EP43 | The Most Experienced Off-Pavement Driver in the Southwest – Nena Barlow

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Episode Description

On this episode of the X Overland Podcast, we sit down with International 4wd Trainers Association Certified Master Trainer, Nena Barlow and Rebelle Rally Champion and X Overland Co-Founder, Rachelle Croft

Nena owns and operates Barlow Adventures, a business focused on teaching people how to operate their 4-wheel drive vehicles safely and effectively. As an I4WDTA Master Trainer, Nena is currently engaged in working to help others become certified trainers in an effort to bring more effective off-pavement driving education to the vehicle-based adventure and overlanding community. 

Having spent time with Nena as both a student and a fellow competitor in the Rebelle Rally, Rachelle Croft also joins the conversation in this episode, where the focus is on developing an effective mindset for off-pavement/off-road driving and vehicle recovery.

Nena and Rachelle additionally provide several useful action steps you can take to both avoid recovery situations and effectively manage them if you find yourself in one. 

Detailed Episode Summary

Part 1 (1:30-7:24) Intro and Welcome Nena Barlow and Rachelle Croft: We welcome Nena Barlow onto the show and Nena shares her background and how she started Barlow Adventures. Nena explains the theme of “Responsible Recreation” and how her training focuses upon this principle. Jimmy and Nena begin the conversation by looking at the need for education before people hit the trails with their first 4wd vehicles.

Part 2 (7:25-10:45) Humility First: Nina explains the importance of humility when it comes to developing an effective and responsible mindset toward operating a 4WD vehicle and the value of understanding the concept of “situational awareness” when driving off-road.

Part 3 (10:46-17:30) Nena Barlow’s Principles for Effective and Responsible Off-Road Driving Part 1: “Don’t Drive Faster Than You Can See.” Nena explains the thinking behind her principle, “Don’t Drive Faster Than You Can See,” citing examples from her students’ experiences. Rachelle shares how this principle applies to X Overland’s expeditions.

Part 4 (17:31-22:42) Avoiding Catastrophe when Driving Off-Road: Nena explains how an effective and responsible mindset can help you learn how to avoid a major catastrophe when driving off-road and shares specific action items you can take to increase your safety.

Part 5 (22:43-24:32) What are the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Driving Off-Road? As an off-road driving trainer with many years of experience, what are the most common mistakes Nena sees people make while learning to drive off-road?

Part 6 (24:33-31:20) How to Get Unstuck When Off-Roading or Overlanding: Nena explains what to do when you find yourself stuck while driving off-road, sharing an approach to an effective mindset along with actionable steps you can take to keep yourself safe and work toward a successful recovery.

Part 7 (31:21- End) Nena Barlow’s Principle of Putting Aside Ego in Developing an Effective Mindset for Driving Off-Road: Jimmy talks about the challenges of irrational expectations when it comes to being a guy behind the wheel of an off-road vehicle and the need to admit when you’re stuck. Nena and Rachelle underscore the value of managing egos and the importance of mindset as the pillar of effective driving.

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