Overland Expo 2014
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.