Ladies and Gentlemen! I hereby declare that I am a complete disaster and  one of the biggest dumbasses on the planet. In case you’ve been wondering how I’ve been doing on my around-the-world-journey in my Landrover, well, here’s the story, in pictures, as usual, though, they are not mine, they are courtesy of a talented young French photographer Julie Higelin.

I don’t often have the chance to be photographed by other serious photographers, so, I thought – wouldn’t it be awesome to have photos of me looking cool with the car in some awesome place and to share them on Facebook later? :) You have to admit that there’s definitely at least an illusion of me being rather cool in this photograph and, just look at the backdrop. :) This is a beach around the South West coast of Portugal. Ponta Ruiva, I believe.

Here I am indeed looking cool, or at least the car is. I mean, just look, it’s like something out of a Landrover commercial. :) Yes, salt water is bad for the engine, but, I planned to give the car a good rinse afterwards.

More coolness. There’s even a rainbow in the splashes. :)

After splashing around in the water, I finally decided that it was time to go. Julie wanted another shot of the Landrover going up the hill, above the beach.

For whatever reason though, I decided to come back down and to have Julie make a video of me going through the water and looking adventurous. I had a somewhat bad premonition that this wasn’t an amazing idea, and, indeed it wasn’t. In the image above, the car is stuck in the sand. MAJOR FAIL. There was too much water splashing around, it went into the air intake (I hadn’t installed the snorkel yet), the engine stopped and by the time I started it again, I sunk too deep into the sand to get out.

I was under the impression that I was invincible, I mean, Landrovers, they can go anywhere, and, nothing bad ever happens to me. I thought that it will be embarrassing, but a good laugh afterwards after the rescue service will come and well, rescue me. :) As you can see, the sea started to get closer. Just my luck, hide tide.

Unfortunately, the rescue service didn’t consider my case very important and nature had some plans too. The Atlantic started swallowing up my beloved Landrover.

I realised that I’d better take out whatever valuables I had in the car. Whenever the waves would retreat, I’d open the door, jump in and grab a bunch of things to take to shore. I was convinced that the rescue service would pull me out soon, so I didn’t worry too much about whatever stuff I had in the back – most of my clothes, a tent and chairs amongst other things. Thankfully, I left my equipment bag in the guesthouse where I stayed.

The world isn’t without kind souls and of course Portugal is no exception. Eduardo, the ex-marine-captain, now vegetarian-surfer was going out for an afternoon in the waves. After seeing a car in the sea, his plans changed. Though Eduardo couldn’t do much to pull my car out, he did talk some sense into me and told me to get EVERYTHING I could out of the car. He had a wetsuit, so, he jumped in to give a hand.

Eduardo knew what he was talking about. A rescue tractor came without a cable or anything that could be used to pull out the car and soon, I realised that I am absolutely, completely f-cked!

I made an attempt to get out those things which I didn’t deem important, but the ocean had taken over. It was dangerous to be next to the car. A hole formed under it and getting trapped in that hole with smashing waves was not a good idea.

I realised that no one would come to rescue the car on time. There was nothing to do but watch and wait that perhaps at some stage I can at least get some of the less important, more waterproof things out of my car.

It was like watching a great beast die. I think this photo depicts that very well. The Landrover lies helplessly on its side while another killer wave is approaching.

As the sun started to set, we finally got a rope. It was actually thanks to Eduardo who drove home and took his own rope from a boat. If not for him, perhaps my car would still be there. I do continue to be humbled and surprised by the kindness of people. I was ready to get undressed and jump in to tie the rope to the car, but Eduardo said “Stay, you don’t want to get sick.” I insisted, but so did he.

Sun setting, beautiful landscape and, my car, on its head. It’s not easy to tow a car when t is upside down. There was quite a bit of struggle before things started to move forward.

Eduardo turned out to be a local kind of super-man, who manoeuvred his way around the car, tying the rope to one end, then to another, allowing the tractor to put it back on its wheels.

Unfortunately all the efforts could not add up to a happy ending. This is the almost final photograph of my once awesome and almost new car. It actually got quite a big more banged up on the way up the hill.

And so, apart from saying that I am a total idiot, what else is there to say? I’m glad that no one got hurt, though it would be hard to in this case to get hurt. I am really glad that my equipment was at the guest house. I am very thankful to Eduardo for helping and to Julie for doing her best to help and for taking the photos, which as some of you might imagine I was not really in the right state of mind to take.

In these cases, you really can’t do much else, but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. It’s like watching a movie, a tragic comedy, only you’re in it. I was surprisingly calm all the way. I guess until the final moments I was hoping that everything would be ok. By the time the car came to the workshop, I was told that it’s basically worthless and unrepairable. Insurance does not cover people driving into the ocean.

There is no need to feel pity though. My adventure continues. I was not about to give up on my dream of traveling around the world by car, so, I bought a virtually identical Landrover a week ago. The whole thing has turned into a major pain in the butt and I will lose time, which I was hoping I’d be spending on the road, but, I will get out there again very shortly.

I have learnt a very expensive lesson. It is good that it didn’t come somewhere on a deserted beach in Africa. I will be much more careful now and, I hope that all of you reading, if you ever plan an adventure like me will be too. :) On a side note, this ‘little incident’ might eventually turn out to be a blessing in disguise, you’ll hear more if that’s the case.

And so, once again “Merry Christmas everybody! Learn from me! Don’t do as I did!” :)

29 thoughts on “Merry Christmas! Don’t do what I did! :)

  1. Haha! What were you thinking??? I can’t helped but laughed at what happened. Haha! Merry Christmas Mitchell and to your wife :) this is definitely a great Christmas experience to remember. Haha

  2. Oh dear… I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… And realize it’s the kind of grandstanding any one of us might have been guilty of… and heave a sigh of relief that it wasn’t my turn to show off… You’ve taken it well and just got on with things and I can guarantee this will never never happen again… Bon voyage!

  3. Amanda Stevens

    OMG I haven’t laughed and cried like that in years! I too have (HAVE) been a Land Rover owner ( God I LOVED that chariott) and attempted all the idiot stunts that the commercials make look sooo cool and doable. It got so I couldn’t make eye contact with the mechanics OR explain why one whole side is bashed in or floor boards bent up or the sheep grill actually wearing a tree….I drove it up mountains, thru dry river beds ( then suddenly they weren’t dry) and over boulders ( not smart btw ) every part I had to replace cost more than my 1st 3 cars. I still got excited every time I sat behind the wheel…it was a thrill., a very expensive lesson and a dream like memory.
    Thank you for bringing laughter to my life today.

  4. Oh my God….
    Well, the important thing is that you were safe and that you can laugh about it now.

    Merry Christmas to one of my favorite photographers!

  5. Amanda Stevens

    Oh yes I was laughing so hard and going down Land Rover memory lane, I forgot to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and may you be a little wiser with your new L R. A little salt over the shoulder can’t hurt.

  6. Vegulla

    So sorry to hear what happened Mitchell. Glad to hear that you guys are OK. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

  7. I’m really glad you are ok because stuff can be replaced but there’s only one you! And isn’t it just like you to make friends in any situation? Your honesty about the whole incident is also very refreshing.

    Merry Christmas and safe travels in 2013!

  8. So, you have finally come clean. Glad you were OK and nothing more than your pride was injured. Happy Christmas and safe travels in future :)

  9. Gavin, I’m sure you had nothing to do with that ;)

    Dang Mitchell, seeing the photos I’m glad you are OK! We all live & learn, though not everyone has pictures to proof it. I’m sure you’ll take good care of your next one :D

    Feliz Navidad!!!

  10. Catherine

    Glad to hear this drama is not slowing you down a bit…it is a great story and you will dine out on it for years to come with great laughs! Look forward to hearing about your adventures to come! Merry Christmas!

  11. Cheryl

    Oh, Mitchell, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – or do both! What an amazing adventure you and your beloved Land Rover have shared. The photos tell the story, even without your narrative. The main thing is that no-one was hurt, no equipment lost, a new friend in Eduardo found, some epic photos for posterity and you are able to purchase another LR to continue on your adventure.
    You may recall that I am always commenting on your mastery of light in your images, well, I have purchased your eBook on Natural Light so I will try and emulate your style now :-)
    Have a wonderful Christmas, a great New Year and I will be looking forward to more tales from life on the road.
    Thanks for sharing this tale and try for a little less drama in future – hahaha!! Stay safe – both of you.

  12. Man…seeing those pictures made me cringe a little. They just kept getting worse and worse. It’s good to know you are alright though and that it wont hinder your plans. It shows your character a lot that you can laugh at the situation and move on. Completely sucks though. Merry Christmas mate and Oma sends her regards as well.

  13. My sincere commiserations! What a difficult lesson to learn, but very glad you came out of it safely.

  14. WOW! What a story. I am not sure I would have had the guts to ‘fess up to this. This sounds like something I would have done. Humbling as it was, I am very glad you are ok. Like Sabrina said, stuff you can replace but there is only one of you.

  15. Alexandra

    moi rodnoi malchik,byd ostorojen v bydyshem,y nas net nichego rodnee i doroje ,chem ty.beregi sebya.pyst ydacha i vezenie vsegda bydyt s toboi.

  16. Wow, and I thought I was having a bad week!
    So you ended with this ‘little incident’ may be a “blessing in disguise”. Everything happens for a reason but it’s left up to us to take advantage of it or be washed away by it, I’ve little doubt you’ll make the most of this. After all, you are already laughing about it and looking ahead not behind.

  17. David duChemin

    Mitchell, I feel your pain. Expensive lesson learned there, but grateful you’re Ok. Sad to see that beautiful 110 succumb to the Atlantic. Merry Christmas, bro. May 2013 bring you a new, much drier, Defender, and renewed adventures. Also maybe a course in 4×4 recovery techniques. :-)

  18. Lloyd Greene


    Thanks for sharing. We’ve all done things like this, but few of us have been willing to man up and share–you’re the man.

  19. Hey Mitch, no reason to be sad (more than one afternoon) as this is a very valuable lesson which you (and us) will take further! We can see you are a fighter cause you have reacted immediatelly by getting back on your track! And this exprerience will be seen in your photos for sure, cause where do photos come from if not from the heart of who we are…!? Merry Christmas! Mihnea

  20. chow

    While I feel sorry that this had happened to you, I think you took it very well. But at the same time, this is the type of video, if posted in youtube, where you would have plenty of “lovely” remarks in the comments section.

    Merry Christmas brother.

  21. Aw mate !
    I feel sorry indeed for this incident. I truly believe you didn’t make another mistake instead of trying to get fun with that awesome Land Rover. Glad none were injuried but instead your Defender’s passed away.
    I’m another Land Rover nutter, and I’ve made some mistakes as well … my problem is: I haven’t been able to learn my lessons !!
    Happy Holidays anyway

    Cam :)

  22. Aaron K.


  23. polarisandy

    Ah well, todays bad news is tomorrows great story.
    No one was hurt.
    Well done for taking it in your stride.

  24. Hi … thanks for your great content .. I’m looking forward to new photos …

    Best regards …

  25. Thanks for sharing, I definitely think we can learn from the mistakes of others but it’s a wierd idea to have wanted to drive on a beach with a brand new car like yours. I’m sad for your Land Rover that was really nice and I wish you will forget this nighmare really soon and keep in mind just the lesson :-) Also, I’m glad you can keep pursuing your dreams after a such mistake ! Have a good one !

  26. Pj

    Epic! Can’t help myself from laughing. Hahaha.Pretty expensive lesson indeed. :D

  27. Great Story and thumbs up that you’re willing to share this adventure so other ones won’t make the same mistake. Have a great 2013 with you new car and I looking forward to see more of your beautiful pictures.

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