Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Building Matilda was a life changing experience.
I was already a practical person, I had built houses, but building Matilda was different.
I always knew I could build an awesome expedition truck, but I had not realised how much of a life changing experience it would be.
Building an overland truck is like building a giant 3 dimensional puzzle without a picture. You are the designer, engineer, carpenter, buyer, planner, electrician, plumber and mechanic and you need to consider weight, movement, flexibility, strength, space, comfort, thermal properties, power subsumption and light as well as many other considerations. You also need to be thinking a thousand moves ahead and solve many problems. If you can do all of this to some degree, you can build yourself an awesome overlander.
The most valuable thing I learnt during the build process was that there is always a way and you can do anything. Once you get yourself into the mindset that you can make a thing, a thing you designed in your head, a thing that you cannot buy, but can make from basic materials, you unlock a power. There is so much potential in all of us. All you need is the confidence, and this grows the more you use your power. One skill that helped me was learning to weld. I purchased a cheapish mig welder and taught myself to weld in a couple of days. Being able to weld unlocks many possibilities.
Once you realise you can make anything and have the confidence to know you really can, not only make it but to a good standard, then you become almost fearless. Cutting that big hole in the side of your truck is no longer a problem because you know you can fix it. Even if you make a mistake you know you can fix it. It's just a matter of effort.
You really can do anything. Its just a matter of effort.
So my biggest piece of advice is, Do It. Build your own overland truck. You will gain so much confidence in the process it will change you.
How much work is it?
A project like this requires serious commitment. So you need to be fully committed and focused on the end goal. It's a lot of work. Many people do give up on their builds. Its a good idea to set a departure date for your travels and work towards that goal. This helps to keep you focused. You may well miss your date. Thats ok, set another date but keep it realistic.
The hardest part of all of this is making the decision to do it.
I am currently building a MAN 8.136 and documenting the build. Part 1 below.