Preface: For those who might not be caught up, we are currently in Portland for the summer... After this blog we'll be all caught up to real time.
Two years ago, we arrived at the NW Overland Rally in Plain, Washington with a brand new Four-Wheel Camper, wide eyes, and 1001 questions! We left it with only about 600 questions, a $400 solar panel, and friends that would last us a lifetime. Returning just two years later as actual overlanders with 15 new countries under our belts, and the answers to (most) of our burning questions, was a feeling I will probably never be able to describe. It was amazing, astonishing, humbling, invigorating, and most of all AWESOME! Ok I guess I can describe it, just not with a single word or phrase.
When we started planning for another summer back at home, the first thing on our list was planning to attend NW Overland Rally. The only problem was we would be overlanders without a vehicle… we would be (GASP) backpackers! So we reached out to our local Four-Wheel Camper dealer to see if they would have a camper we could stay in during the rally, in exchange for us hanging around the booth and telling people how great the campers are. Well, they thought that seemed like a great idea… So great in fact that they paid our entry as well! With our entry taken care of, we started talking to other overlanders we knew that would be there and Ray Hyland the organizer of the event, who we had been Facebook friends with for a few years. Next thing we knew, we were also signed up to give an hour long talk with fellow overlanders The Vagabroads and Carpe Viam about our experiences in Latin America. They also reached out to Sunny, Karin, and I about leading a panel for women, after the success of our Facebook group Women Overlanding the World.
So when it came time for the event, we realized just how different this one would be. We were about to be on the other side of these classes and talks. We were the ones answering the questions about border crossings and safety and the Darien Gap crossing. We were showing people Four-Wheel Campers and telling them how it felt to live in one full-time for the last year and a half. We were also joining some of our Overland heroes and inspirations in telling people how to overland and why it’s the best decision you’ll ever make! Sadly, just before the event our new real-life friends and long-time inspirations, Chloe and Toby of Carpe Viam decided to skip the event in order to make it to Alaska a little sooner, so we were joined on our Latin America panel… and I still can’t actually believe this really happened… by Desk to Glory. Richard and Ashley were the inspiration of most of the people traveling around the same time as us, and we were no exception. They are interesting and lovely human beings that take fabulous pictures, and have an amazing presence on-line that has led them to an Instagram following of nearly 50k, and countless amazing overlanding opportunities now that they are home. These guys are who we want to be when we grow up!!
From the moment we arrived, we felt like we were home. Surrounded by overlander friends, both new and old, we were in our element. Our good friends Megan and Nick have a term for this called the Overlander Friendship Arc. When you meet other overlanders that you feel like you already know because they share a fundamental life choice with you, therefore you already have something huge in common, It accelerates the friendship from the early get-to-know-you stage, directly in to the we-have-been-and-will-be-friends-for-life stage! When we weren’t giving talks or helping to host happy hours, we were running around meeting or visiting people that were aspiring, current, and former overlanders. It was the kind of experience you can only get by being with your tribe!
One of the huge things that came out of this weekend was affirmation for a project I’ve been working on for several months now. Karin and Sunny (The Vagabroads) and I, are expanding Women Overlanding the World from a Facebook group and website, to a full on business. As of May 2019, we will be running Guided 10-Day Women-only Overland Trips in Costa Rica. These trips will be geared toward women who want a taste of overlanding, without the commitment of quitting your job, selling your house, etc. They will feel like a vacation, while also challenging you to explore, learn, adventure, and drive your way through some of the most beautiful areas in Central America. We will combine roof-top tent camping on secluded beaches, with stays at beautiful Costa Rican lodges. It will be unforgettable, and we CAN’T WAIT to share this experience with these amazing women! Oh and we have also brought on Ashley of the aforementioned Desk to Glory, to help us in this process, and we are thrilled!
Oh yeah, one more exciting thing… I’m in a book! Finally available for purchase, is the gorgeous i can. i will. Women Overlanding the World coffee table book. It features the photos and stories of more than 50 women, and covers the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of overland travel! It turned out gorgeous and I can’t wait to share it with more people. Below is the promo video where you can get a little preview.