By Colton Andre | firstname.lastname@example.org
This year I attended Overland Expo East in Asheville North Carolina. The first thing most people ask when I talk about this year’s Overland Expo is, what is the event about and what is overlanding itself? Overlanding is generally considered to be self-sustained adventure travel. This can be over any distance and with any vehicle, but most times it’s done with a truck or motorcycle that has been modified to accommodate the harsh conditions that many overland journeys entail.
The overlanding community is much more than people just getting to a destination, it is all about the journey. It’s about the struggles you face, the people you meet, and the deeper connections to the world and yourself that many people find while on both on the road and off it. Besides meeting out under the stars in the middle of nowhere, overlanders flock to events such as Overland Expo to hone their skills, learn about new products and meet fellow enthusiasts.
This year I attended my first expo. They’re held twice a year by Overland Expo–the bigger one is Overland Expo West held in Arizona, and the newer one is Overland Expo East.
I attended the East event which was held at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina. The event hosted over 150 classes, over 140 exhibitors, and over 4,000 attendees over the weekend.
Attendees had the opportunity to hone their skills in different training areas such as the Camel Trophy Expedition skills course, the BFGoodrich tire testing track, a motorcycle skills course, and the Biltmore’s own Land Rover Experience. Besides testing your skills on a course, there were non-stop classes held for attendees with an Overland Experience package, varying from hands on technical vehicle recovery and welding, to talks on sponsorship and preparation from experienced travelers.
Exhibitors lined the 2-mile field and presented endless ways to kill time in between classes and exploring the beautiful Biltmore grounds. From camping gear to $65,000+ overlanding rigs, I spent hours talking about new products and getting excited for my next big trip. Even after the long days were over, there were always people sitting around with an extra chair and an extra drink and a common ground to share stories and laughs with.
As a traveler, a motorcyclist, and an outdoor enthusiast, I felt I had to make the 500 mile ride to Asheville, and it was a choice I’m glad I made. I got to ride my motorcycle with a good friend of mine on the Blue Ridge Parkway, camp at the Biltmore, go to exciting, hands-on classes everyday, and eat and drink the night away with good company never too far away. If you’re interested, check out next year’s Overland Expo and this video I made of the event.
Photos provided by Anthony Sicola and Henri Danen