Blog written by Ariella Spence
Photos provided by Rachelle Croft
Talk to Rachelle Croft about the importance of outdoor adventure and she will show you this quote by Henry Thurman:
“Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
As co-owners of Expedition Overland, Rachelle and her husband, Clay, know full-well what it means to come alive and, in 2010, they set out to share their discovery with the world.
Like many success stories, the idea for Overland Expedition sprouted one night from a chair in the garage and a passion to do something new and different. With a desire to get out of the recent recession-induced rutt (no pun intended), and having recently borrowed an Overland Journal from a car dealership, Clay suddenly knew what he wanted to do. With experience as the head of a small production company for the previous six years, Clay had the gear and the expertise to start a company and, with the support of his wife, Rachelle, Expedition Overland was born.
“If we define the word ‘expedition’”, Rachelle tells DMOS, “it’s described as, ‘1. A journey or excursion undertaken for a specific purpose, or 2. The group of persons making such a journey’. It was decided that filming our journey would be the specific purpose, and so began Expedition Overland”. However, Rachelle clarifies, overlanding is not just about making a journey in order to accomplish a goal or to fulfill a specific purpose. Most of the time, the journey itself is the purpose.
Overland Journal explains, “Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. While the roads and trails we travel might be rough or technically challenging, they are the means to an end, not the goal itself... While expedition is defined as a journey with a purpose, overlanding sees the journey as the purpose”. And Rachelle and Clay have fulfilled this purpose time and time again, traveling all the way from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Lima, Peru, and making countless detours along the way.
However, while going with the flow and embracing change as it comes are key aspects to successfully overlanding, Rachelle still emphasizes the importance of traveling prepared and educating oneself before beginning an adventure. “We have encountered so many people on the trails that are not prepared and think they know everything, or that bad things won’t happen to them,” Rachelle says. “Get educated, learn how to take care of yourself in any situation, and stick to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to it”. Rachelle also stresses the importance of having a well-stocked emergency kit, including a tire-repair kit, Maxtrax or a winch and, of course, a DMOS Shovel.
“I’ve always used backpacking or avalanche shovels because they pack up small and don’t take up much space”, Rachelle says, “However, they don’t move a lot of sand at one time so it took me longer and required more energy. I would just end up using my hands and arms”. Now, Rachelle says, she has a DMOS shovel in each of her six vehicles. “Because of their functionality”, she explains, “and the way they take up hardly any room inside or outside the vehicle, the DMOS shovels are a game changer. Everyone should be carrying a shovel, so why not carry one that you can fit under your seat?”.
Plus, as two companies that have been built to only the highest of standards, DMOS Collective and Expedition Overland make an ideal team. From the very beginning, DMOS strove to make a company reflective of our customers – dependable, trustworthy, courageous and fearless. We transformed a shovel from ‘just a shovel’, into an essential piece of gear, and we did it under the pressure of tall expectations. But, even more importantly, we learned that hard work, passion and continued perseverance were key components in the growth of a company, and were necessary in the execution of performance at its highest level. Similar to the DMOS ideology, Rachelle and Clay never believed in giving up when things were ‘good enough’. Rachelle explains, “From day one, we have strived to be the best at what we do – create the best content, tell the best stories, and be professional. I would say the key component is to always be willing to go the extra 10%. If something is ‘pretty good’, what can we do to make it amazing?”.
In the end, however, while having high standards is a crucial part of the equation to success, the most important component is to use personal experience as a learning tool, and to embrace finding oneself in the midst of the unknown. For Rachelle, this means stepping out of her comfort zone, doing things with intention and passion, and pushing herself to discover something new with each adventure. She says, “In my experience, it’s the unknown where I learn the most about myself and, ultimately, it makes me a better person. What’s important is that you go where you’re inspired to go, and you figure out the best way for you to get there. Don’t compare, just find out what makes your journey worth it”.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson