Show Notes for Podcast #76
Sean Gorman is the founder of Sea2Summit Experiences, an automotive consulting business specializing in off road drive experiences, long range expedition preparation, off road vehicle engineering development/ technical support and visual asset creation. He’s worked in the automotive sector for nearly three decades, and has traveled on 5 continents in vehicles doing testing and development. His background in off road ability, combined with years of alpine mountaineering guiding some of the highest peaks in the world, has uniquely equipped Sean with a wide breadth of knowledge on what it takes to survive for months in the backcountry, yet the detail to help some the world’s foremost automotive brands with making their products work better. He’s an ASE master technician, guest lecturer for the Society of Automotive Engineers on EV and battery management systems, Lead Off Road Trainer, and has managed to replace two passports because he ran out of pages. His first car, a 1961 Land Rover 109” is still owned by him and he’s got a fleet of Defenders as well. You’ll probably currently find him somewhere in the air flying one of his airplanes or alone on a trail somewhere planning the next big launch program.
To find out more about Sean Gorman you can check out his adventures at
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
This episode sponsored in part by
Scott Brady: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast. I am your host, Scott Brady, and I am here with a longtime friend, incredible overlander, and experienced individual, Sean Gorman. He is the founder CEO of Sea to Summit Experiences, a longtime collaborator with Land Rover and other vehicle manufacturers. He's responsible for most of the notable vehicle launches that we have here in North America and around the world. Him and his team of individuals conduct training and other support for manufacturers as well. And then he also provides a lot of engineering and driving feedback to manufacturers on the capabilities of their cars, in addition to that, Sean is extremely well-traveled, and he has some very interesting experiences that I think we're gonna all enjoy taking away from this conversation. And for those of you that are watching on YouTube, it's going to look like I got kicked in the face by a mule. And that's cause I have a tooth abscess right now; I had a root canal a couple of days ago so you can all feel sorry for me. Sean already has a hard time taking me seriously, and [00:01:00] now he's going to be looking at me, looks like I've got walnuts stored up for the winter in my face. So we're just going to all go with it today, so thank you so much for being on the podcast, Sean.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Scott Brady: Well for me, one of the things that I think would be really interesting would be to start with where you came from as an adventurer, because some of our conversations that we've had driving together in cars, I was able to learn about these incredible adventures that you've been on. Many of them human powered when you first started traveling, including big mountains. So maybe give us some insights, some history on to what got you into being an adventurer.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. Well I grew up in Colorado. I think that's a big part of it.
Scott Brady: For sure.
Sean Gorman: I grew up in a household of two parents that... I wouldn't say they were really adventurous, but my grandmother in particular was on my mom's side... She was pretty adventurous, and so kind of growing up in Colorado and in an environment and my parents were divorced and so I sort of split time between [00:02:00] Denver and then up in the mountains. And I'm also, I always hate to say it, but I'm an only child. So you end up kind of figuring out ways to fill your time, and for me, that was just being busy and doing stuff. So I never really went out trying to be adventurous, it was just sort of what happened, sort of a natural progression. I was lucky enough to go to this private high school up near Aspen, and I kind of describe it as a combination of a kind of hippie school, but it was also like a real work-life balance type of school. And so for me, that was really my indoctrination into understanding that you can work hard, and you can play hard, and you can kind of do what you need to do, and maybe there's some alternative paths other than the kind of traditional American study path. You know, you do this, you go to college, you graduate, you [00:03:00] live to retire, that kind of thing. And that's really where I think it started. And that's where the climbing started and it's climbing... and really, you know, it's Alpine climbing, so big mountains and fourteeners in Colorado and then that turned into stuff here in the state’s dollar stuff, and when I was in high school, we did a school trip and did Denali. It was just that kind of school.
Scott Brady: Which is incredible, that was like the school trip was Denali... and for those that are listening, Denali is the tallest mountain in north America, and it is a legitimate accomplishment by any standard, but certainly more so as a student in high school.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. And its funny cause I didn't really think much about doing it, it was sort of on a whim. I was like, oh yeah, that sounds interesting. Yeah, let's do that and then yeah, I just really enjoyed it. And, and then honestly the rest of it just turned into like a lot of networking. You know, it was I didn't grow up in a household where I had a lot of financial needs and things would just pop up. They would just... I [00:04:00] would make a friend and it would turn out they were the head of Outward Bound or something, and that would open some door and then I'd go do that. And then that would open more doors, and then just that, and actually that's how I've gotten to where I'm sitting right now is just really just a series of events that have all just sort of led to it.
Scott Brady: And building on those relationships, it sounds like.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. You know, it's interesting. I'm just not wired to be like a real bucket list guy. I don't have this like laundry list of things that I feel like I must do in order for my life to feel it gets complete. I kind of plan a few weeks ahead, or a month ahead, two months ahead and things always fill in the gaps and they always seem to be really cool, and they present themselves in ways that... I don't know. It becomes more meaningful in a way because you didn't really... there's no expectation assigned to it. I don't really know what I expect for something to happen, cause I don't really know what's happening next.
Scott Brady: Yeah, and you're not putting too much emphasis or weight on [00:05:00] the future, which doesn't allow us to be in the present. And I think that's one of the challenges I know that I struggle with, is I'm so goal oriented and future oriented that oftentimes I miss all of the moments in the present. And it isn't that I don't go through that, cause obviously you do go through the present, but if you're always thinking in the future or in my case, if I'm always thinking towards the future, that I'm not able to fully immerse myself in what's happening in the moment. It sounds like you found some ways to be able to do that.
Sean Gorman: Trying to do that, yeah. I mean, I just think it's so easy to assign, you know, these ideas of what we think we're going to experience. And then really the experience becomes whether or not you've met those expectations or not. You know, so for me, like a good example... I just came back from Grenada and all my friends asked me before I went, what are you planning on doing while you're there? And I didn't have one single plan of anything to do there other than get there.
Scott Brady: [00:06:00] You have a buddy that sounded Grenada who asked you to come down.
Sean Gorman: So let's go down and see what there is to do once we're there. And that's pretty much what we do and that's kind of what I do, and it's good cause from a work standpoint I can't do that. Everything has to be planned for the second. So for me personally, maybe that's the opposite side of the coin, where I have to, on my personal time, have that lack of structure in order to be able to have that level of structure at work that actually allows me to do the program.
Scott Brady: And I've seen your programs in action, I've been on many of your programs. We just last night found out that you had been a big part of setting up the new Tacoma launch. I think it was 2016 or late 2015, and that was a great program. And then you were the individual that set up all of the challenges and a lot of the infrastructure for the Trek event that just happened a few months ago that I participated in, and all of those touch points that I've had has certainly [00:07:00] shown a lot of experience on your part and a lot of making it look effortless, which I think is how you want people to experience something like that, where it doesn't feel like you're being rushed, but everything is happening as it needs to get towards the goal. And that shows certainly a lot of experience on your part, and I'd like to talk about some of those things in that part of your life that you've learned that can apply to travel. But the next thing that comes to mind for me is, as I recall, you did the trip to Denali, and then sometime later you find yourself into the Himalaya. You find yourself into Asia. Talk a little bit about what were you trying to accomplish when you were there? Were you there to climb mountains? But I know that you came back changed as a person, talk a little bit about what happened in that place.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. So let's see... in the early kind of mid two thousands... a really good friend of mine, that came from Land Rover... not from the corporate side, but really a [00:08:00] Land Rover enthusiast. Him and I became really good friends. He's a really good, amazing climber really. And I think he's got seven or eight or maybe even nine ever summits, and just traveling around the world climate and all the time. And you know, it all kind of started with him asking me if I could help fill in a little bit on a program and, and like, okay. Yeah, I guess I can do that. And yeah, so I ended up over in Nepal and doing some technical peaks and then getting kind of higher and higher and getting into some oxygen and you know, again, it was a great experience for me because there was no expectation on my end other than to just try to be good at, at my job. And my job essentially is to try to make sure that I can make decisions for people who are in a position that they can't really make decisions.
Scott Brady: You mean because of their focus on getting to the summit?
Sean Gorman: Multiple layers there, right? Like, so you have a very expensive trip. So there's a certain clientele that comes with that, and you have a lot of people who are used to being... they're doctors and lawyers and CEOs and heads of business and [00:09:00] things like that that can afford to have an extra 150 $200,000 to go on a climbing trip. And to them it's really important, cause they've assigned part of their identity to it. So it takes a certain, a certain kind of knack to be able to figure out how to communicate to people, and then on top of that is that the lack of oxygen in and of itself gives you the inability or maybe the ability to make bad decisions or not think about your decisions. And I mean, everybody's there working hard, but the thing is everybody trains, like they train crazy for it. But the training to climb a big mountain is not the same kind of training as it is to run a triathlon or something. And so you actually typically find that people who show up there are really used to high burst energy, and it's a very low burst energy sport. It's all about maintaining cadence without sweating. I mean, [00:10:00] at the end of the day, that's what it is. It's about, how do you figure out a pace that allows you to stay warm without sweating, as soon as you sweat things kind of get rough, right? You start to get cold. And so when you, when you do that, you know, it takes a long time, and it takes a lot of... it takes weeks and weeks of building trust with people and kind of figuring out who your group of climbers are going to be. You know, so the group I work with, you know, I'd have kind of two or three people assigned to me and, and you build the trust, and they start to realize that you that's what you're there to do. I never really cared, personally my goal was to just try and get people up to the top. And you know, that actually translates a lot to what I do for work. It's a very similar clientele. And it's also a lot of decision-making and figuring out kind of, how do you tell people sometimes things they don't want to hear and how do you do that in a way that it makes sense to people? Because a lot of it is buy-in, just like everything [00:11:00] else in the world, you got to get people to buy in to what you're trying to explain, or do you know? And that buy-in, especially with adults, oftentimes you have to somehow figure out how to make them feel like it was their idea.
Scott Brady: Especially those type A personalities that are used to always winning or nearly always winning. And now maybe they're only 200 feet from the summit and you're working really hard to help them make a good decision to save their life, and that's probably very difficult for them.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. And I think the pressures have gotten harder because, you know, I mean, there's literally people who have made careers out of just doing speaking engagements from climbing Everest and, and their CEOs and their things. And they go around, and they equate their climb to their climate business and things like that. And I think that as more and more people continue to climb it and more and more people every year continue to claim it, it actually makes that pressure harder on, on, on people looking [00:12:00] for that, cause it's not like before where there was a few hundred people. Now you're talking, you know, 400, 500, 600 people a year getting those numbers down. So for them it's a big deal and they don't want to be seen as somebody who didn't make it either, so that was... I mean I think it's actually really translated quite well, how to take care of people, how to deal with logistics of people for a long period of time, how to get them up and down mountains. And you know, it kind of translates a lot into what my normal job is too.
Scott Brady: And from those experiences, what did you learn yourself personally as a traveler when you started to expose yourself to those very upper limits of human endurance, and in many ways it seems that climbing mountains has... it certainly requires a lot of endurance, but it also requires a lot of focus and commitment and the willingness not to quit. You know, obviously if you have to quit because you're not going to make it in time or whatever, but there's certainly people that have accomplished these [00:13:00] incredible physical feats because they have been so determined, and they've pushed through the pain, and they continue to strive towards that goal. What did you learn about yourself and how did that start to translate to you as a traveler climbing those big mountains and having those very other worldly experiences? This is a place where humans don't survive.
Sean Gorman: You know, I think for me personally, it was sort of my first foray into actually sort of feeling a meditative state. I climbed a lot before then, but it's kind of different when you're climbing for days, and days, and days, and days on end. And also when you acclimate and you go up and then you go down and go up and then you go down, and you do this over and over and over for a month, you know? It changes your mindset, you know? We're kind of used to that in Overland travel too, right? Like we kind of are going from point A to B, but can you imagine if we did a trip and we went from A to B, to C, to B, to C, to B, to A... you know? And that's the way that we... it's a real different thing, because [00:14:00] over a period of time every single time you do one of those acclimatization kind of up and downs, you start to focus on different things. You know, the first time you do it's like every step is a challenge. Everything, right? You feel every seam in your glove, you feel every hotspot on your foot, everything. And then after you do them a few times, the next time you're looking at the snow, you're looking at the ice, you're looking at your partners, you're looking, you know... the third time you do it, you're looking at the sky, and you're looking, at things around. Your scope gets bigger because you're not thinking about the details as much. Right? And there's something really, like I said, meditative about that. Whereas, you know, your focus... you kind of get the single point of focus and then you can open it and close it as you need to. And I think that that's a pretty amazing place to [00:15:00] be.
Scott Brady: And that in my mind, just listening to you say that it immediately translates to this goal that we all have of travel where if you can limit the amount of equipment that you bring along the gadgets and the things that distract you, then you're not... it's like you said, the seam in the glove or the hotspot in the boot. The fewer things that we surround ourselves with that distract us from the experience, the better trained and competent we are as travelers, which means if you're doing a lot of vehicle-based travel, remote vehicle-based travel, that means feeling comfortable doing recovery, feeling comfortable driving in various conditions, feeling comfortable that you understand the vehicle and that you can serve as the vehicle in the field. It seems to me that the more that we can check those boxes off and feel settled around that, the more that we can notice the snow, and the more that we can look up and see the sky. And that's a really interesting thing, because I think back on the big endeavors that I've done, there were so many [00:16:00] details and there were so many moving pieces that I had very few opportunities to look at the sky. Whereas in recent years, my trips have been much more intentional and much fewer moving pieces, and I've had more chances to check out the snow. And so that's a really interesting analogy that you've brought up that I think people can really learn from is minimize the distractions and then make sure you have enough competency in the well to where you can actually look around and see what you're doing and enjoy that experience.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. So it's always hard internally, right? To remind ourselves that no matter what we're doing, what we're currently doing is what we're doing. You know? And I think some of that's a kind of American culture, we get so focused on like... okay, so I'm here and oh, I can see up there. That's actually what I need to focus on now. It's like, well then what happens when you get there? And the next thing, you know, you've just blown everything, just focused on everything that's next. You know? And [00:17:00] I think it's like... I think a good example with travel is that the more prepared you walk into something the less surprised you are. And we know that, especially as adults, we don't handle surprise well, right? We go into kind of a fight or flight thing, and we're fortunate if we can get ourselves into a position where when things pop up, you don't really get rattled. The rattling comes in because your brain hasn't gone into fight or flight, it's just handling the work in the problem. Right. Cause I'm sure you're the same as me. You run into things all the time that you've never experienced before, but it doesn't stress you out because you're not... it's like, eh, okay. Well, I can figure this out. This isn't really that big a deal.
Scott Brady: And that’s probably it, I mean I don't oftentimes feel rattled any more only because I've had enough times being rattled where nothing really bad happened. Like your body eventually realizes that [00:18:00] this is unexpected, this is a surprise, this is a potential problem, but it's not a problem yet. And it probably will become a problem if I don't do start doing something about it now. That's, what I've noticed is that maybe that cascade of events, which is very much a climbing ethos of... if you start off with a hotspot in the shoe and you keep climbing, you don't address it. And then now you're climbing slower because you're in pain, and then all that starts to decline. Compounds into a very serious problem. So, I think that that is so important to remember is let's do what we can to allow us to feel settled. And that a lot of times that's just not being so focused, like you said, on this lofty goal. Or being so focused on, I've got this new widget that I'm bringing along on this trip and now this new trip is all about that. That's such a distraction.
Sean Gorman: How many times you've been on something where like... I was on a trip a couple of years ago now, and the guy had just gotten a new fridge [00:19:00] and he couldn't get his phone to pair to it. And so he was just thrown off for like days, you know? So here we are in this amazing place doing really cool stuff. And the whole time, he's like trying to figure out how to get cell service so he can contact the manufacturer to figure out what he needs to do so he can see what his fridge says on his phone. And I just wanted to throw it out, you know, I was like dude, it's a fridge.
Scott Brady: Open the lid, is the beer cold?
Sean Gorman: Yeah. We're fine to have some fun out here. It's not about just... you know, and I think that's what people get caught up with a lot, right? They go and they buy a whole bunch of stuff, they want to get out in the back country with it. And some of it's just coming back with it so that they can go back and throw it in their garage and then tell their buddies that I used it and I could check it with my phone and it's really cool.
Scott Brady: Or post it to Instagram. Interesting. So after you did those big trips in the Himalaya, you spent some additional time there in that [00:20:00] region and you kind of took a little bit of a journey yourself personally maybe journey of the mind more so than the journey of the body.
Sean Gorman: Yeah, no. Back in... I guess it was 2017, man. I had just been running full tilt work, like crazy years. 300 days of travel and just, just going 120% all the time and realized basically that I had wound myself up right into a place where like it's almost nonfunctional in some ways. So I decided, well you know what, Nepal and going back there is a really good place for me. So I went to this place called Tang Boushay, it's this monastery. It's up pretty high, I don't know, like 16,000 feet or something. And I went and lived there for a little while and kind of did about a month of silence there. Which was awesome. Yeah. I mean, it was kind of strange. It's easy to be silent though when you're with a bunch of people you can't really communicate with anyways.
Scott Brady: True. Yeah, you don't speak their language.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. So in some ways that makes things [00:21:00] somewhat easier. But yeah... oh, sorry. I think that it's important sometimes to just hit the reset button a little bit. You know, especially when you can feel like you start to feel different internally, it's time to like call a timeout. I don't think there's anything wrong with calling a timeout every once in a while.
Scott Brady: I think we need to, because otherwise it'll compound until something breaks, and then you've got a much bigger problem.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. You see it all the time. Right? Like people just wind themselves up, like with work and then they just start drinking a bunch or, you know, whatever. Like you end up compensating in some way or another, and the next thing, you know lives fall apart. You know, people get divorced, they end up making these drastic changes. Like they think the change of any is gonna fix it. Oh, I'd be happy if I lived in Tahiti, so I'm going to move to Tahiti and then they get to Tahiti and realize that it's an island, you know?
Scott Brady: Yeah, and we do that as humans. I think we think that this new car is going to make us happy, or this new house is gonna make us [00:22:00] happy or we're going to change our partner and that's going to make us happy, and it never does. If you're not happy inside yourself, if you can't find a path towards feeling content and satisfied with just being you in whatever you're doing, then it's a pretty rough road. And of course we're not taught that, we don't learn that in school, and our culture is very much to continue to strive, that happiness comes from achieving. And there's certainly joy that can come from achieving certain things and the satisfaction that can come from that, but if it's the only focus, then it usually is pretty empty after we get it. Because now that we're like, we have that moment of satisfaction and then we're like, oh what's next? What's going to get me that feeling again, that high again? So that time that you spent at the monastery, which sounds fascinating to me, I'm lucky if I can meditate for 10 or 15 minutes. I mean my monkey mind just starts, [00:23:00] you know, going into a hundred different directions, but I still keep working at it because it helps me. I have found that it's great for me to spend those moments in quiet and just reflect on my thoughts and realize what I'm really focused on. And then that can help me make decisions, but what did you find that you came away from that experience from that you actually changed in your life back in Colorado?
Sean Gorman: Oh yeah. Well, I mean, I think for the biggest thing for me is I work really diligently to stay active in the moment and what I'm doing. And I think before I'd start to get spooled up about stuff, I knew it was coming up all the time. And now I'm trying, I mean, it's not like I'm... I'm not a pro at it, but I do try really actively every day to get up. I try to put intent behind everything. Like I tried to work really actively with intent now, and that's helped me a lot. Like not just from a personal standpoint, it has helped me professionally too. Just to make sure like everything that I'm [00:24:00] doing has some intention related to it, and that intention I'm okay with. Like, it's the intention that I want it to be. Cause sometimes, you know, our ego has a tendency to kind of get it right in our way. Right? And a lot of the time, if you kind of think about like, what is your intention in your actions or in an email or in a word, in a punctuation... all of a sudden you kind of step back and go like, you know, that's really not what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm not really trying to create waves, not trying to make that person's life more difficult or mine. And I find that that'd be super helpful and just be able to step back from some things sometimes.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And stay in that little bit of stillness before we react. If we can just give ourselves a moment of pause before we send an email or type up a text and think about like, am I just feeling really frustrated right now? And now I'm projecting that on this other person? Or can I just have some kindness and let it go. And if it becomes a bigger problem than maybe I need to address it, [00:25:00] but it does take some time. Maybe it takes just some years on the planet to realize that that doesn't... it's super counterproductive.
Sean Gorman: Does it actually matter? A lot of times no.
Scott Brady: I've seen you with people and you do a really good job of... and you're a tall guy. How tall are you?
Sean Gorman: 6'7".
Scott Brady: Okay, so you're 6'7". I mean, I'm six one. I'm looking at you, but it's really cool to see when you interact with people. You're this tall guy, and a lot of times that would feel intimidating to people. But when I watch you interact with folks, you're very focused on them. You don't get distracted, you don't pull out your phone, you listen to what they need, and you make sure that you hear them. I've watched you do that at several events. And a lot of times people are frustrated, they're upset because something didn't go right at Treck or their tent isn't there or the vehicles are missing some piece or whatever. And you make sure that you, I've noticed, you just be very quiet [00:26:00] and you listen to them to make sure you understand what they need. And then you kind of go into action after that, certainly seems like something you've perfected.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. Well, when you're six foot seven, you have to be really conscientious to not Telegraph. And what I've learned is that it just takes very subtle cues on my part, and I can control a room, and so I have to make sure that I do that in a positive way, not in a negative way. If I'm frustrated, I can make everybody around me frustrated and not say a word. And so that that's something that I don't want to spread. Right? I don't want to be the guy who's the contagion, causes everybody around me to pick up that negative energy. I think you know, a lot of, a lot of that is just awareness, right? Like being aware of what people’s needs are, their tones are. And a lot of it with me is I just talked to people. I just talked to them so I can start to figure out what normal is. And that's a being on a guide on a mountain, which is certain trying to figure out what people's baseline is...
Scott Brady: Then you know what's not normal.
Sean Gorman: Then you can tell something's not right. Tone's not right. They're tired. Are they tired? Are they hurt? Are they [00:27:00] sick? Are they just not into it, or they're pissed off? Usually people are pretty good about telling you that they're pissed off. But you know, those are the kinds of things that I just try to be aware of. And then I think something that I try really hard is just to be super transparent with people. I just try to tell people, here's what I can do. Here's how I can help. Is that helpful? If they say no, then it's okay. It's theirs. I don't have to own it all. Yeah.
Scott Brady: And that can be a challenge when you're in that position of leadership and you're trying to make a client happy or whatever. And sometimes letting that go is the best way forward. For sure.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. It's challenging. Like you said, that's a good point. I mean, a lot of times when you're working for... You're working for car manufacturers; you're working for people that have a lot of skin in the game. There's a lot at stake. And what you're curating is sort of people's first impressions and actually really long-term impressions. Right? So it is quite [00:28:00] challenging and there is an art form to curating it in a way that, that people feel like they're part of something, I really don't want people to kind of... when I say people like, you know, especially media, when they talk about media... I want them to tell me they feel like they're part of the group. Like they're part of the team. I don't want them to just kind of come and feel like... I mean, I do want them to feel like their guests, but at the end of the day, I want them to feel like they're part of what's happening and they're part of the group. And when they're part of the group, then they have some ownership of it, you know, like I will let people change their own tires when they get flat, you know, and it's not penalty, and I'll help. And if they don't know how to do it, then I'll help them do it. But I'm not going to usually be the first person to run over and be like, just watch me do the work and then do it again. You know, like it's good for people. Especially if you're at an automotive event, you get a flat tire. That's fine. I'm not going to be mad at you for getting that. Maybe I would, [00:29:00] depends on how you got it, but you know, at the end of the day, like it's... there’s also no expectation that if I got a flat tire, I wouldn't expect somebody else to change it for me. I would, I would expect somebody to tell me if I didn't know where stuff was at or how to do it, or if I wasn't doing it safely or something.
Scott Brady: That's true. And that kind of segues into what I wanted to ask next is you have spent so much time at these vehicle events and launches. Again, curating those experiences. When someone is looking to buy a new vehicle, let's talk about some of the things that they should be looking for in that new vehicle that meets their needs. I think that this is something that oftentimes happens where someone has the idea that this is the vehicle that I want, because I saw it on Instagram or this person that I respect drives it. Or I think this is what I want to do, but let's start from that baseline of how do we [00:30:00] decide what vehicle to get? Cause oftentimes people will buy a Tacoma and what they should buy is a Ford F350, or they'll buy an F350 and what they really should buy as a Tacoma. And I think because of your experience working with so many new vehicles and also doing validation on so many vehicles, how do people go through that process of deciding what is the best vehicle for them trying to set ego aside and trying to set, you know, the fact that they want it to project certain something about themselves or say something about themselves. How do people go through that process of picking the right car?
Sean Gorman: Yeah. Well, that's a loaded question. That's a hard one. I mean, I think it is important that people buy cars they like, you know, I mean, I think, okay so if we step back from cars, right? I think step one is to realize that most of the cars we buy, we don't need. Most of us do that. If we all just bought cars, we need we all probably drive a Nissan leaf [00:31:00] back and forth to the grocery store or drop our kids off at school or whatever. So I always say like, if you're going to buy a car, just figuring out how you're going to use it first. And the reality is if you're going to use it to drive to work, buy something that you're like really comfortable in. And especially if you live in Southern California.
Scott Brady: You're gonna spend a lot of deals in that car.
Sean Gorman: You're gonna spend four hours a day in a car. I would probably focus on what kind of car fit me the best, like a shoe, you know? And figuring out what can I sit in for four hours a day and still function? Then go from there. And I think where we can get hung up is we get hung up and was like, agh I'd love to have a Gladiator on 37. And then it turns out what you actually do is you sit in traffic for two hours a day, and you drive in the snow, and on the weekends, you know, you drive to and from the ski slopes or something, and maybe two or three days a year you actually take it out to stretch its legs a little bit. [00:32:00] And then you can easily get caught up into this sort of conundrum of building cars right into their own capabilities. Right? Like I wish I had more power. You put more power in it. But then you're like, I can only go a hundred miles on my fuel tank now. I mean, Defender's a great example of that. So they take a Defender 90, and everybody knew they were always underpowered V8s and now they put LS in it. It's still 15-gallon gas tank. So now, great, you're still stuck at 120 miles. You know, like you can't re-engineer the car in the perfection. So for me, I think a big piece of it is just how are you actually gonna use it? Like, what are your actual needs for the mission? And the reality is if you spent a lot of them time and money that you did on your car into skills, you could probably take most cars that are even marginally capable and do really great things with them. I mean, I find that I grew up... my first car, I [00:33:00] still have, a 1961 Land Rover two way. And I wouldn't put it high on the capability chart. Like if you drew a scale of one to 10, it's not really very capable on road. It's kinda uncomfortable. It's definitely not capable in the winter. It's like being outside, it's really hot in the summer. You have to know how to drive it off road. In fact, if you don't know how to drive it off road, you'll just end up fixing it, you just fix it all the time. So on the scale it's actually low on the capability. You have to know what you're doing in order to do anything with it. It's super fun, and I love it, but if somebody said, I want to drive a car down to Baja. It wouldn't be the car I would tell them to take. It looks cool. It's a story. Something to talk about. But you know, it's probably not the most intelligent thing to do. And the flip side of that coin is that, you know, I do a lot of stuff with Land Rover stuff. So constantly you get fed, oh these cars are too [00:34:00] complicated, and they are really complicated. And I mean, anybody who's going to try to say they're not complicated is kind of full of it.
Scott Brady: Once you end up with 13 computers on board, it's pretty complicated.
Sean Gorman: Super complicated. Yeah. So with that said is like, again, if your skill sets one where... like for me, my skill set, actually I feel in some ways more comfortable in a complicated car than a less complicated car. I like it when cars have lights that blink and check engine lights that come on and warnings that pop up on dashes because that stuff comes on way before you have a mechanical failure. I'd much rather have something tell me, like I got an ABS sensor that doesn't work. Then driving down the road and have an axle break. So there's like some compromise there, and a lot of that has to do with what you know, what's in your personal toolkit as an individual. So for me, I'm real comfortable with electronic stuff. I'm real comfortable with computer stuff.
Scott Brady: And they've gotten really good. [00:35:00] 15 years ago it would have been a different conversation.
Sean Gorman: Absolutely. And the failures have changed, right? So like there's a difference to have a failure where a car that goes into the limp mode or something where you're limited to 35 miles an hour, versus it's dead. It doesn't work. You know, the advantage obviously of mechanical stuff is that somebody can ship you parts and you can fix it with tools. And there's, there's something to be said for that too. I mean, for sure. So it's sort of like, how do you find that balance? Right. And I think those cars that people really are attracted to, particularly in the overland world are the ones that do fit that balance well. That kind of fit... I'm into motorcycles too. Right? So I have this 1150 GS adventure. To me, that's why I like that bike. It's fuel injected. It's kinda got like all the... it's got abs. It's got all just the right amount of stuff, but it's all kind of mechanical fix stuff too, for sure. So it's kind of the tank. It kinda just keeps going. You can fix it with tools for the most part.
Scott Brady: Yup. Air cooled. Oil cooled. [00:36:00] Yeah, so you're right. The 1150 is one of those high watermark motorcycles for sure. Now it's also heavy. It's the heaviest of the GSs, but there are so many people that have re ran around the world on those bikes, because you can usually fix everything on it yourself. You don't need a laptop to fix that thing.
Sean Gorman: And when you're 6'7", the weight thing becomes kind of less of a moot point. There's a lot of leverage.
Scott Brady: For sure. Yeah. I think that on the, on the vehicle selection side, What I've seen is, and you make a really good point about you need to like the car too, because life isn't supposed to be like, take the safest path or the thing that makes the most sense. I mean, because the end is certain, so you might as well have some fun along the way. So you're right, I think having a vehicle that turns you on in some ways a good idea, but then also maybe putting some framework around it. So that way after you make that initial [00:37:00] purchase and you feel super excited that you just got this Ford Bronco or whatever, that it's also going to work for you. I mean, if you have a family of four and you're trying to overland in a Ford Bronco, probably going to be a bit frustrating for you and your family, whereas maybe what you need is a Dodge Power Wagon with a trailer or something behind it so that you can actually travel comfortably, and your kids want to go back out with you again the next time. And I think that what I've seen in recent years is people are actually starting to do that more. When we first started Overland Journal, the vehicle that most people aspired to is either a Defender or a Land Cruiser. And a Defender or a Land Cruiser they're very effective vehicles for what they do, but they don't actually meet the needs of most people. They both get fairly poor fuel economy. Particularly if you're looking at an NAS 110 or something like that. They're not very comfortable at speed on the highway, like an 80 series Land Cruiser struggles. They [00:38:00] overheat they don't do well. They burn a lot of fuel. Cause they weren't meant to go 80 miles an hour, they were meant to go 80 kilometers an hour. Both of those cars were meant to go 80 kilometers an hour, maybe a hundred kilometers an hour. So maybe 62 miles an hour is what they were meant to do. And now when we expect them to do all these other things and we load them up with a bunch of accessories and big tires and roof racks and roof tents and everything else like that. Everything really starts to not work well. And you end up really frustrated and then you see them for sale on bring a trailer Expedition Portal or something like that. You see them, on for sale pretty soon thereafter because they just don't work well. Whereas if you start off with a vehicle that has the attributes that allow them to be used, how you use a car, then I think the outcomes are much better.
Sean Gorman: Yeah, well I think a lot of times what you find, you go buy a used car and these used rigs are great. Somebody who usually puts in a ton of time, ton of money and they're usually basket cases. [00:39:00] There are wires everywhere and you open the hood, oh it's a bird's nest under here. Just stuff everywhere. They're great fines if you know what you're... you can kind of pull all that stuff out and, start fresh because people just get super frustrated, like super frustrated.
Scott Brady: Yeah. They ended up selling it just because of the last thing that broke the camel's back. And it's usually something minor.
Sean Gorman: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I got a friend and he's the most ADD guy with cars I know. Honest to God, he probably buys like eight cars a year, maybe more. It just doesn't stop. Like he buys one and he's like this is perfect. It always starts the same. This car is perfect. This is a keeper. And then two months later, he's like, yeah I got a different one. Why'd you get different one? Well the AC didn't work quite, you know, like it just wasn't... it couldn't keep up in the summer. It was too hot. So what'd you get, I got another one, but it's got a different AC system, so that's good. It's like at some point maybe it's just the wrong car, you know, it's just the wrong model for you. [00:40:00] And then I think the other part too is like... If you were going to build a car to like do a around the world trip thing you could probably think about maybe buying that car and building it and then just buying something cheap as your car. I think that's another challenge that we run into sometimes is that again, you, people will go and put tons and tons and tons of money. Put $150,000 into a $30,000 car. And they're like, that's great. I take it to work. I can do this and that. And it's like, why?
Scott Brady: What's the cost per mile on that?
Sean Gorman: Like, why? I mean an around the world car, that's a specialized rig, right? I mean, that's a pretty specific mission. And I think here in the states in particular, I know where I live, I live just outside of Boulder. We see it a lot there where there's a lot of cars that are kind of not very good at anything. I always blame it on Moab. I love Moab but Moab’s an off-road [00:41:00] site. I mean, it's four wheeling. It's designed to push cars.
Scott Brady: Off road amusement park, and a beautiful one at that.
Sean Gorman: It's amazing. And I love it, but at the same standpoint is like, if I were building a car to drive the Baja, it wouldn't probably be the best Moab car and the best Moab car wouldn't be the best Baja car because they're different things, right. I'm looking for different kinds of traction and different kinds of protection. We do validation testing in Moab and everybody thinks it's cause attraction, but it's not really. I mean, we have lots of traction there, but what we do there is we test validation for durability there. Everything you touch hurts a car, it's designed to bend, brake, tons of torque. There's probably more torque in the drive line components in that kind of environment then anywhere. Well more than the street, right? There's more friction than the street. So if you can build a car that's really good in Moab, it's probably not going to be the best car for a big, long slog. The gearing is going to be wrong, the tires are going to be wrong, all that kind of stuff. So it's easy to do where I live to build something that's like really good in Moab, but [00:42:00] then you want to go do some crazy trip on it and then complain about it. You know, put a roof tent on it, right? That's one way to make your car really struggle on stuff.
Scott Brady: Struggle with everything.
Sean Gorman: You can't fit here. You can't go to the airport. So capable, you can't actually go to the airport cause you can't pick anybody up.
Scott Brady: That's true. Yeah. That's so true.
Sean Gorman: You can't ski anymore, cause everything's parking garage now. You can't fit in there. It's horrible.
Scott Brady: Yeah. You got to know what your purpose is for sure. Yeah. So let's say they kind of pinpointed, this is what I'm looking for. I'd like to buy let's use the Jeep Wrangler Gladiator as an example. So I'd like to buy a Gladiator. When someone starts to test the vehicle, what are some of the things that you think people should look for, because you do this all day long. Validation and you're looking for attributes in the car. If they can disconnect their emotion around purchasing the vehicle, what should they be looking for in how it behaves, how it [00:43:00] performs? What are some things that they should be looking at as a priority?
Sean Gorman: Yeah, that's a great one. I mean, one of the things I always think about, even when I'm doing validation testing is that if something is calibrated well... and to be fair, somebody who's buying a car shouldn't really be thinking like how this thing's calibrated well, but it still fits into the same thing, which is that if it's calibrated really well, you probably don't notice it. So like, if an engine... actually transmission is probably a better example. So if you get in a car and you drive it and you don't ever even really notice the fact that it has a transmission, it's calibrated really well. You shouldn't really notice that it shifts hard, doesn't shift, downshifts weird, locks up weird. Same thing, the whole cars that way, right? Like sounds, if you notice initially that something bothers you in the first 15 minutes of driving, it's gonna really bother you when you own it. If you can hear the road, if you can hear the tires, if you can [00:44:00] feel the seats, if the steering wheel feels that kind of... that's kind of a weird feeling in my hand. If any of that stuff you notice right away, it's gonna bug the hell out of you the whole time.
Scott Brady: That's so true. And a fun example of that, we got the Bronco here to test. So I drove the Bronco, there were some things that I found about it that I didn't care for. And there's a lot of things that I liked about it, and then Matt Scott drove it and he's like, hey man I couldn't own this car. I said, why? He says it whistles. It's so loud, the top. And I'm like, oh that's a blind spot for me. I have hearing loss from the military. So I did not hear the whistle that he heard. So it made me realize like, oh, that's actually kind of a blind spot for me and my evaluation is like... when it comes to vibration harshness, those I can pick up. But when it comes to noise in a vehicle, I'm probably not the best one to take a look at it. So that was a realization for me that you're right. I mean, Matt literally, he's like I really liked the car. It looks super cool. It's super [00:45:00] capable. I couldn't drive it because the top is so loud.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. It's funny. I mean, I noticed in myself that I'm not critical, but I notice everything in a car.
Scott Brady: That's what you're being paid to do.
Sean Gorman: I get in every car and I'm like, let's see... right rear tires out of balance. The brakes pulling slightly to the left. The alignment caster's off slightly. It must drive my wife nuts, I just get in it and she's like, what do you think? And I'm like... ah, it's good. You know?
Scott Brady: But you're an engineer, that's how your mind works.
Sean Gorman: Well, yeah, I guess you're right. I mean, that's why they pay me to look at things and see areas that there's room for improvement and then try to help figure out if it's worth improving. Thats a big part of it.
Scott Brady: Yeah, for sure. Is it worth the investment to make that different?
Sean Gorman: Yeah. And I think that's the challenge, right? And it's kind of part of why I do like working with Land Rover. They put a lot of effort into stuff that other manufacturers just kind of accept. [00:46:00] Different clientele, you know, different fit and finish and what are levels of people's expectations? When you touch a knob, you know, that's always a good example. Like when you reach down and turn the fan control up, what should that feel like. What should a door feel like when you close it? What should, you know, like everything... everything's that way. What should the steering wheel feel like in your hand? Do the finishes actually matter? Does it need to be cushioned? Is it too hot? Is it too cold? Is it, you know, there's a lot of input on that, you know? I mean, you work with certain manufacturers and you're like this just feels weird. Like the steering wheel feels like it's two inches too high and I'm six foot seven. How can that work for somebody who's five foot five? They're like... meh, okay. Yeah, whatever, not an issue. Like what you were talking about last night with the Brute, right? You know, [00:47:00] I love Jeeps, but they have that huge tub. And the tub is a pain in the neck. I mean, I don't know anybody who thinks that the tub is a great way to get in and out of a car. You're always flopping your legs around trying to get your legs in and out of the tub, you know? But it's just... we sort of accept that. And it is what it is, but...
Scott Brady: That's an interesting comment about Land Rovers and it dovetails in with what I oftentimes hear. People who know Land Rover well, and that they've owned them for a long time, and they have some awareness around the vehicle. You'll most often hear that a Land Rover is at its best when it's near stock. And that has been true for back to the series 2A that you have. And then you also have a 109 too. You have a couple series trucks.
Sean Gorman: So I have a 109. That's the '61. That's the old one. Yeah, and then I got that '86 Defender 110, and then I have a '94 NAS90. Yeah, my wife drives a series two Discovery. [00:48:00] And I got a diesel Nissan Truck too.
Scott Brady: Nice. Well, I realized that the w the more land rovers that I've owned, the more I've been inclined to keep them as close to stock as possible. And hearing you talk about that validation being very important to Land Rover. It now makes more sense. There are some vehicles where they make them to be a great canvas. Like a Jeep is a good example of that. They deliver a super capable canvas for people to then put in different seats, or, or maybe they put insulation in the roof because that's important to them. But like the base vehicle is this perfect canvas for modification. And it's probably why they're the most modified vehicle in the segment. And then you have a vehicle like a new Defender, which pretty much anything that you do to that car, other than a slight change in tires... maybe you do a little bit of like a Johnson rod style lift where you get maybe 30 millimeters or 20 millimeters more out of it for ground [00:49:00] clearance. If you do much more than that, the car starts to not work as well. You know, it has a fixed amount of articulation. It has a fixed amount of wheel travel, and if you start robbing too much extension travel to gain compression then it's going to start not working as well. So I agree, and even the defender behind us here. It is stock. I mean, there's not a part on that vehicle other than the rock sliders that wouldn't come from the factory. The snorkels a mantech. The front bumper they put on their special vehicles. It's all stock and it works best, I found in that condition.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. Well that’s probably especially true because you've got a lot of skillset to be able to drive it, you know? And I think that's where a lot of modification comes. Is that you have kind of two options, right? You can either learn to become good at your craft and learn how to actually manipulate a car, or you can just make a car so that you can bounce off of stuff. You can put bigger tires on it and put [00:50:00] bumpers and sliders and skid plates... don't worry about it. Just go. It turns into a point and shoot, and we see that all the time. I mean, Moab is the perfect place to see that you just go run Hells Revenge on a Saturday afternoon. You can just tell how people are by looking at their car. You know, I mean, I take a Voke on Hells Revenge, you know?
Scott Brady: No, totally. We have taken big body Range Rovers on Hells Revenge.
Sean Gorman: This car has no... and I always tell people like that. You know, we take, we take customers who have never off-road before, but I can think of this one woman is a judge out in New Jersey. She's... I don't know, maybe five foot tall, rarely drives. Does own a Range Rover, comes on all of these events. And she's terrified of most stuff. I mean, she's not a comfortable driver. That just tells me how good the cars are and she's not getting flat tires and we're not banging up. And we will do a month of event with [00:51:00] people that have never driven off road before on Hell's Revenge and a lot of hard trails and all them, and we might replace maybe one wheel per car at the end of that. So that means we're not even hitting wheels. We don't air down. A lot of times we get caught up trying to get more rim protection. You know, we're running on 20s, 21s, 22s, soon to be 23s. It's ridiculous. I'm not condoning, that's how it works.
Scott Brady: It's just the way it is. That's what the consumer wants.
Sean Gorman: But that translates into skill, right? So you put somebody who really knows how to manipulate a car and my team's really good at it so they can sit right seat, or even most of the time be outside of the car and quickly teach somebody how to drive a car, and essentially in some ways it's a lot like it's kinda driving remote control just from person to person. And I'm driving the car from outside. Even though I'm not the one behind the wheel, I'm telling them where to go, how fast to go, how slow [00:52:00] to go. When to slow down. Where the tires needed to go and stuff like that. It's just time and effort. It depends, you know, if you want to drive 40 miles an hour down a trail, then you probably got to modify it. If you want to just take a stock car and go do really cool stuff with it, that by the way is more challenging.
Scott Brady: I think it's fun to take stock vehicles places. That's why I still have so much love for testing stock vehicles is that I really got to pay attention.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. It's way more challenging. You actually have to drive it. Right? I mean, I always take... if I do an event and have all these different kinds of cars, or whatever the least capable car is in these people's minds, a lot of times for me, that's a Voke. It's close to the ground. All-wheel drive. No low range I'll take whoever's probably the best driver and I'll put them in a Voke with me. And I just challenged them that way. You can drive? Oh yeah. I'm a great driver. Perfect. You're going to be in the Voke with me. They're like, ah.
Scott Brady: That's good though. Well, one of the questions that I wanted to ask you was what you see as [00:53:00] kind of fundamental modifications to a car, which this is kind of a fun transition because we just talked at length about why training and drivers’ skill and confidence behind the wheel and getting seat time is more important than modifications, but let's take your personal vehicles for example. Or like when you drove around the country in the new Defender last year, what were some of the things that you did focus on the vehicle to make kind of yours, where you felt like you checked the boxes that you needed as a baseline?
Sean Gorman: Yeah. Well, I mean, I always start with tire, and for me it's not necessarily changing size. But it is important to have a tire that fits, again, that mission that you're looking for. So like for the way I use the car, I think it's important to have something that’s got some increased kind of off-road traction, a little bit of mud. But also ideally in a perfect world a little extra sidewall protection. So if you can't go up in size, [00:54:00] at least you can go up in the quality of the tire itself, I can give you some help with it. Cause it doesn't really matter how good you are, sometimes you're just going to get a flat, you know, and that's primarily going to be in the sidewalls. So if you can put a BFG or something on it that it gives you just that little bit of added protection is a huge advantage. You know, after that, I think for me, the next important thing is to make sure that I actually have a car that's recoverable. This is becoming more difficult. We typically will always find good recovery points on the front of a car and some capacity, but when we get to the back, you know, ideally, I would rather have recovery points that are not a, that's not a trailer hitch. If I had my druthers, you know, in fact, I will use a screw and islet before I'll use a hitch typically.
Scott Brady: They're not designed for that kind of strain.
Sean Gorman: I mean, they're fine if you're just sort of pulling something out and it's rolling, but if you're really going to have to yank it or something, the majority of time it's not designed for it and can [00:55:00] actually cause some problems back there and the islets, if it has an islet it's been designed for whatever the manufacturers backs it to. Right? So usually that's at least one and a half times gross vehicle weight typically. Sometimes it's as high as three or four times gross vehicle weight. And if you really dig into it, sometimes you can even find specs on angles and you know, you really shouldn't be yanking anything 90 degrees. I say this, but you know, in the real world, you don't always get to choose how you get stuck, you know? So, you know, the option is if you think you might exceed the specifications of the car or you're going to be walking for 50 miles... I would probably give it a go.
Scott Brady: Yeah. For sure. You take the hand you're dealt.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. I think the key is to understand what risks you are choosing or not choosing to take. You know, you may get yourself into a position where you're like, if this fails, I really am stuck. Like I'm going to be in really big trouble. And maybe it is worth then... thinking about, and just hanging out with the car for a few days or [00:56:00] calling for help or something. I mean, those things do exist. But if you don't even know, right? If you're just operating in ignorance, it doesn't mean that it worked. It just means that you got lucky. And I think that's what comes with experience and knowledge is to be able to make those decisions based on calculating those risks. So yeah, recovery points I think are really important one. I guess on some of the newer stuff, you know, I think it's not a bad idea to think about. If you can get a factory winch or something, I think it's pretty awesome. You know? I mean I kind of love and hate the new winch setups on cars.
Scott Brady: They look good, but they don't function well.
Sean Gorman: I mean, I love the fact that they are hidden, and they're not present all the time, but in the reality and the functionality of using it, that kind of sucks. So with that said, I've rarely used my winch to ever pull myself out. I mean rarely.
Scott Brady: A downed tree or someone else's stuck, or you got a boulder that rolled into the trail. Yeah, totally.
Sean Gorman: So for [00:57:00] no more than I actually probably use it in practicality. A hidden winch probably is sufficient. But if I was doing training with one all the time, or if I was going someplace that I knew that I was going to be using a winch all the time, I would definitely... I probably even as much as cut holes out in my bumper so I get an access to it. You should be able to touch your winch. It's a good rule of thumb, for sure. If you can't touch your winch, you're gonna run into problems at some point. It's just... especially with rope. And I love rope, but rope brings its own set of issues.
Scott Brady: Yeah. It's not all rainbows and unicorns with rope. Especially if you're getting a lot of use out of it, if you're kind of dragging it... especially muddy conditions or you're coming over crowns of trails where the rope might hit the ground and get filled with dirt or hit a rock and break very quickly.
Sean Gorman: You know, it pinches itself. And so now you're sure you're spooling out, spooling in.
Scott Brady: [00:58:00] And smears itself as it comes through the layers.
Sean Gorman: You can't... I mean, it runs into its own issues. So it's not the perfect solution.
Scott Brady: It's our best solution.
Sean Gorman: It's a good solution. Yeah, and I like actually like teaching people winches better with cable. I mean, mostly because if you're comfortable and confident with cable, then a ropes a piece of cake. But if you can't use a cable, it means that you're probably not aware enough, in my mind. Your lack of awareness is an indicator that you might run into problems with your winch in the future.
Scott Brady: Yeah. We were just talking about that last night, about how when ropes first came out, they'd say, yeah, when they snap, they just fall to the ground. The first time I had a rope snap at near the stall speed of a winch... or stall rating of the winch, it broke and went to the tree that it was attached to and the pulley block dented the tree, and [00:59:00] then the rope and the ARB sail that I had attached to it when another 60 feet beyond the tree. I mean, the difference is mass, so it's not likely to cut your leg off, but there is a lot of energy in that rope that can still do a lot of damage.
Sean Gorman: Yeah, for sure. You know, winching is one of those things. It's a great skillset to have, but it's a skill set. It's not something that you just go by and bolt on and then sort of figure out. You know, we used to always use the Warn intro winching manual. It's a great manual. But it's kinda a crap too, right? Because you really shouldn't be learn how to winch from a book. And if you got that thing in your glove box and that's what you're using the first time you need it. It's probably not the right tool for you necessarily.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Take the time. If you're going to invest $50,000 in a new truck, spend another $500 to go to a day four-wheel drive training course, to learn how to drive it. You're going to [01:00:00] spend $2,000 on a winch, probably closer to $3,000 or more with a bumper, then spend $200-300 for a half-day winching course in your area, or find out when your local club is going to do that or go onto the forum and ask somebody that lives in the area like, hey can we all get together and do a little winching class? That can be a great way for people to gain some skills to use the tools that they've invested so much money.
Sean Gorman: Yeah, for sure. Especially with winches cause as you know, Scott, winch speeds have gotten fast. This thing of speed winching. I don't really get it myself. I mean, I get it if you're like competitive winching. Yeah, it's not my thing. Right? Like it's an unstuck tool, but you can get hurt from a winch. There's no doubt about it. Actually just a few weeks ago, I heard about a guy who cut his finger off with a winch. It was a technician at a retailer and spooling it up, you know, just normal, spooling it up and let us hand get in there. That sort of thing that you sort of figure [01:01:00] is like a horror story where you're like, ah, I guess that does really does really happen. And so that's kind of career limiting thing for a technician to have a missing finger. You know, that's kind of hard to recover from. So you definitely need to know what you're doing.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Treat them with respect, and if you make the investment in that great tool, learn how to use it. And I think that that's really good advice for folks. One of the things that I like to ask in these interviews is. What is your 1, 2, 3 favorite books, books that have had the biggest impression on you? It can be travel related or not just volumes that have really made a difference.
Sean Gorman: I'm all over the board with books. I like Paul Thoreau books. I don't know if you've ever read any of his. Yeah, I don't know. I think it's weird. I tend to read travel books more when I travel, which doesn't make it really make any sense. And I'm a huge fan of just taking books in places. That doesn't mean I'm a klepto or anything, but like I love it when you go [01:02:00] into like a hotel and there's like a bookcase of old books that people have left and I'll just sort of grab something and read it. And so I end up with lots of books I actually couldn't even tell you what they were. I really like American history books. I'm reading this great book right now called Revolver. I couldn't even tell you who wrote it. It's really well written, but it's about Samuel Colt, and sort of his progression of developing the Colt revolver. And actually the story in and of itself it's really mind blowing in my mind because you don't realize how much our culture, not just from the fact that it was a gun, but our actual history as a nation has been really dictated by the manufacturing kind of idea that Colt put together for his gun. And I didn't know anything really about them and I love to shoot and stuff, but I didn't know that much about Sam Colt, but he pretty much invented this [01:03:00] gun in his late teens on a trip to India, on a boat. He kind of whittled this wooden revolver out that, you know, how it rotated the cylinders and all that kind of stuff and all these kinds of trials and tribulations to try and get it patented. And all the... we talk about political corruption now, but we're in good shape compared to how things were then. Literally the norm then was that you paid` politicians to make things get approved, and that was considered socially acceptable. But just the whole manufacturing and figuring out how to build firearms and machinery so that had the interchangeable parts and assembly line. You know, this is will before Henry Ford. But, you know, assembly line and building factories and other parts of the world and things like that. It's really...
Scott Brady: I like that suggestion; I think I will pick that one up.
Sean Gorman: Yeah. That's a good, I stole it from my dad.
Scott Brady: And that would make sense. My dad also loves his old Colt [01:04:00] 45's and he's got a couple of them, and it would be a fun one to get for him maybe for Christmas. It's perfect.
Sean Gorman: That's fantastic. And I've just been reading it. It's a captivating book. It's almost like a writer reading... it's like the writers reading it to the reader. The way it's written, you know, it's all sort of... got a lot of footnotes and stuff on where information came from, but it's easy to read. It's a big book, but it's pretty easy.
Scott Brady: What a great suggestion. I like that a lot. That's great. And it's funny that you say that you read travel books when you travel. I realized that I've started to read sailing boats when I'm on my sailboat. Which is funny, I should just be sailing the boat instead of reading about other people sailing the boat. So that's funny, and then the last thing that we'd like to ask is if someone came to you, which I'm sure has happened many times in your career, and they said, hey I'd love to travel around the world. What advice would you give that person? Just your kind of unfiltered, practical advice about what would be their first [01:05:00] steps or their considerations?
Sean Gorman: Yeah, I think... well, I guess my first piece of advice would be, is don't be afraid to start local. I think a lot of times... I mean especially if we live here, right? Like we are so incredibly blessed in this country. Not only do we have an incredible amount of diversity, but you could spend a whole lifetime traveling in the US and you would get to experience a lot of stuff. We have a ton of culture here, contrary to what most of Europeans think. We do have a ton of culture here. It is different. Right? That's cool. And things that we take for granted, like the fact that we travel from state to state, and we have all this federal land and we have access to areas that everywhere else in the world would be owned by somebody and behind a fence. I would just say like, you know, start local. Go do some stuff that you think you might want to do. Get an idea of [01:06:00] what it is... cause really travels like, there's a lot of different things that related to that. Some people love that the mechanics of it, they love figuring out if they can make their car do 10,000 miles and other people, it's all about culture, and some people it's about food, and some people it's about buying stuff, figure out what you like and then build a trip around what it is that you like. Versus... you know, I think me personally the thing I like about travel is culture. I love seeing how other people live and work and how they make a living. And what's important to them, what's not important to them. And you know, I think a lot of times that's helpful for me just individually kinda puts things into perspective. Like these people have to work really hard to have clean water every day... or actually like I said, I was in Grenada. You can't get eggs there. I don't even think about it. Eggs here as a staple, you go to 7/11, get eggs. You go there and he's like, [01:07:00] you got eggs? Like, oh yeah. Maybe like a couple of weeks, I might have some fresh eggs or something, you just take it for granted. And I think that's kind of the beauty of it is to figure out what part of it that you like, and then figure out how to do it. It doesn't, it doesn't have to be big and long either. Right? It doesn't... like I live in Colorado and my wife, and I love to go to Wyoming and Wyoming's close. I'm an hour away from the border. It's a different place. It's a different place than where I live. I mean, people are different. The train is different. It's way more remote, you know, and it's like I could be in Siberia. It's a different place, and don't get caught up on the name. Just go do what you like to do. It's about using the world as a tool and car to get there. It doesn’t have to be a car; it could be a motorcycle. Could be whatever you want. It could be your feet, but whatever you're into. Just do it. Just have fun with it. Don't worry about it. [01:08:00] Don't get caught up on the, I gotta fill my passport up. If that's what you decided you want to do great, but don't, don't let it block what you got right in your backyard.
Scott Brady: Well, and that dovetails so nicely into how the conversation started, which is being present in these experiences that we have. And I appreciate that reminder from you, and I've seen you live that way in your life. And for those that are listening, it's not about filling the passport. It's about doing something that you love with people that you love, and then being really present in that experience so that you have those memories to come back to later in life. So I really appreciate your time, Sean. How do people find more about you? How do they find you on Instagram or what's your website? Anything you'd like to share so that people can find out more information about you and what you do and follow your travels?
Sean Gorman: See, my company website is [01:09:00] S2XX.com And I don't do Facebook, but I do Instagram, which is @Sea2Sum. SEA2SUM and a that's my personal one. So that's usually kind of what I'm up to and then yeah, my company website is kind of all the stuff that I'm working on, that, that I'm allowed to put out there in the public. A lot of the stuff I can't talk about, or I can't really like publish much, but yeah. That's kinda what I'm up to.
Scott Brady: And you've started contributing some content to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal, so we really appreciate your involvement. You guys that are listening will start to hear and see more of Sean in future additions of the magazine, which is really exciting. He's got a comprehensive compressor test coming up that he did that I think is gonna make for some really wonderful content. And Sean, thank you so much for not only being a great friend, but for being on the podcast and sharing your insights. We really appreciate you being here today.
Sean Gorman: Yeah, for sure. Thanks for having me.
Scott Brady: Yeah, you're welcome. And thank you all for this, and we'll talk to you next time.