When Sam and I went to Overland Expo in 2012, the focus was to find a vehicle to drive the Americas. We had purchased our Honda Element with the Ursa Minor pop up conversion, but knew after camping in it for a year that we wanted something with more living space, a bathroom, a shower and an eat in kitchen area. So Overland Expo 2012 was all about learning about our options and figuring out the car we wanted to take with us. The most helpful class we took was taught by an Australian who just drove the PanAm, Rob Blackwell of White Acorn, who talked to us about the challenges of finding propane in South America, the need for a Cassette toilet (no RV hookups in areas south of Mexico), and the importance of no exceeding GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). We saw lots of different slide in campers and decided on the XP after a few months, see Sam’s post Choosing an Overland Vehicle for more details.
Overland Expo 2013 for me was about meeting other overlanders who have taken this trip, and developing friendships so we have resources to lean on during our travels. Also, I wanted to meet the people who have been writing the blogs that have inspired us to take this epic journey. We also agreed to let Marc, the owner of XP camper, use our brand new XP as a demo vehicle for potential XP buyers and curious Overland Expo guests.
When we arrived in the exhibitors’ area we were lucky enough to be directly across from Jessica, Kobus and Jared of Life Remotely. We were able to spend time getting to know them and also benefited from the delicious bacon Jessica cooked up for everyone for breakfast. Anyone who cooks 5 pounds of bacon for overland expo guests is my type of people.
We also got to meet the amazing Brenton and Shannon from Ruined Adventures who were some of the nicest people I have ever met. They inspired us to volunteer during our travels and introduced us to Alice from the Do Good As You Go Foundation, who we plan on volunteering with during our travels.
Brenton and Shannon’s car was in South America, so they had a borrowed car for Overland Expo for their space in the exhibitors section. We took a picture of their sign. I love it that they were parked next to all the $300,000 Unimogs.
We also got to be part of the epic Star Wars themed last day BBQ party. Sam told me he wanted to buy a storm trooper costume and take pictures all along our journey, the fact that Ruined Adventures and Life Remotely actually brought them to Overland Expo took them to a whole new level of awesome.
Other people we got to talk and share a beer with were Bryon and Sarah from Exploring Elements (who also were lucky like us to get to have Marc cook for us, reason alone to buy an XP), Monica and Jeff from Overland the World, Dave and Ann and their adorable daughter Wynne from Adv-o-dna, Tom and Sara from This Intentional Life (who I am hoping we will meet up with in Alaska) and Jason and Victoria who are leaving for the PanAm the same time we are with their dog Neli. We also met Emily and Chris who live in San Francisco, who are thinking about their own adventure down the PanAm soon.
It was really exciting to meet all these adventurers, and even more inspiring that everyone was so interesting, fun to be with and laid back. If these are the kind of people we are going to meet on our travels, then I am sure we will be meeting and making lifelong friends. I can’t wait to get started!