GonDirtin on Traveling with Dogs, Overland Kitchen Staples, and their 70-Series Land Cruiser Troopy Build
Show notes for podcast #109
GonDirtin on Traveling with Dogs, Overland Kitchen Staples, and their 70-Series Land Cruiser Troopy Build
L.A.-based automotive photographers Karissa and Linhbergh found that the best way to escape the city was to pack up their Mitsubishi Montero and head for the great outdoors. In this podcast from Overland Expo West, senior editor Ashley Giordano talks with GonDirtin about how to capture the perfect vehicle photo, the importance of fish sauce, and what they’ve learned from their latest Troopy build.
We are Krissa and Linhbergh. We are full time commercial photographers living in Los Angeles, California. The both of us, along with our two dogs, head out with our rig to slow down and escape from the fast-paced Los Angeles lifestyle, and immerse ourselves in the great outdoors.*from official website*
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
This episode sponsored in part by
Photo credit Caleb Wallace
To follow along with Karissa and Linhbergh
Want to check out the vehicles they travel in?
To learn more about their Land Cruiser “troopy” build, and follow the chronicles click here
To learn more about the Mitsubishi Montero build, click here
Want to check out some recipes and cooking outdoors click here
Ashley Giordano: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal Podcast. My name is Ashley Giordano, and I'm senior editor at Overland journal and Expedition portal. I'm very excited to be here at Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona in the Black Series podcast studio with two very special guests Karissa and Limburg of Gone Dirtin'. Welcome to the show, thank you for coming on! I'm so excited to have you guys.
Linhbergh: Thanks for having us.
Karissa Hosek: Thank you so much, we're so excited. Oh my gosh, Linhbergh!
Ashley Giordano: There's so much to talk about because you guys do amazing photography, you have a background in automotive photography, have really cool vehicles, have two really beautiful dogs, make delicious food... So it's- I've like, where do we start?
Linhbergh: Lotta things, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah, so let's start with the origin story, I guess. Like, how did you guys get into the overland world?
Scott Brady: Special thanks to this week's sponsor, GCI Outdoor. Whether you're heading out for a weekend of adventure in the woods or to your backyard, firepit GCI Outdoor gear is ready for whatever you have planned. GCI Outdoor has been around for 25 years, so they know what they're doing when it comes to the best in portable recreation gear. GCI has innovative products ranging from outdoor rockers to complete camp kitchens and everything in between, and with a limited lifetime warranty, you know they stand behind everything they make. GCI Outdoor gear is comfortable, durable and built for adventures big and small. Try them out for yourself, head over to their website at gcioutdoor.com and save 10% off your first purchase when you sign up for their email list. Thanks again, GCI.
Linhbergh: When we first met- we both are automotive photographers, right? And we both work out of LA, and when you work in automotive photography or in what we would say in production in LA, it's very hustle and bustle and and it's always like bam bam bam bam, always the next thing. And we- it just kept compounding with us more and more and more and more, and we love what we do but we also need breaks, and we've realized we needed breaks, and so we would take our car, at the time just a regular four door sedan, and a pack with our camera gear and then just drive off into who knows where, right? And the more and more we did that, the more and more realized we needed to do it. Not just as like, we'd like to do it but we needed it, like we craved it. One thing led to another and we started hearing about like oh, we should see if we go on this trail, oh but we can't because of a car! Next thing you know we started looking on Craigslist and we picked up Mitsubishi Montero, and not knowing anything about it other than, like, yeah, it was four by four.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah. Also carrying camera gear, we always carried a lot and it was kind of overflowing in our SUV- or sedan, and we were like we need an SUV, and we could use it for camping. This would be a perfect combination just to like have something that could fit everything and just get outside.
Linhbergh: I mean, originally we wanted a Land Cruiser, like everybody else, but then we realized that it was far reaching out of our price range and we got a $5,000 vehicle that we have seen like a good portion of the country with.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, Montero is awesome because you still get heated seats, It has a rear locking diff, and four wheel drive. It's got everything we need all for five grand, it was great.
Ashley Giordano: Amazing, so did you kind of accessorize right away or did you learn what you needed and then went from there, or how did that develop?
Linhbergh: I think we continued to ground camp for while even with the Montero, but we started to realize that, okay, working in or living out of the back of the Montero started to become a priority. Like we had Bosco boxes then and then we had to stack on everything up on top of that and then we're like, Okay, this sucks to pack up camp every single day, what could we do? And then... at the time, like this is like, what, eight years ago, probably at this point? That was kind of the infancy of kind of this- and I would say this industry has been around for so long, but we started hearing about it maybe eight years ago, right? And then rooftop tents started becoming a thing, and then all these other things started becoming a thing. We had a vehicle that no one really worked on, too. We didn't- there was not much aftermarket support, but we want- needed certain things, and we did it as- on a per need basis, right?
Ashley Giordano: Gotcha.
Linhbergh: Yeah. So rack came on, to put things on top of the rack, and then eventually, like, alright let's get a used rooftop tent, we picked up a used rooftop tent. Built out the back a little bit. Yeah, it's just one thing next to another.
Karissa Hosek: I feel like once we started dialing that in, we were itching to go out longer trips, go further away and it just felt like way more attainable whenever we started figuring out, like how we needed our things organized. Having the rooftop tent on top was nice, where- I don't know, we just felt more safe, too, in a way, in certain areas of the country.
Linhbergh: Not just that, but the rooftop tent. You could sleep in colder temperatures, and it's more comfortable 'cause you're off the ground.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, we were doing some like 19 degree ground tent stuff and we were like, Oh my gosh it's so cold!
Linhbergh: That hurt, that hurt so bad!
Ashley Giordano: So how did the four by four change your experience of traveling around the US?a
Linhbergh: It changed it in the sense that there was no wall that kept us from anywhere, right? And that's the most important thing, I think. Not that we go out and seek hard trails, it's just- you look on Google Maps like hey, let's go there and without thinking, we can go there, because we know we can, right? And that just opens up all the doors.
Ashley Giordano: Were you traveling with any animals at that time? Or did that come later?
Karissa Hosek: At that time we had Kaya, so we traveled with one dog and she loved it. She just loves running around and having a good time in nature and she would just look for lizards under rocks and she loves coming out with us just as much, I mean-
Linhbergh: Also Kaya's a Shiba Inu and she's 15 pounds? Shes 10 this year.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, she's 10 this year. But even like hiking, she out hikes us most of the time. Like we would take her backpacking, and I'm just like dying and she's like, let's keep going! So she's our little adventure dog, and now we have Stella so we travel with two dogs.
Ashley Giordano: And what kind of dog is Stella?
Karissa Hosek: We think she's a Dachshund mixed with a golden retriever.
Linhbergh: She's 16 pounds, so they're the exact same size. And they love playing together.
Ashley Giordano: Amazing. So they were both in the rooftop tent at one point?
Linhbergh: Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, yeah, they love it. I mean, honestly, it's like another little area of warmth, Stella would sleep at our feet and I would just put my feet right up against her belly, it was perfect.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. You have any like tips or recommendations or, I don't know, life hacks for traveling with dogs?
Linhbergh: What we realize is our dogs get messy and they get dirty and there's also a lot of self wash, dog wash places, that you just go into small towns, and they have - you pay whatever it is and then you wash your dog yourself.
Ashley Giordano: Oh, wow.
Linhbergh: So, that's a really nice service. Especially because Kaya gets into things and then Stella is now getting into things, too.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, I mean, it's not like we have to do it for every trip. It's just sometimes like we've camped at a lake before, when we were with you and Richard. Camped at that lake and there was a dead fish and Kaya rolled all over and I was like, you are now sleeping downstairs, you are not coming up, there's no way! So then like, after we left and we headed I think to another event, we stopped at a place where we could wash them off and it was great.
Linhbergh: I think just Google Maps is great for that and just looking for a self dog wash or whatever and it's really good- just, back of the mind thing.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, also like long drives. They sleep most of the time, they're not too anxious, which is great. I mean Kaya is a little anxious, but I mean, just like we need to stop and stretch out our feet, so do the dogs, so we try to make sure like they get their walks in every few breaks that we have to take, so... I mean, you just accept that it takes a little longer to get somewhere because you are taking a few more stops just in case they need to stretch out and their stuff.
Linhbergh: And also the fact that we also simplify their diets whenever we are on the road. For a good while, I cooked food for Kaya, and it was just cooked chicken with some vegetables, like just nothing else. Now we just traveled just dry food because it is a lot simpler and she's okay with it. It was a little bit of a transition, but she is now very much okay with eating just dry food. And it just makes life so much easier, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. Did you always photograph your vehicle and the scenery when you were out? Or did that kind of like transition from your job to like extracurricular kind of photography, which has then led into other opportunities?
Karissa Hosek: I feel like we always shot whenever we went out hiking. It's kind of hard, like, both of us are professional automotive photographers so we were always shooting even before we shot cars.
Linhbergh: We both got into the industry doing what we do by shooting our own cars, right? Even way long before, so like, Marissa had a Mazda RX7 and I had a Mazda Miata and we both shot those way before we even considered a career.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, yeah, and so us going out and taking a break from LA and going hiking, we still, like, we found ourselves shooting just as much as we would for our regular careers. There's something different about shooting nature, it's really challenging. It's different than shooting like a subject, a car or a model or anything like that, because you have to wait for the light. It's such a patient game, you have to really pay attention to theyour foreground, your middle ground, your background while you're framing it and I feel like it's such a challenge and it's really nice to be out there to where you're challenged to see differently than you ever see normally, it makes you almost feel like a hobbyist. Like even though we're professionals, getting outside and shooting nature you feel like a noob again, yeah, kind of nice, it;s a challenge.
Linhbergh: I will for sure admit that I suck at landscape photography, right? And I feel that, but like if you put a car in front of a landscape? Then I could do all day long, but actually landscape photography, it's so difficult for us to wrap around, like, compared to our friends like Overland the America's? Like, Ernesto is incredible at landscape photography, he has the patience for it, it's amazing yeah.
Ashley Giordano: What's the difficulty in the landscape photography compared to?
Linhbergh: Most important thing is a scene, right? You have to see a certain way, right? You have to see where your shot is, what is an interesting shot and things like that and then the two is patience, right? You have to wait for the light, you have to sit there for who knows how long, like hours, right? Waiting for the light, it just might not work out sometimes.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, which were- we definitely find ourselves like not patient enough to fully wait for sunset, like the sun will dip and we're like, alright we shot it, good, start walking back to the car, we look back, we're like oh my gosh, it's like glowing now! why did we leave, that happens almsot every time.
Linhbergh: The majority of that is seeing, though, you have to see it differently, because like we see paras all day long and we know how to see that, like it's such an important photography like trait but just seeing landscape stuff is different.
Ashley Giordano: What tips would you give to people that want to improve their vehicle photography if they're out camping or overlanding or... like, are there certain angles that you want to choose or light hitting a vehicle in a certain way? A front three quarter shot seems to be very popular.
Karissa Hosek: Oh yeah. Front three quarter shot, that's the money shot. Lighting, yeah, just pay attention to your lighting. If the sun is out, typically I like it to the side of the car, not fully backlit, just a little over to the side where it's casting down the whole side panel of the vehicle, if you're shooting like a front three quarter, then you have that nice side light coming in, and then-
Linhbergh: I would say it's also vehicle dependent, right? So like, a modern vehicle shoots completely different than old vehicle. Sometimes an old vehicle will look great at high noon, right? Then an old- the same modern car will just look like crap.
Ashley Giordano: Is it the shape of the vehicle?
Linhbergh: It's a shaping, yeah, it's the shape of the vehicle.
Karissa Hosek: Body lines, yeah.
Linhbergh: Body lines, and then just how like the sculpt is sculpted, the bodies of the modern cars and stuff like that, and how light falls on it. It just really depends.
Karissa Hosek: I think it's fun to play with foreground elements too. Maybe don't just focus on the car, take a step back, observe, like certain formations of rocks around the area, see if you can frame it in a different way where it's not just like the car is front and center to your camera, like take a step back and play with different elements of the environment.
Ashley Giordano: Nice, good advice.
Linhbergh: Yeah, and I always say small truck shots are always the best because you get to see the whole landscape and the truck is just a part of it, right? And that tells the story because we're so small and everything and we love that.
Ashley Giordano: That's true because I guess if you have a beautiful front three quarter shot, it doesn't necessarily tell the story of what's happening in situation.
Linhbergh: Front three quarters, we always call that the centerfold shot because that is like just a money shot, right? That's what everyone wants to see. You won't open up the magazine and that's it, right, but I think it's more grand to see the whole landscape because that's what we're out there for, right? When we have cool vehicles and we have cool trucks, but the trucks is literally the paintbrush to get us out there, right?
Ashley Giordano: Absolutely. You had some experience in editorial like writing, right?
Linhbergh: I did, yes. I was a professional blogger for website called speedhunters.com for I'd say eight years, and I traveled the world covering car culture around the world. It was interesting. I traveled at the end of my- towards the end of my time there I traveled to 300 to 320
Ashley Giordano: Wow. What did you learn from that experience?
Linhbergh: The same experience that I've learned when coming to like the overlanding community. It's all about the people, like that's the most important thing, like no matter what car it is... the car is nothing about the person, right? You have a beautiful car, and you can look at it and say that's really cool, but you have the story behind it and that becomes so much more. But that was my first run into professional writing and I absolutely tanked it, right?And I was young, and I didn't really know how to write and I was kind of just thrown into it, right? It was really difficult, it was highly difficult but now I'm doing more writing now and it's just so easy. It just comes out. It's interesting how that works.
Karissa Hosek: With practice, too.
Linhbergh: With practice, you just gotta grind it, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: And then, Karissa, you can get on the tools and get in that vehicle and you've done so many different modifications and maintenance and how did you start out with doing that?
Karissa Hosek: I grew up at a shop in Texas, my family has a car auto shop. So I always grew up around cars, and my brother had a car growing up and he's two years older than me so when he was 16 he was always wrenching and I would just like watch him and his friends. I was kind of part of his friend group as well and we would just work on cars all the time so I learned a lot. I got a Rotary as my first car to drive, It's funny, I always wanted like a Mustang and my grandpa was like "Don't get an old 67 Mustang or 69 Mustang, you're gonna have nothing but problems" and then I get a Rotary which is even less reliable than all of that and the engine belt within like a year of owning it so that's where I really learned a lot of my mechanics was rebuilding that engine and building it pretty much from the ground up.
Linhbergh: Also sidenote, it is 500 horsepower that she built with- on ED5 and then 450 on pump gas. My Miata is 90 horsepower.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, it's been a fun experience though. You know, coming from like the Rotary world, I definitely know that engine much better than I do the Land Cruiser or even the Montero, like I never worked on a piston motor so I don't know if I could say I can like fix anything like that but regular maintenance, like I definitely can do a walk around before we hit a trip and make sure everything looks good.
Ashley Giordano: Those experiences kind of lead to how you decided what you were going to do with the Montero or is it more like lifestyle based?
Linhbergh: The Montero was just like a natural thing, it just kind of happened, right? We'd never even thought about like, we never think about- maybe we're- you could call us nearsighted almost, as in we never think about the future that far. We think about what's going to happen the next day or what we want to do in the near- the coming days, but we never plan too far ahead and that ethos kind of goes into the Montero and we never just thought, oh, this is what we want to do with the Montero, we just did it and then we came back from somewhere like oh, let's just this fix this because it wasn't working right.
Ashley Giordano: Right, what were some of your favorite kind of modifications with that vehicle? That made life easier or you just enjoyed.
Linhbergh: The biggest first change was switching from a cooler to a fridge. So we had an ARB fridge first and then we switched over to a Dometic fridge and that was like by far the greatest upgrade that you could ever have.
Karissa Hosek: Well, we came from just like a cooler before that.
Linhbergh: Yeah, we just came from a cooler, yeah. Our vegetables were always soggy and we hated it and we tried to work our way around it and...
Karissa Hosek: It was fine for weekends but then we started going out longer since we're freelancers we were like oh, well we don't have to go out on like a Friday to Sunday sort of thing, we could just like push our shoots towards the end of the week instead of the beginning of the week and like take a little bit longer of a trip and then we'd have like soggy veggies and everything.
Ashley Giordano: Oh, no.
Karissa Hosek: So I would say that's definitely like- it was such a treat to really have a fridge like that.
Linhbergh: And then second to that would be the drawer build out and then the kitchen build out on top of that, which then started leading us to cooking better and all thast stuff, and it was just more enjoyable to cook out there.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, yeah, and honestly going from the rooftop tent we had. We had just, like, the kind, like, how do you? Shell?
Linhbergh: I guess you could call it a clam shell, right?
Karissa Hosek: Where you have to like unfold it and then you like put all of the stakes and then everything and then we went to a hard shell rooftop tent and it was like a game changer. It would take us usually like an hour to break down camp and then we got the hardshell rooftop tent where you just close and latch it, and it would take us like five minutes to leave camp, it was great.
Linhbergh: It was fantastic, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. What are some of your favorite trips that you took in that vehicle?
Karissa Hosek: It's probably hard to...
Linhbergh: I would say, we did an Escalante trip early on and that was kind of our first foray into actual public land, I guess? I mean, we always did like 395 and Lone Pine and all that and California, but like, for some reason, we went to Escalante and it just really opened our eyes of just how much land there is and how vast and how beautiful it is and I think to me, that's one that always sticks in my mind.
Karissa Hosek: Mine's Grand Teton. Yeah, we drove out to Grand Tetons, actually, for a photo shoot. We were shooting in the national park for Dodge and we're like, we might as well try. We would have flown normally for a job but we were like, we have the Montero now, let's make this a road trip! So we drove to the Grand Tetons and then after the job, we camped out there for like a week and then we drove to the Pacific Northwest, right?
Linhbergh: We did Tetons, and then we did a Yellowstone as well, same trip.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah. But we headed east- or west?
Linhbergh: We headed west, to the Pacific Northwest.
Karissa Hosek: Pacific Northwest and it was incredible. Just being in the forest, and the Grand Tetons, we basically saw all four seasons in one day. Whenever we got to camp, it was beautiful and sunny, and you saw like, flowers and green and then like an hour or two later, snow started dumping and it was just- it was magical.
Linhbergh: And it was snow sort of falling, and it was June, like late June, probably. Yeah, so it was just really cool, It was magical.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. And you guys have some international travel under your belts as well, well obviously for your job you travel quite a bit, did you do some personal trips that were really memorable?
Linhbergh: We've been to Vietnam together three times. I would say that's one of our most memorable countries, not just because I'm Vietnamese, but because it's- the country itself is just gorgeous. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous country with beautiful people and absolutely delicious foods. The combination of all those things is like- not just like outside country gorgeous, but like city gorgeous in its own right, yeah.
Karissa Hosek: It's thrilling. I remember whenever we were first trying to go to Vietnam, I was unsure if I wanted to go, we'd watch Anthony Bourdain shows and stuff and you'd be like look at all the food and I'd look it'd be like, it all looks so, like dirty, do I want to go here? And then we went and my life was completely changed. I fell in love with it, just being on the scooters and going in the streets you smell the foods and have coffee every morning and it was just such a blast. We rode in the countryside on little motorcycles or, what do you call those?
Karissa Hosek: Scooters! We went to like rice fields and we'd be on our scooters, we actually slid off of one of the scooters because the rice fields is all rocky and it was just so freeing. It was awesome. Highly recommend Vietnam, go to Southeast Asia ASAP.
Linhbergh: For sure.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah, it is an amazing country.
Karissa Hosek: And cheap! Oh my gosh, I mean the two of us for two weeks was $250 for hotel, flights in between areas of the country, scooter rentals, food all of it, $250 for two weeks.
Linhbergh: For two of us, insane.
Ashley Giordano: Gotta go back.
Karissa Hosek: 100%, I'm ready.
Linhbergh: Let's go.
Ashley Giordano: Right now! That's awesome, so you guys traveled in your Montero for how- quite a while?
Linhbergh: Yeah, like-
Karissa Hosek: Five years?
Linhbergh: Five years? Yeah, five, six, years.
Ashley Giordano: Okay. And then at some point, you decided that you were ready for a change?
Linhbergh: Yes, so actually it was- was it that Tetons trip or? It was the Teton trip?
Karissa Hosek: I think it was maybe a different trip after that, but it was in the Pacific Northwest.
Linhbergh: It was, okay, so it was my birthday and we were somewhere, I forgot where exactly, and it was raining and cold and we pulled into camp, we stopped by a grocery store on the way to camp and Karissa bought me a birthday cake, right? We set out the awning just to be outside and we had a- I blew my candles and we immediately just went straight inside the two front seats of the Montero to get out of the cold because it was so cold. It's was probably like-
Karissa Hosek: And wet!
Linhbergh: And wet.
Karissa Hosek: It was raining and it was freezing so we jumped in the front seats and had our birthday cake in the front seat!
Linhbergh: We had our birthday cake in the front seats and then we were just like, we need something different we need some- to have something that we can just be inside.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, and then honestly, the teas from the gods happen whenever we were in Oregon, outside of Oregon and we had already- at that point, we were like, Okay, we know we want something different we know we want interior space, but we don't want to go too big. And we're up in the tent, we just poured some miso soup out of like a little Jetboil.
Linhbergh: And it was another cold night where we were early into the tent and we were on a rooftop tent then and it was just cramped, and-
Karissa Hosek: And you could tell rain was coming so we were- and it was still early, like rain was about to hit so we were like okay, let's go up, we'll have some miso soup, and then we're down this road where we haven't seen a car for a while, and we hear something coming and we're like, oh?
Linhbergh: It's like, klack, klack, klack, klack, klack.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, and we're like, what is that? It sounds diesel. And then we like kind of unzip the window and you only see the two light, and were like oh, I don't know, like maybe they're just coming to camp too! And they get a little closer and it's a Land Cruiser Troopy and we just lose our stuff, we're like, oh my gosh, the gods are literally teasing us right now because that's obviously what we had in our vision of what we wanted! And we were like this is it like, this is a sign we need to make it happen.
Linhbergh: And it's- from that point on we were just like, what can we do to get a Troopy? That's that's all it was.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, we were already kind of looking at that time. But it was just a slow process of finding the right one for us. And then after that, I was like, it's time that I started looking. And I went really ham on just digging and searching for one in different countries.
Linhbergh: And we found one! Found one in Australia, in Darwin, Australia, and put our money down and shipped it over. And-
Karissa Hosek: Yeah.
Ashley Giordano: How did you find it? How- what kind of research process-
Linhbergh: This is the most Karissa question ever!
Karissa Hosek: I'm all for finding a good deal, let's be real. No, but I was looking in every country, I had different apps that were kind of like Auto Trader for South America, I'd refresh them every day. I had probably 30+ tabs open on my computer that I refreshed every day and I looked in Dubai in the Middle East, I looked in Australia, I looked in Japan, I looked in Europe and I would just be refreshing to see if a Land Cruiser would get posted. I definitely would see different ones get posted and I did inquire with a few and then I was invited to a group, actually by Ernesto with Overland the Americas, he invited me to this Australian Facebook group and got on that and a lot of guys post their rigs there and I found one and I was like Limburgh, this might be the one, it's perfect! It has the dual fuel tanks, it's diesel, it's a one HC, it's straight six, it checked all of the boxes, no rust, all that good stuff. Wasn't built out so it was ready for anything that we wanted to do to it and then that's when the process started from there! Thanks Facebook!
Ashley Giordano: The power of social media!
Karissa Hosek: Seriously!
Ashley Giordano: Awesome.
Karissa Hosek: But we had people looking for probably about a year and a half for us, and then whenever that whole Troopy encounter in Oregon happened I was like okay, I want to find something really soon and so that's whenever I went in and I just started refreshing every day.
Ashley Giordano: How long did it take for it to ship over?
Karissa Hosek: We bought it in August of 2020 and it got here in December of 2020, which was just before the container blow up insanity in Long Beach and pretty much every port in the United States but especially Long Beach, that's where we are based, in Long Beach, and we would just see the boats piling up and at that time we had already got the Troopy but we're really lucky it happened when it did because our truck could have been sitting just right across from us, just in the ocean unable to load for like months, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: What's the make and model of it? And year?
Linhbergh: It's a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser Troop Carrier RV, not even sure what the Rv stands for, but...
Karissa Hosek: There's a couple of options, but it dosen't matter.
Ashley Giordano: And then you set out to convert it to pop top interior?
Linhbergh: Yeah, we did a pop top interior space, full electrical, we have plumbing for the first time in our lives, electrical, water heater, and then diesel heater as well and.. life is too luxurious, almost, now. It's almost too good, yeah, yeah.
Karissa Hosek: It's very good. It was a fun process though, we've never done any sort of build out like that and whenever we got it it was basically empty, it had two drawers in it, we pulled them out and we went to Texas, which is where my family shop is-
Linhbergh: What's up, Hipro?
Karissa Hosek: Thanks Hipro, thanks mom and dad for making space for us! So we were taking a spot in the shop for three months it took us to build the truck out. We started in like March, I think? And then by the time we started getting to finishing it was becoming so hot. We needed to start working again because we did take the time off to go there and build it out and we're just like, we got to get out of this heat! This is becoming miserable, we gotta finish this really soon! But we finished right on time, it's perfect.
Ashley Giordano: Nice! Did you come across any complications along the way in terms of any- I don't know anything?Or did it- was it smooth sailing?
Karissa Hosek: For the build out, I feel like it was actually pretty smooth.
Linhbergh: The buildout itself was smooth but then we ran into what you call used car issues, right? And on the drive home from Texas to- back to California, after everything was built out, our transmission went out. We eventually had to get that rebuilt.
Karissa Hosek: Left that morning and that afternoon we broke down in literally the middle of nowhere Texas. We were so excited, we were like, first night! We're gonna camp in somewhere nice! It's gonna be great! And then we tried to turn around and it would not go into gear, it wouldn't move, and we're like okay, great!
Linhbergh: We're really excited to get out of Texas just because Texas doesn't have public land.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah.
Linhbergh: And just to get in New Mexico and just be on public land for first time and our pop top and the buildout. Really excited about it, but...
Karissa Hosek: But honestly it worked out just as best as it could have, because we were able to get a trailer and get towed if we had been in the middle of nowhere it would have been way harder, so...
Ashley Giordano: Right!
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, everything happens when it should, I guess.
Ashley Giordano: Yes. How has that interior space changed things for you on the road?
Linhbergh: I would say the biggest negative the interior space does is that you enjoy it too much. Especially as an introvert, you just want to get away and having such a comfortable space to be in, you just gravitate towards that. Like, I want my book or whatever, right? And because of that, we find ourselves not going outside as much all the time. So that's the biggest negative. But at the same time, it does still take us to those places that we do want to go and then we're not- when we're not doing like those days we're just at camp and just hanging out, we are outside and it's amazing. And then when the weather does roll in, then we are inside, and we have the option to be inside. So the negative of just gravitating towards the interior space is a small negative but I would say overall it's just an incredible like, life changing thing.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, I mean, the dogs love it, we have way more space whenever we're somewhere and it's like pouring rain or anything, we can just sit up on the couch and be comfortable, which is really great. I mean even with the Montero you were like 100% outside, so you had to get out your camp chairs, you had to put out the awning, all that good stuff and with the Troopy, I'm like, I don't even have to go get my chair. Like I'm just gonna sit right here and look out the window and it's amazing!
Linhbergh: Yeah, I call it the moving cabin, right? So because- it's this cabin that could just always move and you look out the window and the view always changes. Like it's nice not to have to set up camp all the time, you just stop, pop it, and you're good, yeah.
Karissa Hosek: We've really enjoyed it, it's awesome.
Linhbergh: It's almost, I would say- it's so good, it's like spoiling us.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. And you guys took a trip to Baja recently, and was that kind of like the first longer trip that you had done in the Troopy?
Linhbergh: It was, yes, yeah.
Karissa Hosek: We had only done shorter breakdown trips, like week, weekends. Mostly week, yeah.
Linhbergh: And Baja was amazing. We found out, so couple of things, like whenever you're on these longer trips, you find things out about your rig that you never knew before, right? So one of those things is we wanted to get rid of our bull bar that came with the Troopy for so long because one, we don't like the look of it and we wanted just a cleaner look up front, and then two, the weight, right? But we went on the Baja trip, and we realized that we use the bull bars every single day for laundry.
Karissa Hosek: Couple of our friends were like, man, we're really jealous. You have places to put your towels and swimsuits.
Linhbergh: Now that that has happened, we don't want to get rid of it. Is it worth the weight? Probably not. But it's better than stringing up of laundry line somewhere and sometimes you don't have anywhere to string up laundry lines.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, I mean, I personally I'm okay with it because the peace of mind in case like an animal does cross the road, you know, you just never know and it's nice to have that extra protection.
Linhbergh: For sure.
Ashley Giordano: Nice. Were there any kind of like organizational things that you changed during that trip just to make accessing things inside easier?
Linhbergh: Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, we realized that we- where we originally thought we would put our clothes that completely changed and for easier access because we realize that's something we get every day and the things that you reach for every day, you want to make it easier.
Karissa Hosek: Yeah, and things we need to add, like, we were originally going to add like a hose for a shower and we never did that during the build out because we were just- we were trying to finish everything in Texas as quickly as possible by the time we got to plumbing, we were like, let's just make it simple and deal with it later. And then in Baja, we were like kind of rigging up like this thing that would go to the sink and you just stick it in the sink and that becomes like a little showerhead and now I'm like, we really need to just do a showerhead because it wasn't the most convenient thing to do. So we figured that out too. Baja was incredible, we loved it so much! Want to go back for sure. All the whales and everything that we saw just from our campsite, they would be breaching all day long. And we were like this is insane!
Ashley Giordano: Yeah, it's a magical place, that's for sure, like food, landscape...
Linhbergh: It's one of those combinations again, like Vietnam, right? Its food, landscape, people, even the cities like the towns that you cross through, and they're just gorgeous towns.
Karissa Hosek: We brought so much canned food with us because we're like okay, we're going to be somewhere and we're not going to leave and it ended up being we moved a lot more than we thought we would, but we ate tacos almost every day, we barely touched our food or even cooked so we were spoiled with all the local food.
Ashley Giordano: Speaking of being spoiled by food, you guys have been in the Dometic booth cooking up meals every day here at Expo West. It has been so amazing for me running around just to be like, oh we just stop by and get some really really delicious, thoughtfully made, with love, food and really enjoying it and taking a minute to enjoy it has been such a pleasure. But you guys, food is like integral, it seems, to your travels and what you do. Has that always been the case? Or is it something that has kind of occurred over time?
Linhbergh: It's definitely something that occurred over time.
Karissa Hosek:I don't know man! Limburgh loves food.
Linhbergh: No, I know I do love eating food, yeah, but like-
Karissa Hosek: I'm like, I gained like 25 pounds when I met you. We ate Korean barbecue at least twice a week, so you love food, you've made me really really love food.
Linhbergh: I didn't take cooking seriously until I met Carissa. For some reason, I don't know why, I've always cooked and I've always enjoyed cooking, but I didn't take it seriously until we met and we started dating and then when we started going out camping I started to realize that I didn't want to eat what was normally traditional camping food, right? You would call it the Chilies and the corn breads and the steaks and the mountain man breakfasts, you know? The staples, like- and I didn't want eat that because that's stuff that we didn't crave. We crave like Vietnamese food, we crave Korean food. That's everything right? Mexican food, too. And it's just- yeah, so because of that we wanted to eat what we craved when we were out, and I did what I could to facilitate that, I guess. It was a giant learning process to do that.
Ashley Giordano: Yeah, take me through that! Was this like a YouTube/blog/recipe books or like specific ingredients that you started with?
Linhbergh: A lot of my learning wasn't from recipes or anything, it was actually from watching YouTube street food tours.
Ashley Giordano: Oh!
Linhbergh: Yeah, I got a lot of- because whenever you see street food vendors, they have to cook things as quick as possible. As good as possible, in a very short amount of time. I watched a ton of like India street food tours and see how they did it and then Asia street food tours and all that other stuff, and you get certain techniques from these videos that I would apply, so like, say, like, whenever we make pho at camp, instead of having a long brew of seven to eight hours or whatever, to make an actual solid broth, I would actually just buy bone broth from the store and then I would cut the time to- because I use the bone broth it went from eight hours to two hours, right? And it was freaking delicious. Yeah, so it's just like, little things like that. In terms of ingredients, I had to simplify a lot of the things that we crave. I always thought in my head, I have to have one exotic ingredient and then everything else has to be easy because you can't get like say some special Korean thing in the middle of nowhere, so I carry fish sauce full time I carry soy sauce full time. And those are like what I call special ingredients that make life easier on the road. These are integral ingredients for certain meals, right? And it's also ingredients that could be spread out to other meals, right? So like, for example, I use fish sauce to make spaghetti sauce, right? Where that thought process comes from is that is the Italian mentality, they put anchovies into the red sauce, right? Instead of carrying a can of anchovies I use once, might as well just use juice of anchovies and its, I can use it all the time.
Ashley Giordano: Genius. I think one time we were out with you guys, camping with you guys, and I think it was scrambled eggs with fish sauce, and we were like, this is delicious! It's such a smart thing to carry.
Linhbergh: It's incredibly smart, like- and I always tell people that- think about how nomadic people, long ago traveled, and what they did and how they made food good just for what they did. And because of that, that's how I stocked my pantry, right? So, it's worked out, so...
Ashley Giordano: Nice. What are some other staples that you usually bring with you?
Linhbergh: So I always carry some sort of soy- like fish sauce, soy sauce, and I always always have to carry out an acid of some form. So I always carry rice wine vinegar, because for me rice wine vinegar is very versatile because I could do quick pickles, and then I could do- I can make a teriyaki sauce if I wanted to, like, just from scratch. I can make a soup and soup sometimes need like a like an acid, I have an acid, so having the acid is so important, especially like when you taste something and you go, hmm, it needs something. And every time you say that to yourself and you try that, it needs an acid. No ifs, ands or buts, right? And the other thing that we carry is- not sponsored, but True Lime crystallized lime packets, those things have been a game changer for us. It comes in little packets, and they're for flavoring water, and it's just literally crystallized lime juice and I use it to make ceviches, I use it to make Vietnamese fish sauce, and it's just- it's incredible and I don't have to have limes all the time now.
Karissa Hosek: I mean, we travel with fresh produce, but like sometimes were out.
Linhbergh: Yeah, sometimes we're out or sometimes we're out long enough where you don't have- and also it's another option of an acid, and then the other thing I'd like to say is, like, we always carry sugars and-
Karissa Hosek: Korean chilies and it's labeled Kpop chili.
Linhbergh: That's true. Yeah, so I do like a Kim chi, really quick cucumber Kim Chi, and I make Budae Jjigae, which is a Korean army stew, and that requires Korean peppers so- the Korean pepper thing, I would say, is very specific to us because that's the stuff that we like to cook and eat and so, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Love it. Are there any recurring dishes? Or are you always innovating? Like is there a go to?
Linhbergh: The go to is always Budae Jjigae, for sure, yeah, so it's a Korean army stew.
Scott Brady: This content is brought to you by Overland Journal, our premium quality print publication. The magazine was founded in 2006 with a 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 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're watching or listening to right now. You can subscribe directly on our website at overlandjournal.com.
Karissa Hosek: It's easy because it's one pot, too. So it's less cleanup, which is great. And it's so easy. You just take ramen noodles.
Linhbergh: Yeah, I mean, it's ramen noodles, but then- can I do a history lesson?
Ashley Giordano: Oh my gosh, yes, please.
Linhbergh: Okay, so the story of Budae Jjigae, Korean army stew, is a story of American occupation. After the Korean War, Americans occupied the DMZ and then everywhere near the DMZ, and after the war, all locals actually didn't have a lot of fresh proteins, like no additional cows or anything or- because it all went to the soldiers. And because they didn't have any proteins, they did what they could to get proteins and at the time, the only place to get proteins were the American bases. And so they would barter with the Americans with what they had, at the time, for proteins, and at the time the proteins was hotdogs and spam, right? And they took those proteins and turned it into their own- they have this dish it's called Kimchi Jjigae, so it's a Korean stew with kimchi and instead of that- they took the same stuff with that and put the spam into it, and the hotdogs, and American cheese. It's now like a hugely famous Korean dish. I would say like, number two too Korean barbecue, yeah, in terms of notoriety. Like if you talk about Korean food, or if you talk about any culture, and you talk about Korean food, its like Korean barbecue and Korean Army stew.
Ashley Giordano: So interesting how food and history intersect all over the world.
Linhbergh: All the time.
Ashley Giordano: All the time, yeah.
Linhbergh: I'm always like- every time I do these, like cooking demos, I'm always like, this is a story of American occupation in a different country. Like for instance, I would do- here at Expo I did Okinawa taco rice, and that was another same story of after World War Two and all that other stuff but yeah, it's just- I love that aspect of food.
Ashley Giordano: So interesting.
Linhbergh: So interesting, yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Amazing.
Linhbergh: Oh, and a lot of Vietnamese cultures food is because of French occupation, right? Like the Baguette, and then the crepes, and then savory crepes, and then broth making from the French, and all this other stuff and so, yeah. I can't get away from it because I live it, right? It's part of my culture, so yeah.
Karissa Hosek: You love that stuff, though, you watch that stuff all day on YouTube.
Linhbergh: I love that stuff. There's this meme and it- I think Karissa found it, it's whenever you turn 35, you're either into- what was it?
Karissa Hosek: WW2 history or...
Linhbergh: Or smoking meats!
Karissa Hosek: Smoking meats! I was like, this is so accurate!
Linhbergh: And so I'm both of those actually.
Ashley Giordano: Oh, my gosh, I love it. Well, thank you guys so much for sharing all that- those tips with us. I'm sure people will have a good time trying to innovate with their cooking- camp cooking, because yeah, it can get repetitive, so...
Linhbergh: It could get repetitive, yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Ashley Giordano: Okay. I'm gonna ask you a question that I try to ask everybody on the podcast, if you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go and why?
Karissa Hosek: Does it need to be overlanding?
Ashley Giordano: No, no, no, it can be any type of travel, anywhere.
Karissa Hosek: I mean, I would definitely jump on a flight in a heartbeat to Vietnam, we've been itching since COVID happened, like we were planning to go and then COVID happened, so I mean, I'm ready.
Linhbergh: I would say the same thing and also because I have a cousin that grew up in the States, and now he lives now in Vietnam, and he's- over the course of COVID he says that the country is modernizing so fast and it's like a lot of it's disappearing, a lot of what we love, like street foods disappearing a little more and more and things like that, so...
Karissa Hosek: More cars on the road, I mean, gosh, even between the three years that we went, we went year after year, and every year, you could tell it was becoming so different just within those three years, so I can't imagine what it's like now.
Linhbergh: But modernization is a good thing but we loved what we've experienced and we want to continue it before it disappears.
Ashley Giordano: Right, and preserving cultures and all that. Food and everything is so important.
Linhbergh: Cheese has never existed in Vietnamese culture until I'd say eight years ago and now cheese is prevalent everywhere. Because it's just westernization.
Ashley Giordano: Right, cool, thank you. Well, if listeners want to find you on the interwebs, or wherever, where can they find you?
Linhbergh: We have an Instagram, it's GonDirtin, and we have a YouTube and it's GonDirtin as well.
Karissa Hosek: It's all on GonDirtin.
Ashley Giordano: And you guys have some fabulous recipes on your website.
Linhbergh: Gondirtin.com, we have recipes and a couple of blogs so yeah, mostly recipes though.
Ashley Giordano: Cool, what's next for you two?
Karissa Hosek: Well, after Overland Expo, we're planning to be on the road for a month, so we're hoping to head probably towards the glacier area. We haven't been to Banff so I don't know if we're gonna cross through, we bought our passports just in case.
Linhbergh: So we might visit, Ashley?
Ashley Giordano: Yes! Please come visit me!
Karissa Hosek: And then yeah, later in the year, I will be hosting a trip in Chile and Argentina so we'll be in South America later this year, really excited.
Linhbergh: And we're trying to decide if we're going to ship the Troopy or not, and because we're going to be- because of Karissas group trip in Chile, we might as well just stay out there, right? So that was kind of- thinking about doing three months-ish in Chile, Argentina.
Ashley Giordano: Nice, exciting.
Linhbergh: Troopy or no Troopy, we're going no matter what.
Karissa Hosek: Yes, 100%.
Ashley Giordano: Fantastic. I'm excited to follow along with your adventures later this year and I wanted to say thank you guys so much for coming on the Overland Journal Podcast and chatting with me and yeah, thank you so much!
Linhbergh: Thanks for having us!
Karissa Hosek: Thanks for having us! We'll be following your adventures, too.
Ashley Giordano: Thank you. And thank you to all the listeners for tuning into this episode of The Overland Journal podcast and we will see you next time!