Overland Expo East Part 3, the People:

Well, I finally finished the final piece of my overland expo series.  The people of Overland Expo are what really made it extraordinary.  They came from all over the world for the love of travel and sharing.  I met people from almost every continent and a good number of people who have traveled the world.  There was even a select few who have circumvented the globe twice.

What made the people truly amazing was the way they intermingled and connected with each other.  They were real, they were passionate and they were friendly.  There were many social groups within the overland community as a whole also.  The motorcyclist, the Jeep drivers, Tacoma drivers, Landrover enthusiasts,  ect.  But! introduce some craft beers in a central tent and they all came together and talked about their adventures.  They were equally interested in hearing other people’s stories too.

Outside of the adventures, I spoke with a lot of company owners in the exhibition area.  There were a large number of people representing their company and product.  Small family companies that designed and built a product for the love of it.  If you had questions they had answers and could custom build almost anything.  Again I was surrounded with friendly people with a willingness to just chat and tell their story.

What struck me deeply were the connections.  There was the usual small talk at the beginning but none dwelt there long.  If there was a connection then the conversation got deeper very fast.  If there wasn’t a connection then the conversations moved on to someone else.  There were no hurt feelings just an understanding that everyone was looking for that connection on a deeper level then you get from a bar or coffee shop conversation.  Connecting with someone who I may never see again even just for those few moments made the experience real and fulfilling.  Although I arrived with only Nash at my side, I didn’t feel all alone.  I made friends quickly in those small but meaningful conversations.  It showed with the continual waves and hello as we came across each other throughout the weekend.

In closing, I am looking forward to the upcoming year of travel.  I plan to attend a lot more events of this nature and make a lot more friends along the way.  I also look forward to meeting these people again at future events.  If Expo East is just a small taste of the year to come then it is going to be a really, really good year.

Semper-Fi & God Bless

Tom