Overland Expo… a homecoming, a reunion, and a reminder to keep it simple.

I was greeted with great big hugs as I found my campmates at OX13. It was a reunion with my moto family – the crew that makes up the Adventure trio (www.adventuretrio.com): a never forgotten cheerleader Sandy, strong Terry, and bright-eyed Jack; a warm welcome by the energetic smiles of Nicole and wisdom of Paul; and so many other familiar faces known and yet to be introduced.

There were exclamations of excitement on both sides, me because it had been a year since I had seen them, and them as congratulations of an accomplished trip. I realized that at a certain point on the road, it was just another day for me but not for those who watched back home. I had become a constant traveler, but to some of them it was the journey of a lifetime. Now, amongst a crowd gathering for a weekend to regale in Overlanding dreams, I settle back into my “We’re not weird here” family.

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As we share ideas of a distant future with plans that begin now, similarities resonate. Distances and budgets get bigger every year. Overland Expo has become an annual checkpoint of what we accomplished within 12 months and how much closer we are toward the ultimate goal. We celebrate accomplishments of 10 years on the road with Simon and Lisa (http://2ridetheworld.com/), 20 years of marriage for Sandy and Terry, and two years in the making of a book published of a mototrip past (www.atlasrider.com). And then, of course, the yearly Ural test of might driven by Ms. Carla King (http://www.carlaking.com/)For each of us OX is an exploration of inspiration as well as a push to get two wheels under our feet and see the world.

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As I walk around Overland Expo ‘13 looking at the congregation of heavily packed GS1200s parked next to the oversized tents you can fit them in, I question how many of these people travel long distances? Even though I get the short distance award for only driving (in my truck) 90 miles to the event, I recognize my observation is a hugely skewed after riding 16,000 miles to Tierra del Fuego. I pass through RV village in search of my moto family, recalling only one overlanding motorhome on the road in Ecuador, and not ever seeing a trailer pulled. To think of it, I did not see trailers or motorhomes on the road outside of the US until Chile and Argentina. At OX13, my favorite vehicle for the past three expositions is driven by two Argentines on the road for 13 years. I was excited to finally meet Pablo and Anna. (http://viajeros4x4x4.wordpress.com/) On the window of their small Mitsubishi van are scrawled with the words that have been burned into my eyes since I first read them: keep it simple, you’ll go futher. After only 6 months on the road, wishing I had more, I recognize how true that is.

Traveling is not about being sold perfection. I look at the over-packed big bore bikes adorned with accessories tightly fitted next to the idea improving adventure. I will agree, the right equipment makes traveling easier, just like I will admit I packed poorly and did not take certain proper items with me. I will adjust my setup before embarking on another journey. But I still cannot dismiss the idea of minimalism. I appreciated the demo on packing light by Andrew Pain (http://traveling250.com/ )

Through eyes of being on the road, I analyze many of the trinkets being sold and how over engineered so much of it is. You want simplicity. You want things that can be fixed by men with little to no education who are used to basic knowledge of the moving mechanical parts.

I also realize I am judging harshly because I have only been back in the states for two weeks and am in a slight state of reverse culture shock. So many “survived” with so much less in the majority of the countries I visited. I will have to get used to again being surrounded by the consumerist ways that make US go round. So here is where my rant ends and I recognize that OX13 is more than just a place to buy and sell goods, it is a meeting place for those of like minds, trading ideas and stories and giving those who need it a push. Inspiration, which can neither be bought nor sold, is what keeps us traveling farther.

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5 thoughts on “Overland Expo… a homecoming, a reunion, and a reminder to keep it simple.

  1. I will plan on attending next year, seems like the place to learn about traveling. What I don’t understand is how people live for 10 years on the road, where does the money come from? how did you manage a 6 month trip? did you have a budget before you started?
    I would love to do a trip to South America in 2 1/2 years but not sure I will have enough money.
    Are you on Google Plus? I’m going to add a link to your site, visit me on my blog or on my Google Plus page here: http://goo.gl/FRRU76

    • All I can say is: you never have enough money. But you can make smart decisions on how to spend it. I had a bit of savings from which I budgeted and I ended up spending most of it. It’s hard not to do that when you just want to keep going. As for those who have made a lifestyle about it… they make their money on the road selling things they make, be it photographs, books, jewelry or whatever they can offer. When there is a want, there is a way.

      Also, I will be doing a post about budgeting in the near future… about what I spent and ways to make it go farther. Cheers!

      • Thanks for the reply. I will wait for your post with interest. I’m really interested in doing it but with two kids, one just done with college, the other going to college in 2 years it’s difficult to figure a budget. Is six months in your opinion enough to make it to Tierra del Fuego and still see enough without just riding like a maniac? I did from NJ to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 12901 miles round trip in 34 days, average of 379 miles a day. To S America I would probably want to do a lower average, what was your average for the whole trip? Have you figured it out yet?

  2. love the “keep it simple, you’ll go further motto”. having just returned after 22,500 miles on the road, i’m wondering what all of the stuff is that we packed away in a storage unit before we left last year. moto traveling with 2 t-shirts, a bathing suit and a camp stove for so long has made me wary of more “things”. doesn’t the ferry ride from Baja seem like ages ago and also just like yesterday? looking forward to reading about your future adventures.

    • I have been going through the same thing… It was easier to have so little. What I put in storage seems to take up too much room in my head.

      I just started looking through images… and wow, yes, the ferry ride was so long ago, yet not at all.

      Glad to hear you guys made it back safely!

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