As many have experienced there has been a massive explosion in the overland and off road based adventure market in the past few years. More and more often the narrative goes as follows; Buy expensive overland vehicle, 4runners and Tacoma's being some of the more popular, precede to purchase every after market part available and in the legendary words of John Hammond from the 1993 classic Jurrasic Park “spare no expense”
I think at one point or another we have all gone down the rabbit hole, jump on “insert vehicle or community forum here” and drool over the amazing rig builds and let strangers tell you how to spend your money.
Now all of this being said there is nothing wrong with doing that, to each their own and as long as its not taking food off the table for your family, more power to you!
But Ruston, what is the point of telling me this?
Well the point was to establish a precedent. This has become the norm for so many people, and seems to be the standard for “Instafame” in todays society. The crazier the build the more people drool. Slap a random “overland or expedition” in your insta handle and you have hit the big time.
Okay, but Ruston I still don't get why you are still writing.
I set all of this background up to be able to challenge it. One thing that seems to be so common is once the truck is built and the name is hashed out there is an inherent lack of adventure. Now if your goal was to simply have a cool truck then awesome! But if you were lulled into the idea that you “need this truck super built” in order to have an adventure then I think you are missing the point.
Adventure travel is about the experiences, places and people you meet and visit along the way, the scenic vistas, that ohh so eclectic delight you found in the mountain pub or back country kitchen.
I will admit, I am guilty of all of the above. I started an Overland account and business, I bought a brand new, way to expensive, overland vehicle, I began to modify this vehicle into something that no longer resembled the cheeky mug that I fell in love with. I have had 4 different roof top tents, 3 different roof racks, 3 different front bumpers, 4 sets of tires, 2 sets of rims, wheel spacers, no wheel spacers, I am on my 4th suspension set up since purchasing the truck, and a cold air intake that only lasted a month. Do you want me to let you in on a secret? None of it made the adventure more exciting, none of it made the places I wanted to visit and more or less than what they have and always will be.
Through the years I have learned so much through the vehicle of overlanding, most of them have been about myself. I recently have been swimming against the river of overland society, leaving the roof for the ground, putting back the sway bars I had removed, removing a front bumper built for rock ramming and an amazing thing happened, I can still go all the places I have wanted, things stopped breaking on the truck, I saved so much money on gas, and found myself worrying less about what people thought of my truck and valuing the experience and adventure that much more! I am calling it our journey #backtobasics.
So I challenge you, do you need that long travel, all that armor, a king sized roof top tent, 700 miles of fuel range? Or do you need more fresh air, adventure, silence, and road trips with those that you care most about? What is your answer?