Out of the Wild

This post is the second part to my Into the Wild article talking about my solo journey westward for a few weeks as I learned more about myself and this beautiful country I call home.

So 4000 miles and 52 hours of driving later, here we are. I’ve barely gotten a moment to breathe between unpacking and shooting portraits, but I’m already gearing up again to head out to Colorado on Monday. I just thought I’d take a minute to talk about my journey and some things I though were worth sharing.

I’ve always dreamt of just riding off into the blue sky, nothing but open road and opportunity ahead of me, so when I set to make plans for this trip, I intentionally left a lot of gaps in the timing and locations. I knew the basic cities I wanted to visit and that was about it. I gave myself two weeks, a budget, and a carful of non-perishable foods. I just expected to fill in the blanks as I went along, writing my own story while I was living it. Though I ended up spending more time with people that I initially intended, by all intents and purposes, it was a solo trip. Of the 14 days I was gone, I spent 8 of those sleeping in my truck or at shared Airbnb to save costs.

I would definitely say the biggest personal realizations happened on the road alone. Driving through the desert canyons with only the moon to guide really puts life into perspective in a way that meditation alone hasn’t enabled me to do. One of my biggest goals on this journey was to becomes less reliant on the presence of others for happiness and I would say I attained that, or at least an idea how to. The notion that happiness comes from others is totally self-inflicted and not true in the least, I came to realize. It’s all internal, with others helping draw that out of you through interactions.

Additionally I wanted this to be a bit of a test to see how I liked “life on the road.” Stated more tangibly, it’s been on my mind lately to take some time to trip extensively either around North America or Europe and support myself by freelancing remotely and through the goodwill of others. I really think it would be beneficial to do so from a self-growth perspective - I learned and retained a lot more behind that wheel than I have from the formal education of my past. How am I expected to learn and absorb the teachings of others if I don’t truly understand myself?

On a different note, I was pleasantly surprised that my truck held up quite nicely to all the abuse the road threw at it. From the icy plains of Wyoming to the blistering LA heat, I never had a single component break. My own technical issue seemed to be startup issues camped at Big Sur, CA, but I believe that was just caused by poor fuel grade, so I’ll brush that under the rug for now.

I will definitely say that that trip gave me a taste of a lifestyle I greatly desire: one of constant movement, exploration, and adventure. I’ll surely be doing more of these semi-brief trips in my future and will post more about them here.

Why I Drive a Land Rover

Land Rovers - the name embodies adventure, exploration, trail-blazing, and decades of amazing history. The Land Rovers of today have changed quite a bit since the first Series, but a lot has stayed the same. Here’s why I love my always-breaking, gas-guzzling, dinged-up Land Rover LR3.

We’ve Shared Adventures

Though this one isn’t distinct to only Land Rovers, any car that you travel tens (or hundreds) of thousands of miles with really can grow on you. I haven’t went so far as to name my car (surprisingly) but I can tell you that I’ve been in some pretty sticky situations and the Land Rover has gotten me out of every single one of them without ever needing to call for help. My truck has crossed deserts, scaled mountains, crawled up rocky washouts, and has lived to tell the tale.

At this point the LR3 feels like a trusted adventure companion: someone that I can always rely on, that I put my confidence in, and I know is always down to explore.

It Breaks. A Lot.

From their inception, Land Rovers have never been tied to the word “reliable” unless “not” is plastered before that word in the sentence. I carry a full-stocked toolbox with me everywhere I go just incase something goes wrong (hint: it usually does). From a leaking air suspension to a broken alternator to a dirty throttle body to a sagging headliner (all in the past two months), it’s forced me to familiarize myself with the inner working of the truck so I’m able to fix issues as they arise.

As many have joked before, Land Rovers make even going to the grocery store an adventure because you never know what’s going to break. Taking them to an actual Land Rover dealership is pricey and time-consuming, so people like myself often just resort to sourcing parts and fixing them theirselves.

It’s Big

Being six foot three, I’ve always had a hard time fitting in sedans. So when I traded in my Chrysler 200 for the Land Rover, I just assumed all SUVs had that much space. Definitely not true, I came to find out. Even with the second row of seats up, you still have 44.5 cubic feet of storage space to pack whatever your heart desires. Personally, when traveling long distances, I’ll stow the second row put my air mattress in, giving me enough room to actually lie down and not feel squished.

Of course, there are some downsides to the size. You’ll start to notice if you have a roof rack on, almost every parking garage is off-limits and tight parking lots are a lost cause. Since buying the truck I’ve become somewhat of an expert in parallel parking and locating open street parking. Who knew?


If there is anything the LR3 is lacking, it surely isn’t cup holders. The vehicle has eleven of them. Eleven. That’s over five times what my Chrysler had. You don’t know just how much you need cupholders until you don’t have enough of them. Don’t ever take them for granted.

It Goes Anywhere

With 4-wheel-drive, low-range, grappler tires, HDC, smooth-as-butter power steering, Terrain Assist, and a raisable suspension (you heard me right), I’ve never gotten the truck stuck, and I’ve done some pretty eyebrow-raising things with it. The closest I’ve ever been to being stuck was when I was teetering on a rock on a trail in Colorado. Two wheels were off the ground and the other two could’t get traction. I thought it was done for, but just then the Land Rover made a beeping sound and raised itself just enough to allow me to slip off the rock.

After looking into it more, if the vehicle detects it’s stuck on a rock it’ll raise the suspension past the highest user-enabled level temporarily so you can get traction on all wheels. Brilliant.

It’s Honest

This one is probably the most subjective of the bunch, but I with LR3s are just honest vehicles. They forgo all the glam and shiny-ness of cars of the same era and focus on utility, capability, and comfort. I’ve seen plenty of Jeep Wranglers decked out with huge wheels and a crazy lift-kit, knowing well they had never seen a rock once. LR3s, on the other hand, seem to look best dirty.

I have a bit of a Land Rover love affair, sure. But can you blame me? If you ever get the opportunity to drive one (or even purchase one yourself) tell me about it in the comments!