Expedition leader Alex Bescoby and the drivers sprinkled vermilion powder, draped the radiators in marigold garlands, lit incense and rang the bell to summon the gods to ensure that the rest of the expedition would be breakdown-free.
It was Bescoby who dreamt up the return trip from Singapore to London for the original Land Rover with Tim Slessor from the First Overlanders, now 88. Among the eight members this time is Tim’s grandson, Nathan George, fresh out of university, and following his grandfather’s tyre tracks, but in reverse. Nathan is as old as Tim was on the London-Singapore trip in 1955.
The Southeast Asian leg of the journey from Singapore through Malaysia, Thailand, Burma and into India, followed the same route as the original expedition. Many of the dirt tracks are now highways, and cities have sprung up where there were none.