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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, Overland Expo West

May 27, 2015
by John

Snow, hail, rain, and mud, "Expo as F**k" was this years unofficial theme. For us it was a long awaited milestone, a definitive moment solidifying that we are actually on our trip. We've sold our home, quit our jobs, and are living in a van we built to endure the Pan-American highway... holy shitcakes batman!

Expo is a sea of vehicles, vendors, and travelers (past, present, and future). It is easily overwhelming yet easy to find a groove. We ran the gamut at Overland Expo East last year, this time around we planned absolutely nothing. We ebbed and flowed with each moment, assimilating into the minds of those whose words have fueled our desire to drive from Alaska to Argentina. Sucking up all of the information we could, sharing in serious and anecdotal tales, and rekindling friendships that must have been etched deep into our souls from lives past.

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

There's a storm a brewin'

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

MANs, Mogs, and FUSOs... Oh My!

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Neli unhappy with Vic and Jason talking during her Traveling With Pets class

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Yes, Greg, those pants show off your curves

In our opinion, overlanding is cresting into a new phase. Not a downward slope, a growth spurt that is culminating old with new. A place where hardcore vehicles of the past benefit from the cutting edge technology of tomorrow. A wonderful fusion of recycling, simplification, and sophistication. Maturation of an almost bygone era that will forever be engrained into the human spirit. Ingenuity of exploration. An innocent quest of the unknown, a return to home. Maybe we're just a bit romantic and are seeing the current state of affairs a bit rose colored.

Nonetheless, the weather may have deterred some, many of us were joyfully bitching and moaning. The point of Expo is not to experience perfect conditions, the camaraderie in adversity is the truth of travel. Meals, drinks, gear... whatever each traveler needed was readily available. Open hearts and homes, the core of overlanding, shone bright to keep each of us a little warmer.

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

The boss of Ujoint Offroad, Chris is in the picture too

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

All of these kids are doing their own thing

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Naysayers take heed, A2A (family of 4) been rollin in dis shit for almost 4 years

It's hard to explain the allure of such an event. We recommend attendance to any aspiring traveler. Above all, the connections made with kindred spirits is immeasurable. Noobs to the mustered, an understanding of our deepest desires threads us all together. Comparing builds and gear, proud parents we all be, segways into life lasting relationships.

Meeting those who have become so familiar from the prose they have penned was paramount. Converting cyber relationships into friendships is unbelievably fulfilling. The advice we received will help us tremendously along our journey, having new friends to lean on when times get tough is invaluable. An unspoken understanding, an immediate comfortableness, trust without regard.

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Maya was off getting Neli a cappuccino to help her recover from being called a pet

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Another diva shot, our pics of Song of the Road (Sam and Erica) were blurry

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Chauffeur and navigator (Jason and FVP) for Neli's Big Adventure

Overland Expo West, Mormon Lake, AZ, USA

Adventure on Tap, Kristen is much taller in person

While Expo has everything and anything imaginable, it is the people that define it. The convergence of travelers, the passing of batons, encouragement, sharing, and acceptance. A magical aire grounded in real life experiences. Inclement conditions be damned. It is a small village that stretches around the world.

Cattail Cove Campground, Lake Havasu, AZ, USA

Damn hippies, doing muddy Expo laundry in a bucket at the lake


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Say what? (5)
May 27, 2015 at 09:47 PM
It was really nice to see you ther again guys. Pleased to know that you're enjoying the first weeks of your journey.
I wish you all the best on your way to Alaska!
May 28, 2015 at 12:08 PM
We feel the same Claude-Alain! We're excited for you and can't wait until we run into each other again on the road.
Sri
May 28, 2015 at 07:55 AM
Looks like you guys had fun :)
Ryan
May 28, 2015 at 09:02 AM
Sorry we missed you guys. With our Van still basically a cargo van, and 2 young kids we decided not to brave the bog that was the camping area at Expo West. We stayed up the street in at one of the camp grounds, then headed down to Sedona for some sunshine and Mesas :) Good luck on your journey, and perhaps we'll see you guys on your way down from Alaska!
May 28, 2015 at 12:10 PM
We did Sri, despite the weather.

Don't sweat it Ryan. We lived in ours at Expo East as a basic cargo and it was a refrigerator, you made the right call. Keep in touch so we can share a campfire sometime.
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