Most of us have traveled somewhere over the years. Some, maybe even more extensively – ticking all the big tourist attractions off the bucket list, and dining at exquisite local cuisines. Yet, there comes a time when the crowds can become too much and you might be left wondering, where else can I explore?
Well, have you ever considered overlanding the great outback roads by 4WD? Ron and Viv Moon are one such couple who have had the most incredible experiences across the Americas, Africa and through Australia in their cosy 4x4s. For forty years now they’ve been living the “outback lifestyle.” Away from busy crowds, and straight into the heart of the countries many of us have never dared to venture towards.
They’re totally in love with the lifestyle too. Imagine being able to explore all day, and then set up your caravan anywhere you like. Pop the top, grab your camp chairs and settle down to a scrumptious baked chicken with tarragon butter, cooking on the open fire. You follow the campfire smoke up into the sky and see the most glistening, star-filled yet pitch-black sky you’ve ever set eyes upon. There isn’t another sound or soul in sight, and you’re left to marvel at the beauty of the hidden world.
Almost every morning, Ron and Viv are greeted with a stunning sunrise coming over the gigantic rocks that surround their camp. It’s a feeling that truly can’t be beaten.
If you’re still wondering what all the hype is about with this seemingly deserted landscape, let me share some stories of this couple’s adventures. Ron Moon has been scuba diving, surfing and even rabbit shooting since he was a teen growing up in South Australia. His love for the outdoors has never wavered. When he earned his driver license, he was immediately off, driving as far and wide as he could.
After meeting his wife, Viv, in 1984 the couple founded the magazine “Action Outdoor Australia,” and spent years as freelancers, documenting their journeys. Even in those early years, you could find them constantly underwater diving the Coral and Mediterranean Seas, just above water canoeing on the Zambezi River, or way up in altitude trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
One of Ron’s favorite experiences was ticking off a bucket list item in the Grand Canyon, on the Colorado River. He’d previously walked all along the South Rim and even flown through it by helicopter. Another time they camped precariously on the edge of the North Rim, with a never-ending view of the Canyons all around. However, in 2015, Ron and Viv went white water rafting in the Grand Canyon for 8 days. Every day a motorized raft captained by a knowledgeable guide would power through the rough water and take them on a journey through phenomenal landscapes. They camped on the water’s edge every night and even risked the cold to go for daring trips downstream. An experience they’ll never forget.
If you’re into history, you’d appreciate the trek Ron and Viv took to “Hole-in-the-Rock” in south-eastern Utah, United States. In the 1870s, 250 Mormon Pioneers undertook a challenging endeavor to establish a settlement in Utah and widened this passage so they could access the Colorado River. Ron has mentioned how humbling an experience it was, to sit there with his wife over a hundred years later and imagine what is was like for those courageous men and women.
Also in Utah in 2014, they experienced a deafening, breathtaking storm that raged all around them. Surrounded by Fifty Mile Mountain to their South and Dance Hall Rock just nearby, the brilliant lightning flashes and roaring thunder were akin to standing in the center of a magnificent amphitheatre! If you love the thrill of thunderstorms, you just can’t get them better than out in the middle of nature, with dark, looming storm clouds rolling in over the ever-expansive sky.
Let’s say you’re at least a little intrigued now by the magic that lies just outside of city walls. Perhaps you’re even saying “Hmm, I gotta do this someday. It sounds amazing!”. If Ron heard you utter those words “Someday” you’d be in for a bit of a lecture. In a recent article, Ron spoke out about all of us daring dreamers in the world who never make it past the initial planning stage. We WANT to have adventures, but we never actually GO on them.
You see, Ron and Viv make it as easy as possible to take off on an overland adventure. They know as well as anyone how quickly a goal can turn into a distant dream. We all get busy and the harder it is to get started, the less likely you’ll take that first step. One trick that’s worked well for the couple, is to book publishing gigs. Adventurous assignments. They sign up for writing commitments that take them away on adventures for a few months at a time. As a part of their job, they are given the task of researching and exploring the area to create in-depth travel guides. If you’re obligated to be somewhere, you’re going to go. They make the whole process an adventure.
Another travel hack they have learned has been to purchase 4WD’s in each continent and store them safely when they leave across the ocean by plane. They’ve stored their rigs in Arizona, North America and even Nova Scotia in Canada. The vehicle is typically packed with everything they need to just jump in and start driving, making their decision to head back to each continent again, easy.
Continually going back to explore new places has meant they’re always making a lifetime of unforgettable memories. Being quite flexible, the outback travelers are constantly asking locals for advice on the best sights to explore and roads to take. This tactic, for example, allowed the couple to detour and visit the beautiful wildflower “Super Bloom” in California – something they may have otherwise totally missed.
Sometimes these excursions provide more excitement than they anticipate. Or want. One time (and only one time, thankfully) they were stopped for a scary half hour by a corrupt Mexican policeman, passing through Mexico’s city of Guadalajara. They were lucky to get away safely after chatting large sums of money and on-the-spot false fines. On another adventure, they came a little too close for comfort with a black bear, who took great curiosity in the back of their 4×4, giving it a solid shake before reassuringly moving on.
By 2016 Ron and Liv Moon had been to North America three times already, visiting mesmerizing locations and seeing awesome wildlife like the Bison and bighorn sheep in North Dakota. They love driving the less traveled roads and staying in campsites that are virtually unexplored.
To fund their 40 years of almost full-time travel, both Ron and Viv are passionate travel researchers and writers. They wrote their first guidebook in 1986. Since then, they’ve written a whole collection of guides on Australian destinations like their well-travelled favorite – Cape York, and even the Kimberley in Washington. They’ve also co-edited or written 13 other guidebooks for many other publishers including Lonely Planet.
Ron has had his fair share of TV fame as well, presenting for five years on the Rex Hunt TV show and producing eight 4WD documentaries for the channel 9 show “The World Around Us”. Viv also has her own claim to fame as a legendary cook whose recipes have made their way into campsites and family homes across the globe. She is an incredible, experienced bush tucker cook. No matter your cooking setup – campfires, camp ovens or even gas stoves – she can give you the perfect recipe that’s fit for a king.
At the end of the day, Ron and Liv stand for the fact that, if you want to explore the world that’s just waiting for you to visit, there’s nothing stopping you. As Ron says, don’t be afraid of the unknown or even what you read in the news. That’s almost always negative and overhyped. Instead, he says to read blogs from experienced travelers. Learn lots. Get a feel for where you want to go, and then don’t delay. Get out there and make your adventure! Not Someday, but today.