By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 2/18/19

For the one hundred and third installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we are very pleased to share the story of Tim and Kelsey. You may know them as @dirtsunrise.

If you aren’t follow their fantastic journey on either Instagram or their great Youtube Channel, I highly recommend getting your ducks in a row and doing so promptly. You can also follow along on Facebook here.

One of the fascinating things that I have learned from doing these interviews is that everybody has a different “style” of overlanding. Typically you’ll see the same few vehicle choices and accompanying upgrades and gear additions, but unique to each interview is the personality that the person or people bring to their trip. The influences of the personality or “brain type” on the journey make each trip it’s own.

Tim and Kelsey tell you a great deal about their style in their Instagram description. “Quit our jobs, sold off our life and we’re in our truck. No plans, no route.”

We have seen this story before (Gene and Neda come to mind), but this type of fluidity is in the minority. Most people pick a route and a time schedule well in advance and do their best to stick to it. The periodic completion of stages or goals adds something to the experience. Not with this crew. They go where the wind blows them and live in the joy of the moment. Being comfortable with that feeling is fantastic and life affirming.

Check out the interview below and enjoy their photos.

What do you consider to be your place of work?

Our work is inspiration and we try to capture anything that inspires us. So it is a good thing we love what we do because essentially we are always on the clock, capturing photos and video. When we’re home we train others, civilians and military units, to drive off-road, winch and repair their vehicles, and we have been doing that in between “real” jobs  since 2007.

Tell me about your vehicle. What do you call it?

His name is Goose, and he is a 1995 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80.

What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?

We considered SO many vehicles, each and every one had their pros and cons. In the end we went with what we already had, what we knew and trusted, because in the end we knew we would never find a vehicle that would be completely perfect.

Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?

Tim used to work for a suspension company valving shocks so for him that’s always the first upgrade on any truck. We used their Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.5″ compression adjustable reservoir shocks. Over the last 8 years we’ve modified all sorts of little items on Goose. The biggest changes were just before this big trip. We cut the roof off and epoxied on a poptop, we redid the tent/mosquito netting, headliner, stripped the interior and added heat/sound deadening via spraying Lizard Skin. We also built an auxiliary fuel tank that holds an additional 18+ gallons. We did everything we could to turn our truck from a 5 to 10 day “overlanding” truck to a permanent home for the big trip.  Other mods we had previously done include ARB lockers, Yukan 4.56 gears, OME heavy springs, Warn 9.5XPS winch, Amsteel blue line, Factor 55 fairlead/thimble, Slee Shortbus front bumper and we welded up a 4×4 Labs rear bumper with tire and fuel can holder. There is a Hannibal free standing awning on the driver side of the truck, an ARB fridge Freezer, Ham Radio with APRS, Accugauge, Tuffy Center Console, A snorkel with a Donaldson Top Spin precleaner, BFG KM3 315/75R16 tires, Wits End lower rear links and some other little mods to the bump stops, sway bars, bushings etc.

What is your favorite part about it living/working out of your vehicle?

We love that our future is unwritten, everything ahead of us is what we make of it. There are so many opportunities. It always blows our minds the views we see from our backdoor/office. It is like we are millionaires who own houses in all these amazingly picturesque places.

What is your least favorite part about it?

Lack of space. It does feel cramped sometimes living out of 4′ x 6′ box. No matter how cozy it feels, sometimes hitting your elbow for the 5th time as you are trying to get dressed gets old.

How many miles have you put on your vehicle?

We have just under 200,000 miles on the truck. On this trip we’ve racked up just over 20,000 miles… so far.

What is the best place you have taken it?

They are all amazing in their own unique ways. The spots that feel like ours, like we discovered them, no matter where they are, those are my favorite. We are always searching out the places where no one else is or tends to go.

Is there just one?

Haha I couldn’t even narrow it down to top 10…

Favorite road you’ve driven?

Recently, we have really enjoyed some of the remote roads in southern Colombia and the mountains of Ecuador, seeing the people and places that are so authentic, they are not catering to tourism in any way.  We look for the empty spots on maps. Areas without visible towns. When we feel like we are driving through a movie set, it’s pretty special.

In one word, what describes your approach to life?


If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living from a vehicle, what would you tell them?

Be patient, with yourself and your traveling partner.

It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your lives where you became conscious that you were those kind of people?

We were both aware of it from a young age, both of us always feeling a little out of place in normal life. When we met, traveling for extended periods of time was always something we dreamed about and at a certain point we asked ourselves when would we actually make our dreams a reality – when would we not have to head home begrudgingly before we were ready? So we put a date on the calendar, started selling off our normal life and went.

You have found a strong place in the community of travelers. What values do you think your home or family instilled in you, that you take on the road?

That you can do anything you set your mind to, always work hard and treat everyone you meet with respect.

I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourselves as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?

We definitely took a leap of faith. It wasn’t an easy task to break away from “normal” – in fact it felt like we had to claw our way out. The hardest step was announcing to everyone what we were doing and stepping away.

Where do you want to go next?

We scheme about our future adventures all the time. For now we’re heading South until we can’t anymore, but Africa and Mongolia have a strong pull at the moment. As far as a career, if we could snap our fingers we would love to be able to make enough to at least break even as we travel from creating. We love sharing the world and inspiring people to follow their dreams.

1 reply
  1. Cas Rademaker
    Cas Rademaker says:

    Great set of videos. Enjoyed your Argentina/ chile series. We’re going that trip in 2 years. Many thanks


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