Featured image

These Travelling Aunties Went On A 400-Day Adventure Around The World in A Motorhome!


Hazirah Hakeem •  Nov 23, 2023

These two Singaporeans, Noor Soeb, 54, and Susie Chua, 59, didn't just take a year-long road trip; they embarked on a 400-day overlanding adventure across the globe in a motorhome.

If you would like to share your story, travel experiences, tips or itinerary with the HHWT community, please fill in the form here.

Your next adventure awaits! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to explore breathtaking destinations, get insightful travel tips and itineraries!

Two women infront of a motorhome

The Spark of Adventure

The journey began with a chance encounter in Borobudur, Indonesia, where Susie pointed out an Austrian Mercedes truck to Noor. The truck came all the way from Europe, and intrigued by the idea of using a van to travel, they delved into the world of overlanding and discovered a community known as "Van Life."

Two women infront of a truck with their name on it

“And then I went home, did some research and discovered that there's a community called Van Life. People even do it full time and you can travel to many countries and places in a van or vehicle. So I crunched the numbers and said that we can do it for a year. We went on a trial trip and liked it a lot, so it then extended to two years and then now it's coming to three and a half years.”

What Is Overlanding And Why?

Overlanding is not the most conventional mode of travel, and the question arises: What inspired Noor and Susie to choose this distinctive way of exploration? For Noor and Susie, overlanding offered the perfect blend of freedom and comfort.

Woman inside a motorhome

"Imagine having a truck with a kitchen, toilet, lounge, and bed – it's like a home on wheels," says Susie. "We wanted the freedom to go wherever, explore different cultures deeply, and go on super long trips," adds Noor.

From Short Getaways to a Global Odyssey

Their initial plan for a one-year adventure expanded into a multi-year odyssey. There were truly many memorable journeys that made a huge impact on them.

“One of the first wild camping spots we went to was next to Hadrian’s Wall in the UK, and we were overlooking the hills and I remember there were some cows just coming by our kitchen as we were cooking… it was just really exciting, because it's unique.

We also drove on Mount Atlas in Morocco, which is something I will never forget. A lot of the places we went, we could have never gone there if we went on a tour, or even if we were backpacking, so it was a really interesting experience you can’t get elsewhere.”

However, their overlanding journey faced an unexpected challenge—COVID-19. As the world slowly started shutting down borders, they were stuck in Morocco. It was a major challenge for them - they were stuck deciding if they should return home, or just stay in a foreign land? Ultimately, they decided to stay put, and see how the COVID situation played out.

Facing the Overlanding Challenges

Even during the post-COVID times, they still had to be cautious and plan their next steps carefully. Depending on the situation, different countries would be in various states of accepting travellers, so they had to keep a lookout on the news and decide where to go from there. There were many times where they were stuck in countries, and had to write letters to the authorities to help them cross borders.

“So there are many challenges like border crossing and stuff. But I think we face each challenge as it comes. Rather than seeing it as an obstacle, it's a challenge for us. And we solved whatever obstacle there is. One by one.”

Connecting with Diverse Cultures

They also mentioned a big part of facing these challenges was being able to be flexible and change your plans.

“You always have to have plan A, B, and C. Don't just have one plan and stick to it, you can't do that. You need to be very flexible when you are doing this kind of travel.

For example, parking. Let’s say you choose a certain parking spot, but when you go there you don't have a good feel about it. So then you go to your plan B parking spot and look around. So we always made sure to have multiple plans in hand.”

Two woman inside a van driving

With each country comes a new set of customs, languages, and cultures. Susie's approach involves using Duolingo to learn basic phrases like "thank you" and "hello" for each country they visit.

Additionally, they would always read up on a destination’s culture and traditions before going, to be respectful and mindful of things they need to be aware of before they arrive.

“Like, check before going to Turkey or Morocco, if there is any dress code and stuff like that, and are there any little silly things that you should not do as a tourist. So, read a little bit, and also talk to people when you're there. You know, when you talk to people, you get the feel. You get to learn what they do and what you should not do there.”

Overall, they tried their best to blend in and not be seen as tourists, by observing people and not bringing too much attention to themselves.

Halal Adventures: Culinary Delights

For Noor, navigating the world as a Muslim traveller presented its own set of challenges. To get around it, they opted for a motorhome with a fully functioning kitchen that they could cook meals out of. That ended up helping them alot, as in places like Europe and Canada, they did not eat out a lot.

"For those places, there’s a lot of halal sections in the supermarkets, so we would buy groceries from there," Noor notes, "but we did eat a lot more outside in Morocco and Turkey, where most of the food was halal."


Of course, they did make sure to compromise at times. As Susie is a non-Muslim, she would eat non-halal meals at times, but it was always outside of the motorhome. They always managed to find a balance between the both of them that made both sides happy.

Life on the Road Together

"Living in a small space for a long time isn't a breeze," Noor admits. How do you solve it? "Communication, compromise, and understanding each other's perspectives," Susie shares. The two of them have worked through disagreements, found resolutions, and focused on cherishing the unique experiences.

Two women infront of a valley

One particular disagreement they had was over a ‘small issue,’ as Noor mentioned.

“I remember we had quite a big, silly disagreement in Alhambra. It was because I took a wrong turn and she kept asking me why I went there and that I went the wrong way and more. Because we were upset, we ended up losing each other for an hour. So we went two separate ways going back to the motorhome.

Then, we both started panicking. I panicked because I thought that she would panic because she would get lost and she didn't know the way back to the motorhome and then when we tried to find each other, we couldn't.

But after that, we made a pact that whatever happens, we wouldn’t leave each other's side.”

Two women infront of mountains

Noor mentioned that, “It's impossible not to be angry or not to have arguments,” but you have no choice than to allow yourself to feel that emotion, then let it go after a while.

“Remember the big picture because you need each other to move on,” Susie added on.

Two women taking a picture at Yellowstone

Personal Growth Beyond Borders

"This journey isn't just about places; it's about personal growth," Susie reflects.

From mindfulness about the amount of resources they use - like plastic, water, electricity - to appreciating life's simplicity, and understanding privilege, the trips taught them invaluable lessons.

Noor also found joy in connecting with people, crossing language barriers, and bonding with diverse backgrounds. “Even though we didn’t speak the same language in a few of the places we visited, we still did connect with others.”

“There's one time we were stuck on the highway in Panama because of a civil protest. We were stuck on the highway for 27 hours. Surrounded by big trucks from El Salvador, from Honduras, everything. There was a complete shutdown. And I went out to the road and talked to the protesters. It doesn't matter that you don't speak the language, if they see you try, they would try too.

Two women taking a selfie infront of many vans on the road

And I was also shocked, in the evening of that day, the same ladies were selling empanadas on the street. Empanadas are similar to the curry puffs that we have in Singapore - which really reminded me how similar we all are.”

A woman posing with a local street vendor

Words of Wisdom for Future Overlanders

Two women posing above a crater

Noor and Susie’s advice to aspiring overlanders is to "embrace living with less, find joy in exploring the world on a budget, and seize the moment."

“It's intimidating when you've not done it, but you grow and learn every day. Every experience contributes to your growth and your confidence and you will realise that you can actually do it.

A woman holding up the Singapore flag infront of a Welcome to Alaska sign

Life is short. Enjoy it. You must set aside some time for yourself. See the world. Enjoy nature. Enjoy what is out there. It’s a life experience you will forever remember and learn.”

Through Susie and Noor’s journey, we can see that travelling is not just about reaching a destination; it's about the incredible journey that unfolds when you embrace the world with an open heart and a spirit of adventure.

If you would like to share your story, travel experiences, tips or itinerary with the HHWT community, please fill in the form here.