Origin Story, the Vehicle, the Plan

As the first blog post, I feel it is suitable to introduce myself as well as other important details of my life. My name is Robert Allan Wilson (most of my friends call me Rob) and I was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on May 31st, 1994. I've grown up and spent my life in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, enjoying the wilderness, my friends, and family. 

When I was in grade 10 (2010), I began dating my girlfriend, Danielle Seeliger. We have been together since. After we graduated high school (2012), Danielle and I traveled to Europe, where we backpacked for two months. Ever since that trip, we have been in love with travel, and it was on that trip that I found my passion for photography.

Fast forward two years...

At some point it 2014 (or somewhere around there) I discovered reference to the Pan-American highway. I thought the road looked intriguing and the idea of motorcycling it stuck in my mind. I went on Wikipedia, and printed out this map, and stuck the map on my fridge. I said to myself 'one day, I will drive the route'.

Fast forward a little bit more...

One day I thought to myself, 'why don't I just do it? I could really do it, what am I waiting for?'. From that point on, I began working towards making the dream a reality. While I'd originally wanted to drive a bike down the route, it occurred to me that I don't have a motorcycle, a motorcycle license, or really know how to ride a bike. Plus, if Danielle was to come with me, we'd need to buy two bikes. Thus, I decided to buy a SUV, and build it up. Enter, Bilbo, the 1994 Toyota 4runner.

Bilbo on the Mt. Baker Highway, Aug. 2015.

I bought Bilbo from a retired Submariner (either that or a submarine mechanic or something) with 198 000km.  After buying Bilbo, I began the process of building him into an expedition-ready vehicle. Though not an exhaustive list, modifications and added accessories have included:

  • a roof rack (shout out to Jason at Cruisin Off Road)
  • Old Man Emu suspension and lift kit (shout-out to the guys at Radd Cruisers)
  • a second-hand bush bumper (shout-out to my good friend Jack Van Hell for help repairing the holes)
  • a custom bed (shout-out to Danielle's Dad, Dirk Seeliger, for the design and fabrication)
  • some LED Lights
  • an Indel B fridge
  • a National Luna Portable Power Pack
  • and of course tonnes of mechanical work (shout-out to Lindsey and the guys at Olender's Auto Care)

As well as adding modifications to Bilbo, Danielle and I also began curating a number of camping accessories as well as saving as much as we could while both attending post-secondary (Danielle pursuing a degree in Recreation and Health Education and I in Journalism/Digital Media). Though we didn't have an exact departure date in mind, I kept saying I'd leave sometime in 2016, and probably September.

Fast forward to the present...

As I write this, it's late August, 2016. After two years in the making, Danielle and I are planning on leaving on the 16th of September. We plan to take the ferry from Victoria, British Columbia, to Port Angeles, Washington. After touring around Olympic National Park, we plan to head south down the west coast of America, with a few inland trips along the way. After that, we're planning on crossing into Mexico at Tijuana and heading down the Baja. After that, it's all up in the air.

It is our hope that we're able to reach the very bottom of South America, but we realize we might not get that far -- but that's cool too. Things will go wrong, maybe even very wrong, but it's an adventure, and that's what's to be expected.

Stay tuned, great things are coming.