It is always a pleasure to share other Subaru owners experiences. Especially when it is something different that I am personally not able to do. I mean these overlanding experiences. This time I have a special quest from France, who seems to be quite experienced already in the overlanding scene. He has also grew his social media channels to quite big with over 11 000 followers on Youtube! And very interesting stories to tell indeed! Highly recommended to check this interview and then of course head up to his channels (links at the end of this article).
Please introduce yourself
Hi guys! My name is Jordan, I’m 27, former French marine and I’m from France. I love traveling, the great outdoor and everything with an engine… So overlanding was a great fit for me
ALNSM Overland sounds a bit complicated, please explain what it means?
Ahaha you directly start with an interesting question! And the answer is pretty fun! Here it is: it all started with my best friends while mountain biking. We do downhill/freeride mountain biking and sometimes jumps or huge gaps can be a bit tricky. So what we used to say was: “A La Nike Sa Mère” in French before doing it. It’s actually a bit rude and you can translate it by “Don’t think, just send it” in English. And since I love the story behind it and the state of mind I decided to keep it and use it for my overland adventures.
When were you first interested in overlanding?
I always wanted to go on long, self sufficient adventures. But I didn’t know how to do that. I was hiking a lot a few years ago but felt like it wasn’t fast enough to cover large areas or country. I also really love mountain biking and thought about traveling by bike. But it was lacking of comfort. So I looked into every options: motorcycle, vans, trucks, 4×4, smaller wagon/SUV… And after watching a few YouTube videos (Expedition Overland was a great inspiration!) I decided that a vehicle like the Forester was the best option. That was 5 years ago.
What does overlanding exactly mean for you?
It’s adventure! With a vehicle. The more self sufficient the better. You don’t have to off road, you just have to explore and enjoy the ride!
Are there good overlanding opportunities in France?
I’d say yes and no! Really near where I live, so no more than 1 to 2h of driving, there’s not a lot of interesting trails or destinations. And trust me, I explored this area a lot! But France still has awesome regions to visit and overland! It’s just that I have to drive 6 to 8h to get there. Auvergne, the French Alps, the Pyrénées are awesome place to explore!
How many countries have you visited with your Subaru?
In 2019 I was able to go full time Overlanding for 5months. It was pretty awesome and I visited 12 or 13 countries. I hope I will be able to explore more soon!
I noticed that you have also visited my home country Finland. Was it easy to find a place to do some overlanding activities?
Absolutely! Finland is the dream destination for an European Overlander (and not Norway like every one love to say…)
Finland is very wild, with a lot of gravel roads and small trails. You can explore all day and try to reach remote lakes to camp and spend the night. Even tarmac roads are enjoyable to drive, between beautiful forest and reindeers.
The best and worst moment in Finland?
The worst moment in Finland was when I took the ferry to leave Finland! Honestly, I regret spending so much time in Norway and not enough in Finland. I want to see more and I’ll definitely get back there one day! The best moment? Every campspot we found was a best moment!
YES, I really enjoyed my time in Finland!
Has the global pandemic affected your overlanding lifestyle?
Absolutely. As I said, I went for a long adventure in 2019. But I should have continued this trip in 2020, for 8 more months on the road to explore central Asia, Russia and Mongolia. But covid happened and I had to cancel it… Or maybe it’s just postponed, we’ll see!
Your Forester is not the most recent model. Have you ever thought of upgrading it to e.g. e-Boxer?
Not the most recent at all! It’s actually one of the very early models from 1997 with the 122hp EJ20J.
It’s definitely a bit sluggish with all the added weight but it’s reliable and pretty capable. I don’t plan to change for something more recent. Plus, the engines we have here in Europe in the recent Subaru or not really interesting…
To everyone who is interested in an overlanding lifestyle. What are your top three tips to consider?
First of all: take your time! Don’t rush everything and simply enjoy the moment.
Second: don’t buy all the fancy gear, or at least not right away. Go out for a little adventure, test you setup and think about what you (really) need for a better setup and what you have but that is not useful.
Third: learn your car! Try to do all the work on your car by yourself. That way you will know who it works and you will be able to fix it in the middle of nowhere. In addition, slowly but surely, learn about the limitation of your car, it will keep you away from trouble!
Must have equipment to start overlanding or can you do with a stock car too?
You can do it with a stock car! Like a stock forester for example 🙂
That being said, always bring with you some extra food and water, a first aid kit and/or trauma kit, some basic recovery equipment: shovel, air compressor, recovery boards.
Also, always make sure that you have everything to sleep and eat properly, in every kind of conditions.
You’re carrying a rooftop tent almost all the time. Does the tent keep warm also during colder seasons?
Absolutely not! The tent does not keep warm during colder seasons… And if you close all the windows a lot of condensation builds up. So, you better have a good sleeping bag, blankets and a cap! That being said, I’m thinking about making an internal insulation to put when it’s really cold. We’ll see.
Have all trips gone perfectly fine or has there ever been any trouble?
Stuck brake caliper! Ahaha this was a nightmare. I don’t even know how many times I pulled over on the side of the road to get it unstuck. I also had a cracked and leaking radiator but luckily, he didn’t blow up and I was able to finish the trip.
I also got badly stuck in mud once! After trying everything to get out I reach out to a farmer so he can pull me out with his tractor. The fun fact of that story is that I drove 2 hours to drive that trail and after 10min on it I was stuck!
Any greetings to the Adventureforester blog readers?
Thank you for your time, guys! I hope this was interesting to read And thank you Tomi for having me here! I’m always happy to share stories, useful infos or trail ride! By the way, if you want to know more about my Overland Subaru Forester, my adventures or ALNSM Overland You can check:
Thank you Jordan so much of the interview. It was my pleasure to have you here. Happy and safe overlanding to you in the future!