Last week, Karen and I attended, and presented at, the 2014 Overland Expo (OX14), which is, I believe, the largest gathering / expo for folks who “overland”. I translate overlanding into “vehicle-based travel to unusual places for unusual lengths of time”, but if you asked the attendees at OX14, you would probably get hundreds, if not thousands of different definitions.
Thanks to Bryan Appleby, who has been full-timing in his truck camper for the past 5 years, there was an area at the Expo where truck campers could gather.
It was really fun to hang out with some other folks who not only have truck campers, but whose names I recognize from the rv.net truck camper forums (the largest online community for campers).
OX14 is a blend of a boy scout jamboree – a few thousand folks camped out in a field – with a gear porn expo, and a great “beer around the camp fire” camp ground. Although “real” camp fires were banned. But we had a camp fire anyway as one of the truck campers had brought along a propane fired “camp fire”. (See gear porn in previous sentence).
The vehicles, ’cause a lot of OX14 is about the vehicles, ranged from Mini’s to Unimogs, from $2,000 to $750,000+. A few examples:
(All pics above. btw, from Stan at Four Wheel Campers)
Now Karen and I were there to present lessons learned from our trip, to field test our ufyt dog bed (see previous post), and gather feedback on the ufyt system itself (maybe next year, we will exhibit), but mainly to present.
It’s interesting: out of the 7,000 people who attended, Karen and I may have the least amount of off-roading, gear head, “damn, that’s a nice suspension”, “what psi do you run your tires on washboarded roads”, “I can weld an axle together using nothing but a lizard and two dry sticks” knowledge. But. We belong to a rather small sub-set that have done long time overlanding on other continents. And we thought we had learned a few things we could pass along.
Most of our presentation was about tips on how to reduce stress – overlanding in Paraguay can be stressful – a few simple tips help with the stress and increase the enjoyment. Despite being at the overlandig gear fest that OX14 is, we also tried to to communicate that it’s not about the gear (except for a ufyt System…), instead it’s about saying Yes and doing it. Speaking of stress: Karen was quite nervous before our first presentation; by our second presentation, she was so comfortable, so into the storytelling, I had to use a a shepherds staff to yank her off the stage…
For those who want to check it out, our presentation is here, but a word of warning: without the presenters, it may be terse.