"Overlanding" We have lost the plot...
I have heard the term "overlanding" defined many a time, it usually involves something like nature, solitude, and a self-reliant capable vehicle. But overlanding has become all about the gear, it has become somehow tactical and people have forgotten the actual reason for the self-reliance and capability in the first place. It wasn't to drive to work and proclaim to the world "I am tough and adventurous, I am an overlander". Overlanding has become cosplay for scared people with disposable income. It seems all these large expensive machines do these days is the overland event circuit or a weekend trip down a graded gravel road in a line of five other overly built vehicles only to pay to camp. Not exactly the untamed adventurer their social media portrays. They seem to be prepared for the world to attack. The point used to be to embrace the world and its differences, not to conquer it. I have to say I don't get it... The number of times I have been told to be careful when I cross a border or that someone will "never go somewhere they can't bring their gun" is at this point countless. Before the term Overlanding even existed this type of self-reliant travel benefited from a capable rugged vehicle. It was for the curious dirtbag, someone who wanted to experience life in a very different place, it meant pushing comfort zones, being open-minded, and a willingness to be uncomfortable. All of these difficulties were outweighed by the one-of-a-kind adventure. Overlanding allowed one to uniquely experience cultures and places. You could get to villages rarely visited by outsiders. See what the locals did, where did they get food, what kind of food was it, what did they dress like, what did they believe, and how did a completely random place welcome a visitor. Yes, you also got to enjoy and be awed by nature, experiencing solitude that most couldn't even fathom, but at the heart of this type of travel was the humanity. The unavoidable reality, that, most people are good and kind and will go out of their way to help those who need it. It was humbling and gave you a perspective in life that many will never experience.
All of that still exists. But fear has taken this mentality away.
If I could share one thing from traveling the world, it's that people are generally good and kind. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Don't let your fear take control. Open your mind, oh, and don't get caught up in the gear, just go. The experience is worth it.