AKA: El Niko
Los Gatos, California
Occupation: Software Quality
Assurance Engineering Manager
Skills: Land Rover repair
Nick formerly worked on the
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) project for Network Associates in Santa Clara,
California. Nick is somewhat of a Land Rover enthusiast (he owns ten
of ‘em). He has dedicated two of his vehicles and much of his own time
and money toward this vehicular-based expedition around the world.
Q: Why do you want to drive
around the world?
A: My dream is to drive
two Land Rover Dormobiles around the world. Perhaps some of you well-traveled
readers can help us out with some book references or advice on this task.
We know enough right now to be dangerous. Why drive around the world? I
don’t know. To see more, I suppose. Call it conditioning for the road ahead.
It’s not a stunt, though. When adventuring through life, the payoff outweighs
the danger and discomfort that comes with this type of travel.
Once you've allowed yourself
to be ripped out your comfort zone, traveling Land Rover-style is super
fun. It's not difficult to become addicted to travel. Sometimes I'll be
sitting at my desk at work, and suddenly, for a split second, I'll be in
Veracruz, drinking their delicious orange juice. Or I'll be in a small
restaurant in Tequila, visiting with the friendly owners who treat me like
I’m their only son. I can't really explain it, but I figure, why try? I
enjoy these travel DTs (flashbacks), but ultimately they are not enough.
Travel broadens your thoughts, increases your tolerances, and makes you
want to take more trips.
Q: What benefits do you
think this trip will have?
A: I enjoy meeting
people who appear different than myself. Simple things like listening to
people and exchanging ideas or a joke-- maybe even just small talk—reminds
me of the cliche that we are "all in this together." After a while, you
both begin to see similarities, and this great realization sets in that
we really aren’t all that different. There’s a sparkle you can see in someone’s
eye when you both understand this, and it is always wonderful.
Q: Do you think you will
A: Yes—although I must
admit that there is a HUGE chance we won’t. I’d give us 50/50 odds. I usually
don’t let HUGE chances bother me too much. We have several advantages over
former vehicle-based expeditions through this region. The vehicles are
solid, most everything is new or rebuilt, and we have lots of spares.
Q: What are you definitely
not leaving home without?
A: A map so I can get us back
Q: What will you miss most
A: My family, my bird,
and Customer Service
Q: What will be the hardest
thing about being on the road?
A: Probably the road
itself. The roads we will travel can be pretty hard on vehicles. Although
we’re in good shape with these Land Rovers, they can break from abuse just
like any other vehicle. Also, on occasion, I think it will be difficult
to maintain focus on our goal, which is to drive around the world. At times,
it will be difficult to get six individuals organized and motivated to
start the day and press on. Finally, if we are to accomplish our goal,
we cannot visit all the sites our journey has to offer. This will be tough,
because there will be a lot of time to study the areas we are traveling
through. The temptation to stay an extra day here and there will be in
the back of everybody’s mind.
Q: What is your biggest
A: Whether or not these
leaky Land Rovers, with their stock 2.25 liter, 80 horsepower motors will
pull themselves, six people, and their gear over the Himalayan plateau.
If we can make it to Everest Base Camp, that will be a huge milestone. Descending
12,000 feet into Katmandu will be another.
Q: What sights are you most
looking forward to seeing?
A: All of them! The
Great Wall and Tibetan plateau especially.
Q: What personality trait
of yours is most likely to irritate your fellow travelers?
A: My tendency to obsess
over details. Echoing requests to lock the cars. Constant double-checking
the work of others. Someone’s got to be the unpopular guy.