Don’t Date an Overlander…
A good friend of mine recently shared a short blog post on Facebook titled ‘Don’t date a girl who travels’. Some of the points raised resonated with me but a lot of it, I felt, was idealised generalisations taken from the travel industry. Its gone a bit viral online with spin offs for those who don’t get the irony or satire of the original. Overlanding on the whole is travelling but generally overlanders are travelling in placed where backpackers fear to tread, away from comforts, public transport, latte’s, cafe’s, facebook and instagram. So here is my take on that original article, titled ‘Don’t Date an Overlander’.
He is the one with lots of hair or no hair, nothing in-between. He wont be paying for haircuts. His T-shirts will be full of holes and oil stains of various shades from 15-40w, EP90, Dot 4 and Dexron III, kudos if you can identify each one. He will have stubble or a beard not because it suits him just because its easier. His skin is burnt with multiple tan lines (especially the right arm), open wounds, bites and scars, nearly all of which will be visible. But for every scar there is an interesting story. You might find him in a back street garage in the pit or under a ramp, or at a book store browsing the travel guides – although he “only uses them for reference.”
Don’t date an overlander because he treasures experiences over shiny material possessions (olive drab or desert tan material possessions are acceptable), a hand-woven paracord bracelet over a Rolex (unless its the Explorer, the Explorer is cool). He will scoff when he hears the evil words, “holiday” “vacation”, “all-inclusive”, or “resort”. Don’t date an overlander because he’s not focused on a single life goal but enlivened by many.
Don’t date an overlander. He is stubborn, direct and near impossible to please. The usual dinner-movie date will suck the life out of him (he may even refuse!). He craves for new experiences and adventures. He will be unimpressed with your £100 haircut and your overpriced shoes especially when you struggle to gracefully get out of his lifted 4×4 rolling on 35’s trying not to get your Dior dress dirty.
Don’t date an overlander because he will insist you book a ferry or speak to a shipping agent in their native tongue about containerising the truck for another continent. All the while he is busy preparing his ‘Rig’ for the ‘Big One’. He won’t party at Fabric or Pasha and he will never splash £200 on a night of clubbing as this is equivalent to three weeks diesel supply, 100’s of kilometres of no roads and endless wild camping someplace far, far more exciting.
Chances are, he won’t want to hold a steady job or he’s probably daydreaming about moving on. He doesn’t want to keep working his ass off for someone else’s dream. He has his own and is slowly working towards it. Don’t waste his time complaining about your boring job that your stuck in, he doesn’t want to hear it. If you don’t like it do something about it.
Don’t date an overlander, he might have wasted his university degree and switched careers entirely. He is now a climbing instructor in Thailand, mountain bike guide in Nepal or works for a 4×4 company in Australia. He’s not sure when the next paycheck is coming, but he doesn’t work like a robot all day, he goes out and takes what life has to offer and challenges you to do the same.
Don’t date an overlander for he has chosen a life of uncertainty (especially with regards to vehicle reliability). He doesn’t have a life plan or a permanent address. He goes with the flow and the spirit of adventure in his heart. His days are ruled by the sun, the moon, the empty spaces on the map and the road less travelled. When the sun sets across another empty desert plateau he will stand and soak it up in silence with a beer in his hand. But he has learned; learned that the most important things in life are not four wheeling, fishing, crushing it or summiting.
Don’t date an overlander as he tends to speak his mind. He will never try to impress your parents or friends, he will sit silently, listening… learning. He knows respect, but isn’t afraid to hold a debate on global issues, social responsibility or the vehicular impact on semi-arid temperate grassland environments with a typically chernozem soil profile…
He will never need you. He knows how to wash his clothes in a river, butcher roadkill and cook it on an open fire without your help. He is fiercely independent and won’t care whether you travel with him or not. He will forge ahead alone. He will forget to call on the satellite phone when he arrives at his destination, usually because something has broken, fallen off his ‘Rig’ or he has had a run in with an Iranian taxi driver. He is busy living in the present, talks to strangers and he will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share his passion, dreams and vehicle idiosyncrasies.
So never date an overlander unless you can keep up with him. If you understand only half of the mechanisms involved around a limited slip differential then your doing well. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, throw away your heels, buy a Shewee and cancel your manicure plans because life will never quite be the same again.
Adapted from the original blog post here: https://medium.com/better-humans/802c49b9141c