OK this is probably nothing new…but I am an “Overlander”. I never knew or even tried to apply a name for it. I just thought it was a weekend adventure when we loaded one of our rigs with enough food, equipment, and people to conduct a small invasion. But the adventure “industry” seems to have painted me into a box of sorts so that I feel the need to label the process of traveling countless back roads for days at a time as “Overlanding”.
For me it is hard to fully describe what it really is- and at the same time I like the label. I think it may finally define more of what I am not about rather than what I am. For example, I am not into “rock crawling” and have no desire to place any of my rigs or family members in precarious situations as I slide along boulders. I have no problem with this and enjoy not only watching but also being a passenger in someone’s vehicle that is at risk. I am not a “mud-bogger” and in fact find I get irritated when someone has torn up a trail for the sake of slinging mud on a road or in the landscape. I can’t always clasify myself as a “Jeeper” since 2/3rds of my fleet are jeeps but them I have the XTERRA. The XTERRA precludes us from the “Off-Road” and “4-Wheeler” labels as well. Besides, “Car-Camping” sounds so lame…
Here is how I see our history and return to Overlanding:
A trip in one of our vehicles to a distant location where we have the capability to be self sufficient (within reason) that qualifies as some type of adventure (camping, hiking, travel, tourism, sight-seeing, hunting, geocaching, etc), using electronic or other navigational method, using various road surfaces. It may include overnight camping, meal preparation, and sanitation.
We have Overlanded as a family from the beginning. Including trips to New Jersey, Texas, Oregon and our shorter weekend trips up and down Forrest Service and National Park back roads. These trips have ranged from weekend day trips to a few weeks. We have camped under the stars, slept in our rig, spent sleepless nights in questionable motels, and wined and dined in some of the most beautiful retreats.
Our trips have given us breath-taking views, brought us into contact with Monks in a remote and now abandoned Monastery, provided access to awesome hiking and biking, and given us the chance to grow closer as a family.
Adventure IQ has been and always will be about getting off the couch to adventure. For us it is not so much about the label, but another avenue to try something new. For many this is a perfect portal to adventure. Sure, it may not be about hanging off a cliff, rocketing down a mountain on skis, or biking a hundred miles…but it is a great activity that is so accessible.