Four Wheeled Nomad on the Pros and Cons of Four Wheels Versus Two
Show Notes #149 Four Wheeled Nomad on the Pros and Cons of Four Wheels Versus Two
Summary: Overlanders of the Year Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford compare traveling by motorcycle and Toyota Hilux in this podcast from the field. Host Ashley Giordano learns more about the couple’s moto journey along the Pan-American Highway and the rigors of overlanding through Iceland in the winter.
Travel writer While I adore world-class diving or a big hike to an epic spot, I equally cherish riding my DR650 in gravel. As an advocate for female riders in one of the fastest growing markets, I’m not the most natural rider; living proof that you can pass your test, jump in the saddle and go. Anywhere, near or far—it’s very empowering. For me, being outdoors appeals as much as writing about it where White Rhino (our 4WD) currently paves the way for both. Like Jason, I need an affecting outlet and gratefully, help to keep the gas in the tank through my word-craft. In addition to free-lancing with tales from the trails, I dabble in overland journalism. On top, review outdoor product as full-time users in the field, which complements the brand ambassadorships, kit sponsorships and paid collaborations.
Photographer/Filmmaker/ Commercial Drone Pilot Jason loves all things adventure travel. The challenge of journeying off-road to arrive somewhere that really only the time-rich can afford to find is thrilling for him. After a long stretch on the road, throwing his sleeping bag on the ground next to a campfire is the ideal end to a perfect, unplanned day. Ultimately, amid the wild places left in the world. With an infatuation for big open spaces and chasing light comes the natural pursuit of photography, which has been an insatiable passion since the age of 14. As his globally published portfolio in adventure travel, landscape, wildlife and underwater photography evolves, Jason is also a drone pilot and a videographer.
Check out Four Wheeled Nomad website HERE
ASHLEY GIORDANO Ashley Giordano completed a 48,800-kilometer overland journey from Canada to Argentina with her husband, Richard, in their well-loved but antiquated Toyota pickup. On the zig-zag route south, she hiked craggy peaks in the Andes, discovered diverse cultures in 15 different countries, and filled her tummy with spicy ceviche, Baja fish tacos, and Argentinian Malbec. You can usually find Ashley buried in a pile of travel books, poring over maps, or researching wild medicinal plants. Ashley is a co-founder of Women Overlanding the World and crew member of Expedition Overland. You’ll find this Canadian-born couple exploring a different continent in 2021, and sharing their trip every step of the way at Desk to Glory. @desktoglory_ash
Ashley Giordano: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I'm your host, Ashley Giordano, and today we're going live from the aisle of Sky in beautiful Scotland. Today I'm joined by Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford of Four Wheel Nomad, and we're gonna talk all about their experiences going from two wheels to four and back again. I hope you enjoy this episode of the Overland Journal podcast.
Scott Brady: This content is brought to you by Overland Journal, our premium quality print publication. The magazine was founded in 2006 with the goal of providing independent equipment and vehicle reviews along with the most stunning adventures and photography. We care deeply about the countries and cultures. We visit and share our experiences freely with our readers. We also have zero advertorial policy and do not accept any advertiser compensation for our reviews. By [00:01:00] subscribing to Overland Journal, you're helping to support our employee owned and veteran owned publication. Your support also provides resources and funding for content like you are watching or listening to right now. You can subscribe directly on our email@example.com.
Ashley Giordano: Hello everyone and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I'm your host today, Ashley Giordano. We're doing this podcast in the field today and I have two special guests with me, Lisa Morrison, Jason Spafford, and they are Four Wheeled Nomad on the interwebs.
Ashley Giordano: And they're, I'm very excited to have them here today. They're a couple from the UK that's traveled all over the world and really cool because you guys started out as adventure motorcyclists and now you have four wheels.
Jason: That's right.
Lisa: Yeah. Correct.
Ashley Giordano: Yes. So yeah. Welcome. Thanks so, so much.
Jason: Thank you very much. Thanks for having us.
Lisa: Yeah, thank you.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. Maybe we'll start out with just telling the [00:02:00] OJ podcast listeners a little more about yourselves and your background.
Jason: Lisa and I met on a, a scuba diving holiday many years ago, back in 2000. We, our passion for diving sort of occupied our time for a good 10 years, and that's where we got our passion for travel from cuz we traveled to many places scuba diving and we had a great time. And then after about 10 years, we sort of hung the fins up, but we needed something else to sort of focus our minds on. And we still had that hunger for travel. So having watched Charlie Borman and you and Greggor do their trip, you know, on the long way round and the long way up, was it long way down? No, long way down. We decided that, oh, they inspired us to, you know, think about travel again, but, or on motorbikes. Me personally, I thought logistically it would've been a nightmare to try and own a bike and then travel with it all over the world, all these different countries. [00:03:00] But they showed us that actually it was possible. So this idea was formed and we were gonna go and do the Americas on a motorcycle, but Lisa couldn't ride a motorcycle at the time, so she had to learn to ride just before. And then from there, we sort of decided we'd do Africa, but. With the experience that we'd had through the Americas, we decided that maybe four wheel drive would be the best way to, you know, to attack a country like, well, a continent like Africa.
Ashley Giordano: So there's a fun story about how you learned to ride Lisa.
Lisa: There is, okay. So we, I was more than happy being Jason's pillion, eating sandwiches, occasionally falling asleep, which I wouldn't advocate. Pointing stuff out to him and generally having a really nice time on the back. It actually never dawned on me once, it didn't hit my radar that I could ride my own bike. I was just content. And one day we attended a bike event at, at the N E C in Birmingham, and I ended a few competitions [00:04:00] and I never win anything. So when I won a runner-up prize to experience some sample sessions on a 50 cc automatic, I thought, Hey, brilliant, I won a prize. I'm gonna do this. Jason even had quite grave reservations at this point for me just to redeem my free sample lessons, taster sessions. So off I went just for two hours and had an absolute blast on this 50 cc automatic, it just looked like a toy bike, if I'm honest. I didn't even know. Really where the engine was. It was so small and brilliant. So I had a blast and said to Jason, well, you know, this, this is easy. What is all the fuss about? Riding a bike is easy on a 50 cc automatic. So then I signed up for the full bike course, miraculously passed my test first time and went from a 1, 2, 5, to a six 50. And Jason meanwhile had more reservations growing just because new rider had no clue what I was doing. By passing your test on a 1 25 doesn't necessarily qualify you for, you know, a [00:05:00] big trip from the Southern most super Argentina to the top of Alaska. At long story short, I went against Jason's advice and bought myself a bike on eBay, a BMW six 50 Gs. Pearl because she was beautiful, blue, slightly old, older lady, needed a bit of nurse mating and well, the, the color of this bike matched my helmet, which was just the qualifying criteria for me to buy this bike. And Jason spent three days and very three, you know, three very long nights taking this bike from very ugly duckling. Two beautiful swan. And this bike got me from the bottom of the planet to the top. And of course, as soon as I then yeah, we, adventurized this bike and got it, you know, bike ready for the Americas. Jason, suddenly, it suddenly dawned on him that these reservations flew out the window and he thought, right, okay, we can, obviously use your bike, Lisa, as the pack mule. And I can take way more tech. I can take all my cameras, a drone, all the lenses, way more than he [00:06:00] anticipated to take. Of course my bike. Yeah. She, she performed a charm on the hole more or less, and yeah. Got us. We were then side by side. And honestly, riding beside your partner on your own bike is, you know, the most empowering thing that I've ever done to date. Truly. It really is.
Ashley Giordano: Oh, wow.
Lisa: Yeah. And, you know, to ride my own, to explain why we, we both ride, just how I'm lighting up. Just, just, just thinking back to, you know, the four and a half years that we, we spent a ride, those two bikes.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. Why do you ride?
Lisa: Oh, it's the best fun you can have with your clothes on. No, that's a really, it really is the most fun that you can, I just feel so well connected. I guess to, to the environment, my surroundings and the activity that really defines the day, the trip. It's not just, yeah, jump jumping in. A car where you feel like you are perhaps less. Well, for me, I feel that a lot less connected when I am in a car. Now that I've done both, I can definitely, [00:07:00] I feel that, yeah, I can opine on both of those. When I'm actually a ride a bike, I'm outside constantly, permanently appreciating everything that's going on around me. And, I feel like I can do that better on a bike than I can inside our inside white rhino or truck or hilux.
Ashley Giordano: With your windows rolled up and your AC on and your music on.
Lisa: Yeah. Coffee cup. Yeah, all of that. Yeah. I'm not disputing any of that at all is good. So why do I ride? I just love it. I just love it.
Jason: That's a cool question.
Ashley Giordano: Because you started, when did you start writing?
Jason: I was 17 when I passed my test, and I been riding for years before this trip started, and it was on sports bikes and I enjoyed the speed and you know, the way the bike moved into corners and the whole biking scene. And the camaraderie and, you know, I had friends that rode bikes, but then [00:08:00] after a while it was, for me, it was, I wasn't going anywhere. The activity wasn't enough, so to just ride the bike wasn't enough. I wanted another element to that. So I sort of got outta biking for quite a few years. And then, like I said, previous with watching you, McGregor and Charlie Borman ride their bikes, I, and I had this love for travel, so I thought I could connect the two together. I could, I could travel on a motorcycle. So then my, I rekindled my love for bikes through my travel, so, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Very cool. They've inspired a lot of people.
Lisa: Yeah. They really have. I think they really did pave the way, didn't they? I think they just opened up loads of people's eyes and almost were two the people are responsible for creating this adventure, motorcycling. Arena, you know, some of us now find ourselves in, I just think they're brilliant. You know, they did a really good job.
Ashley Giordano: We literally have, I think it was a long way around on a D V D in our storage back in Canada. Yeah. And it was one of the first, I [00:09:00] guess, travel shows that we ever watched. And we had no intention on Overland Travel. We had no intention on driving anywhere around the world or to South America or whatever. We had no intention of getting bikes, but yet the story and the relationship. Yeah. And the way that they documented it was, it seems like it, it's so far reaching. So it's really.
Jason: Yeah. And I think, I think they also showed that, you know, the world's not a scary place. Like we all imagine, you know, I think we all watch too many new shows and you know, and we get this probably, an unfair idea of what the world is like. And we just found that while whilst traveling on bikes, that everybody was, was warm and. Welcoming and, you know and, and it certainly opened up our eyes to, you know.
Lisa: And this whole world of people that had already gone and done it well long before you and Charlie as well. It's just because they had such a huge platform to showcase their trip. Then the whole world, you know, had access [00:10:00] to looking and, and discovering what they had done. You know, people like Austin, Vince, they, he'd been doing that, you know, decades before and having a blast. It's just, we didn't know about that until we discovered Chacha and u and then, then you, you know, you kind of enter this world and you're suddenly exposed to all these amazing people and riding on bikes for us through the Americas. It, it, it kind of magnetizes people to you. You've got this vulnerability, haven't you? You've got this. It just, I think, attracts people to just, to come up and say, hello. You've got you, you're outside, you're on your bike. You, you know, you're very approachable when you are, you're just right there. And it, and for us, yeah. The people that we met, the spirited people we met on that trip in the Americas, it's just not quite the same. I we don't seem to draw that, that same incentive for people to come up to you when you are locked in your Yeah. Your cage on wheels. It, it's not quite the same, is it? It's just different. I'm, you know, we, we just found that was one of the biggest jewels for me.
The biggest incentives [00:11:00] to keep riding and keep riding was just the, the people that we met along the way. It is everything. It was totally part of the essence of why I, I rode my bike.
Jason: I, I think, sort of adding to what Lisa was saying about, you know, this approachability. I think I get the impression that, you know, people see you as not only as a bit of a novelty, cuz you know it's not every, you know, you don't see many people traveling around the world on motorcycles compared to like people liking cars that, you know, you'd see.
Jason: You'd see far cars and vans and everybody's used to that. But particularly if you had a foreign number plate and you were on a motorcycle, people like gravitate, they're curious, they want to come up and they want to talk to you. So we found that being on motorcycles, we had that interaction more with local people because it, we, I dunno, maybe that was vulnerability that these guys are on motorcycles and you know, And a lot of people I think in, in particularly in, developing countries, they, they're, they're curious as to [00:12:00] why somebody would possibly want to travel on a motorcycle when there's a perfectly good car, you know, that you could travel in. Why would you ever want to travel on a motorcycle? So I think there's, there's an element of that as well.
Lisa: And as well to have the whole world out, all your essential belongings, you know, stopped inside two pans and a rollback. Really made me learn the whole idea behind light and tight packing. You know, to have your whole world on your bike, you know, to be able to do that and all that other stuff that you've got back home in a few boxes in storage, you won't think about once. You don't miss that at all. So that is so liberating, you know, to just go everything I need, it's just behind me. Yeah. In my back.
Ashley Giordano: An expert at minimalism.
Lisa: We should be.
Jason: For sure.
Lisa: I've still got room for development for sure.
Ashley Giordano: Everyone does, I'm sure. Yeah.
Lisa: Yeah. They, oh God. Yeah.
Jason: Yeah. I think it, it makes you realize, What you truly need. And when you, when you're forced to scale down to, you know, something very small, you realize actually you don't [00:13:00] really need a lot at all.
Ashley Giordano: So tell me about moving into the vehicle. Cuz you went from, well, I guess four wheels, but separately to four wheels. Yeah. Together.
Lisa: Yeah, we did.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. So you went away from the bikes and you went to your.
Lisa: That was a big travel method emphasis.
Jason: Yeah, it was one thing I found with, with traveling, with bikes, you do get that feeling that you're more connected to your environment, you're outside. You get, you're getting the smells, you getting the wind in your face, you know, you getting the difference in temperature. You do feel a lot more, and we felt more, a lot more connected than being inside a car. Somebody once said to me, that they equated traveling a bike to a car as a bit like in a car. You are watching the movie, when you're on a bike, you're actually in the movie. So in some ways I can, I can relate to that. The decision to move from. Bikes to a car was when we were traveling to these amazing places, we [00:14:00] realized that the limitations of traveling our bike, you can't carry enough food and you can't carry enough water. So you'd go out into the desert and you'd go to these amazing places, but then you knew that you had to be close to civilization because hey, you know, you, we can only carry six liters of water each. So we'd go to these places and go, really, we really wanna stay a bit longer, but we can't cuz we physically can't. Cuz we, we need water and we need food. So the idea to move to a truck was to be a lot more self-sufficient so we could carry water for a week or maybe 10 days. We could carry food for a week, 10 days. So we could stay out in these environments a lot longer.
Lisa: Be selfish and be off grid. Have the, the fridge, have some solar and onboard shower, and all the other comforts and amenities that you can now, you know, wifi and all the rest of it on our truck. Yeah, we kind of wanted to embrace all that and, you know, and experience being off grid for, for a lot, lot longer, for [00:15:00] substantial periods. And then you can just really sink into a place.
Ashley Giordano: So your vehicle is a?
Jason: It is a Toyota Hilux 2015.
Lisa: 2.5 liter diesel turbo.
Ashley Giordano: And it has a.
Lisa: It's a white one.
Ashley Giordano: White rhino?
Jason: Yes, of course.
Ashley Giordano: It has a canopy on the back.
Ashley Giordano: And a rooftop tent.
Ashley Giordano: And what are some other things you added to it so that you could.
Jason: So we have a draw system by a company called GUI a, they're a company in the uk. They make draw systems for the police force and the army. The draw systems are quite robust, made of metal. And on top of that, we've got a Dematic fridge Behind that, we have a 46 liter front runner water tank, along with a 20 liter lifesaver Jerry can, which comes with its own water filter built in. We also have on the, we have a roof rack, which is again a front runner roof rack. On top of that, we have our max [00:16:00] tracks. We have, a box where I fitted a, a cheap Chinese diesel heater, which on cold days we can pump hot, hot air into the tent.
Lisa: Oh, that's a game changer.
Ashley Giordano: Right?
Jason: Yeah. Particularly when we went up to the Arctic. You know, like minus 20 Celsius and then inside the tent plus 20 Celsius. For us, it was the difference between having a miserable time and having quite a comfortable, nice time being in a tent with no insulation whatsoever. And then.
Lisa: Which is an iKamper. Sky camper, full birth tent. When the memory foam mattress, with a bit of floor power, l e d lights, it's really comfortable in there because it, because it's, I can, can accommodate four people, you know, it's so spacious for two of us to spread around, not be on top of each other. And just, yeah, have a spacious, environment up there to, to live, sleep, work.
Jason: And then we have a, a shower unit by a company called Jok. [00:17:00] And that's great because, As long as we've got a water source close by to the truck we could shower, which again was an issue we found sometimes when we were out in the middle of nowhere that we had to then go back to civilization to get the shower. Now we can stay out for longer periods, as long as we've got some kind of water source, a river stream lake, something like that. So that was a great addition that we've just added to the truck. We have the shower cubicle as well, which again, we need for the shower, which is also acts as a privacy tent should we need to go to the toilet. And there's people around.
Lisa: That's a direct four by four. Yeah. UK company that have given us the tent. Then there's a guzzle H2O.
Jason: Yeah, so that's device water filtration. Again, if we are close by to a water source and we can now pump the water directly from a river or stream directly into the water tank, whereas before we'd have to carry the water. In the [00:18:00] lifesaver. Jerry can then filter it through that and transport it into our main water tank. Now we don't have to do that. We can you pump it straight into the water tank, which is a lot quicker.
Lisa: The canopy is rsi Smart Canopy is South African Company and they've, and they've given that this is a kind of whole install plug and play with two Go Wings on one of the Go Wings is, like a, Plug and play installed kitchen. There's a whole fully equipped kitchen that comes in. One of those, I think you thought initially we wouldn't use that and we've used that. We use that daily.
Ashley Giordano: It looks very well organized.
Lisa: Someplace to, you know, completely store all those, you know, all your pots and pans and all your utensils and things like that.
Ashley Giordano: That one section is almost like a foam cutout portion. Really interesting. Where the, the glasses have their own little cutout and the plates and the pots and it's pretty genius.
Lisa: G and t glasses.
Ashley Giordano: Very important.
Lisa: All the essentials now on board. [00:19:00]
Jason: It, it's great cuz then they're not gonna rattle around. It's a great system. We have also, the wheels, oh, we've upgraded the, the wheels from the original wheels, which meant that we could actually have larger tires on the vehicle, which also helps with, you know, being off-road. Larger circumference, tires make, you know, those bumpy roads a little less bumpy. We have BF Goodrich tires and then we have a winch on the front, by a company called Good Winch.
Lisa: It's a good winch, isn't it?
Jason: It is a good winch. It's a very good winch.
Lisa: We've used it way more to help other people who get stuck in perhaps like the black sand in Iceland. You, we've rescued a ton of people in their higher cars than we've actually ever needed it for ourselves. We've never needed it really touch wood, but it's, it's nice to pay it forward though, isn't it? You can have things like that.. You can just get a many family out, a scrape.
Ashley Giordano: For sure. So this build, when you, I don't wanna say finished it, I'm assuming, [00:20:00] you know, it's always a process, but yeah. Anyways, you have this four wheel drive vehicle now. How does that change how you go forward and where you go with it and which trips you planned?
Jason: Well, for example, Iceland, we went in the fall, which on a motorcycle would probably be quite challenging because of course the snows are starting to arrive. Particularly in the interior. You are further away from civilization, as I said earlier. We can then stay out for a lot longer, which means that we can actually explore further into places like the interior of Iceland. Whereas, on a bike, particularly at that time of year, it would be pretty challenging, if not impossible. So, because now we're in a four by four with all this capability and the fact that we can sustain ourselves out in the field for longer, which it meant that we could go and then explore further into these places, which would ordinarily, well, you couldn't really do realistically on a motorcycle.
Ashley Giordano: Tell me more about that [00:21:00] trip, because is that part of an arctic or was that separate?
Ashley Giordano: That was, that was separate. So that was before the pandemic.
Jason: Yeah, so we, we decided at the time, That we would do a trip from the bottom of Africa to the top of Norway and we called it Cape to Cape. So Cape Town to Nord Cap because of the pandemic that got canceled. But when things started o opening up, we then did the trip up Nord cap up to the top of Norway, came back down again, went across to the Pharaohs for two weeks, and then carried on to Iceland for two months. So we, we traveled on a ferry. So it took four days to get to Iceland with the truck. So two days to the Pharaohs, and then another two days to Iceland, and then the same on the way back again. So, but Iceland was just incredible. It was, it was amazing. It's certainly a place that I would love to go back again.
Lisa: So, I dunno why we [00:22:00] started actually going up to Nord Cap when we did wanna start in Cape Town, didn't we? But we decided, well being in the uk it just made a little bit more sense to get that European leg out of the, well just to start with that leg really, I suppose. And so, yeah, in 2019 before Covid hit, we then yeah, ventured off Cause we'd finished our bike trip in 2018 and yeah, found then being in the truck, why not just go up to Nord Cap first? And then ship the truck out to South Africa to Cape Town. And then we were just gonna, yeah, mix the whole trip up on its head and then ride up through the African continent back to where we started. However, we only got as far as Nord cap. And then when we, took the truck back to the UK to swap out the cold layers of the warm layers and make it Africa ready, that's when Covid hit. But unfortunately, by that time, we'd already shipped our truck to Cape Town. COVID hit round end of March, didn't it? 2020. And our truck was on a ship [00:23:00] making its way to South Africa. That was an expensive exercise. No, hey, you just chalk it down. Stuff happens, right? And so we had to. Turn that truck around Soon as it made its way onto South African soil, we turned it around to get our property back. That, like, it came back to us later on in 2020, I think Covid hit.
Ashley Giordano: How were the logistics getting it back to you? Was that complicated during that time?
Lisa: No, it just took longer. I think everything just took longer, didn't it? But it was, it was as easy to, to bring it back as it was, I guess, to send it out. It just, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Expensive. It was expensive to go. Your vehicle went. It had a great time.
Lisa: It didn't send a post card, but it still had fun. It made it, it did Cape to Cave, didn't it? Actually, it did do that actually. We did it, but it did.
Jason: Yeah. It was, it was sat on somebody's land for two months and I think, like all of us, we thought, oh, you know, this is gonna be, what, two or three [00:24:00] months and everything's gonna be back to normal. And when I realized that this wasn't gonna go away anytime soon, I rang up the guy who's. Who was looking after the, the truck on his land now.
Lisa: Was it Oasis Overland?
Jason: No, it was a guy, a guy called Duncan from, African over Landers.
Lisa: African Overlanders. Oh, right, yeah.
Jason: And I said, look, you're gonna have to ship it back. And he was going, are you sure this is gonna be over soon? You know, and I went, nah, that's not the impression I I'm getting. I said, look, you just have gonna have to ship it back. So he shipped it back, unfortunately, but, you know, it's still up there. It's still a, a trip that we still intend to do.
Ashley Giordano: I was going to ask about your Nordic trip and what things stood out to you or were unexpected or that you learned while you were in that region that you didn't anticipate?
Lisa: So that was this year. Then January and February, taking the truck to the Nordics, Norway, Sweden, [00:25:00] Finland, starting out shipping, you know, from the UK over to Herschel's in Denmark, and then taking it. Spending the majority of the time in Norway.
Jason: One thing I did take into effect was in winter they only plow the roads, which means that we couldn't physically get the vehicle off the road. So camping was a problem.
Lisa: Particularly in Finland. More than Norway actually. Yeah, particularly in Finland.
Jason: So you'd see these beautiful places, but you, you couldn't get off the road. I, because there's always a big snow bank. So that, that was not something I was expecting, to be honest. But yeah, that's, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: How would you know, I guess, yeah. Why did you end up camping then? Like how did you pivot from.
Jason: We camped in places that we would probably not ordinarily picked. Like, I know car parks in small villages or towns or, or on one time when I really outta my own frustration for not being able to get off the road, I decided I would punch my way through a snowbank. Because it looked [00:26:00] like there was a flat space for me to camp by, lake. And I went straight into a ditch. And I had to get a local.
Ashley Giordano: To use their winch.
Jason: Yeah pull us out. So that was the first and only time that I tempted anything sort of off-road. So I learned my lesson that, you know, really I should be testing where I'm going, where I'm gonna drive first by getting out and check in before I just commit. But luckily we did it in a village and there was local help, so it wasn't a problem.
Ashley Giordano: Good. You guys seem to really like to travel in the wintertime.
Lisa: Which isn't how we built the truck at all. We built really the truck for Africa in warm climate and yeah, you're right. We have tended to gravitate towards.
Ashley Giordano: Cold places in the winter.
Lisa: Yeah. Including Scotland when it's not always the warm misses it cold, wet, windy conditions and, and with our truck, you can't, cook inside. You can't do anything inside with, there's just too many jewels and things, you know, there's no indoor living [00:27:00] space apart from the rooftop tent, which we find when it's too windy you can't even go in there either. So we have had quite a few nights where we've just been forced to camp on in the double cab, rolling the seats back, which is like being on an easy jet flight, but rubbish, reclined the seat like this. And we've slept quite a few, a number of nights. During that. That would not suit most people. Yeah with the great big whopping sleeping bags to stay warm, it's been warm enough. It's just not the most comfortable night sleep, is it? Alright, so it's a bit more, it's a bit more Okay for me. I can just curl up into a fetal position. But for Jace, And he's always, you know, sleeps on the driver's side, so he's got a sting wheel, wheel and pedals in the way. And I, I once swapped with him to try and be nice and I thought never again. That was awful.
Ashley Giordano: So you have really good sleeping bags it sounds like. I'm, I'm assuming Well you have the heater.
Lisa: We're, we're really excellent at making long pop meals, some hot meals. Yeah. I was gonna seven and a half minutes and we we're done and dusted, back in the truck. [00:28:00] When it's, you know, when it's like minus 26. That was interesting on that arctic trip when, you know, we was oftentimes be outside around five o'clock in the evening, the afternoon and all the oil, all the cooking oil had frozen, the milk had frozen, like all the food. And you know, there's no point in keeping the fridge on. Yeah, because you were living in a fridge. Well then everything freezes eventually, even inside the fridge. So it is, yeah. That was a challenge.
Jason: So you don't even switch the fridge on. In fact, this fridge is actually used to.
Lisa: Waste of power.
Jason: Keep your food warm. Or warmer than the surrounding outside temperature.
Lisa: So it is insulated.
Jason: You wouldn't even switch it on.
Lisa: You'd have to keep random items in your fridge. Because that was the insulate. You know, just pull things into the double cab. We soon, we soon dialed in and thought, what, what should we travel with inside the day so that it's not rock solid frozen at night.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. Like water, I assuming water.
Jason: Tea towels.
Lisa: Oh yeah. Yeah. Just, you know, drying your pots. You can't dry pots with, kind of blocks of ice for that of masquerading as a tea towel. [00:29:00] What do you call them? Tea towels?
Jason: Dish cloth.
Ashley Giordano: Dish cloth. Oh, yeah.
Lisa: But towel to dry your pot.
Ashley Giordano: Do you guys have any life hacks for winter camping?
Lisa: Don't go stupid idea, isn't it?
Ashley Giordano: But you keep going. There must be some of the odd view to it.
Jason: Don't rely on your technology for sure.
Lisa: The electronics.
Jason: Yeah, because if anything fails, I mean it's great having a diesel here tub, but if you fails you really do need, like seriously, you know, for, you know, in case you get into trouble, you need it, you need a sleeping bag that you know is going to, you know, be good enough for those temperatures. So we, we would always have the best sleeping bags we could afford the ones that went down to the lowest temperature, so. You know, if, if the proverbial poo hit the fan, then you know we're not gonna die out there because, you know, if the deals of heater packs up with a car stops working and you know, it is not the, the heater in the car is not working, we could at least, you know, be, be comfortable. To a lesser [00:30:00] extent. It'd just be nice to be comfortable as well, even if things don't.
Lisa: The foot warmers for me and hand warmers for inside your gloves. Foot warmers was just, This time I wish I'd had those in Iceland in the Pharaohs, but this time, you know, in Norway when it is minus silly foot warmers and hand warmers that, you know, stay hot for eight hours.
Oh, I was just happy this time. You know, I wasn't thinking about the cold and not being present because I was too cold. I was really there, you know, I was really enjoying this, it was brutal, but beautiful. And because I was warm, my extremities are warm, I, I could keep functioning and really, really absorbing what was around me, really enjoying where we were.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. That helps a lot. Just taking the edge off.
Lisa: It did. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and obviously the, we had the right gear as well. We had some arctic gear so we could stay, really comfortable. What other winter hacks did we discover?
Jason: Well, water was always a problem, keeping it. From freezing.
Ashley Giordano: And then it filling up sometimes. I don't know if that was an issue for you at all, but.
Jason: Yes. [00:31:00] So that's the problem cuz of course where we were going, all the legs are frozen. So.
Lisa: We weren't outdoor showering on that trip.
Lisa: We went to swim pools, leisure centers and just paid for a shower.
Jason: Yeah. So wet wipes five. Five is a shower. Eight is a is a bath apparently.
Lisa: But not when they're frozen. Wish they often were. Cause I used to keep them outta the back in the door. Did it in the beginning. Yeah.
Ashley Giordano: And you learn quickly on those trips.
Jason: Yeah. Unless you want to be, want to do it the Swedish way and jump in a frozen lake, then you are gonna rely on, you know, swimming pools, glacier centers, that kind of thing, that provide showers. We've often done that. Where we've gone to these places, pay to. A few, a few euros to have a shower and then you just don't shower between those. You know.
Ashley Giordano: At least you're not sweaty.
Jason: No. Well that's the great thing. Cold all the time. You're not sweating so you know, you don't need a shower so much, you know.
Ashley Giordano: So you guys are from the uk. How much [00:32:00] adventuring do you do in your own kind of backyard? Cuz obviously Scotland seems to be a really special place for you. You keep coming back, obviously. Good reason why. What about this area?
Jason: We're lucky because we've got the whole of Europe as well.
Lisa: On our doorstep.
Jason: Very close. So we've just come back from the trip. From, down to Spain and Portugal, France.
Ashley Giordano: How do you get outta here?
Lisa: Two ways. One of two ways.
Jason: Yeah. So there's the, there's the, Euro tunnel.
Lisa: The Eurostar, which is a train, just takes you through the tunnel with your vehicle, with your vehicle. 55 minutes. I know.
Ashley Giordano: How much is it? Are you looking between a hundred?
Jason: No, it's a little bit more than that. I, I think, maybe 150 pounds. What? Maybe 200 US dollars? Something like that. Roughly.
Lisa: Okay. What with truck?
Jason: With a truck and with a vehicle, actually two people. And then of course there's. There's several ferries that will get you across to the continent depending on where you, you want to get off.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. Right. [00:33:00] Like straight to Spain.
Jason: So you can go straight to Spain.
Lisa: Yeah. That was further, so, so we paid more and there was a two night crossing. So yeah, we paid a bit more just to cut out a little bit of driving that we didn't wanna do and went straight to.
Jason: Santa De. Which is the on the north Coast of Spain, but this ferry is over to France, so this ferry is over to Denmark. This ferry is over to the Netherlands. We've got easy access to Europe.
Lisa: So yes, we do keep returning to Scotland. And especially as restrictions, were starting to become lifted. Were starting to lift through lockdown then. Yeah, it was just a really great place to naturally, socially distance by coming up here. It was an easy place to come to and just scoot off into the Highlands for a bit. And get out of.
Jason: Yeah I mean dramatic landscape. So hard to.
Lisa: Get out across Adele Living Room whilst World War Bug Roll was going on.
Ashley Giordano: It's interesting because in this area there aren't necessarily a lot of off pavement trails [00:34:00] except for Green Lightning, which, yeah. I don't know if you guys have, I'm sure you've experienced Green Lightning at this point.
Jason: Yes. Yeah, it's.
Ashley Giordano: I don't know too much about it.
Jason: Well, the thing with, with England and Wales is if you come up to Scotland, you have this thing called the right to Rome, which means that you can, you can camp anywhere in Scotland, not in a vehicle, but you can walk anywhere. You can camp on it anywhere, and as long as you are not making yourself a problem, you can park your vehicle by the side of the road. Nobody's gonna bother you. You can camp it anywhere you want.
Lisa: For you leave a respectful distance from, say, the residents who are in their houses, as long as you, there's a respectful distance between you and the houses then. It's generally fine.
Ashley Giordano: Unless there's a, it's a specific area or there's a sign or. Because there are certain areas in Scotland. Like Locklomand
Jason: Lalo, Yes.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. Very specific, right?
Jason: Unless there is a, a local restriction, you have this [00:35:00] right to roam. It obviously doesn't comply everywhere if you've got a vehicle. But if you want to walk across any even private land in Scotland, you're allowed to actually travel across by foot and you're allowed to camp, not obviously in people's gardens, but you know, private estates, they can't stop you traveling across their, their estates by foot and camping. Yeah. Unlike England, which, you know, it's not possible. So it is a lot harder to camp, whether that be in a grand tent or in a truck. In England, it's, it's less accepted. So that's one of the unique things about Scotland, which is the reason why we come up here a lot is this. Accessibility to be able to just park up somewhere and camp and people aren't gonna, they might, they might ask you to move on politely, but legally you are allowed to, you know, camp. And of course, it's so beautiful, so why wouldn't you come up here? And it's so [00:36:00] close to where we live. So six hours up, up the motorway and, and you're in this amazing landscape.
Lisa: With, with, you know, a population that is this such a massive disparity between how many of us are living in England versus how many people are here in Scotland. It's a real draw. It's a real incentive to be in Scotland cuz it's hardly what anyone here in the rural areas. It's just so easy to get away from people. Unlike England, it's much more difficult. It's feels overpopulated there.
Ashley Giordano: The landscapes are quite stunning and not just stunning. I don't know.
Lisa: It's quite dramatic isn't it.
Ashley Giordano: It's dramatic. Yeah.
Lisa: Yeah. More dramatic compared to our beautiful pretty pockets in England. I feel it's a bit more dramatic here in Scotland.
Ashley Giordano: And even though there's not as much of a an off pavement culture in this area. I haven't felt like it's been lacking in any shape or form. You know, we're perfectly happy driving on the pavement [00:37:00] because.
Ashley Giordano: There's so much going on and so much to see and learn and experience here that just, you know, it doesn't bother me at all.
Jason: Yeah, no, because you've got this wild landscape and you just happen to have a sealed road running through it. So you still get that feeling that you are in this amazing wild place, down in England where obviously there's, it's a lot more developed and a lot more built up. You, you certainly lose that, that sense of being out in somewhere special. There is, like Lisa was saying, there is beautiful pockets of, of England, but it doesn't have the drama. That Scotland has.
Lisa: Which means the weather.
Jason: And the midges.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah, the midges.
Lisa: This time of year, when any day now, they're just gonna descend in the masses. So usually around the 1st of June, and no, we're on the 24th of May, we're.
Jason: It's a little early.
Lisa: Embracing ourselves. Yeah. Any day now.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. It hasn't been too bad yet. For the North American [00:38:00] listeners, midges are, they're kind of like “noseams”.
Lisa: Bite and, oh, do they bite in the mass? Yeah. In the hundreds and thousands. Riches have experience of midges, the midge repellant, which is, yeah, like a natural blend is at the ready. Yeah. On the midge nets.
Jason: Midges are, I mean, I, I've never seen one up close, but they must have the largest jaws in relation to their body size of any. Animal on the planet. They, but the great thing is, is they're so small and they can't fly against, relatively light breezes, yes. Thank you. Yeah. So anything above two, three mile an hour, and they go to ground. So it's not a problem. And Scotland is usually pretty windy.
Lisa: Yeah. On the hole.
Jason: So most days you don't need to worry about them. But on one of those rare occasions, when it's a beautiful evening maybe, and there's.
Lisa: And you wanna sit outside.
Jason: And you wanna stay outside, [00:39:00] then they can be a bit of a problem. But only, only in the spring and the summer months. After that they die off. And so my tip for anybody coming to Scotland is get here before May.
Lisa: Yeah. No, I don't think they affect people in Spring is kind of like June on wood, isn't it? For the summer.
Ashley Giordano: What are some places in Scotland that you would recommend like your favorite spots here?
Lisa: Ooh. Scottish Islands on the west side. Do we wanna give all our secrets away?
Jason: Yeah. Do we wanna give 'em all away?
Lisa: Should we just say Scotland?
Ashley Giordano: A few places.
Jason: Yeah, there's a few places. Obviously the is Sky is beautiful as well. The island of Mall.
Lisa: Yeah. I love.
Ashley Giordano: What are some things on these islands that you love the most? Like what are the things that bring you back here over and over again?
Jason: I think the dramatic landscapes, the wildlife, you know, we have sea eagles now up here that have been introduced that were, that were extinct, but they've been reintroduced over the last few years. Into Scotland and they're doing really well. So there's huge eagles that if you're [00:40:00] lucky enough to spot one, are really impressive deer. Red deer. We've got lots of red deer.
Lisa: Yeah. And stag. We even have red squirrels over in the kangs. They're really rare because.
Jason: Because they're American cousins got introduced to the UK and they carry a squirrel pox, which unfortunately decimated the red squirrel population. So we have 'em in little pockets. And this Scotland is one of their strongholds. So, you know, you've got.
Lisa: wild cap one wolf cap,
Lisa: Timberwolves in Scotland?
Jason: Nope. No wolves and bears, unfortunately. So if you, you know, yeah.
Lisa: Nothing it from a badge though. Lot of Highland cows. Very long hair. Yep. My kin.
Jason: Yeah, they look like something that's been left over from the ice age.
Lisa: The morning after the night before.
Jason: Yeah. They, they look quite menacing with their big horns, but actually they're quite docile and quite sweet, especially the carbs. But we get lots of 'em here.
Lisa: We've got a [00:41:00] ton of bird life, not just spill to prey, but Yeah, it is. It is. Yeah. A really biodiverse here in Scotland.
Jason: Lots of, lots of whales, dolphins, otters. Yeah. So if you are into wildlife, this is certainly the place to come.
Lisa: Tons of flora.
Ashley Giordano: So a lot of the things you're describing have shown up in your stories and your photography and you guys are regular contributors to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal have have been for quite some time. And in fact, you guys are Overlanders of the year.
Jason: Oh yes. We were really excited to receive that. I'm very surprised as well. Very cool.
Ashley Giordano: Really humble. Well deserved.
Lisa: Thank you.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. I wanted to ask you about, So Lisa does most of the writing, maybe all of the writing, correct? And you're specializing in photography? Or video?
Jason: Yes. We, we have an exclusive division of labor.
Lisa: Yes. Visuals, words, yes. Done.
Ashley Giordano: How do you work together as a couple while also working together creatively? What does that [00:42:00] process look like?
Lisa: I will usually nudge Jace to capture a certain type of image, set of visuals for a story that I'm thinking of writing. Now we're gonna go here. Jace, I really wanted to write a story about this. Bear that in mind. Get your camera out. Off you go.
Ashley Giordano: Those are pretty general green directions.
Lisa: Yeah. You love your drone too, so you'll get that up.
Jason: Yeah. I, I've never attempted to put pen to paper. Maybe, you know, maybe I'm really good at it. I've never, I've never really tried. But, I think it works for us. It, it's where my passions lie. Lisa loves to write, so we've never felt the need to sort of cross pollinate, if you like.
Lisa: I don't think I could spot really a good composition if it jumped out and gave me a haircut. I'm really not visual at all. I'm way better writing about something. That's where my skillset lies, my strengths, my interests, my creative outlook stops my brain going to mush, and Jason's all about, you know, he wants to be [00:43:00] behind the camera, use and abuse me for scale. And I'm, I'm fine with that as long as I don't look at the camera. Not doing that. Lisa, no one wants to see you looking at the viewer. Sorry.
Ashley Giordano: Are there things that you guys have learned over time with shooting and writing that have made the process easier for you now and maybe a little bit quicker or more efficient?
Lisa: I think because I've learned patience over the years, I'm happy to stand in one spot. Not look up at the Northern Lights, stay stuck still and be a statue for you. However you need me for as long as you need me to. I think two hours is about my limit. And then I'm like, we're done. We're so done. Whatever you haven't got now. So I think that that helps that I'm prepared to do that for you and you know, do that throughout the day or throughout the night. Lisa, it's 2:00 AM We're in Alaska and I, I think, yeah. Night son. Come on.
Jason: I think Lisa now knows exactly what kind of shot I'm looking for, [00:44:00] so there's less. Direction, if you like, which can, especially if we're a long distance away. I mean, maybe we should invest in walkie talkies.
Lisa: But I think we have done in the past. And that help, really helps, isn't it? To the left, to the right lockdown.
Jason: Yeah. So I mean, if like I want put Lisa in in a landscape, then, you know, generally she might be quite far away. And then communication can can be quite difficult. But if Lisa knows exactly what I'm looking for, then she can just, it saves a lot of time. I think that maybe, you know, over, over the. Over the course of the years we've been producing content, it does make Lisa sort of knows what I'm looking for and makes, makes life a lot easier.
Lisa: And springboarding off that as well. Knowing that me in shop is one type of shot and then me out of shot. The exact same shot is also just as valuable, you know, for various publications such as Overland Journal, that who, that don't need a person in the shot. For all of, you know, the, to tell the story. So yeah, to do it twice. Do do that kind of shot twice.
Ashley Giordano: Have a variety [00:45:00] of angles.
Lisa: And getting out of that vertical, portrait shop like, mindset, ah, for Instagram. Getting out of that mindset and going, I this, I don't wanna do this for Instagramer, this is for me, this is for personal, this is for a certain publication to remember also. Yeah. To not take everything a portrait. Yeah. You know, that's a, I think a valid point.
Ashley Giordano: Do you usually do a, a trip? I mean, this is gonna be different because you've done long term trips and shorter term trips. And while you're, I'm assuming on the long trips you're writing throughout. But I guess my question is, when you have an idea about an article, are you thinking about it ahead of the trip if it's a shorter trip, or is it usually happening after you've already done it?
Lisa: It'd be both. Yeah.
Ashley Giordano: That's kind of what I thought.
Lisa: Yeah. To have a notebook on me at all times or to just punch some notes into the phone and just keep dotting down those ideas as they're, yeah, emerging.
Ashley Giordano: And is it usually a place that you're inspired by [00:46:00] or could it be, I'm sure it could be anything but or something that has happened.
Lisa: Yeah, I can, I can go for both really. Just to write up a travel story that about an interesting place with some history or if some, if some unusual occurrence might happen, some drama takes place and you know, it, it has done in the past many times. That then, then becomes the story. It's the very unexpected turn of events and how things just go from good to bad to ugly.
And then, then how you've, reacted to that situation and all the drama that comes with, you know, travel, all the high highs, low lows, the whole caboodle.
Ashley Giordano: What are some things about this way of travel that suck?
Lisa: Four wheel drive or two wheels?
Ashley Giordano: Ooh, both. Oh, like what are some hard, we tend to be like, this is great. We have this freedom and we're doing this and seeing this. And of course on Instagram, people are seeing beautiful shots and you're out in nature. And you're [00:47:00] like that, well, you don't know that I've pooped in a bag or you don't know that.
Jason: So the reality then, so you want the reality. Too easy. Well, I think, I think as we know that there's no perfect vehicle. So as I said earlier, you know that the drawbacks have been on a motorbike are that you can't stay out in these wild places as easily as if you're in a truck that you can carry more supplies. The bike makes you feel. Me personally makes me feel more connected to the environment.
Lisa: Things that suck.
Jason: Just, you know, the, the vibration through the bars, you know, for example, which, you know, maybe some people have not considered, is, is the connection to the ground that you're traveling on Doesn't, you know, there's less, there's less stimulation to the environment that you are in when you're in a truck. But on the flip side is when you do get off your bike or outta your truck.
Lisa: You're a human tuning folk.
Jason: Yeah. I'm a human tuning fork. Yeah.
Lisa: You're like this all night just tingling on you.
Ashley Giordano: As a person who's never ridden a bike, I [00:48:00] would never have thought about, and I wonder, I feel like I'm getting flashbacks to the podcast with Jeremy and Elle they were saying they're on their bike holding on the handlebars like this for hours and hours and hours and hours. And I never thought about that. The physical act of riding.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Because it's all, it's all your sensors. They're, they're feeding you information all the time. It's not just about, you know, the, the, the wind on your face, the temperature. The smells is also like, you know, you are connected to the ground you're traveling on through the bike, the vibrations, the, the kind of ground you're traveling on.
Lisa: And in the early days on our first bike trip, when I was a brand new rider, I would hang on way too tight white knuckle type scenario. And I remember one stint of riding one day would maybe, we maybe got 250 off-road miles under our belt on really good dirt. But I found it really challenging cause I'd just not done it before. And I actually developed the, these mus a muscle here on each arm. And it, it was like this bump, this new muscle I'd never seen before on my pipe cleaner for an arm. And I, I was so proud of this [00:49:00] little muscle that just popped up on both of these arms. I'm so proud of it. But actually I was exhausted, totally broken myself. I was riding all in all the wrong ways possible. Jason's like, why are you holding on this tight? And I, and he was wear, I was wearing my own handlebars, smooth, clean, like they should have been gripped to them, but I just wall 'em off because I was just holding on for dear life. Scared as heck, you know, on, on the really good dirt, on really easy to ride, compacted dirt. I know you were time you could just loosen up and let go. Let it go. Yeah. Experience just took a long time. Yeah. I'm not the most natural rider, which is probably why Jason used to call me Captain Slow the whole time and, oh, come on Princess, I can't ride your bike for you. I'm like the motivational school of Jason. That was, that was a challenge in the beginning, just letting go and yeah, like you're saying, wild. Taking care of your morning ablations while in the wild. That's the thing. You have to just [00:50:00] get over yourself with and just take care of. Oh, and our truck as well, because you can't be inside it. Then we have to cook, drink, and eat outside permanently and we're still working on, trying to find a really good 10th awning solution, which means yeah, if it is, absolutely persisting it down. You still gotta cook outside so that Yeah.
Ashley Giordano: The elements.
Lisa: Yeah, no, I think we've just about found now an a way to get ourselves undercover. So that we can take care of that one.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. Yeah, it's really tough with wind, especially wind.
Lisa: The other day I was packing, chopping my pack joint and it all just flew off into the distance and same with my spinach. I was like, what a well waste of time. I'm just watching my spinach fly away. I'm like looking forward to that spinach, like confetti, spinach. I've got small struggles. Really?
Ashley Giordano: I was gonna say the realities of overland travel. Your spinach flies away. Yeah.
Lisa: What else sucks? Oh, the constant companionship. [00:51:00] Oh, lovely. That is the best and the worst thing. We, we've been traveling together on more than Off since the year 2000. We've been together the whole time. So that is the best and the worst thing. You know, when you're hangry, you're just tired, you're starving, and automatically it's not my fault. It's gonna be, yeah.
Jason: The only person, you're the person there.
Lisa: Yeah. You have to remind yourself, am I tired and hungry? Yes. It's not him. It's not all him.
Ashley Giordano: Its because he's there.
Lisa: Yeah. Well, am I gonna take my frusterations home. Yeah. That is tough, isn't it? It's just don't get a break from each other. So you have to have, a certain number of strategies to go off, take yourself away, go for a walk, offer a snack bar. That's somebody else's hook strategy. When they, the other person offers a snack bar. That's the code was saying, you're being a challenge right now. Would you like a snack bar? Stop being a challenge. Thank you. I love that.
Ashley Giordano: And the delivery of, of that. Yes. Snack bar [00:52:00] has to be.
Lisa: It speaks volumes.
Ashley Giordano: Yes. Because you don't wanna make somebody, you wanna just come out more challenging because you've told them that they're being challenging.
Jason: Yes. That is a tricky one. How'd you get around that one?
Lisa: Good question. Yeah. Although, by really positive byproduct of when I was really, when I got overly frustrated on the bikes, I'd actually start carrying a whole lot less in the technical, in the, in the loose stuff on the rides that, you know, were technical.
Jason: So you'd be angry, so you'd be angry and she would loosen up her.
Lisa: I'd ride like her.
Jason: And she would ride better when she was angry.
Lisa: And fishtailing, he'd be sometimes struggling to keep up with me. But only those times when I was really annoyed just at anything or something, I was just tired and I just wouldn't care and off I went. And you know, it was really frustrating for Jace cuz he's. You're questioning, why can't I ride like that all the time? That would be brilliant woman. Just crack on. But no, only when I was a bit frustrated it happens, right? Yeah. So if you learn to ride the motorcycle and got really annoyed, you'd ride like a [00:53:00] pro. I'm sure of it. It's all emotional. Emotionally driven though, which isn't good, is it? I'm not consistent.
Ashley Giordano: So speaking of riding, You have a grand new plan. So you've go on bikes, four wheel drive. And now?
Jason: And now we're going back to bikes. Yes.
Ashley Giordano: So exciting.
Jason: So we are, we are just giving white rhino have a bit of a rest for a while. We've decided that we want to go back to bikes for a while. It's nice to mix it up a little bit. We are gonna go back to North America, back to South America, across to Africa, and then back up into Europe.
Ashley Giordano: Big trip.
Jason: So basically a rough square. And we're gonna call it the Mega Transect. And this time we're gonna video it. So we are, we have been a bit late to the party, but we are gonna do a YouTube series starting when we arrive in North America, which should be about the middle of July. So we will start producing. A fortnightly video from the mid-July onwards, and then that might then [00:54:00] go to a weekly video.
Lisa: ‘So, and the YouTube channel is called Four Wheeled Nomad because technically two bikes, it's still four wheels. So it still makes sense. Four wheeled nomad all spelled out.
Ashley Giordano: So what made you decide to go back to the bikes? After you have all these creature comforts?
Jason: No. Oh yeah. That's a difficult one because there's no perfect vehicle. So there's gonna be times on this bike trip when I'm gonna be thinking, oh, I wish you, we had the truck.
Lisa: I think that we said about, yeah, four wheel drive. And the reasons why we started to ride in the first place.
Jason: Yeah. And we love both. We love both. And there's aspects of riding on bikes, being connected to where we are being out in the environment more, which we really enjoy. Sleeping under the stars next to your bike? No, 10 in the desert. Just having the coyotes yipping in the background is, is my piece of heaven. So, and that's simplicity. Just not [00:55:00] having all the stuff. Even though it's almost like a, I'm almost like a contradiction sometimes. I, I love all the tech and I want all the toys and everything else in the comfort. And then sometimes I want the simplicity of just having, two panas in a roll bag, few items, and living really minimally and traveling really minimally. Yeah. So we are just mixing it up a little bit.
Ashley Giordano: What's gonna be different about this trip than the last one in terms of your experience? Cuz you have so much more experience from the first Alaska.
Jason: We have way more experience.
Lisa: So we've cut already now, haven't we? We know what we're letting ourselves in for. I, in theory, should know how to ride a bike. I should be able to just.
Jason: After four and a half years.
Lisa: Hit the ground running. After a warmup period. Well you'd think so. In theory we will see and you know, we just ache now for our bikes. It's been six years since the end of the last bike [00:56:00] trip.
Jason: We went on bigger bikes, so. We went on much heavier bikes that then dictated where we could go. Even though we were told about this issue.
Lisa: You're never gonna wish your bike was heavier. We still opted for an 816.
Jason: We still opted for a bigger bike and, and if I'm honest with myself, my ego probably got in, in the way of it, probably the decision making little bit and the thought of going back to, well, going on a trip with really small bikes didn't appeal. But now from the lessons we've learned, being out in the desert, being in situations where the bikes were too big, too heavy, the bikes were falling over, we're having to pick them up, we were doing this elevation, we didn't have the energy and, you know and.
Lisa: And the difference in our riding abilities. I'm not saying I've closed that gap, but at least it is, it isn't as extreme as it was going to be as it was on the last bike trip. You know, in theory, I should have more confidence this [00:57:00] time and a level of competence that I never had, you know, for the first two years of the four and a half year bike trip. You know, it just took me a while to get the hang of it, get, get the ropes.
Jason: So, yeah, with that, with that in mind, we are going to smaller dirt bikes, or dirt orientated bikes, which means that the bikes won't dictate where we go this time because there has been occasions where we've got to, you know, a trailhead somewhere, and I've looked at it and gone, that's far too technical for, you know, the, the bikes we've got.
Ashley Giordano: The weight, I'm assuming.
Jason: And the weight. And, you know, at the end of the day, we're out to enjoy ourselves. You know? Yes, it's nice to challenge yourselves, but you don't wanna put yourself in a situation where you're just making life hard for yourself because then it becomes unpleasurable. You know, you, you're not enjoying the trip.
Lisa: So Jason is being kind as well. I've seen him ride in sand on his 800 and he, you know, he's a pro, he's a master. He, he can handle himself. He's not a DACA rider, but he knows what he [00:58:00] is doing. Whereas, because he had me in tow. Then, yeah, he can't ride slowly, but like, I like to ride painfully slowly. So yeah, it's a whole, we've thought about it much more carefully this time and we learned from, you know, our hard lessons from last time, haven't we?
We're just gonna put all those lessons learned into practice this time, and I really hope it already feels like a much more smooth and seamless endeavor to approach this trip and get a little bit of support that we're looking for. You know, we've got connections from the first trip and all that inside Intel, you know, having done it before, You know, not knowledge is king, isn't it? We we're doing exactly what we intended to do, what we've already done before, again, but with the knowledge of having learned all the lessons, you know, we've reflected and we've evaluated and we can take all that best practice and incorporate it into this trip. So I really hope that is just gonna stand us in good stead and gosh, up visiting all those people that we've met. As many as we can. You know, when, when, the universe aligns to, [00:59:00] to reconnect and reunite with all those fantastic people as well in the Americas.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah. I was gonna ask if you had anything that you're really looking forward to, places that you'd like to go back to, or places that you didn't go to last time that you'd like to check out this time?
Lisa: So that might be revealed on the trip.
Jason: Yeah, there's, yeah, for sure.
Lisa: Stay tuned.
Jason: There's, there's one area in the Atacama Desert that's actually, I, I really wanted to go and see, and we couldn't go and see it purely for the reasons that I described earlier, because the, the trail was too technical.
Lisa: He had a captain, slow and pinto.
Jason: I had to obviously consider Lisa's riding ability as well, because I couldn't, obviously, if we got into difficulty, I can't ride both bikes at the same time. Yeah. I'm just not trying.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah Jace you’re trying hard enough.
Lisa: No, no. Take one for the team. He can tow me though. He has towed me before, like to buy a piece of rope. Oh, several occasions you had to do that. You have told [01:00:00] me when my bike's broken. Oh, that, gosh, that was never again. Yeah, never again.
Jason: That's another story. Well, towing a bike, you know it, how, how can I describe it?
Lisa: Especially sand and grit and gravel.
Jason: Yeah. It's not something you want to do unless it's the last resort.
Lisa: Get that bike out of there.
Jason: Towing a bike from bike to bike can go wrong pretty fast, but you know, it sometimes is the only option you've got.
Yeah. I'm just not trying, Do you have some bikes you have your eye on? Is there anything you really are jolting for?
Jason: So we've not, we've got our eye on one bike it, it might not be the bike, but it's definitely up there as a strong contender. And that's the KTM 500 E X C F. I wanted something that was light enough but had enough power that I was happy with, but not something that I felt that it was unmanageable for Lisa. It's a very tall bike, so it's definitely gonna take a little bit of [01:01:00] practice, especially for. For Lisa to get this.
Lisa: I really want my neck, can put my big girl pants on. Oh. And I can put, my seat concept in, which is lowering the bike with a custom seat and I can, if Jason will allow me to lower the suspension, get that whole thing lowered a little bit.
Ashley Giordano: During your last long term trip, you had different bikes.
Lisa: Yes. Same brand. Same brand.
Ashley Giordano: Which were?
Jason: The, the BMW 800 Gs is what I rode. And Lisa had the, six 50 Gs.
Ashley Giordano: And now you're riding the same bike.
Ashley Giordano: Why?
Lisa: I think we can share tools, the a, maybe we share parts rape and pillage each other's parts on each other's bikes perhaps to get one bike out of trouble and you know, you can also take, off a path off my bike, put it on his to see if that's the problem. You can problem solve as well. That way we can ride each other's bikes. I mean I could technically, I, I did ride Jason's 800 on a couple of occasions, but I never would have wanted to in an emergency [01:02:00] situation or really would've just had to. Whereas on, on bikes that we can both ride cuz we're riding the same bikes anyway, it just Yeah seems to make so much more sense.
Ashley Giordano: That's smart. Yeah.
Lisa: Like we should’ve done this last time.
Ashley Giordano: Its common with couples to think that they ride the same style. Or model, sorry.
Lisa: We know quite a few couples that ride the same bikes, you know, and then you can set up your bike individually to how you each like to ride it at the end of the day. Yeah. You can share parts and tools, I guess can't.
Jason: Yeah, I think that's one of the main advantages is if you do have a breakdown that you, you have, you, you can basically scavenge parts off the other bike to at least test it to see whether that's the part that you need to replace.
Lisa: Consistent as well. It's no conflict of interest.
Ashley Giordano: This has been fun. I have one more question. What are your favorite books, each of you? Number one.
Jason: Favorite box?
Ashley Giordano: Book number one book.
Jason: Oh, book.
Lisa: My favorite fiction book is Where the crawdads sing.
Ashley Giordano: What's that about?
Lisa: It's about a lady who lives in the [01:03:00] swamp. It's amazing and it rocked my world. You need to read it.
Ashley Giordano: Nonfiction.
Lisa: I loved New Earth by Eckhart Tolle really opened my eyes from a spirituals perspective and just working out a few things about yourself when you are looking at yourself introspectively. Then New Earth by Eckhart is my favorite. Non-fiction. But I also love Books by s Guru as well. He's a, he's really up there. He's my spiritual leader.
Ashley Giordano: What does he write about? Most topics are about what is he writing?
Lisa: He's writing about how to stay consciously aware if I'm a spiritual perspective, how to stay present, becoming a realized, being all those good things.
Jason: I think for me, another one of Eckhart books, Eckhart Tolle, is The Power of Now.
Lisa: Ooh, good one.
Jason: So the Power of now is basically looking at, you know, this is the only moment we, we [01:04:00] truly have, and if we stay in this moment, then that's the end of all your suffering. So that is the essence of the book. I mean, obviously he goes into it in a lot more detail and a lot better than I could ever explain it, but, I would say that was probably my favorite book.
Lisa: And the book I'm reading right now is Jordan, Peterson's 12 Rules of Life also. Really good. Enjoy.
Ashley Giordano: Fantastic. Yeah. Well, thank you guys so much for taking the time to come onto the Overland Journal podcast and chat with me about.
Jason: Sure. It was a pleasure.
Lisa: Thank you for having us.
Ashley Giordano: Your experiences and your hot tips for camping in The Nordic countries in the winter going to Scotland and your new, new adventures on your bike. And I'm really looking forward to following along on your new adventure, on your new bikes and watching your YouTube videos and continuing to read your beautiful pieces and enjoy your captivating photography. And yeah, if anybody wants to [01:05:00] check out Lisa and Jason's work quite frequently in Overland Journal. I don't know what the last, I don't know what the last article was, but I think there are quite a few photography focused ones. Giving a lot, a whole series on capturing. Photos in different, landscapes and conditions. So like in the dark and photographing water and lots of good tips there.
Lisa: Got a few more in the works.
Ashley Giordano: Perfect.
Lisa: Some like pipeline content in there as well.
Ashley Giordano: And then if people wanna find you online, where do they go? Yeah. To find your website or social media.
Jason: So our website is www.fourwheelnomad.com.
Lisa: All spelled out numbers.
Ashley Giordano: F o u R.
Lisa: Yeah. Wheeled with an ED.
Jason: And the same on Instagram. Four wheeled nomad and the same for Facebook.
Ashley Giordano: Fantastic. Great. Thanks.
Jason: And, and soon YouTube.
Lisa: Four wheeled Nomad.
Ashley Giordano: Great. Very looking forward to all of us. So yeah, thank you guys again and thanks for listening [01:06:00] to the Overland Journal podcast and watching if you’re on YouTube. Thanks for taking the time to join us and we hope to see you next time