Meet our friends at Lifestyle Overland! We first met Kevin at the Overland Expo, and even before then, he was an active Overland Bound Member and supporter! Kevin and Sarah helped us get the new forums up and running, and are always available for advice and ideas to help make Overland Bound a great community. Kevin continues to be a moderator in the forum community, and you can always find him in the new member area welcoming everyone. Here’s more about Kevin, Sarah and their daughter Caroline!
We are a family of three living the Overland Lifestyle in New Mexico, USA.
Tennesseans by birth, in 2010 we traded the humid, tree covered mountains of east Tennessee for the arid, flat desert of southeast New Mexico. We have since fallen in love with life on the road and all the adventures the southwest has to offer. We are avid “Overlanders” and currently own two overland rigs; a right-hand-drive 1980 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ45, and a 2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition, each with several of their own enhancements to ensure their capability on the road less traveled.
Australian 1980 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ45
2014 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition
You might say our official introduction to overlanding came when we purchased our Land Cruiser. Like most folks who enter the lifestyle, we were already living the pastime, we just didn’t know there was a word for it! Sarah and I have always loved spending time outdoors, both of us having grown up in a rural farm setting, so it was a natural progression to go from road trips, hiking, hunting, and car camping to what we now know as “Overlanding”.
It didn’t take long before our passion for the New Mexico backroads infected our friends and co-workers and an off-road club was soon born. Shortly after the club became active, I pulled the Land Cruiser in for a heart transplant since its current powerplant was of unknown origin, and its reliability was questionable. Using the current engine simply wasn’t an acceptable risk since it’s not uncommon to be hours from civilization when going off the grid in New Mexico. As I worked at a feverish pace to complete the swap, it became apparent that a family friendly, ready-to-go rig would be ideal to ensure our family could safely enjoy our trips without the stress of trying to work on the Land Cruiser between expeditions. After some research and several test-drives we purchased a Trail Edition 4Runner. At that point the Land Cruiser moved to long-term project status as we turned our attention to our new family rig. While our focus has now shifted to enjoying creation as often as we can in the 4Runner, we continue to tweak on “The Beast”, as it has been affectionately named, and I take it on solo missions from time to time to test out any new or rebuilt components. Our long term goal will be to build this into an overland rig that can travel continents with ease and minimal maintenance as time and funding is made available.
Completed Ram Jet 350 Installation
Another crystallizing moment in our journey into the overlanding community was when I came across a post on Instagram by Overland Bound in which they were advertising some really interesting metal badges for overlanders, similar to what you might see on the side of a Jeep. These badges had numbers assigned to them which designated you as a charter member of their new overland website and community. The idea of being a charter member in an organization dedicated to my favorite pastime was very exciting and it wasn’t long before we had placed our order for two sequential badges. Fast forward a few months to Overland Expo West 2015, where I was privileged to meet the founders of Overland Bound and was immediately impressed with their vision for the community they were in the process of building. Their passion for people, and desire to encourage folks to get out and explore, inspired me even further to get involved in the overlanding community by also encouraging others to get away from the stress of the daily grind and get out into nature. The community found at OverlandBound.com is one of the most inviting and encouraging online forums I’ve ever been a part of and it continues to grow and mature by leaps and bounds as more overlanders are added to their ranks.
Our adventures have taken us to some incredible locations that can’t be reached from a paved road. We have been privileged to see some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado has to offer, including; Lincoln National Forest, Big Bend National Park, The Alpine Trail, Poughkeepsie Gulch, Hurricane Pass, Ophir Pass, Imogene Pass, and many places in between. The memories we have made as a family are absolutely priceless. We have learned to overcome obstacles and endure challenges as a family which has made us stronger and more connected. It’s not always easy, and it takes a lot of preparation and perseverance to develop an overland kit that fits your requirements, but in the end it is totally worth the effort. We look forward to sharing our adventures with you as we continue to seek out the furthest edges of God’s creation that 4 wheels, and 3 adventurers can reach.
We have been full-timing the camper life since April of 2015 when we moved into a borrowed 5th wheel camper after having sold our New Mexico home in anticipation for my current job to end. Several months of camper living proved we could survive with only 400 square feet of living space and so we began the search for our own. Being quality oriented folks, it was soon evident that any brand new “full-timer” rated campers were going to cost a pretty penny and spending $90,000 (or more) on an item that quickly depreciates wasn’t our best financial option. We then turned our search to older quality units and found out that a friend was selling his Keystone Cambridge for a great price. After a quick walk-through we saw the potential that unit possessed and struck a deal. After two months of working long evenings and weekends, we had all the upgrades and amenities installed in our renovation for a third of the cost of a new unit. We recently moved from the borrowed camper into the Cambridge, completing the first phase just prior to winter weather setting in. The renovation continues, but we are now enjoying the fruits of our labors while we put on the finishing touches.
2006 Keystone Cambridge aka “Home”
Our decision to move into a borrowed camper was originally a financially motivated desire to avoid local high rent and lease term obligations while our job situation was questionable. However, over the past several months we have transitioned into a new state of mind where we desire to simplify our lives and remain mobile for whatever adventure may be on the horizon. The added benefit of this low-overhead living has also freed up funds and time to invest into our overland travel adventures. While it may not be a permanent living arrangement (we still love houses!) it’s just what we need at this stage of our lives.
The past few years have been an uphill battle as life tends to be at times. We’ve been through trials and tribulations, endured the uncertainty of job stability, experienced the loss of loved ones, and fought through the struggles of physical well-being. Through it all, our faith has sustained us, our family has comforted us, and our friends have supported us. We have learned many things through these challenges but the two greatest realizations have been; the short amount of time we’re given on this earth, and the fragility of life we possess. While these facts are seemingly self-evident, it takes real life events to bring them into sharp contrast with our own life perceptions. In light of these realizations, we have made the decision as a family to invest more time in enjoying the life we have, right now. We have chosen to devote ourselves to causes and pastimes that leave an impression on our child and others around us, long after we have gone. This blog, and these adventures we share are just a small part of who we are and what we do. We hope you enjoy following along!
Thanks for taking the time to read what we’re about. We sincerely hope we can inspire you to get out and explore this incredible world! Adventure is waiting… now get out and find it!