Tim Slessor’s 88th birthday will not be a conventional one. If all goes to plan, he will be behind the wheel of a 64-year-old Land Rover somewhere in Tibet, five weeks into a 100-day drive from Singapore to London.
It won’t be the first birthday Slessor has celebrated in the old Land Rover. In 1955, he drove the same vehicle in the opposite direction, from London to Singapore, as part of the six-man Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition. That groundbreaking trip took six months, helped kick-start the vogue for overland travel, and in subsequent books and films became known as the “First Overland”. The 2019 rerun is being billed as the “Last Overland”.