Backpacking the world overland

Mustafa Dogru Overland World TripBackpacking the world overland has always been my dream from an early age on, as I have been intrigued by all the different cultures around the world and wanted to explore each of them. In addition, I have had the strong interest in crossing each continent overland from one end to the other avoiding flying. What I mean by overland travel is taking buses and trains or even trucks, if neither of the first two are available. This preference of overland travel wasn’t because I had anything against flying, but I have always enjoyed seeing the off the beaten path places and the challenge of traveling overland while crossing the borders of one country after another. Also, I found experiencing the gradual change in every country in my itinerary way more interesting than taking the plane to my final destination and having a culture shock after a few hour long flight.

My overland routes


My first ever long distance overland trip was from Turkey to Germany, when I was a teenager. Seeing the gradual change in every country while traveling  through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria and Germany totally fascinated me and gave me a unique perspective about the obvious relationship between the culture and geography. Then, after attending a language course in Germany, I decided to complete my Europe tour by backpacking westward through France, Spain and Portugal, before heading down to Morocco to finalize my trip in the Sahara desert.

The Middle East and Africa

In a different trip, a few years later I tried to backpack from Istanbul, Turkey down to Cape Town, South Africa through the Middle East and eastern Africa without flying. Traveling through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and then Egypt overland was an amazing feeling. Even when I thought that there were major differences between many neighboring countries, these differences started fading, when I got closer to the border areas. This was even more apparent in countries with larger land mass.

After Egypt, I attempted to continue backpacking down to Sudan, but at the time the northern land border of Sudan was officially closed and I ended up bending my own rule and flying to Nairobi, Kenya. After Kenya, a more challenging part of my trip began through Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa overland and I completed my trip in three months.


My first stop after Africa was Perth in Western Australia. One of my options afterwards was to cross the desert all the way to Melbourne by bus, but I wasn’t in the mood to spend several days on a overheated bus. So, I flew to Melbourne and spent the next three months traveling all the way up to Cairns overland spending time in different towns along the way.


I attempted to cross Asia overland (without flying) after Australia. Although I found it easier to travel in Asia than in Africa, my itinerary was much longer in Asia and it therefore took me 10 months to backpack all the way from Indonesia to Turkey through 16 countries overland. It was a unique experience to have the opportunity to explore the somewhat similar cultures of the greater East Asia region, while backpacking through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam,and then entering China. Similarly, I tremendously enjoyed crossing the borders between Nepal, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and seeing the cultural ties, differences and transitions among all these neighboring nations.

North, Central and South America

I love road trips and I got the chance to drive extensively within the U.S. Then, my longest backpacking trip to date was from the U.S. all the way down to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, which is the furthest point at the bottom of South America. I left the U.S. for this trip in March 2012 and made it down to Tierra del Fuego in 25 months without taking any plane. I traveled through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil overland on this trip, before flying to Africa.


  1. Sinan says:

    This is like my dreams being realized by a friend.
    Have safe and adventurous backpacking experience.
    God bless and yolun açık olsun

  2. Maite Victoria says:

    Hola Mustafa es Maite la que conocistes en el Buquebus de Buenos Aires a Colonia, como te fue por Uruuay? por donde estás en estos momentos? espero que te este yendo muy bien, mucha suerte .
    Tus fotos están muy bellas, te felicito.
    Maite Victoria

    • Mustafa Dogru says:

      Hola Maite! Que bueno saber de ti! Uruguay estaba bien, pero un poco aburrido, como la mayoría de los uruguayos estaban de vacaciones por la Semana Santa. Ahora estoy en Paraguay y voy a llegar a Brasil pronto. Espero que todo está bien contigo también! Muchos cariños a Buenos Aires!

  3. Cosmin says:

    It has been my dream to backpack through Asia. I just can’t ever find the time to do it. I work all day and when I’m not working, I’m in college. Do you think I should probably do this after I finish college? I was hoping to do this even before starting it. I always wanted to do something that would change my perspective on the world and everything around me before I chose what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What do you think? Let me know, thanks.

    • Mustafa Dogru says:

      Cosmin, I think, doing it after college before starting a new job would be ideal. Many travelers I have met on the road were new college graduates, who were taking their times off before starting their new jobs. Alternatively, you can work for a while, save some money and quit to travel, whenever you are bored with your job. That’s how I did a couple of times.

  4. Şadan says:

    Bugün gazetede röportajınızı heyecanla okudum.Bir bayan olarak yapmak istediğim di bana korkutucu ve ürkütücü geliyor,sanırım bu yüzden gözüm açık gidecek:)Yolun açık ve tanrı seni korusun Mustafa.

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