Overland Expo 2018
And the official "launch" of ZENVANZ We pulled into flagstaff, picked up up the first van and after running around to complete last minute errands rolled into expo with three vans. The craziness of our last few months was all planned around and finally has led to this moment and this event.
We attended expo last year as only featured travelers, but it was the constant and repeated requests from others at the show for us to build them a van like ours that ultimately led to us starting ZENVANZ and this event was always our plan as to when we would officially "roll things out" for other to see. So much has transpired between that planning stage and now, and its hard to even remember those days, but we were excited to have made it as far as we did in terms of completing the vans and were excited to kick off the show.
Luckily, three nights of camping also had us feeling like ourselves again, allowed enough deep breaths to rejuvenate and be ready for talking to a lot of people about our vanz... because there were indeed a LOT of people and interest in what we were doing. We learned last year at this event that even though our cabinet kit is easy to install/remove most people just looked at the van as a very clean finished product and it was hard for them to imagine themselves being able to install it.
This year, the new/empty van worked really well for being able to demonstrate exactly how easy that process is. If someone was struggling to understand we could easily just bolt/unbolt an upper cabinet (or allow them to do it themselves)!
All fun conversations and were it not for immense heat and an incredibly dirty/dusty environment we would have had a blast. Again Dan and Cindy bailed us out day in and day out by talking with people and helping us with crowd control. They are proving to be absolutely invaluable and we honestly don't know what we would have done without them. Sadly, I don't think we've yet talked them into quitting their jobs and moving to oregon...but were working on it!
We had a constant stream of people through the booth and wandering in and out of our vans. The only drawback of the event for us was that because we were shorthanded we never really got a chance to get out and explore all the other exciting booths, vehicles and classes going on at the same time.
Some of the funnest moments of the event for us were the chance to present/teach a few classes. We called our little presentation "Get Broken: How to turn your overland adventure into a lifelong journey" and (despite our fear of public speaking) it was an absolute blast chatting with those who attended about our story, about their paths and about how to never go back to the jobs or lifestyle many of us left behind. So Fun!!
We also got to give a little class/demo on DIY Campervans from our booth, which had a huge turnout and was a lot of fun. I think we may have to find a way to host a series of these events in portland, or along the road as we travel... assuming people continue to show interest. Given the thousands and thousands of hours I've spent researching and testing every choice and product for van builds...it seems a pity to not be able to share them (or at least share my own skewed bias on how this all should be done) with others.
The show was a huge hit and despite leaving with a solid 1/4" of dust on every surface of the vans (and ourselves) it seemed well worth the hard work leading up to and the long drive south for the event. ZENVANZ even got some pretty good media out of the event we didn't even know was coming!