Tonight was answering an email from someone in the expo community I highly respect and growing friendship I cherish. I won’t let on who that was, if they chose they can post up on either the Facebook page or here on the blog.
An excellent point was made on fitting into the crowd. In Seth Godin’s work in “Tribes”. Seth contends that it is natural and in fact, people are desperate to believe in the elusive ‘something’ whether it’s religion, human rights, trail access, or in our case, adventure of places new and unique. unfortunately, there is a despair when the group is going nowhere, yet still committed to believing in the “one thing”. This is where it is essential for leadership in the Tribes equation.
There has been an exciting movement in the Overlanding Tribe, mainly with the Overland Expo event and the Expedition Portal forums. This has been a place for like-minded adventurers and expedition participants to meet and share ideas. But as many Tribes grow, there begins to be certain cliques that evolve. I have already noticed that in the forums there has been a minor divergence of “elitist” who have grown impatient with the weekend adventure postings, the “Jeepers”, rock-crawlers, and those mainly focused on just equipment enhancements.
This is an easy crowd to quickly feel like an outcast. Most of us have day jobs, work towards the few weeks a year we can get away from the boss, pull off an amazing adventure traversing a few states on dirt, maybe a smattering of weekend adventures, and all on a budget. Some of us get lucky and wind up doing a gear review or perhaps a sponsor. When compared to the guy who traverses Antarctica in a rig, the team that explores 5 continents in a year, or makes a pilgrimage to the Mayan ruins, well our feats can feel a bit small. On top of that, going to an annual rendezvous each year to learn about our discipline and not being accepted as equals can leave one a bit jaded.
Truth is for me, while it is a great commitment to unplug and travel the world, I have found it is even a greater commitment to stay plugged in. To be a father and committed husband. While I dream about going to great destinations, my destiny is to be there when my little girl needs a Daddy when she wakes from a bad dream.
I refuse to be labeled as an adventurer because of a $300 camp chair, $100 cooking pot, or $75 shirt. While we still use high-end gear where it makes sense, and will endorse high-end gear when it is something we honestly use, we will not allow product to define us. It’s not the vehicle, the rack, or even the places you go to explore. It is the spirit of adventure and exploration you choose to embrace.
I love the life I have and thankful for a company that financial supports my expeditions in exchange for my trade. I love being on the road with my family, but last night hanging out on a couch doing story time with my family was awesome.
We explore our backyards and backroads….we spend weekends not weeks on end. We traversed Idaho on dirt and probably had the same feeling as those who explored Africa by Land Rover.
In place of high-end sponsors, We have steady jobs that support our adventures, and in most cases understanding employers.
While the expo world has a standard for keeping food cool, we store our pantry in a Coleman we bought on sale, not a fridge from ARB unless we give up a few pleasures or get a great tax return.
Though an Africa to Asia tour may be not be on the horizon, just as many memories are made in finding a dirt road route to Arco a familiar place on a map.
There will be a day when many of us will do a third-world trip for an extended period of time. Some of us will get to spend several months traversing a new country. A few will have the opportunity to be professional transients. It is not those trips that make us explorers, for the adventures we live now will have already made us as that long before we step off.
No we don’t fit the mold…we are Square Peg Expeditions…we support our adventures through hard work and sacrifice…and we are about to ream out the round-hole world….
Our adventures define us…not the adventure cliques, clothes, or having the recognized brand…