Life-changing ‘Burma’ trip may be a first

Photographed in Naypyldaw, Myanmar are explorers Harold Stephens, Adam Clark, Steve Perks and Robert Stedman.

A STRATFORD-upon-Avon man has just experienced what he describes as a “life-changing” journey when he completed what’s thought to be the first ever overland north to south drive through Myanmar.

Steve Perks, aged 47, was part of a four-man team to take on the challenge which took 12 days and covered 4,000 kilometres.

In his day job, Steve is a painter and decorator in Stratford but after some persuasion from his cousin Adam Clark (formerly of Loxley) who organised the expedition, he linked up with him, and American adventurer and author Harold Stephens, aged 92 and with fellow explorer Robert Stedman to drive two vehicles the full length of a country formerly known as Burma.

The origins of the story date back 50 years when Harold Stephens set the record as the first person to drive around the world in his Trans World Expedition. Later he wrote the best seller Who Needs a Road, which chronicled the trip and has since become a classic, particularly in the Far East.

The reason for the expedition in February was because Burma was closed to Harold in the 1960s so he didn’t quite drive round the whole world first time round.

“My cousin Adam became friends with Harold in Bangkok and they started talking about driving through Myanmar. Adam became expedition leader and he kept asking me if I wanted in or out eventually I said I was in,” Steve said.

Steve became chief navigator and engineer for the trip and said the scenery and wildlife were amazing but it wasn’t an easy ride.

“It was a really tough trip. On one of our vehicles a wheel exploded and shattered while on the other the clutch burned out. We think we are the first people to drive the full length of the country although someone might challenge that but that’s fine, our achievement is there to be challenged,” said Steve.

He’s now in the process of writing his memories of his exciting challenge to send to Harold and Adam who will be releasing a book about expedition aptly titled, We Found The Road, which is expected to be published later this year.