Lisa Morris and Jason Spafford, aka Four Wheeled Nomad, are regular contributors to Expedition Portal and the Overland Journal, and in 2022 were named our Overlanders of the Year. Their resume includes riding 80,000 miles from the bottom of Argentina to the tip of Alaska, exploring Europe and the Nordic countries, and at present, they are on their biggest adventure to date, the “Mega Transect.” Their latest trip will see them ride KTM 500 EXC F motorbikes from North to South America, cross the African continent, and finally through Europe to the UK. The couple recently set up their YouTube, and in their first video, they look back over a decade of travel and ask themselves: “Motorcycle or 4×4, which was the best?”
I’ve been a long-time follower of Four Wheeled Nomad and have always been inspired by their storytelling and photography, so was excited to see they’d started a YouTube. As always, Jason’s eye for the shot and camera mastery produces some of the most stunning visuals I’ve seen, while Lisa’s narration is as eloquent as her writing. It’s clear from the offset that the couple has been producing videos for a long time but only recently began sharing them, and wow, was it worth the wait. They capture the good, the bad, and, indeed, the ugly, alongside jaw-droppingly majestic landscapes. The video hits the ground running, setting up the couple’s backstory before addressing the question at hand.
Lisa states that while riding a motorbike was oftentimes brutal it was this same struggle that made the Americas so great and even “euphoric.” She explains that you’ll never remember the perfect days as much as you do the times everything went “spectacularly wrong.” I’m not a moto rider per se, but I found a lot of commonality with my own life, which is split between living on the road in my Vanagon Syncro and traveling by bicycle and kayak. The comfort of the van is wonderful but I desire to struggle because it helps me to appreciate the former all the more. Nevertheless, after the Americas, Four Wheeled Nomad was longing for comfort and amenities and subsequently built their legendary full-time travel rig, White Rhino, a 2015 Toyota Hilux. At this point, they discuss the merits of a 4WD over a motorbike with the ability to pack extra supplies for remote exploration, be more self-sufficient, enjoy a hot shower, and work more effectively on the road while also having the possibility to “lock and leave” the vehicle to explore. However, after a few years of traveling this way, they felt these comforts led them to a plateau and that something was missing. Ultimately, what makes the journey a true adventure for the couple is “thrilling vulnerability” and that the 4WD simply can’t compete with a motorbike on this front.
It’s a beautiful video that not only delivers a visual marvel and masterclass in storytelling but also shares a powerful message that we can all learn from.
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