Sobriety and the Goofy Shit Car Club

Hey y'all,

As we are only a few weeks away from attending the biggest show of our calendar year - Overland Expo West - I wanted to tell you all a little bit about what the show means to me personally, and give you some insight into this fun little camping company called GTFOverland. 

Way back in 2013, I walked into a recovery meeting for the first time in my life. I was deep into addiction, homeless, and the only thing that I was certain of in life was that I would die if I didn't stop. In that first meeting I met Jay, a fella about 20 years my senior, who drove this dark blue Range Rover that had all sorts of goofy shit in his roof rack. He smoked cigars outside the coffee shop where the meeting was held, and he asked me questions about why I was there and what I planned on doing with my life, because it didn't seem like it was going well. This was a shockingly rude thing to say, but he said it in that way that was just charming enough to make me like him. He also wasn't wrong. 

Fast-forward a year - Jay had been my mentor/sponsor in sobriety, and I had started doing some odd jobs for him to earn extra money. By then I had moved from a park into an apartment, and it turns out that rent is due every single month, which is something I'm still rather annoyed about. Picking up those odd jobs for Jay and his group of friends with these big lifted 4x4s and all that goofy shit on their roof racks was a way for me to make sure I could stay housed, stay sober, and oh man did that change the trajectory of my life. 

I learned that roof top tents existed. About awnings and the importance of shelter and clean water and good travel food. I learned that you could put a whole other battery in your car just to power a fridge! I learned that people let air out of their tires when they drive in rough terrain, and that you should probably have a way to put the air back in your tires once back on pavement.  I spent a couple years worth of nights with Jay and some other cigar-smoking off-road enthusiasts, asking questions about why they own like a million of the same box, and why so much of the equipment they use comes from other countries like Australia and South Africa.

So, as one does when surrounded by a group of passionate individuals, I ended up with my own 4x4, and started putting a bunch of my own goofy shit all over it as I learned and worked and saved money and continued to stay sober. 

I also learned that these guys, as kind and as passionate about their hobby as they were, didn't really use their stuff that much. I worked to install things, clean things, change configurations of racks and tents and awnings and all of that goofy shit on their vehicles that seemed to need constant re-thinking and tinkering with. It turned out that what Jay and his buddies were really into, was owning really cool vehicles, and learning about the newest and coolest of things. This is how I learned about Overland Expo, and that there was a whole event dedicated to the goofy-shit-on-roof-racks club. 

The first few years I knew Jay, I didn't go to the Expo with him. It wasn't until 2018, when I had by that point done more camping, adventuring, random trips to the Baja Coast, that him and his buddies invited me to Overland Expo West. GTFOverland had been my instagram username, but after seeing that show, and how many people were like Jay, I decided to take another leap of faith and turn GTFOverland into a business. 

Now, 6 years later and a number of Expos in the rear-view mirror, I am still going but to a very different degree. Our team spends long hours loading trucks and trailers and driving and sleeping on the ground and talking to any number of the 30,000 people that the show's attendance has ballooned to. We work hard at these shows, not only to connect with people who are just learning about this word "Overland", but also to keep reminding ourselves that there are a lot people there who just want to have cool and goofy shit on their roof racks - and that's Ok. I personally would own about 4,000 pairs of Vans Shoes if I had the means to do so, and to be honest I don't want to hear a word of argument about it.

Jay unfortunately passed away during COVID, and the garage where we worked on all these weird little projects for him to never use has now changed to be unrecognizable to me. One thing that hasn't changed, is that I'm still helping people put goofy shit on their cars. And who knows? Maybe one or two of the people we meet at Expo just got sober and want to spend their time doing something equally expensive as drugs, but a lot more healthy.

Anyway - come see us at booth P22. We are going to have Free Hats.

Bye y'all,


Women in woods by fire

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