Recently, there’s been a realization. A realization that I’ve gone off course. And it’s time to correct that. Let me explain.
I’ve been traveling and exploring all my life and I’ve always done it to see new places and witness how different people live and work in different regions. I’ve never called it “overlanding”. It was always just exploration and I was in a vehicle and I would camp along my journey, taking pictures of things I’ve seen to remember the trip. My first blog was created to share my journeys with my family and friends, but more so to let them know I was still alive.
The “overlanding” trend started to become a buzz word and I quickly recognized it as “hey, that’s what I’ve been doing.” And so I jumped on board and created First State Overland to take my adventures to the next level. I saw fancy produced trip videos being created with the rise of technology and ease of use and I too jumped into that.
Then came Instagram.
I used IG to share photos of the trips I’d be on, while I was on those trips. I wasn’t really one for pretending that I was living some glorious, perfect, life of adventure where every day was a beautiful sunrise and I cooked my gourmet meal in a bug-free environment. At festivals and expos I took classes on how to use social media better and I started tagging everyone and their brother because that’s what I was told I should do.
As the overlanding trend continued to explode, I started to see patterns that made me roll my eyes. The phrase “doing it for the gram” became so much more apparent. People social media begging to be “brand ambassadors” or “influencers”. People creating videos claiming they were in partnership with a company because the company gave them the same discount code it gives anyone else. I started to see a community that was divirging from what I wanted to do. And worse yet, I started to see myself doing some of those things and I hated that.
There was a breaking point where I said to myself, “This is not why I explore. This is not how I want to go about seeing the world. And this is not how I want to spend my time in the outdoors.” And that caused me to step back from FSO and ask; what is it that I do want and how to I go about pivoting to make that happen?
Some of you know that my job provides flexibility to work remotely. I keep my customers happy and get my work done and I’m all good. This opens the door to full-time exploration. That is my dream. Once I realized that, I also realized that the Jeep and trailer were no longer the platform that was going to make 365 days a year living comfortable for me. I needed something larger, with more practicality and usability, and comfort. Roughing it is great. But we’re all human and we need to return to comfort every now and then. And if I’m working from the road, taking phone calls and such, that needs to change.
And so the Jeep and trailer have been sold. Long term plans include something to the effect of a truck camper, but short term, I still have much of the “overlanding” gear and it will go on the F350 pickup I just bought. I’ll continue to camp and explore - my way. The way I started adventuring so long ago. The social media presence will slow, for now. And what was First State Overland will lie dormant until I decide what (if at all) it reemerges as.
Last but not least, I wanted to extend my sincerest thank you to everyone I’ve met along this journey, people who have watched the videos I made, people who have inspired me to focus on the true heart of exploration, and even the Instagram brand ambassadors in influencers for waking me up and realizing that I was on the wrong path.
Cheers to the future.