As is so often the case, I didn’t see it coming––the agonizing discussion of pigeonholing trips under the headings of expedition, overlanding, car camping, and road tripping. It happened at a local watering hole when one of my friends said to another, “20,000 miles through the Americas in a VW van is not overlanding, that’s road tripping.” The return volley was then lobbed into the fray, “So, your weekend in Utah driving 100 miles of gravel is overlanding?” Knowing full well where this conversation was headed, I told these two chaps my mom was calling and beat a quick path to the nearest exit. Like a snake eating its own tail, these discussions are always interminable.
Why any of this matters is not nearly as confounding as the process by which trips get filed into their tidy little boxes. How my road trip becomes someone else’s expedition is confusing at best. I find I could use the help of a flow chart to better understand how this all works, but doubt even that would help. Am I an overlander or a car camper? I have no idea.