I find that it takes about three days to really get into the adventurer’s frame of mind, the point when you finally stop thinking about all your normal daily garbage that holds you down and start realizing that you’re on an adventure. The problem is most people sadly never get to day three because they have to go back to work on Monday.
4-Wheel & Off-Road is about a lot of different things, but I think it’s really about adventure. For example, every 4x4 we build or showcase in this magazine is done in order to make it a little better for the next adventure. Every upgrade allows it to dig a little deeper, climb a little higher, or crawl a little creepier over big old boulders, and these are all done as part of an adventure. Most of the time we have short adventures—a day on the trail, a weekend wheeling up on the mountain, an evening, after the rain, down in the mud—but sometimes we get the chance (or make the chance) to check out of normalcy and get into that adventurer’s frame of mind. That’s when we can clearly see that anything is possible and nothing is really a big problem because it’s all an adventure. Sometimes it takes a few days to really grasp that adventure lifestyle, but once you do it is contagious, and in fact it can make every day better—because life really is just a big adventure.
I didn’t know him personally, but I had heard the stories of how, back in 1979, Mark Smith and his friends drove in near-stock Jeep CJ7s from South America to Alaska over three months (that’s his Jeep in the photo). Nowadays you’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of “extreme overlanders” willing to attempt such a feat, and some of the best 4x4s the world has ever known are being made today! Mark and his pals did it 35 years ago in really basic machines, and tales of their adventure have endured.
Before that, in 1975, two guys named Perk Perkins and Will Perish drove around the world in a CJ5! They were in their 20s and just decided to make it happen. You can read all about it in their book, aptly titled Around the World in a Jeep.
And prior to then, guys in an FJ40 Land Cruiser encircled the globe towing a camper trailer. Harold Stephens and Albert Podell found the adventurer’s frame of mind and tell all about their escapades in the pages of Who Needs a Road.
And don’t forget Lois Pryce, who has been exploring the corners of the globe on her motorcycle and writing about her adventures for years now. Find all her stuff at www.loisontheloose.com.
I bring up all these adventurers not only because I’m a month away from our own Ultimate Adventure trip but also because going on an adventure is really what we are all programmed to do. Over the last gazillion years our forefathers traveled the globe looking for something new and exciting, and there is no reason for us to stop now. Whether by foot, hoof, wagon, boat, sled, bike, or 4x4, there are plenty of ways to explore the world. Mark Smith passed away, but not before feeding some logs of excitement to that inner campfire of so many adventuresome off-roaders. Let’s not let that fire die.
I saw a sign at the recent Overland Expo that really stuck with me. It said simply, “Dream it, Plan It, Do It.”