What do you do when you’re unhappy in your corporate job? You hit the road and drive…all the way to Australia. That’s how Monique Song found her way into offroading and eventually becoming the beloved Overland Lady. In a traditionally male-dominated pastime, Monique challenges gender, racial, and cultural norms on her solo adventures around the world.
Monique ended up spending a year traversing Australia’s remote landscapes with “Altar,” her Toyota Landcruiser. It was in the land Down Under that she started Overland Lady, a blog about her inspiring adventures.
Monique’s journey to traveling around the world on four wheels was far from given. Born and raised in China, she felt the heavy weight of expectations from her culture and her parents. And yet, Monique found she was happiest on her weekend getaways from her home in Vancouver, BC, to the mountains.
“On every trip, the part I dreaded most was coming back,” Monique says. “Looking at a city from afar I would think, ‘oh man, back to real life.’ That’s when I started to realize that maybe I liked the life out there on the mountain.”
When the opportunity to travel from Canada to Australia arose, she jumped on it. From Australia, Monique headed to the Arctic. Since then, she’s joined the rollover club and totaled her rig on Alaska’s Dempster Highway. While Monique is not afraid to get her hands dirty and her rig destroyed, she infuses her personal sense of femininity into her wild lifestyle. Monique attests it’s important to her to wear makeup and do her hair, even when hundreds of miles from another human.
“As an overlander, you tend to become a bum over time,” Monique explains. “You rarely shower. You don’t shave. And really over time you start to look sloppy. This is my way of keeping myself accountable in terms of hygiene.”
Get the full inside scoop on Monique’s makeup philosophy plus find out what rigs she’s eyeing next on the Gaia GPS Offroad podcast. You’ll also get her best tips on how to ease yourself into traveling alone in new places. Follow along on Monique’s adventures by following her on Instagram and YouTube and by checking out her blog, Overland Lady.