All of our contributors are freelance authors and photographers. If you have any questions about this, please contact our editorial team.
No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Expedition Portal Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro. He spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK, preparing for his upcoming expeditions and looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.
When Brittany Highland found out people actually drive around the world, she instantly thought, “We should do that.” With her husband, Eric, she has more than eight years of full-time travel behind her and a delightfully adventurous six-year-old named Caspian. She expects her family’s circuitous circumnavigation of the globe will last the remainder of her son’s childhood. Her family is currently in Central America, heading south, where they will eventually ship their Jeep Gladiator and Alu-Cab Canopy Camper to Africa. Brittany is dedicated to empowering other parents to overland with their children, teaching life’s most valuable lessons through international travel. Join them on their journey. @hourlesslife
Karin-Marijke Vis and Coen Wubbels
Freelance writer Karin-Marijke Vis, along with her partner, photographer Coen Wubbels, combine their love for adventure with work they enjoy. Sometimes described as the “slowest overlanders in the world,” they believe in making connections and staying in a place long enough to do so. In 2003, the couple purchased an antique BJ45 Land Cruiser and began a three-year trip from their home in the Netherlands to Asia. Terminally infected by the overland bug, they traveled in South America for nine years and in Japan and South Korea for two years. They are currently making their way through Russia and Central Asia. They’ve been published in magazines around the world and were awarded Expedition Portal’s coveted Overlander of the Year Award in 2013.
The man who’s been there, done that. He’s seen the inside of a jail in Colombia. Doesn’t brag about knowing how to handle firearms because they’re not his identity; there’s no overcompensation. Raced the Mexican 1000, then immediately drove from Panama to Guatemala in a 50-year-old Land Rover. He knows the underground fight clubs in London. Will navigate through the souk in Marrakech as if he was raised there. Can throw on a blazer and hang with the upper crusts at The Explorers Club, then take off his jacket and help a driver change a tire outside the front door. He is as comfortable sleeping in a snow cave as in an Aman. Automotive companies hire him to convey a premium interaction with the brand. He is the “man of unimpeachable experience.” @sinuhexavier
Woodward is a Los Angeles-based writer whose automotive and adventure work has appeared in such publications as Automobile Magazine, The Drive, Truck Trend, and Autoweek, among others. Currently, Woodward writes and hosts auto- motive video reviews for Kelley Blue Book. A car enthusiast, she owns two classic vehicles: a 1966 Datsun 1600 Roadster, and a 1987 Mitsubishi Montero that she’s currently restoring. She’s driven for Nissan for several years in the Rebelle Rally with a personal best fourth-place finish and was a stage winner in the Rally Jameel, the first all-women’s off-road rally in Saudi Arabia. In addition to her automotive work, Woodward answered Hollywood’s call and has had several television projects produced.
Chris was born and raised outside of Dallas, Texas, and didn’t receive a real taste of the overlanding lifestyle until moving to Arizona in 2009. It was there that he fell in love with four-wheel-drive vehicles and the great outdoors, quite literally altering the path of his life. Instead of pursuing his planned career in aviation, Chris accepted a position with Overland Journal and Expedition Portal, where he would hone his skills in writing, photography, and off-pavement driving. Over the years, he has lived full-time on the road, mapped trails from the Arctic Circle to Mexico, driven across Australia, and backpacked the Himalayas. He is currently an Airstream Ambassador and works for OnX Off-road, managing their Trail Guide community.
Shedding light on the obscure, especially at the juxtaposition of man and nature, drives Susan Dragoo to explore the historical treasures of the American Southwest. On wheels or afoot, an old trail and a camera are her key ingredients for a fulfilling adventure. A writer, photographer, and student of history since youth, Dragoo's work is found in motorcycling, 4WD, hiking, and other travel publications, and her scenic photography in state park lodges and cabins in her home state of Oklahoma. Gallivanting in their Toyota 4Runner is a favorite pastime for Susan and her husband, Bill, when they are not at home in Norman, Oklahoma, enjoying their family and running Dragoo Adventure Rider Training (DART). @susandragoo
Bill Dragoo is the founder of D.A.R.T. (Dragoo Adventure Rider Training), a certified flight instructor, commercial seaplane and sailplane pilot, skydiver, scuba diver, overlander, and adventure journalist. Always game for a challenge, Bill has won numerous competitions in motocross, cross-country mountain biking, and sailboat racing. In 2010 he represented Team USA in BMW’s GS Trophy competition in South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique. Bill and his wife, Susan, love to explore the American West and beyond by motorcycle and in their purpose-built Gen-5 Toyota 4Runner as they research historic trails and traditions. He is quick to tell anyone that the synergy between overlanding, riding, and writing has opened doors he would never have imagined as a younger man. @dragooadventures
Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford
British born and location independent, Four Wheeled Nomad is Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford. Remote wilderness exploration is the couple’s driving force, enabling their skillset as content creators. Previously, they co-ran scuba diving trips. Having hung up the fins, they motorcycled the Americas—an almost five-year, 80,000-mile jaunt taking in Antarctica to the Arctic. Jason is a photographer who dabbles in filmmaking. His internationally published portfolio is layered in two decades of adventure travel, landscape, and commercial, and his beautiful captures can be found on Instagram. Lisa freelances for publications worldwide in the hopes of inspiring people to consider their relationship with nature. Currently, a photographic expedition sees them in a Toyota Hilux, roaming Nordic countries and beyond as borders reopen. @fourwheelednomad
A born and raised American, Joe has been living in South Africa for the past five years with his wife, Monique, her son, Madden, and their now four dogs. He and Monique built South Africa’s top beard grooming brand, Bonafide Beards, along with Africa’s trendiest barber shop, Bonafide Barbers. Joe is a motorcycle enthusiast who, after a year of growing Bonafide Beards, found the need to bring together like-minded individuals who ride. That is when the community of Bonafide Moto Co was created. He has a passion for adventure, rock climbing, documenting his travels, and encouraging his international- al audience to come and experience his new home and country of South Africa. @sotallrightnow
Shirli Jade Carswell
Born in South Africa, Shirli’s career and passion revolve around the African continent and its wildlife and cultures. She cut her teeth on advertising after art school and eventually moved into photography. She periodically packs her 2004 Defender, known affectionately as Tintin, and heads out to some remote locale to capture a library of images for her fine art portfolio. Recognized for her wildlife and landscape photography, Shirli is a driven conservationist and steward of Africa. She co-authored the book Africa’s Ultimate Safaris, an extraordinary photo journey through the continent, showcasing some of its most beautiful and wild destinations. She is currently working on a series of books that will take her into Africa once again, as well as Europe and the United States. @africaalive_jadeworks
Gary and Monika Wescott
Gary and Monika Wescott have spent the last 45 years globetrotting around the world, from the arid desert of Turkmenistan, following the Silk Road, to the jungles of the Amazon, and across Siberia in the dead of winter. The couple’s travel adventures have been published in 10 countries and eight languages. Their in-depth knowledge of the problems and joys of overland travel in remote areas is incomparable. Gary and Monika’s meticulously prepared travel/research trucks, from their original Land Rover to the current Ford F-550, The Turtle V, have been an inspiration for many. Their experience and photography encompass what Overland Journal is all about. From the beginning, The Turtle Expedition’s motto has been, “Don’t take the trip. Let the trip take you.”
Raised in the mountains of Colorado, Sean Gorman was born to explore. After climbing the highest peaks in the US, he set his sights on guiding some of the world’s highest mountains. Sean’s first car, a 1961 Land Rover Series IIA that he still owns, became a tool that enabled him to develop his love for off-road exploration. He started his own business, combining the guiding skills from multi-month mountain expeditions and his zeal for off-pavement, vehicle-based travel. Sean now consults on vehicle development and designs driving programs for automotive manufacturers. If you can’t find him in some remote corner of the world, you might find him piloting his vintage airplanes around the sky.
Luisa Bell has always had a passion for travel, but she never imagined that she would travel the world, with her family, in a self-built Land Rover Defender camper. As the navigator, administrator, and penetrator of bureaucracy, she has led her family to over 65 countries on five continents. Luisa is the wife of Graeme, and their quarter-century together feels like a full century in overlander years. Her two kids and her dog are her pride and joy, and if she could travel with them indefinitely, she would. With a background in immigration law, she has the ability to make the impossible possible and has no plan of settling down or retiring from her full-time traveler status. a2aexpedition.com
Richard Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Vancouver, Canada, to Ushuaia, Argentina, with his wife, Ashley, in their well-loved but antiquated 1990 Toyota Pickup. On the zig-zag route south, they hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled their tummies with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. That trip catapulted Richard into a career as a freelance video producer, photographer, and writer. He has created commercials for Toyota Canada and is always itching to hit the road and share his adventures. If you see Richard out in the wild, he’ll most likely have a coffee in one hand and a camera in the other.
Brendon and Kira Hak
Brendon has been behind the wheel his entire life, his first solo expedition being at just six years old. No matter the season, you can find him outside, twisting a throttle or stomping a pedal. Kira’s passion has always been travel and photography. For her, capturing an image to share with the “inside” world has the power to change mindsets. Kira is certain she will travel to every corner of this beautiful planet and spark an interest in others to do the same. So the wanderer met the horse, and Adventure Haks was born—a platform to share their photography and tales of their journeys, with the goal to simply enjoy life and inspire others to get outside and explore. @adventurehaks
Dan Grec is an adventurer, photographer, and videographer. Growing up in Australia, family camping trips gave Dan a passion for wilderness exploration in remote destinations. After studying and working as an engineer, Dan left it all behind in search of a more vibrant life. While driving 40,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina, he became inspired by the characters he met along the way and is now dedicated to helping others realize their overland dreams. After years of planning and preparation, Dan completed a 54,000-mile circumnavigation of the entire African continent in his Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and is now exploring the wild corners of his homeland in his specially outfitted Jeep Gladiator. @theroadchoseme
Marianne Todd has been a professional photojournalist and writer since 1987. Her career began in newspapers and rapidly spread into national news magazines. Her work has been featured on the pages of Time, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, where she was nominated for Photographer of the Year International. Todd became a publisher in 2009, creating titles reflecting the music, arts, and tourism industries of the South (she still sports the accent), and her work as the official photographer for Governor Haley Barbour led her to photograph everything from Hurricane Katrina to presidential visits. Since moving to New Mexico four years ago, she has left hard news coverage to travel on her trusty BMW F 750 GS, journeying the roads of America and beyond.
Arden’s first motorcycle was a Yamaha Enduro, obtained while in high school. It set the stage for decades of off-pavement exploration on dual-sports and adventure bikes. Camping in the middle of nowhere became his favorite pursuit. As a former whitewater river guide and National Park Service seasonal employee, Arden believes in wilderness, wildlife, and being kind to the earth. A self-taught writer who barely passed English classes, he has contributed adventure stories and tested motorcycles and accessories for Rider Magazine and other outlets for nearly 30 years. In that time, he’s worn out two KLR 650s and is currently following the road to the middle of nowhere on his Ténéré 700 and an aging but reliable DR-Z 400S.
In the spring of 2014, Heather Lea thought her boyfriend’s suggestion to ride around the world together on motorcycles was a fantastic idea. Little did she know she was agreeing to nefarious activities such as blowing up her underwear and letting a dead toe touch her lips. Or the blood, sweat, and tears of breaking a bone, riding in sand, and mechanically trashing her G 650 GS so badly she’d need to use most of her trip money to replace it with another bike more up to the task. Heather’s goal in life has always been to travel through 50 countries by age 50. Mongolia was her 51st country, and she is nowhere near 50 years old, though closer than she’d like to admit. @writer_heather_lea
Chris Simon is an aspiring overlander and writer. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife, two children, a Boston terrier, and a ghetto cat. Born in Germany, raised in South Africa, and educated in the US, Chris is also an immigrant and a migrant, blessed and cursed by not having a single national and cultural identity. His professional background is in anthropology, in which he has a PhD from UC San Francisco and Berkeley, and in ethics, in which he has postdoctoral training from Case Western Reserve University. Anthropology has fed his intrigue with cultural norms and differences; ethics has taught him to pay attention to the richness of people’s moral struggles and strivings, including his own. @motoproff
Chris Scott is an award-winning, UK-based adventure travel writer who specializes in the Sahara; he’s visited nearly 60 times since 1982, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea using motorcycles, 4x4s, a jacked-up Mercedes sedan, local bush taxis, and camel caravans. Chris’ desert films have been featured on the National Geographic channel, and for many years he updated the Outback regions of Australia for Rough Guides. His books in print include Morocco Overland and the Overlanders’ Handbook and Adventure Motorcycling Handbook (now in its 8th, full-color edition). He recently published short guides on Sahara camel trekking, as well as inflatable kayaking and packrafting.
Tom’s overlanding experience spans over 50 years and 110,000 miles, including three UK–Gulf journeys (one through pre-tarmac Saudi Arabia), off-tracks exploration in Northern Africa, and the first-ever lateral crossing and continuous gravity survey of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, for which he gained the Royal Geographical Society’s Ness Award. Tom is, as he puts it, “CEO, MD, author, photographer, designer, and postal clerk” at Desert Winds Publishing in the UK, from which have emerged the Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide, Four-by-four Driving, The Nobility of Wilderness, and Quiet, for a Tuesday—the story of his 16th foray into the remotest regions of the Algerian Sahara.
I am a somewhat aged South African who grew up and went to school in Pretoria. After military service in the South African Navy, I completed a BA degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, majoring in history, archaeology, and African languages. I worked as a mineral prospector in South Africa and Botswana before marrying Anne Louise. We settled in Eshowe, Zululand, where I took up a teaching post. I have a son, John, and a daughter, Lizzie, and a passion for boats and old Willys Jeeps. I am now retired and spend most of my time rebuilding jeeps, enjoying wild travels in Southern Africa, and writing.
John spoke his first words while squashed between his parents in a 1948 CJ2A Willys Jeep and spent much of his formative years on family trips, camping on beaches in Mozambique, and learning life lessons from breakdowns in the Botswana bush. After completing a geology degree, he spent several years working as a remote exploration geologist in Africa. During these years, John practically lived out of a Land Cruiser 70-Series pickup and developed a strong love affair with them. He has spent time hitchhiking in the USA and building aquaponic farms in Vietnam but is always inevitably pulled back to the yard of Willys Jeeps at his family home in Eshowe, South Africa.
Nicholas Bratton is a lifelong adventurer and traveler. Currently based in Seattle, he has lived for six years in Africa and one in France. His pursuits include working as a whitewater rafting guide in South Africa and Washington, as a mountaineering instructor in the Cascades and Rockies, and exploring eastern Greenland. His travels have taken him to 30 countries. Closer to home, an overland highlight has been driving the 600-mile Washington Backcountry Discovery Route in his Land Rover Discovery. Bratton’s work has been published in the Boston Globe, Daily Telegraph, Rovers Magazine, Hidden Compass, Land Rover Monthly, and Alloy+Grit.