Overland Expo is an international event that educates and inspires people to get out and explore the world, by bike and vehicle.

It wasn’t until I met Rupert & Amy in Guatemala that I learned about “Overlanding” and the amazing community of people doing the same thing as me – driving or riding vehicles across continents and around the world. From that day forward, I dreamed of attending Overland Expo in Arizona, which is a huge gathering of those people.

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One of the config options of the Pronghorn front bumper.

After a couple of huge days of travel I arrive in the dark, and stumble into a circle of friendly looking people. I recognize Will and Rochelle from Kiwi-Panamericana because they were in Whitehorse a couple of months ago. An amazing round of introductions quickly follows. I meet the Life Remotely crew of Jess, Jared and Kobus then Brenton and Shannon of Ruined Adventures. After what might be the longest “Internet relationship” in history I’m grinning from ear to ear when I finally meet Luis & Lacey from Lost World Expedition – they were close behind me the entire time on the Pan-American. We exchanged emails often, but somehow we’ve never actually met face to face.
It’s surreal, but also hilarious when I mention I’ve traveled all this way to “meet my Internet friends”.

Luis can’t believe I have an Australian accent. All these years we’ve been emailing back and forth and he’s shocked I’m not adding “eh” to the end of every sentence and talking “a-boot” stuff. I think he feels a little deceived.
Someone else thinks I’m an imposter because I don’t have dreadlocks (anymore).
The stage is set for an amazing weekend with really great people.

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The Habitat by Adventure Trailers. Of course I climbed all over it twice for good measure.

Overland Expo is a huge event that combines a whole bunch of activities into a 3 day weekend.

  • It’s a fantastic place to meet other Overlanders who are really doing it. Of course, they’re all extremely friendly and happy to help out in any way possible.
  • It’s a great place to attend talks, discussion panels and sessions hosted by other Overlanders on all kinds of topics.
  • There are dedicated training sessions where we learned how to recover a rolled 4×4, use a winch, build a bridge and tons of other important stuff.
  • Lots of vendors attend the event and bring along the latest and greatest in Overlanding and 4×4 related gear. Needless to say there were some very, very impressive setups and all manner of accessories to look at and think about.
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The Pronghorn front bumper in an0ther config.

Ted Simon is a regular attendee, and it was great to attend a “Travel Tips” panel where he was a guest speaker. I couldn’t resist and took the opportunity to introduce myself and thank Ted for the inspiration he’s given me, and the course-correction in my life he had a big hand in influencing. After reassuring him that was a good thing, he seemed pleased.
If you have not read Jupiter’s Travels, get a copy now.
It’s not every day you get to meet a personal hero.

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The new RAM front bumper and flares from AEV. Those are 40 inch tires….

It was shocking and extremely fulfilling to chat to a random person for a minute, then upon exchanging business cards have them say “The Road Chose Me?  – Oh, I know you, I followed your entire blog”. To this day it’s hard for me to comprehend anyone outside my family read my stories and saw my photos. I feel full of energy knowing others drew happiness and inspiration from my writing.

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The Brute Doublecab by American Expedition Vehicles.

It was an amazing weekend I won’t soon forget. I got to meet so many great people from different walks of life who have one thing in common:

They’re all following their dreams.

-Dan

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At the conclusion of any long trip there are always more places you did not visit than the ones you did. Dan’s impressive journey took him to 17 countries and a countless number of cities and towns. But it’s always fun to backtrack a little so that’s what we’re going to do here.

One of the places Dan did not visit while in South America was Brazil. And with the World Cup set to be played there next month, the host city of Rio de Janeiro will be bustling. Over 600,000 fans are expected to flock there for what is the largest single sporting event in the world.

Many people will be taking in the tournament via first-class hotels and transportation. But that’s not the “Dan Way.” So for the frugal traveler/soccer fan who seeks adventure, spontaneity and authenticity, here is a brief guide to how Dan likely would crash the World Cup and how you can too.

Where to Stay

Given the world-famous beaches and sexy tourist status, an average hotel room in Rio is expensive any time of any year. During the summer of 2014 with the World Cup being played there? Forget about it. Hotel prices have skyrocketed to an average of 250% above their normal rates—and that’s if you can even find one still available just five weeks from the tournament’s opening match.

Going the hotel route is anything but frugal and besides, it’s likely not the route Dan would’ve chosen if his trip had coincided with the World Cup. Nothing about a high-priced hotel with internet, cable and free breakfast says “adventure.”

Instead, consider this alternative: the favelas, or slums of Rio. These once dangerous areas have been reigned in by Rio’s military police and the rental agency Favela Experience is working with locals to offer beds, rooms and even entire homes to rent during the tournament.

Rooms can be rented for as little as $10 per night and the site only rents rooms in areas with 24/7 military police presence. You’ll have the advantage of a local host to help you navigate the area and you’ll save a fortune while getting a more authentic travel experience than those opting for the touristy beach hotels.

Getting Around

Driving in Rio, especially for an outsider, is a harrowing experience. There is little regard for road safety as traffic signs, stop lights and even one-way streets and sidewalks are routinely ignored by the locals.

For a safer and less stressful alternative, the local bus system is actually quite accommodating because most Brazilians rely on busses to get to work every day. A comprehensive system of routes plus a frequent number of running busses means you can get where you need to go for the equivalent of less than an American dollar.

Taxis are the best option for getting across town in a hurry. A two-mile journey will set you back only about three American dollars and prices can even be negotiated.

Seeing the Games

This part will not be quite as easy. The average ticket price for Brazil’s opening match against Croatia is over $3,000 while even the cheap seats will set you back around $1,000. Tickets for Brazil’s games are infinitely higher because Brazil is not only the host country but also the favorite to win the tournament according to online sports center Betfair.

Attending one of the United States’ games is a little more feasible and tickets are as low as $200 on the secondary market, according to Forbes.

Of course, you won’t need to attend a match to experience the excitement of the World Cup. Simply being in Rio in June or July will be an adventure in itself. And who knows what might happen once you’re there? As Dan likes to say, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

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Rio de Janeiro

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After a lot of thinking and dreaming, I bought myself a new DSLR camera and fancy lens. I also picked up an Intervalometer so I can do some tricky time lapses.
I recently made this with a friend as my first attempt. I can’t wait to take more.
You’ll want to watch it full screen for best effect.

-Dan

P.S. The number of new photos I have on my laptop is getting out of control. I’m really looking forward to showing you all what I’ve been up to in the far North. I’ve made a promise to myself I’m going to post here at least twice a week until I’ve caught up with the backlog. I promise.

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Jeepers, Overlanders and 4×4 enthusiasts alike all dream of making a once-in-a-lifetime round trip through Colorado, Moab and The Rubicon Trail in California.

Dream no more.

ExtremeTerrain are sending one lucky winner to all three offload meccas with a Jeep Wrangler!
It doesn’t get any better than that.

Checkout the ExtremeTerrain Contest Page to get all the information and watch a video explaining all the contest details.
Next just fill out the Entry Form before 6pm on Jan 21st 2014 for your chance to win.

It’s that easy.

Extreme Jeep Adventure Banner

Extreme Jeep Adventure Contest

ExtremeTerrain.com is the one-stop online shop for quality aftermarket Jeep Wrangler parts and accessories. They cover the whole range from rock-crawlers to weekend warriors and overlanders like me. If you’re new to Jeeps and 4x4ing (as I was before my drive), give them a call to discuss the best options for your needs, these guys are pros and really know their stuff.

-Dan

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