlanding throughout Europe and Scandinavia while filming Season 5, The Nordic Series.

Want more Croft family Nordic team perspectives? Check out our podcasts with Rachelle here and Cyrus here.

Detailed Episode Summary

Part 1 (1:30-4:35) Intro and Welcome Clay Croft: Fresh back from filming Season 5, The Nordic Series, during his overlanding tour of Europe, Clay is eager to pause and reflect upon his journey with the team overseas. Clay considers his son, Cyrus’s, first major international expedition with the team.

Part 2 (4:35-8:30) Clay Discusses the Differences between Central American Overlanding and Overlanding in Europe: Clay reflects upon the differences between overlanding in Europe and Central America, examining the elements of climate, culture, and infrastructure in the context of a 60-day expedition.

Part 3 (8:31-13:58) What is it like to Go Overlanding in Scandinavia? Clay and Jimmy deep dive into the subject of overlanding throughout Scandinavia, the focus of the Nordic Expedition for the X Overland team. Clay explains the role history plays when overlanding through Europe and Scandinavia and the effect of history upon people traveling there. Jimmy asks about the T.E.T. (Trans Euro Trail) and Clay shares the team’s experience driving and camping along the T.E.T.

Part 4 (14:00-23:14) Big Trucks in Europe vs. Big Trucks in Iceland: Clay shares what it was like to be overlanding in Norway, Sweden, and Finland with big, fully-built and equipt overlanding trucks with 35” tires and the decision he made to build his trucks with 35” tires so the team would be prepared for Iceland. Jimmy and Clay discuss the vast distances covered by the X Overland team while overlanding throughout Europe and attempt to provide context for the huge numbers of miles driven. (To see how we fitted a 2022 Toyota Tundra with 35” Tires, check out our “Orion” Truck Build Videos!)

Part 5 (23:15-29:55) How Expensive is it to Go Overlanding in Europe and Scandinavia? In terms of ease of access and user-friendly and safe infrastructure, Western Europe and Scandinavia is a fantastic place to go overlanding. It is expensive, however, and Clay shares some of the reasons why and how to budget for a trip there. Jimmy and Clay spend some more time discussing the X Overland trucks and how they were utilized for the entire Scandinavian journey.

Part 6 (29:56-33:18) Experiencing History While Overlanding Europe and Scandinavia: Clay shares the profound connection with history he experienced while overlanding throughout Europe and Scandinavia and also notes the incredible natural beauty found within the Nordic region of the world: waterfalls, fjords, boreal forests, oceans, and rivers. Jimmy and Clay discuss some details about the Boreal Forest and Clay shares what it was like to camp and travel there.

Part 7 (33:19- 40:00) What is it Like to Go Camping While Overlanding in Europe? Clay explains the differences between camping while overlanding in Europe vs. camping while overlanding in the U.S. Clay and Jimmy discuss the benefits of camping at established campgrounds vs. camping by yourself in remote areas. Clay explains the concept of Allemansratten and the “Freedom to Roam” laws throughout Scandinavia.

Part 8 (40:01-46:58) Is it Easier to Travel in Europe? Clay and Jimmy discuss the European Union’s “Schengen Agreement” and how this agreement allows for easy overland travel across most of Europe and Scandinavia. Clay explains why the team shipped their trucks into (Belgium as opposed to other European countries) and how this, too, made going overlanding in Europe relatively easy compared to other parts of the world. (For more information on how to ship your overland vehicle to Europe, check out our podcast on the subject with our Global Logistics Coordinator, Matt Hopkins!)

Part 9 (46:58-55:42) A Look at the Mindset of an Experienced Traveler: Clay and Jimmy discuss mindset when it comes to enjoying one’s experiences as a traveler. Clay shares approaches to thinking to assist travelers in developing a mindset that will allow them to gain the most from their experiences. Clay and Jimmy discuss the value of extended trips: two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks, or even a year.

Part 10 (55:43-59:37) What is It Like to Go Overlanding in Iceland? To end the podcast, Clay shares his thoughts on overlanding in Iceland, including taking a look at Iceland’s famous “F-Roads,” the challenges of river crossings, and why Iceland has such stringent laws affecting “off-pavement” travel. He concludes by taking a look at the massive Arctic Trucks of Iceland and how they are used to explore the island nation’s backcountry during the winter months.

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