Have you wondered how a family of five could transition from a conventional life in the suburbs to living life as full-time overlanders? The van Stralen family of Epic Family Road Trip provides an honest portrait of exactly what such a shift looks like.
Join host, Jimmy Lewis, as he sits down with Peter and Carol van Stralen to discuss their extraordinary life story that lead to their becoming the parents of an overlanding family raising their kids on the road.
Peter’s background in business, Carol’s experiences as an overlanding mother, the unique education of the van Stralen children–Caroline, Pete Jr., and Dan–is all explored in this in-depth, honest, and insightful look at the family behind EFRT (Epic Family Road Trip).
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Detailed Episode Summary
Part 1 (1:30-12:45) Intro/What is it like to overland full-time? What is the van Stralen family doing at the X Hangar? Exploring the authenticity of The Epic Family Road Trip experience and what it is like to be living a life of full-time traveling. Why do the van Stralens have a cabin? What is it like? What is the difference between an overland trip and an overlanding lifestyle? What is it like to be a part of the global overlanding community?
Part 2 (12:45-20:30) Personal Growth and Overlanding: How does a life of overlanding lead to personal growth? The van Stralens go into detail about the first time the family got really stuck in an avalanche debris field. How overlanding builds teamwork within a family. The benefits that come from pushing beyond your comfort zones. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine.” Pete van Stralen Sr.
Part 3 (20:30-26:55) How do you educate your kids while full time overlanding? How has growing up overlanding affected the education of the van Stralen children? Pete and Carol explain the value that comes with learning while traveling. How overlanding develops intellectual curiosity.
Part 4 (26:55-33:30) How did the van Stralen’s get started in overlanding and world traveling adventure? Carol van Stralen explains how she never went camping as a child and how the family began their journey, describing their first backyard camps and how they evolved from there. Pete explains how the family started their journey in a motorhome and how that evolved to touring in Jeeps, and now, for the van Stralen boys, to ADV motorcycles! Pete and Carol explain their philosophy as parents and why they chose an overlanding lifestyle within which to raise their kids.
Part 5 (33:30-35:50) What is it like to camp in a Tsunami Zone? What does radical engagement look like? How does an overlanding lifestyle connect you to the natural world in a visceral way? Pete and Carol share their stories of camping in a Tsunami Zone and amidst extremely dry conditions in Arizona and share how they have learned to respect nature and not fear it. How overlanding helps one understand and adjust to the world as it is.
Part 6 (35:50-45:00) The Whales of New Zealand and Epic Family Road Trip: Pete and Carol discuss their 6 month family tour of New Zealand, how it came about via a pitch from their daughter, @carolinevanstralen , and the extraordinary story of assisting beached whales.
Part 7 (45:00-47:45) Is a book in the works for Epic Family Road Trip? Pete shares his daughter Caroline’s passion for writing, poetry, photography and videography and the mentorship in cinematography provided by @croftclay. Pete offers his insight on the likely subjects that would be explored by the van Stralens should they move forward with plans to write a books series about their experiences as an overlanding family.
Part 8 (47:45-53:10) Pete Sr.’s backstory as a successful businessman and how that translated into the success of EFRT (Epic Family Road Trip): Pete shares his background as a laborer, skilled laborer, and then entrepreneur of a successful franchisor. Finally, Pete shares how EFRT went from a family vacation to a full-time family business. Pete’s business philosophy is powerful, honest, and inspiring.
Part 9 (53:10-58:20) What was Carol van Stralen’s experience like as a mother raising her kids on the road? Carol explains the transition as a woman, wife, and mother from a beautiful upper-middle-class home in the suburbs of Ontario to life as a full-time overlander living out of jeeps. Peter explains the “Work. Play. Care.” mantra the family lives by and the van Stralen’s transformative experience in Haiti.
Part 10 (58:20-102:30) The van Stralen’s family philosophy and how overlanding together has helped with communication: From a parental perspective, Pete and Carol discuss family dynamics when overlanding vs. a life in a conventional home. Carol explains how the van Stralen family’s ability to communicate and openly express themselves was fostered by their overlanding experience together.
Part 11 (102:30-104:00) The “less is more” paradox and the robbery of the van Stralen family home: Pete Carol share the story of the robbery of their family home in Ontario while the family was on the road and how that served as a tipping point to launch into full-time overlanding.
Part 12 (104:00-End) Pete Jr. ‘s Experience with Diabetes: As parents, Peter and Carol share their discovery of son, Pete Jr. ‘s, onset of Type 1 diabetes while on the road, and the traumatic experience of helping him recover, and their ordeal provided them with clarity of vision for the future.
Follow EFRT on Instagram: @epicfamilyroadtrip
Follow EFRT on Facebook: Epic Family Road Trip
YouTube: Epic Family Road Trip
Helpful Resources and Links:
Outside Kids in an Inside World by Steven Rinella
This episode is brought to you by OnX Offroad!
Use the most trusted off-roading app, onX Offroad, to discover nearby trails, plan and track your trips, and get home safely. Get 20% off your subscription with code ‘XOVERLAND’ or by clicking here.