All the fun of an overland rally, but based online.
It’s a pretty tough time for ADV riders right now due to the coronavirus lockdowns. Adventure travel is practically impossible thanks to the various shelter in place orders and non-essential travel bans. The ADV rally scene is also shut down because, well, that whole “no gatherings larger than ten” thing. No worries, though—Overland Expo has responded by putting together a new online event for May 16, 2020.
The new Virtual Overland Expo replaces Overland Expo West, which was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That event was moved to July 24-26 (still at Fort Tuthill, in Flagstaff, Arizona). To make up for the re-scheduled weekend, Overland Expo announced that it’s streaming a day of overland festival content instead.
Overland Expo isn’t just about motorcycles; any kind of overland travel is included, but adventure riding is a massive part of the event’s focus. The virtual expo’s schedule includes discussions of travel realities and concerns in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. DART, Overland Expo’s on-site rider training provider, will be showing intermediate off-road skills exercises. If you're looking for more fun-oriented exercises, there’s a session sharing on-the-road yoga ideas, a cooking demo, a selection of adventure travel short films (lineup to be determined), and the day will end with a virtual happy hour.
This year’s virtual meet-up will be broadcast via YouTube; you can find a full schedule of the virtual meet-up here. There’s no fee to take part in the event, but you can donate to the Overland Expo Foundation if you wish. The Foundation is sending the donations to first responders and homeless shelters in the Flagstaff area.
The idea of an online adventure travelers’ meeting would have sounded crazy before this year. ADV motorcyclists are known to travel across continents, or even around the world, to attend events like Horizons Unlimited meetings or Overland Expo. Thanks to COVID-19, we’re now seeing these virtual events popping up to fill the void left when the real meet-ups were canceled. It’s a big change, but at least people are figuring out how to stay in touch with their overlanding friends as well as learn new travel skills, even if they are stuck in their armchairs at home.