Why we started overlanding
Quite a few people have asked us why we started overlanding and the truth is that it all came around because of a business crises which had us looking at potentially selling up and taking up full time van life in the UK. We’d looked at Mercedes Sprinter conversions, motor homes like the 90’s Talbot’s and even narrow boats as a solution to what was, at the time a situation which needed some urgent action.
In among all of the Youtube and internet research overlanding kept cropping up, another plan was to full time tour in a touring caravan but we needed something to tow it, our old A6 quattro wasn’t worth importing back into the UK so to buy an older 4×4 would have been the best option – again, alternative lifestyles, vans, car camping and all that stuff kept throwing up overlanding and we were intrigued… What if we were looking at things from the wrong angle? What was it we were really trying to acheive?
After a couple of what can only be described as ‘tough’ years Gayle got herself qualified as an addiction therapist and we began to nurture a new business into life, no more supplier issues, damaged deliveries, reps, customer complaints and stress, it was a new way of doing things.
Any business takes time to grow, we had little financially to throw at it but we did have online experience so building the website, SEO, imagery and video were set up quickly and it wasn’t long before we started seeing results, all of this work was undertaken while fighting the Spanish system who’s idea of an ideal future and only option was to undertake ‘campo’ work, picking almonds and lettuces to make ends meet. Trying to explain our business plan was futile especially in an area where anything online is not really understood never mind an idea behind it.
I cannot even begin to describe what having to use a Spanish food bank is like but at our lowest point it is what we had to do, a kitted out Shogun to travel the country seemed a very long way away indeed. As business picked up and life came back into balance we began to make plans, taking all of the research we had done we were still attracted to spending more family time together and being outdoors, away from the computer.
Up until then we’d spent twelve years running a business and never really went anywhere, the business took priority, it was keeping us in Spain and it worked well, until it didn’t, nothing lasts forever as they say. Now we had the opportunity to do something different, with more spare hours in the week and free weekends we decided that overlanding was going to be the best way to improve our lifestyle by getting outdoors and creating some adventure.
The Mitsubishi came along in 2020, an import from the UK which, even after transport and Spanish registration was cheaper than a Spanish version with 300k on the clock. Little by little we improved the rig, adding cooking area, drawers, roof rack, new all terrain tyres, rustproofing etc etc. Things were starting to come together.
Getting out every weekend was [and is] doing us the world of good, even short trips on a Sunday was getting us out the house, into the fresh air, into nature and challenging us
With Gayle concentrating on clients and my work behind the scenes on the website down to a maintenance level I needed a project and the Mitsubishi fit the bill perfectly, from working on the vehicle to planning the next trip and building this very website life could not be more different to what it was before.
Getting out every weekend was [and is] doing us the world of good, even short trips on a Sunday was getting us out the house, into the fresh air, into nature and challenging us in something that we’d never done before, we were getting more exercise, seeing more and not feeling the rush to get back to check orders, answer product enquiries or deal with business related issues.
Getting started overlanding has been a simple process, even easier if you already have a suitable vehicle, in our case we had to drop a couple of grand on a Shogun but what it does is allow us to explore parts of Spain that that we wouldn’t otherwise get to see, parking by the water’s edge at a reservoir instead of the car park, cooking breakfast in the middle of woodland, coffee whilst admiring the views from the top of the sierras.
There is a lot to be said for being out and about in nature, having grown up in rural Northumberland on a farm as a child overlanding kind of takes me back to the relative calm of the countryside albeit a little bit warmer here in Granada! Overlanding also slices hours off the time our youngest spends on the phone/tablet and laptop which can only be a good thing.
So, after a significant wobble after nearly two decades in Spain we’ve slowly maneuvered our lives back on track but in an entirely different way, we’ve quit drinking and spend way more time outdoors than we ever did. The result? Calm, more focus, more structure and a relaxed approach to life, these are many of the things that overlanding has offered and will continue to do so for many years to come, there is far too much exploration and adventure out there to enjoy…