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PostSubject: Other overland forums   Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:48 pm

I have been keeping an eye on the HUBB forum and the very American-centric Expedition Portal Forum. Both seem to have very active communities with lots of new posts daily...especially the American forum which is awash in stories of how big and fancy guys can build their 'expedition' trucks that rarely leave their state, let alone their country. Yet, our 4x4 Overland Travel forum has languished into inactivity. Why?
Has the 'overland' banner passed to the Americans? Or the motorcyclers? (Actually, I love the HUBB organization and how well they are integrating the 4x4 community, so they get a big thumbs up for keeping things alive).

I have tried posting in the American forum but unless you are interested in discussing how many expensive mods you can cram onto a big American pickup, you rarely get a conversation started.

I think this site could be much more. I know it faces challenges from FB groups and other online formats, but having seen how well other overland forums are doing, I think this one could be resurrected.

But as I have posted here before...I think that European 'overlanding' is facing some major challenges. The backbone of 4x4 overlanding were the London to Cape Town journeys or Paris to Singapore...and everywhere in between. But terrorism, bureaucracy, crime and a real lack of new places to explore has made the investment in money and time to plan a big journey just too much for most to bother with. For those sticking closer to home and travelling around Europe the lack of free camping in most countries forces us into crowded caravan parks that are often more stressful and crowded than staying at home in the first place. Why build an excellent expedition rig with toil and passion to find yourself stuck on tar roads and crowded campsites?

I think another part of it is the ethos. The HUBB does well because the MC crowd are still actively doing the Round-The-World (RTW) and are filled with a relatively younger generation of bikers who crave adventure and excitement. That desire for adventure travel and the status that comes with saying you have just crossed the Atacama, the Himalayas or the Darien Gap drives that group and forms part of that adventurous ethos. The European 4x4 community still has some elements of that, but it is a minority. I think our core community has gentrified and, somewhat like the Americans, focused on spending so much money on our shiny rigs that we don't dare risk them in less-than-safe travels. I think that attitude is partly driven by the 4x4 accessories market which at show-after-show convinces everyone they couldn't possible go to Morocco without halogen headlamps, under body plates, heated leather seats and enough awnings to shelter a small Africa village. As soon as you accept this attitude that comfort is the overriding objective, the desire to endure the rigors, hardships and toil of a true overland journey becomes anethema. The bikers can't install roof tents, fridge-freezers or on-board compressors and haul overloaded trailers jammed with luxuries; they have to face the sun, the rain, the cold and the bugs with virtually no gear; sleeping in a tiny ground tent. But that attitude translates into people who happily face hardship to see the remote places in the world.

This difference is startling when you visit shows aimed at bikers and then one for 4x4s. The bike shows have very few traders flogging gear...there is only so much you can bolt onto a bike before it becomes unstable. Their trade stands are filled with companies offering to ship your bike to foreign lands, or sell you a better bike to do your trip on. Their shows focus on the experience and celebrate the adventurous. Then go to a 4x4 show. It is 90% traders flogging expensive gear and 10% people showing off how much money they spent on their rigs. For the few poor souls who show up with a battered old wagon that has crossed five continents there is respect, but they are lost in the commercial drive of the current 4x4 ethos. Far more sacrilegious is the fact that most of the rigs that have done these actual overland trips tend to be pretty basic and improvised rather than sporting all the latest toys and bling.

It isn't all bad though. I just read a story (on the HUBB forum sadly) that a group of Poles took several trucks and drove them to southern Algeria to explore the Tassili area. An American (sigh) is currently circumnavigating Africa in a Jeep. Kingsley Holgate continues to set up vehicle-based expeditions to rarely visited destinations in Africa where others fear to tread.

I think if we are going to resurrect this 4x4 overland community, we need to celebrate those who do, rather than those who buy (or sell). Certainly there is a place for mods and gear, but unless there are 'doers' out there ultimately the buyers will fade away and get a caravan or take a package holiday.

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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:15 am

Couldn't agree more James.

There does seem to be a much more active motorcycle overland travel movement and lots of Land Rover based groups seem to like driving through muddy puddles and trying to break trucks.
Again the amount of 4x4 overlanders seem in the majority to be actively travelling or preparing their vehicles to travel.
Its a bit disappointing that lots of people with 4x4s these days seem happy just to visit the shows and use the vehicles for camping trips.

I joined the Land Rover Camper Facebook group last year and have been away two weekends now with like minded people in February.


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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:32 pm

Well said James, you've really hit the nail on the head. How true is this:-

" I think our core community has gentrified and, somewhat like the Americans, focused on spending so much money on our shiny rigs that we don't dare risk them in less-than-safe travels. I think that attitude is partly driven by the 4x4 accessories market which at show-after-show convinces everyone they couldn't possible go to Morocco without halogen headlamps, under body plates, heated leather seats and enough awnings to shelter a small Africa village."
Love that last part ... brilliant! laughing pound

Also think this forum vs Facebook thing is also a symptom of the times in which we live - it truly is a 'thowaway society'. Facebook posts are quick and simple, and forever changing. The format/layout on smartphones is also very simple, so when you see a train carriage full of people with heads bent downwards, you can bet your life they're not on any forum following to contributing to an in-depth discussion, they are skipping from one comment to the other on Facebook, Twatter or whatever. That I'm afraid is the reality of the current situation.

Also agree about the bike crowd. They've always been more active with meets, get-togethers and ride outs, so it follows a forum weighted towards them will also be just as active.

Resurrecting this forum is fine in theory, but I honestly can't see how it would work in practice. Not like me to be negative, but up against the likes of Facebook, can't see much future for forums in general. Clubs are a prime example. So many club forums have died or are dormant, the last posts going back to 2013 or whatever, yet their Facebook pages are buoyant and thriving. Sadly, it says it all.

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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:57 am

Good points Tom, and you may be correct. But I am not prepared to throw in the towel just yet as I avoid FB like the plague. I like the HUBB forum and I chuckle at the Expedition Portal Forum but this is where 'my' community lives so I guess it is finding a way to show value. Or at least having interesting conversations with myself. Actually, that way I might actually win a few arguments!

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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:17 pm

Tembo, Facebook is the plague.
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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:39 am

Like your ideas James, I agree with Assassin about Facebook clinking teacups

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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Tue May 30, 2017 9:48 pm

I can see the point about Facebook but for me It's a marvelous thing I can video message my son when he's off serving in foreign lands.

Through Facebook I have reconnected with people I haven't seen in 20 or 30 years due to moving abroad or even moving to different places in the UK.

I use Facebook far too much to be honest but it's just so easy and it does offer a far wider range of interest than a specific forum, but with that you do have to put up with loads of trash talk etc.

I can however recommend the Land Rover Camper's page as with this forum it's frequented by like minded individuals and seems to suffer far less from the normal crap associated with Facebook, you do get the occasional cock but it's pretty rare and I know quite a few people on here use both formats but lesser on here now which is a shame.

The biggest boon I feel is the ability to post picture etc from my phone in various places from all around the world.
I've dumped the camera and pretty much just use my phone for pictures with the ability to change the resolution from 5 to 23 mega pixels the phone is a one item carry.

I do miss the regular visits to this and other forums and the information gleaned on forums like this are far more informative than most posts on facebook, ask a sensible question and it's met by derision and stupid remarks.

So long live forums like this and please people us it as much as you can to keep it alive and current. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Other overland forums   Tue May 30, 2017 10:20 pm

"I do miss the regular visits to this and other forums and the information gleaned on forums like this are far more informative than most posts on facebook, ask a sensible question and it's met by derision and stupid remarks."

We have our moments! Twisted Evil

Yes okay, I'll readily Facebook is useful for contacting folk past & present, but there is so much drivel at times it can drive you mad. All things in moderation an' all that I suppose.

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