The Serious Road Trip

The Serious Road Trip



When Simone set off from New Zealand in the early 1990s, eager to experience what the world had to offer, she couldn’t have imagined how things would develop. The Iron Curtain was falling and the world seemed to be opening up to nations previously cut off from the western world.

Against this backdrop of change, she was one of a group of Kiwi friends who would embark on the journey of a lifetime called ‘The Serious Road Trip’. Initially sparked off by the plight of the orphans in Romania, they planned to travel by red double-decker bus from London to New Zealand working with underprivileged children en route. The one-year itinerary was mapped out, but fate would intervene and the Bosnian war broke out in 1992 as they started their journey.

Compelled by circumstance, the bus joined a Peace Convoy into Sarajevo in the hope of stopping the war. They became the first British-based group to break this infamous siege in June 1992. With compassionate hearts and living day by day, they endeavoured to meet some of the needs of orphans and refugees in many of the most remote and dangerous war-torn regions. They captured hearts and imaginations as they ‘juggled’ their way across borders and checkpoints in Bosnia-H, Croatia, Romania and elsewhere. Travelling in colourful trucks or by red London bus they developed their own unique and maverick form of humanitarian relief where keeping your sense of humour became a matter of survival.

Simone’s personal journey is interwoven with the ups and downs of fund-raising in the London head-office, leading teams of clowns alongside convoy projects and across frontlines or journeying to forgotten corners of Romania. Simone details how she and her fellow volunteer humanitarian Road Trippers offered tangible help and hope in the darkest of times and places.

This factual account is told by a woman following her path and searching for love in the most unlikely places. She finds more than she bargained for. This tells of a journey of courage and self-discovery, where extreme circumstances reveal all sorts of strengths and a pioneering spirit within. It shows what the bonds of friendship and love can surmount when kindred spirits unite, show compassion and dare to dream.

ISBN: 9781852001926

Size: 217x140mm 

Binding: hardback 

Colour photos and illustrations

Length: 320pp


About the author:

Simone van Kan

Born in England but raised in New Zealand, Simone has always considered herself very much a Kiwi as well as British. She has a BA Hons in Modern Languages and French and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching Primary (NZ). She has also completed puppetry scholarships and courses in Germany, France and New Zealand.

Having lived, worked and travelled around most of Europe, Simone is presently settled in Devon with her husband and daughter, where she is actively involved in her local community, participates in various theatre groups and also works as a French Call Evaluation analyst.

As co-founder of The Serious Road Trip she has often been asked to give talks about how the humanitarian organisation came into being and her experiences within it. With so much interest she finally decided to write the complete account within this book.