Show Notes for Podcast Episode #52
Interviewing Hourless Life on overlanding around the globe as a family
Scott Brady interviews Brittany and Eric Highland about the joys of traveling for years as a family, including giving birth to their son while on the road. They discuss migrating from an RV to a Jeep Wrangler, and ultimately deciding on a Gladiator for their planned trip around the planet.
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Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world’s most remote places by 4WD and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. He is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore
[00:00:00] Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland journal podcast. I am your host, Scott Brady. My co host Matt Scott is actually bringing in a container filled with goodies from Australia so he’s not with us this morning but today I have a very cool couple and their son in the studio. We’ve got Eric and Brittany Highland from the hourglass life and their son Caspian is here in the studios as well. He may join us at some point during the recording, which is really fun. So it’s great to have you guys with us today. Thank you so much for taking the time. I’m really excited to hear about the journeys that you guys have done since 2014, if I read that correctly and the journey that you’re about to undertake, which is just absolutely fascinating, so thank you both for being on the podcast today.
Brittany Highland: Thank you for having us.
Eric Highland: Thank you, Scott. We’re [00:01:00] huge fans of the podcast so just to be here is a little surreal for us.
Brittany Highland: I’ve been listening since episode one and I remember putting up an article about the podcast when it first came out because I was so excited about it so this is amazing.
Scott Brady: Oh, that’s awesome. Well what I found so cool is the fact that you guys are not only traveling with your son Caspian, but he was actually born during your travels and I don’t have children myself. I have nephews that I’m so grateful for and I’ve been able to be a part of their life since they were born, but I don’t have my own children, so we want to have more of that on the podcast. So that way those that are listening with families can learn from those who have been traveling like you two have with your son. How was it like to have a newborn during your travels?
Brittany Highland: So we started traveling full time in February 2014, and Caspian was born in December of 2016. So we had been traveling full-time for a [00:02:00] while and at the time it was very unique, very different. A lot of our community thought we would stop traveling. Because I was pregnant and we were going to have a baby. Of course you have to get off the road and stop traveling, but we didn’t believe that the two are mutually exclusive, nor did we believe that we couldn’t have a healthy family and a healthy child while traveling full time.
Eric Highland: We had been traveling full time already for what? Three years? Yeah, almost three years just as a couple, and so that wasn’t new to us. So the idea of bringing in our son into that lifestyle, it didn’t really seem that overwhelming.
Brittany Highland: We could picture how it was going to work because we had such a good rhythm and we did slow down. So we were still living in an RV at the time and we slowed down the last trimester of my pregnancy and his first six months when it felt like we were at the doctor every other day during that time. But the second that he turned six months, we were back on the road traveling full [00:03:00] time.
Eric Highland: And that was the hardest part. His doctor wouldn’t let us leave for six months. He wanted to make sure that he had a good start to life and whatnot. So we were kind of holding in Austin, Texas, and we were chomping at the bit to get back on the road.
Scott Brady: Well, history certainly supports the idea that kids can be mobile in that way. If you think about what an infant would have endured that was born during a wagon trip across the United States, to the West coast, which happened on a regular basis. I think they’re quite durable again, I don’t have my own kids, so I’m not trying to assume that I know anything because I don’t know anything.
Eric Highland: They are extremely durable.
Scott Brady: Yeah, but they’re quite durable and historically they have been moved and carried. You think about even roaming bands and roaming tribes now, even in current times, Their kids are with them and they survive. I think they just need their mom. Occasionally they may need their dad, but they really need their mom. If they’ve got their mom, then they’re going to be pretty [00:04:00] safe and happy and healthy.
Brittany Highland: So that’s been our experience. The two words that I always use to describe Caspian are friendly and flexible and really all he needs is us and if we’re there and we’re okay, and rolling with the punches. So we might confront a challenge, but as long as we take it in stride, he follows suit automatically.
Eric Highland: I think there’s something interesting about Caspian in that he went directly from the birthing room with a hospital to a lifestyle of full-time travel. So he’s never known a life apart from this and so he doesn’t have anything to compare it to Scott, and so when Brittany says he’s flexible, you know, we’ll do a five-hour drive in the Jeep and he’ll say that wasn’t very long, you know? And I remember him saying that at three years old, what three-year-old says is that a five-hour trip in a vehicle isn’t long.
Scott Brady: The one kid in history that hasn’t said, are we there yet? But how amazing is that? I think in many cases they are taught well in school, but [00:05:00] they’re also taught this two dimensional view of the world. So there may be given a history lesson that has all of this great information, but you can actually show them… show him that. He can actually see Mount Rushmore and he can actually see Mexico and Mexico city and Baja. It’s not just this theoretical two dimensional place on a map. For him it is now filled with experience, including his toes in the sand and watching a turtle, a baby turtle, trying to get to the ocean. All of those things are now a part of his memories.
Brittany Highland: I think for all of us, the more of our five senses that we can engage, the more we’ll remember it, the more it will be impressed upon us. And we all feel that through travel, we’re tasting the food, we’re seeing, we’re smelling all of those senses and as a child, he will remember the history lessons because he’s not just reading it.
Eric Highland: And from our perspective as [00:06:00] parents, there’s nothing better than sitting. You know, you kind of told us about a little area here in Prescott where we could stay out in the national forest and just a couple of days ago, Caspian was wearing a spiked helmet. It looks like a stegosaurus, his underwear, and he was crawling around in the river building a dam, and you know, he’s not looking at a screen. He’s not like, you know, watching television or doing… he’s out there building and he’s barefoot and he’s just walking around and doing this.
Scott Brady: It’s so amazing.
Brittany Highland: He was throwing rocks. He was throwing pine cones and pieces of wood and seeing how they floated or didn’t. So there’s lessons there and science.
Eric Highland: He went out and gathered wood for our fire because he wanted a fire. So he brought like a sizable bundle and he’s crawling through the woods, just gathering this wood and telling us it’s for the fire this evening. Just it’s incredible tolerance.
Scott Brady: How old is he?
Eric Highland: He just turned four in December.
Scott Brady: That’s amazing because the interactions that I had with him already this morning, I can tell that you [00:07:00] don’t treat him as a child. You treat him as another human along this journey with you. So when he was asking me questions and interacting with me, he interacted with me with confidence and he expressed himself, you know very thoughtfully and talked about how fast his race car was, and it was just so cool to see how comfortable he was with me as a total stranger to communicate. In a way that I thought looked more like a six or a seven year old.
Eric Highland: It’s interesting that you mentioned that word, Scott, because I want you to think about this. He doesn’t know a stranger. Everyone he’s ever met has been a stranger, and so to him. They’re just other human beings and he is no respecter of persons, or of race, or of size, or of age, or any other thing that we kind of have in our head, where we do a prejudgment on someone, you know, like maybe I’m talking to somebody who’s elderly. I want to slow down. I don’t want to put that much. Or maybe I’m talking to someone young and I want to raise my voice and be able to, he doesn’t know [00:08:00] anything about that, so everyone he meets. To him, they’re his friend, and we saw him when we were in Mexico. Brittany and I were walking. He was walking about 10 feet in front of us and there was about I’m guessing she was about a 12 year old girl who’d just gotten out of school. She’s carrying her books. She’s walking down the street. He ran up, caught up to her, grabbed her by the hand, didn’t even look at her, just grabbed her by the hand and kept walking down the street. And her mother saw this happen and she’s looking at this little kid.
Brittany Highland: Who’s this two year old?
Eric Highland: And he was two and he’s walking down the street with this girl and she looked down and she was just like, happy that he was there and it was just one of those moments in time for us as parents that we were like, wow, something right is happening.
Scott Brady: You’re giving him an opportunity for such self-confidence and what I have found confidence really is, is an accumulation of our experiences. We feel less confident when we’re less experienced about something. So you’re giving him all of these [00:09:00] genuine human experiences in ways that many children don’t have, or in many ways are very encapsulated in those experiences. So he has this broad spectrum now of experiences that is going to give him so much confidence for life and that’s just a really beautiful thing to see in the short time that I’ve spent with you guys.
Eric Highland: And he’s well-traveled. I mean, like I said, he just turned four. He’s been to 47 of the lower 48 States. He has been to 30 of our 63 national parks. He has been a little bit in Canada. He’s been over 2000 miles into interior Mexico, and he’s done the entirety of the Baja peninsula, and like I said, he just turned four. So he’s got some experience behind him. I don’t know that he’ll remember it all.
Got an enviable passport already, but it’s just awesome to watch him take everything in it. We get to live it through his eyes and it’s precious.
Scott Brady: Yeah and how does having Caspian change the way that you plan or the way that you prepare your vehicle? I think in [00:10:00] maybe in the more notable ways, there’s probably some nuances, but what are the more notable changes that you guys thought about your travels and about preparing a vehicle and planning for your trip with your son along?
Brittany Highland: As far as planning our travels, hardly anything has changed along the whole way even when he was a newborn. Like I mentioned earlier, we just, through our experience, we didn’t feel that we had to change that much. We certainly don’t have the nightlife that we used to have. That’s one of the biggest differences just schedule wise, but we do everything together and he has to learn to go along with that. And as far as the vehicle, it just, as a matter of geometry, as he gets bigger.
Eric Highland: It’s been a learning process because in the vehicle that we currently have, which we call our North American build, which we’ve made a lot of mistakes on, but we’ve learned from it’s going to be a lot different from the next vehicle that we’ll be building out. The one thing I will say about Caspian is that we don’t have a babysitter that goes along with us. So, like you said, [00:11:00] right now, he’s sitting in the studio kind of often on a couch off to the side, But we are taking applications for a babysitter that would like to follow us around the world because, you know, sometimes it’s difficult. We don’t have that time or that flexibility to go out and just enjoy that little time together. But the trade-off is absolutely worth it.
Scott Brady: And maybe you’ll encounter other families throughout your travels. I remember even through central America, the number of French families that I encountered in RVs traveling around, and maybe they would look for a babysitter from you and the other way around, you could trade some time and also I noticed that in places like in the Americas and Latin America in particular, having your kid with you for nightlife is fairly common. It’s fairly common to go into a restaurant or a dance club or whatever and people have got their kids there because like, again, it’s just normal for family to be so deeply integrated in the daily activities.
Eric Highland: Yeah. He certainly changes the dynamic for international travel certainly. We’ve [00:12:00] noticed that at border crossings where you know, they’re just kinder. They’re like you’re family. Let’s get you moving.
Brittany Highland: We roll down the windows so they can meet Caspian. When we’re going through checkpoints
Eric Highland: And he loves them. So he’ll talk to them and he’ll say, Hola, you know, they’ll just talk to them. It’s great.
Scott Brady: That’s wonderful. And I have heard that particularly in Latin America is that they love the idea of… and obviously they do. They’re a very family oriented culture, so seeing you with your child, I’m sure that is very endearing, even to the military checkpoint. That they can relate a little bit more to you guys as a couple with a child and again, it probably makes them more mindful. Whereas I’ve experienced as a solo male traveler, I’ve experienced the other side of it where maybe they’re more suspicious of my activities. Like why are you all alone on this motorcycle in the middle of Peru? You know, we’re going to give this guy the full dressing down to figure out why he is here? Whereas a family, they’re going to be a lot more [00:13:00] understanding or maybe consider it or whatever. So I think that that’s a really beautiful part of traveling as a family. What are some other things that you guys have noticed around your planning or where even you guys want to go. Has it changed, where you want to go? Not so much? That’s amazing. That’s awesome.
Eric Highland: He’s just part of our journey, you know, and, and like I said, he doesn’t know life apart from it. We don’t know anything different since 2014 and so I think it’s akin to people who bring a newborn into their home. There’s no significant changes. They’re not going to change the grocery store they go to, or the church that they go to or whatever, this is our lifestyle and so that just hasn’t changed for us. He’s just assimilated into that and become a part of it.
Scott Brady: It’s so funny. Cause it just shows how entirely ignorant I am of the subject. I’m like, so did you know, horns start coming out of your head. It just shows how little I know about that.
Brittany Highland: You’re not the only one though, Scott, I think there’re so many parents who [00:14:00] automatically assume that they can’t go hiking anymore. They can’t go backpacking or, you know, Go overlanding for that matter. I just met a mom at a campground recently. She has three children and the youngest was about six years old and she told me that when they first got married, she loved camping. They went all the time and this was her first time camping and to me, that’s so foreign because we just brought him into it, but it’s not true of everyone and I do want to empower other moms, especially that they can do it. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s going to be hard at first, but then it’s so rewarding.
Eric Highland: And it’s all about what they know too. Because we mentioned hiking. Caspian’s actually quite an accomplished hiker. We set a goal for him to hike a mile for each year of his life. So in his first when he was one, he hiked one mile when he was two, he hiked two, when he was three, he hiked three and just the other day, literally just the other day down here in Table Mesa, he hiked four miles by himself. Now, when I say by himself, we’re with him unaided. We’re not [00:15:00] helping them scramble over anything. We’re not helping him climb up things or down things. He’s doing it all on his own. And he did four miles uninterrupted, unaided.
Scott Brady: That’s amazing.
Eric Highland: It is. But this is his life. This is what he knows.
Scott Brady: I feel accomplished if I do four miles on a hike. Just did that the other day and I’m still a little sore, so that’s amazing. That’s great. That’s very cool that he’s able to do that with you. So now give the listener kind of an overview of your experience as travelers and since 2014. You may have done some, cause you were in the coast guard, was that correct?
Eric Highland: I was, I’m retired from the United States coast guard. I served 20 years.
Scott Brady: And where did you travel in the coast guard?
Eric Highland: All over the world. I’ve actually been to Antarctica twice. And I’ve circumnavigated the globe on a ship. I’ve been to the Arctic ocean three times. I’ve been to Australia eight times, Fiji, Hobart, Tasmania. You name it. I’ve actually stepped foot on every continent, except for Africa. I’ve never been to Africa. It’s the [00:16:00] one that eluded me. So the day that Brittany and I fly into Africa to meet our vehicle there will be the very first time I go and I will then be able to say I’ve been on all seven continents.
Scott Brady: And how amazing to do that with your family and have that experience together. That’s wonderful. So talk about, Brittany, your travels before you started your journey in 2014. Where did your travels take you in the world?
Brittany Highland: I was born in Canada, in Ontario, and my father is from Ontario. My mother from Alberta. Her parents immigrated from Poland after world war II and they met in Yellowknife, Northwest territories and travel was a part of my dad’s life, especially. I mean, he did the hitchhiking Europe thing in the sixties and he had been all over Canada and the United States. So that was in my blood. We ended up relocating to Texas as a family and we would Overland, even though I didn’t consider it that at the [00:17:00] time in our minivan with no air conditioning from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Northwest territories for family vacation. Yeah, I mean, as a child, it’s what you do and you don’t really think about it too much, but we were homeschooled. So I homeschooled through 12th grade before going to university and all the stops along the way were part of our education and so again, that it ingrained into me as an adult, I can appreciate that and love doing that with Caspian and kind of replicating those experiences. But those were my travel experiences were those family vacations and did some study abroad in Europe, but not nearly as well traveled as Eric.
[00:18:00] Eric Highland: Well Brittany’s family, like she said, is up in the Northwest territories. Have you ever watched that show ice road truckers? So her uncle is actually one of the [00:19:00] ice road truckers. Alex, on the show, her family up there is just something else and I haven’t gotten to go up there personally to meet them, but Brittany’s telling me just be prepared. They’re a handful.
Scott Brady: I can just imagine in that environment, it creates a very Hardy individual. Right? And that was Yellowknife, you said, right? Yeah. I haven’t done those ice roads. I’ve only driven the ice road up to Tuktoyaktuk on the McKinsey, because Canada’s massive. It’s a long way away from yellowknife, but I would love to try to drive some of those other ice roads now that they’re opening up a little bit for people to drive. Now give us the kind of overview now that you guys are a couple and 2014 comes around and you start traveling and overlanding together. Give us an overview of where you guys went and how you traveled, what vehicle you used.
Brittany Highland: So we lived in an apartment in [00:20:00] Austin and we were starting our journey as business owners because we wanted the freedom to work together primarily was what we really dreamed of doing. But then along the way we realized, if we build our business on the internet, then we can travel anywhere where we have the internet. We don’t need to be working in our apartment, which is what we were doing every day.
Eric Highland: And this was back in 2011, Scott, when digital nomadism, I don’t know that it was a term. We had just figured out that, Hey, if we can do everything we need to do on the internet, then that’s going to give us a measure of freedom, but we had to build up that business for three years. So understand that the idea of working together, creating our own business started back in 2011. So we’re talking about 10 years ago and it was intentional. It was intentional to build a business that we could work from online and it wasn’t until…
Scott Brady: You were still in the coast guard at this point?
Eric Highland: I retired in 2010. So it was very intentional to build a business that we could work from remotely before remote [00:21:00] work was a thing, and there were probably some people doing it, but you know, we’re not the trailblazers of it, but it wasn’t…
Brittany Highland: It wasn’t a fad.
Eric Highland: It wasn’t a term where everybody’s working remotely.
Scott Brady: It was difficult to do. Because even at that time, I was doing a lot of remote work in the software business that I was involved with for higher education and it was very difficult to find reliable wifi, especially internationally. I can’t remember the number of times that I would see a hotel that would have the wifi symbol on the door. Which meant that they did have a wifi connection, but it never was connected to the internet, you know, those two are not inclusive. So that was definitely the wild West when it came to working remotely and it wasn’t until… like even Australia 2011, it is very difficult to find reliable wifi. I could only really find it at McDonald’s for example. Whereas since I go to Australia on a regular [00:22:00] basis, each time I’ve gone, I’ve seen that infrastructure improve and now many parks in the city have wifi and they have a much better infrastructure now, but yeah, 2011 would have been. Very challenging.
Eric Highland: Right and so we intentionally built that business so that at the end of 2014, or at the end of 2013 we were able to have worked with our clients for three years and back then all of our work was client base so they had a trust that we had built with them. We had spent, you know, time at their homes and having dinners with them or barbecues and gotten to know them, and we told them about this crazy idea that we had, that we wanted to travel full-time and we asked them, would you trust us enough to continue representing your business? Because we were doing social media for various companies. If we promise that you won’t see any kind of decline in the service or difference in the service that we provide, but we just won’t physically be here and they’d all gotten to know us. So they trusted us and that was what allowed us in 2014 to get on the road [00:23:00] and we made it a priority. Like our priority was finding a good, reliable internet to be able to take care of our clients so that we had that income stream still coming in. But all of a sudden we were able to open the front door of our RV and it was a new location every single time.
Scott Brady: And what was the tempo of that? That’s something that I do like to ask for those that are working on the road. Did you work every other day, or did you work every morning or did you work flat out every third day? Or how did that work?
Brittany Highland: So at the time it was more of a nine to five, Monday through Friday commitment. We were very busy then and so we would watch the world out our window, eagerly waiting until the end of the Workday. And then we would go explore or at least go out to eat and it was already the end of the day and eventually we developed a rhythm where we actually stayed two weeks in one spot, because then we had a weekend in between that we could do whatever we wanted to because before that we were traveling every Saturday and so it was exhausting. We were traveling every [00:24:00] Saturday, working Monday through Friday, forcing ourselves to go out on Sunday because it was the only full day that we had to explore.
Eric Highland: And at one point in time, I turned to Brittany and I said, if we’re going to continue at this pace. I’m going to be done. Like this is not gonna work. So we instituted a 250 mile, two week rule, which became very fascinating because what ended up happening was when you limit yourself to 250 miles, you end up in towns like Lorman, Mississippi, or Apalachicola, or Sopchoppy. Places you’ve never heard of, but that actually exist and those have actually been some of our greatest experiences, understanding the microcultures of the area that we’re in. We’re not stuck. Finding little local eateries and getting to know the local people at the town and we just really enjoyed that aspect of it. But it also gave us that time, like Brittany said, two weeks gave us a full weekend in between which we could go explore. And so that was our rhythm for the first I would say. [00:25:00] Four years.
Brittany Highland: And I should clarify, because I don’t think we did that at the time. We didn’t know what overlanding was. We had never even heard that term before. Life on the road and we were our being, so we considered ourselves full-time RVrs, which at that time we were on the very young side to be doing that. There were others out there who we quickly gravitated towards other working age RVrs, but there weren’t too many of us out there, which has very much changed in the past seven years.
Scott Brady: In the past seven months. It’s unbelievable. Try to find a place to park a van near Sedona. Forget it.
Eric Highland: Oh, we just tried that.
Brittany Highland: Yeah, well we came out of shelter in place, which we did for six months in Seattle and the world had changed. We were still in an RV last August and places that we thought, Oh, we can just roll in. We don’t need a reservation, because that has been our experience for six years. All of a sudden we were at a tiny forest campground in West Virginia, and it was full on a Wednesday night and we [00:26:00] couldn’t believe it.
Eric Highland: But here’s the progression, Scott, this is what happened and this is how we got kind of to where we are today. So what happened was we had this big 40 foot bus. It was a big 40 foot Tiffin Phaeton diesel massive thing and that’s what we started in.
Brittany Highland: It was small when we moved into it.
Eric Highland: Because we thought it was small because we had moved out of an apartment into it, but we thought we needed all that space and so for the first four and a half years, we used that platform. And then about. Three and a half years into it. Brittany started getting a little crazy. Now you gotta understand. I was driving the Jeep. Brittany was driving the RV. So she’s driving this thing. And then she decided that she wanted to start going off grid a little bit.
Brittany Highland: I wanted to do more wild camping.
Scott Brady: Sure. Get in touch with nature a little more.
Eric Highland: In touch with nature in a 30,000 pound rectangle and she has no fear whatsoever. So she was taking it off-road on shelf roads, just trying to find remote spots and I was like, Hey, we’re going to have to change this type of travel. Like people’s jaws would drop when they saw this [00:27:00] behemoth just roll into this area and so we were outside Jackson hole, in upper Teton View, which was a great little site up there and she had taken this thing all the way up there. There’s like three 90 degree turns on a shelf road it’s rutted and she had taken this beast up there and we were driving back into Jackson hole to get some supplies.
And unbeknownst to me, Brittany had been listening to a podcast. About a family and I’ll let her tell you about that. But this is what happened from my perspective and then you got to hear it from Brittany. So, okay. We’re driving back into Jackson hole in Brittany. All of a sudden says, pull over, pull over, pull over. Now Brittany is an introvert. She has conversations with herself in her head before she ever brings an idea to the table to discuss with me. So for her to exclaim, something like that, I thought I hit a squirrel. I didn’t know what happened. So I pulled over and I pulled into this parking lot and there was this big, what now I know is an overlanding box truck that was for sale. I don’t even think I stopped the Jeep. She jumped [00:28:00] out, ran up next to it, pointed to it and said, this is what I want to do. I didn’t. She was talking about.
Brittany Highland: That was the day Eric found out what overlanding was.
Eric Highland: This was in 2018.
Brittany Highland: So I had been listening to the Overland podcast, which is no more, but specifically they were interviewing the Snaith family from the UK and they had two young daughters. I believe they were four and six when they set out from the UK and they did a four year around the world trip and I was just learning what overlanding was. But my automatic assumption was I have a one-year-old I would love to do that, but I can’t do that, but I kept listening and I was like, well, wait it’s been done before. I have no excuse and if they can do it, I can do it. And we had been our being and traveling the United States, we were kind of starting to feel like we knew that lifestyle, we were ready for another challenge, because even though we were going to new places and loving that the [00:29:00] actual RV travel was getting a little…
Eric Highland: It had become routine. So what I like to say is when we first started back in 2014, there was this spark, Scott. There was this spark that was magical, you know? And then after about four and a half years of doing it, the spark was gone. The magic wasn’t gone, but the spark was gone. It wasn’t that…
Scott Brady: It was the new normal.
Eric Highland: Yeah. It was just our new normal life and then she had been listening to this podcast, but I had no idea that she was listening to it and so she just burst it out and said, this is what I want to do. There’s this family, they drove around the world. If they can do it with two daughters, I can do it with one son. Let’s go. And I was like, Oh, okay. Let’s go. You know? And so that’s kind of what started this whole process. But we weren’t sure if it was for us and so we started with what we had and I know that’s something that we definitely would like to share about.
Brittany Highland: Yeah. So we had the Jeep Wrangler already. It was for off-roading and rock crawling, but we weren’t going to go out and buy a new vehicle and start all over again. We couldn’t afford to, and we didn’t even [00:30:00] know do even like international overlanding. So we added a rooftop tent and a fridge and a few other things and we went into interior Mexico about six months after we found out what overlanding was.
Eric Highland: And because we’re just crazy like this, we sold our RV. So we literally…
Scott Brady: Jumping in the deep end.
Eric Highland: You know, that’s one of the things, when we dream, we take our dream seriously and we’re not afraid to pursue those things. So we literally sold our home, moved into the Jeep Wrangler and drove directly into Mexico and that was our first experience. With our two year old.
Brittany Highland: So that was the beginning of 2019.
Scott Brady: And how was that? Now, if I remember correctly, you were in Mexico for about six months, right?
Eric Highland: No.
Brittany Highland: It was almost three months.
Scott Brady: So maybe it was two different trips to Mexico. Got it.
Brittany Highland: So it was a smashing success what’s going on? Yes. So at that time, we, again, we were still working. [00:31:00] We had even more work projects at that time and we needed the internet Monday through Friday. So we were actually getting Airbnbs for about two weeks. And then in between we would do more of what a lot of people consider overlanding, which now looking back, we were overlanding the whole time.
Eric Highland: But it was a trial Scott, keep in mind, we had come up with this idea and I know Brittany doesn’t like when I say we made a decision to drive around the world, But we did, we, we had made a decision to drive around the world, but we hadn’t explored what that actually looked like for us or whether or not it was something that was going to be a good fit for us or if we would even enjoy it. And so Mexico interior, our first trip in 2019 was literally a trial. It was, it was kind of. All right, does this work? Can we do this? Can we still handle our clients? Can we explore what it’s going to be like with Caspian? Are we going to drive each other nuts? What’s going to happen? And it was a smashing, smashing success.
Scott Brady: What was [00:32:00] your favorite place that you stayed in mainland Mecca?
Eric Highland: Oh man, my family’s going to kill me. So I have family in Puebla, Mexico, and I got to meet like 33 of my cousins. They came together for a family reunion.
Brittany Highland: His mom is one of 17.
Eric Highland: And I love my family, but Pueblo is not my favorite. I really enjoyed San Luis Potosi which is the capital city of the state of San Luis Potosi and there was just something magical about being in their downtown square with the cathedral and the architecture that was there and the food and the people that we met. It was, it was pretty amazing.
Brittany Highland: We also made friends there and that made a huge difference.
Scott Brady: Always does. Right?
Eric Highland: Yeah we connected with…
Brittany Highland: Our friend Lilia, who was a member of a very active four by four club there and we ended up getting to meet the whole club. They were doing some volunteer work in a tiny little village that we got to be a part of and it was just very enriching and gave us an idea of what we wanted it to look like more long-term.
Scott Brady: I [00:33:00] think Guanajuato was one of my favorites in that area.
Eric Highland: That’s where she wants to go.
Scott Brady: Well then that’s where you’ll go, start heading South. So yeah, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende is very much occupied now by expats, which
Brittany Highland: Yeah you hear english everywhere you go there.
Scott Brady: Which isn’t a reason not to go. It’s just a very different experience than like Guanajuato and I remember I went into the museo de los momias which is the museum of the mummies. Which is a very unique thing to that area when they bury their dead there because of the soil and the aridity of the area… it basically makes instant mummies. So I was about halfway through this thing and I see this mummy of an infant that looks like it’s screaming and that was basically the face that I made when I saw that and then of course it was like this, this like maze [00:34:00] trying to get out, and I think I got to get out of this place. It’s the only time in all my travels that it was just too much. It was too much when you see the people who had been buried alive and, you know, their fingernails were filled with the wood from the casket trying to claw out, it was just too much and I was like, get me out of this place. But it’s an amazing experience and Guanajuato is just stunningly beautiful, stunningly. Beautiful. So hopefully you guys get to go.
Eric Highland: Oh, we’re looking forward to it and we’re heading back into Mexico when we start our next trip and we agreed that we each get to pick one city to stay in for a couple of months in that area and I think Brittany’s picked Guanajuato before this conversation, so we’ll see.
Scott Brady: Oh, it’s incredible. Really beautiful there and there’s a nice big kind of camping spot just outside of town. That’s very easy to get back into the village and stuff like that. It’s just, yeah, it’s very special. So that sounds, that sounds like a lot.
Brittany Highland: Well, one of the things that we learned from that first trip in 2019 is that we love the cities too. [00:35:00] We both enjoy being in the middle of a city and just all the life going on around us and then we love being able to take our vehicle out into the wild as far as we want to take it, which we could do with our Wrangler and have the best of both worlds and that was extremely influential in helping us choose which vehicle we were going to drive around the world.
Eric Highland: And then, and then the second trip that you were talking about was our trip in Baja, Mexico. That was at the beginning of 2020 when it was still a year full of promise, right before COVID hit, we didn’t know anything about it. It was at the beginning of February and we decided to head all the way down to Cabo and this was going to be a different experience for, as you know, from interior, Mexico, where interior mix Mexico is rich with culture and immersion and yeah. Different cultures within the country and that whole immersive experience of actually getting Mexico into your bloodstream. For sure. Baja has more off-road beaches, kind of like an extension of Southern California that speaks Spanish [00:36:00] and so…
Scott Brady: Has better food?
Eric Highland: I don’t know about that Scott. Come hang out with us.
Scott Brady: Mexico’s got such good food, love baja food.
Eric Highland: We went in and Baja at the beginning of 2020, and we did go all the way down to Cabo. But that trip we actually spent, like Brittany said in interior Mexico, we spent some time in Airbnbs in the entirety of the Baja trip. We only spent two nights that were not in our rooftop tent. So the entire time we were in Baja, we were popping the tent every night and living off grid, full time, so to speak and so that was really important for us.
Brittany Highland: It was affirming that we could do that long term.
Eric Highland: Right. It had to do with the sustainability of this trip that we’re looking to undertake. Can we handle it? Can we do that many nights back to back to back? What does that look like? And one of the things that we experienced was in Mulegé and in Mulegé there was a big box truck kind of like the ones that we had been considering, and he was trying… he or she was trying to get into town.
Scott Brady: Oh, that’s tough.
Eric Highland: Oh yeah. Small [00:37:00] village and tight corners and low power wires and trees and they eventually just parked outside the village and walked in. But like Brittany said, we also love exploring colonial era towns so we’d like to be able to pull in right up to the Plaza and park. And so a lot of this gave pause to the idea of getting a Unimog or getting some sort of big box trucks. So we started looking for other alternatives and actually we were listening to the Overland journal podcast. I think it was episode seven where you and Matt were talking about his gladiator when he first got it. And we’re Jeep fans to begin with. So at that point in time, we started considering that as a platform and yeah, that ended up becoming the platform of our choice. It ticked all of our boxes. We were looking for a global vehicle.
Scott Brady: So now that you’re making the transition from the JK to the JT. What were some of the things that you learned from the JK project? Now it makes a lot more [00:38:00] sense that it started off as definitely a recreational vehicle. You guys were using it behind the RV to go have fun on the weekends. You wanted a high degree of capability. But what were some of the things that you learned from that project that you wouldn’t now incorporate into the gladiator?
Eric Highland: I think the big thing was payload capacity, I think. And I I’ve stressed that ever since I really learned that lesson, there were, there were three limitations that the Jeep Wrangler had for as an overlanding platform that we learned, and that was cargo space, payload capacity, and gas mileage and I figured if we could overcome those three things, then we could actually make this platform work. And it does work if you do it correctly, but we didn’t and we overloaded…
Brittany Highland: Well, it’s a Frankenjeep. So it started for rock crawling and then we didn’t just scrap everything and start over. We built on what we already had.
Scott Brady: That makes a lot of sense. If we reserve as much of our [00:39:00] resources as we can for the experience, sometimes you start off with the wrong vehicle. I certainly did that myself. I mean, my first trip was in a 1953, M30 A81 Jeep with a V8 in it, which was the worst possible combination of everything. It would have been better off walking, because I did a lot of that as it broke down around Southern Idaho. But yeah, you definitely learn so much about the fact that the experience is the goal and it would’ve been very easy for you guys to have taken months to like, all right, we’re going to scrap this Jeep. We’re going to start something new and then you would have lost that trip to Mexico that you did and the trip to Baja and it seems to me that when you guys came back from those trips, you really knew what you wanted. It wasn’t an assumption of what you needed. You had no, you had a very clear idea. This is what we need.
Eric Highland: We’re very confident in the decision and we base it on seven different [00:40:00] factors and Brittany’s written an article about that as to why we chose that.
Scott Brady: Where is that article.
Eric Highland: On our website, hourlesslife.com. Yeah, it’s called .
Brittany Highland: I think it’s called here’s the vehicle. We’re going to drive around the world.
Eric Highland: And she talks about just these seven things. She’s talking about the size of the, the vehicle, the sustainability of the vehicle, the off-road capability, the budget. The payload capacity, the serviceability of the vehicle and whether it’s gas or diesel and we started doing a lot of research and originally I wanted a diesel Rubicon on 37s with one tons, and that’s what I was going to take around the world and the more I started researching that and listening to the podcast, I was like, well, that only has a 1200 pound payload capacity.Where am I going to source 37 series tires in Zambia? What if I can’t find ultra low sulfur diesel and that all switched into what we’re actually building out and it’s been based on the information and expertise from folks like yourself. Dan Grech has counseled us quite a [00:41:00] bit on his experience.
Scott Brady: Such a great resource on that.
Eric Highland: He really is. Paul May has given us some counsel up at equipped expedition Outfitters. Yeah and so there’s just a lot of people that have invested their time and I can’t be thankful enough for these folks because it’s really helped to inform what we’re doing and we don’t have all the answers. And I think that that’s part of the journey.
Scott Brady: We never will.
Eric Highland: Right. It’s not just the mile per mile journey, whether it’s on-road or off-road. This as part of the journey it’s figuring out, I don’t know what I’m doing with this, or I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but the biggest lesson I think we learned from the JK to the JT is that, you know, when I first found out what overlanding was, we like basically went into Mexico, came back and immediately headed to Overland expo east. Because we wanted to see what is this all about? And we get there and it’s all very gear centric. And at the time you think just like we thought we needed that big 40 foot RV. We thought we needed everything and so we started saying, Oh, well, we gotta have [00:42:00] that. So we let’s buy that over there. And all of a sudden we, we, we looked like what are those people called? The Beverly hillbillies? Yeah. We had the rig packed with everything and, you know, we were grossly overweight. It was just. It was not good. And then the more we did this type of travel, the more we realized that we weren’t using half the stuff that we had, and we started getting rid of stuff like it was going out of style. Like we’re selling stuff, giving stuff away to people just really slimming down everything on our current build and then with the new with the new build, we actually started out with a spreadsheet with the payload at the top of that spreadsheet. And I can tell you that as of two days ago, I think we were like 11 pounds underweight with…
Brittany Highland: That’s with Caspian as a 17 year old
Eric Highland: With his weight estimated at 17 years old, and we’re still still 11 pounds underweight and if that tells you anything about how much we really learned from those experiences, but we don’t regret it, Scott, we don’t, we don’t regret having those experiences.
Scott Brady: You never should because they are [00:43:00] formative for sure. Now, Brittany, when you wrote, I haven’t read that article, but when you talk about sustainability as it relates to the gladiator. What comes to mind for you around that? What did you talk about with relationship to that? I’m curious if it piqued my interest.
Brittany Highland: So definitely one of the things, and you hear this over and over, and I know you all have talked about it on the podcast is interior living space, and that’s kind of the reframe that you hear from people who do this type of travel. I know Tim and Kelsey from dirt sunrise, have talked about it. I know Richard and Ashley from dust to glory have talked about it and we all have changed our rigs to have a little bit more interior living space because…
Scott Brady: It rains and it snows and it gets cold.
Brittany Highland: We didn’t really realize guys going from RV to now we’re living in our Jeep Wrangler. You’re living outside, you really are living outside and so we’re regulating our temperature like reptiles. We’re [00:44:00] trying to find warmth or the cold and we wake up and I’ve told Eric, find me somewhere that’s warm and we’re going today because I can do this another night. And so with our Jeep gladiator, we’re getting the alu cab canopy camper for the back. And it’s not a lot of space. However, it is a place to retreat. Be able to sit inside. We’ll have a diesel heater in there saving us a little bit more climate control and for me, that’s what makes it sustainable because we’re talking about a 10 to 15 year trip. So it’s a very long time, but we’re looking to do this and we need to have some comforts in order to continue.
Scott Brady: Yeah. If you even look at Graham and Louisa bell, their journey, which was with both of their children who started off very small and now they’re very big humans at the end of it. They eventually needed to make that shift, taking the 130 crew cab and turning it into a camper along the [00:45:00] way and I think that if we want to make travel sustainable, like you say, over the long haul, we do have to acknowledge that the more comfortable we make it without compromising the things that are most important to us. Like if you want to go to the very remote places or down into these interiors of these old colonial villages, and we do make compromises, but if we make it a little more sustainable for travel, where we can live comfortably and sleep comfortably and retreat, when we need to get away from people or we’re in a situation where we want to be a little more stealthy, that does make a big difference.
Brittany Highland: Absolutely and we also have the added comfort of being able to get into the cities, to stay at an Airbnb or a hotel because we’ve been on the road now for maybe a month and a half in the Jeep and I think two times I was quickly approaching burnout and we just needed to go [00:46:00] somewhere and have some walls and refresh and feel like a human being again and our jeep gladiator will allow us to do that. We will be able to get into most parking garages.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And it depends on the, on the mode of travel. Like if I’m on a motorcycle, I need to find a place usually every three days, because I need to get reconnected with my business and I need to take a shower usually. I mean, it’s just, you have to find that rhythm that works for you. I remember I was in Leone, Nicaragua when I had driven down to the Darien gap. I used a vehicle that was made by an earth roamer. That was a Jeep, it was a JK based camper and it had a flip open top on it. Very similar to what you would see from AT Overland and, and earth roamer was really the ones that pioneered a lot of that micro camper technology. So maximum capability, Rubicon Wrangler that had been [00:47:00] recertified to a higher gross vehicle, weight rating. It had a shower built into it, a toilet built into it. It had a queen sized bed on a very unique mattress frame, all composite construction. And I remember even trying to get through Leone that that Jeep was too big. It was because it was a wide axle Rubicon, very, very narrow streets. So I’m up on the curbs to get through and so you’re right. If you even have a full-size American pickup. Is massive in most places of the world. So then you’re restricted to the routes that the commercial trucking routes that people use for that, which means it works. That’s why it works to go around the world in a Unimog, you just find out what are the trucking routes and that’s what you’re stuck on.
Brittany Highland: But it’s a trade off and it was one we weren’t willing to make and we could say that confidently based on our experience in Mexico, where otherwise we would not have known how important that was to us, if we [00:48:00] hadn’t gone out and experimented first.
Scott Brady: So you’re going to have the Alu cab camper on the top. What are some other high points of what your goals are around the project?
Eric Highland: So we’ve been very fortunate to work with some great brands on this, on this bill that have gotten behind this trip. So they know we’re doing a 10 to 15 year journey. So Brian Fulton and the team at Goose Gear are going to build out the entire back and also gonna do a 60 seat delete there. Andy and the team at Warren have connected us with a 12 S Zeon winch to go on the front of there. We still don’t know what front bumper we’re going to have on there, but it looks like a rock-hard four by four aluminum bumper that is full length and weight has a lowered winch plate to allow for the airflow to come through. And it weighs 37 pounds. If you can believe that. Yeah. So we’re really interested…
Scott Brady: Similar to the weight of the factory bumper.
Eric Highland: It’s actually 40 pounds lighter.
Scott Brady: Than the factory rubber.
Eric Highland: No not that.
Scott Brady: The plastic bumper.
Eric Highland: Yeah. Yeah. It’s actually, I think that’s what we found out.
Brittany Highland: 84 pounds is the stock front bumper.
Eric Highland: Yeah. I think that’s what we [00:49:00] researched and I could be wrong Scott, I’ll have to double check on that, but I believe it was like 30, like 40 pounds lighter than the stock bumper. And then obviously Red Ox is one of our sponsors. So they’re hooking us up with all the gear for that blue Ridge, Overland gear, cool clothing. I mean so many great companies that are Equipped Expedition Outfitters Paul May is getting us this National Luna Fridge.
Brittany Highland: That’s going to go on the 60 seat delete. So the fridge will pull out from the back seat.
Scott Brady: That makes a lot of sense because it keeps the fridge in the HVAC of the cabin. So the fridge isn’t working as hard while you’re driving.
Eric Highland: And then a Cascadia four by four is hooking us up with some solar panels. I mean, there’s just so many great companies that have said, wow, we love what you’re doing. You’ve captured our vision. They said, Hey, we want to partner with you. We want to get on board. Lifesaver, who I know you just talked about recently in a podcast. They’re connecting us with one of their units as well. And so. But what I was going to say is that, you know, this is a lot of cool gear and we’re extremely thankful, but it’s not even about the gear. The gear is a [00:50:00] means to an end it’s what’s allowing us to make this type of travel. And, and I guess, you know, I share all this because there is an excitement, there is something neat to have these companies reach out and say, Hey, we think what you’re doing is incredible. And we want to be involved in this journey with you and we’re really appreciative of it. But it’s really about the journey. It’s really about the people and, you know, we, we love interacting, engaging, immersing ourselves in different cultures. That’s something that both Brittany and I are very passionate about, and we want to be more concerned with the people who are cooking our meal than the meal that we’re having. You know what I mean, learn their story and that type of thing and show Caspian this. So anyway, I did want to mention there, there are a lot of really cool things happening with the build itself and it’s going to be a really, really neat vehicle.
Scott Brady: Well, it’ll be so fun to showcase it at some point as well.
Eric Highland: And it’ll be fun to show to other people, but I guess you know, the more we’re doing this, the less gear centric it is for us and I just wanted to make sure philosophically that that was clear [00:51:00] because when we first started, when I went to that first expo, it was all about the gear like, you know, I had to have this, I had to have everything that was out there. Wanted it at all. And now, like I said, we find ourselves getting rid of things more often than not.
Brittany Highland: Well, and I was so adamant that we weren’t going to take debt around the world with us. And so we were considering a lot of vehicles that were not within our budget and he said, well, it’s 10 to 15 years. Maybe we should. It’ll all even out. But in the end we decided that wasn’t something that we were willing to do and so when we sold our last RV, it’s the first time we’ve been debt free in our marriage and it feels so good. And we’re reinvesting those funds from the RV. Come here, baby.
Scott Brady: What’s going on Caspian? Oh, we got an iPhone issue. All right. Let’s check this out.
Brittany Highland: Ok what’s going on? You can’t hear it anymore?
[00:52:00] Scott Brady: Okay. Thanks for saying hi Caspian. Well, one of the things that we have found in all of these conversations that it’s a fairly consistent theme, is that the people who have been able to travel long-term around the world, it is almost always that they’ve done it debt-free and my life didn’t truly change until I got rid of debt. And it seems that any decision that we make that we’re compromising to maybe get a new shiny thing. But then at the cost of going into debt to do that, we should always ask ourselves why can’t we afford it today? If we can’t afford it today, we really can’t afford to pay for it for five [00:53:00] years or 10 years or 20 years or 30 years. So I do find that that is a very consistent theme is that we shouldn’t mortgage our future to try to have a shiny object today that we really don’t need to try to impress people that we don’t really care about and they don’t really care about what we own, or don’t own or borrowing or renting.
Eric Highland: I couldn’t agree with you more Scott and, and the good news is that we are going to be debt free when we take off around the world. So the entire build that we’re doing is well within our means, like Brittany said, there were certain vehicles that we were looking at, just thinking, look, this is a massive trip. Maybe it’s worth investing in this and making some sort of payment. But at the end of the day, we decided no we’re going to, we’re going to travel the world debt-free.
Scott Brady: The risk too is if you leave to go around the world and let’s say a $500,000 vehicle or a $300,000 vehicle that you’re making payments on. It is common for people for those vehicles to [00:54:00] not make it to the other end. They end up in a river, they end up stolen and it is very difficult to get insurance on those kinds of RVs internationally. I have been able to secure insurance at times, but it’s very expensive. So even driving that earth roamer Jeep down to Panama, it was a $5,000 policy. It costs me $5,000 to protect that asset. So it definitely is something that if we can’t afford to lose the vehicle, which of course we don’t want to have happen, but if we can’t afford to lose the vehicle, then it could put us and our family at great financial risk. So I’m just really proud of what you guys have done and I think that that’s a very consistent theme. I have found very few sustained around the world travelers that operate on a lot of debt because it just doesn’t seem to work at the end of the day. So that’s great that you guys are doing that.
Eric Highland: Thank you, Scott. Yeah, we’re really excited about that part of it. Because for us, we want to be able to have something leftover to actually enjoy [00:55:00] the journey and so we’re not, we’re not at our cap. And honestly, a lot of those sponsors that I mentioned have really helped us significantly at least get our foot out the door and across the first border
Scott Brady: and a lot of times that is the, that is the, the difference that a sponsor can make is they can just give you that little bit of an edge around a project where you can get it closer to what you need it to be. And it’s interesting for those that are listening, oftentimes it sounds like someone is getting something for free. There’s never anything that comes for free in life. So there’s a great deal of responsibility that now comes with using this person’s product, you really can’t speak about it. Editorially, because now there’s a conflict of interest. So there’s all of these compromises that come with sponsorship, but they can often be that one edge that gets you closer to the quality of equipment that you need in order to complete your journey. So sponsors do have their place, but it’s never free.
Eric Highland: Agreed. Agreed. [00:56:00] And we’ve been very fortunate. We have gotten a lot of offers from folks that we’ve said, thank you for considering us, but the answer is no, because for us, we don’t have a garage. We don’t have a house. I don’t have anywhere to store it if I don’t like it. I mean, it’s either going on our bodies on the vehicle or inside the vehicle. So I’m really thankful for our list of sponsors that we’re working with. They’re very hand selected and curated.
Brittany Highland: We really told all of them, whether you sponsor us or not, we’re getting your product on our vehicle because these are the ones that we wanted. Yeah.
Eric Highland: Right. For example, we had another refrigerator company. I won’t mention who reached out to us and say, Hey, we’re interested in connecting you with a fridge for your journey. But Brittany had already decided on the national Luna fridge. At that time we had made the decision. We’re taking a national Luna fridge on this journey and it wasn’t until after that point in time that somebody connected me with Paul and said, Hey, do you know Paul? He’s the national Luna distributor? And I said, I don’t. He said, let me introduce you to him. It was actually Jim at RedOxx who said, Hey, let me introduce you to Paul. These two are close [00:57:00] friends. He’s a, he’s a good friend of mine. And I talked to Paul for maybe an hour and a half. Didn’t ask him for anything and at the end of the conversation, he said, well, I’d like to connect you with one of these fridges. So we would have bought it. And Paul knows this. I told him what, whether you give us this fridge or you don’t, we’re taking a national luna fridge on this journey because we had already made that decision. And that’s, that’s held true for all our sponsors. We’re taking a Warn winch, whether the team at Warren gave it to us or not a Warn winch was going on the front of our vehicle.
Scott Brady: You’ve mentioned all high quality components, which is a great place to start because it’s very difficult to replace this stuff in the middle of Africa.
Eric Highland: We need it to last, we need it to be durable and we’re going to put it to the test. You know, we’re going to put all this gear to the test.
Scott Brady: So Brittany, talk a little bit about your career that you have developed as a writer. What are some of your passions around writing and the things that you’ve learned around writing and maybe share that with, with the listeners of how you’ve made that also another source of revenue for you and your family.
Brittany Highland: I think I wrote my [00:58:00] first story when I was seven. It still exists. Eric has seen it. And in my story, I was on a rowboat crossing the ocean with two deck hands because I was the captain. We encountered a dragon and the refrain was as a captain I have to be brave, and writing was a way for me, I journaled like a fiend through my preteen years and even my teen years, and it was my way to make sense of my world. I could have some kind of problems. Something was bothering me. Maybe I didn’t even know what it was and I could start putting it out on paper and by the end I had solved the problem and come to peace with it, whatever it was and so actually this format of being on a podcast is very difficult for me because I don’t think on my feet. But I do like to put it down on paper, because I can think about what I want to express and use the right [00:59:00] words. And so writing is a major passion of mine and it was a source of heartache through many of our years of self-employment because it wasn’t the primary thing that I was doing and actually, through our social media marketing company. We started a blog about the city of Austin, which is where we lived at the time and it was supposed to be a showcase for what we could do through our business, building a client base in a city that we had just moved to. So we were writing alot for the Austin Odd, which was the name of it. But when we got on the road, we couldn’t write anymore because we weren’t there to interview the business owners and talk about the event. So that was part of what we had to do was build a team of writers. Well, then I wasn’t writing anymore. I was the editor and we got 2000 articles on that blog. It ended up being a really large blog that we sold last year to help bankroll this trip. But it was really hard to be the editor. I got to be the writer. [01:00:00] And it was something that was lacking in my life that as we started winding down, a lot of our business projects in anticipation of this global travel that I really evaluated, this is what I want to do. I want to write and I started thinking about myself as a writer, describing myself as a travel writer and I was so privileged when I got to start writing for an expedition portal and started to share my experiences there.
Eric Highland: And Winnebago as well.
Brittany Highland: Yeah, I wrote for Winnebago a lot as we were RVing, and they gave me a platform to talk about being a mom on the road, traveling full time, which was really important to me. And that’s definitely a responsibility that I feel that we’ve talked about a little bit, but I really do want to empower parents through my writing. I share the person who cast his and what travel has been for him and how we’ve accomplished that, because it certainly doesn’t happen by accident and to tell [01:01:00] stories that inspire people and show them that they can do it too.
Scott Brady: You do such a wonderful job with the writing and we’re so grateful that you’ve contributed as much as you have for the expedition portal and for Overland journal and hopefully more and more of that into the future. So thank you for that time. And it’s A flexible way to earn some supportive income while you’re traveling. If you have a combination of high quality imagery. With the written word, it is certainly a way to augment some expenses.
Brittany Highland: It is, and we’ve needed to go to more project-based work as we have moved away from internet connectivity, because before, like I said, it was nine to five, Monday through Friday, we had commitments. Our clients expected us to be accessible and to be available during that time. And so as we started to evaluate, what changes do we need to make in order to do this travel? It was clear that we couldn’t rely on the internet like that any more. We saw [01:02:00] that in Baja, which I fought with the internet the whole way. I was getting up at five before Caspian woke up and I was working and I would work after he went to sleep because the internet tended to be better on both those ends of the day. And yeah, so writing is definitely a way it’s more project-based you can do it on your schedule. All you have to do is meet a deadline and that’s so much more flexible than what we were doing before.
Scott Brady: Very, very cool. Now I always like to ask when I have guests on the podcast, what some of your favorite books are, and I’ve been warned that we might need to have a separate podcast for you and I just to discuss that alone, but maybe we’ll start Eric with you. What are your couple top favorite books that you would recommend to others?
Eric Highland: Well, you know, we just read into the wild with Christopher McCandless and I think there’s a lot of fascinating information in there and just his mentality that’s [01:03:00] described by the author. We just read that together. That was really special.
Scott Brady: Krakauer is an incredible writer.
Eric Highland: Yeah. I want to drag him along with us. But you know, for me, I’ve actually been reading some of Dan’s books. Dan Greg’s books. Just because these are the travels I want to take right now. So I don’t know. I mean, my favorite writers tend to be, you know, fiction writers and whatnot and but that’s okay too, but right now I’m like a firehose I’m like consuming information at just such a rapid pace and I actually find myself spending more time on forums like expedition portal and just gathering information or reaching out to people who have done this type of travel to, you know, pick their brain or just get their insight on something. So right now that’s…
Scott Brady: Dan’s books are excellent for perspective. He does such a wonderful job of painting this optimistic view of the places that he’s been and he’s been very remote and [01:04:00] at the end of it, he just has all these really beautiful insights.
Eric Highland: And he’s such a regular guy too, when you meet them in person, you know, like I think he’s really approachable just a really neat guy.
Scott Brady: Those Canadians.
Eric Highland: I think he’s Australian.
Scott Brady: Maybe he started off in Australia. But he’s lived a lot in Canada.
Eric Highland: I mean, in the military I read, you know, Sun Tzu art of war and those types of things, Albert Speer, Spandau. I mean, I was really big into history and biographies and that type of work. But right now that’s all on the back burner right now because I just feel like, I mean, heck. What is it in April right now? It’s April when we’re recording this and we’re leaving in August. I have a very, very small window. So my focus is like laser focused right now into what we’re doing.
Scott Brady: Yeah that’s great. Well, it’s so rewarding too right?
Eric Highland: So that’s why when we’re driving, Brittany actually reads to me from her tablet, which [01:05:00] is why we just read into the wild together.
Scott Brady: And Brittany, what are some of your, maybe most gifted books? Like, what is a book that you most often recommend or give to someone that you meet, that you care about?
Brittany Highland: So I really wanted to talk about my Theodore Roosevelt books. So I love Edmond Morris’s three-part biography of Theodore Roosevelt and my high school government teacher was the one who inspired me to start looking into Theodore Roosevelt and he was not a perfect man, which for many years, when I was younger, I thought he was. He was a hero to me and now I appreciate that. Like all of us, he had many parts to him, but he really leaps off the page in Morris’s series because it’s three parts he’s so in-depth throughout the whole lifetime of Roosevelt and one of the first books I read to Eric out loud was called the river of doubt and it was about Roosevelt’s final expedition and it was an [01:06:00] expedition in its truest sense. No, this was after Africa. So it was just a few years before his death and he was exploring one of the tributaries of the Amazon that had never been mapped before. So they were doing the actual mapping as they went along and I believe he was in his fifties at the time and he had lived a very difficult life and so physically he was dealing with an accident that he had had previously in life where his leg hadn’t healed properly and of course all the bugs and the disease were just laying them out and he almost didn’t make it. His son was there with him and thought… and Roosevelt said, ;leave me here. He said, don’t carry my body out because I don’t want to be a weight for the expedition. So it was at that point and he grew delirious and he was reciting poetry and his delirium and that’s an amazing book is the river of doubt that if anyone wants to start getting into Roosevelt’s story, that’s actually one that I would recommend.
[01:07:00] Scott Brady: Oh, that’s a beautiful recommendation. Well, let’s see if we can grab Caspian and have him come on to the last few minutes of the podcast here. If you guys are okay with that.
Eric Highland: Caspian. It’s your turn Caspian.
Scott Brady: It’s okay. He does not have to just to. Just a thought.
Eric Highland: He’ll just take a second to think of it.
Scott Brady: Yeah, we got time.
Eric Highland: And then we can play with your remote control car. Come here, Caspian. I want to show you this thing. It’s really cool.
Scott Brady: You got to bring his car over. Where’s this truck at? There it is right on the table. Awesome. There you go. That’s a rad truck.
Eric Highland: Come over here on this side, baby. Come on, come on this side by daddy. Over here.
Scott Brady: You did such a good job. You didn’t hit the camera. That was awesome, man.
Eric Highland: All right, I’m going to [01:08:00] skip back and you can sit right on daddy’s lap. Okay. Now listen, Mr. Scott is going to ask you some questions and I’m going to turn this down so you can talk and I’m going to put this on you.
Caspian Highland: Oh thank you!
Scott Brady: Yeah, can you hear me? Well, how are you doing Caspian?
Caspian Highland: Good!
Scott Brady: Tell me about your truck.
Caspian Highland: Well, it’s a remote control and we needed to fix it.
So we wanted some time
to fix it and I thought we can try and fix it after the thing we are doing right now.
Scott Brady: Yeah. This is really cramping your style. Isn’t it? All this adult stuff, when we could be fixing remote control cars. Right? So does your remote control car have a name?
Caspian Highland: Drive Through Oil.
Scott Brady: Drive Through Oil? I like that. It sounds like a land Rover
Caspian Highland: Cause I drive it through oil.
[01:09:00] Scott Brady: Perfect and what’s, what’s the name of, of your mom and dad’s Jeep
Caspian Highland: Guardian.
Scott Brady: Guardian. I like that and how did you know how it got the name?
Caspian Highland: Nope.
Scott Brady: Well, thanks for being on the podcast. Caspian. Appreciate it.
Caspian Highland: You’re welcome. I could stay on it longer!
Scott Brady: That’s right. Well, I think you’d be our most interesting guest. No doubt. Especially since you got this awesome truck, that’s ready to go around the world, right?
Eric Highland: Can you tell Mr. Scott, what you’re most excited about driving around the world?
Caspian Highland: I’m most excited about going to get meatball.
Scott Brady: Okay. So tell me about the meatball.
Caspian Highland: Well, he’s a little meatball filled with air who turns into a balloon, but he has wheels that drive on the ground and no matter where I went I drove him there.
Scott Brady: Oh, wow. So a meatball with wheels.
Brittany Highland: So this is a balloon animal in Mexico that does have [01:10:00] wheels and it has a string and Caspian got one when he was two.
Caspian Highland: And then we gave it to another little boy.
Scott Brady: Oh, that was very nice of you to do that. That is awesome. Well, Caspian. I am so excited about your journey that you’re going to have over the next couple of decades and Brittany and Eric. Thank you both so much for being on the podcast. I appreciate you and your family and all of the people that you’re inspiring with your journeys. Now tell us how people can find out more about you. What’s your Instagram and website?
Brittany Highland: So we’re Hourless Life.
Caspian Highland: Yeah that’s what I would have said! We’re an hourless life!
Brittany Highland: So it’s HOURLESS, Hourless Life. We recently started our YouTube channel and so we are total newbies, but it’s really, really fun to share there.
Scott Brady: Well, again, thank you all so much for being on, and we [01:11:00] thank all of you for listening, and we will talk to you next time.
Caspian Highland: We’ll talk to you next time!