Tim and Kelsey (DirtSunrise)

Today's Explorers

Tim and Kelsey (DirtSunrise)

January 17, 2022
min read
Charles Forman
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Tim and Kelsey are explmore Mantra Ambassadors.

Exploring more of the world, full time since 2018, Tim and Kelsey of DirtSunrise have embodied the explmore mantra in a truly authentic way. They find themselves drawn to routes less travelled and embrace chance encounters with the beautiful cultures and people of the globe.

As experienced off-road driving and recovery instructors, they come well prepared to tackle ever changing landscapes in their 1990 HDJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser.Their inherent curiosity and natural empathy towards others, provides them with countless opportunities to engage with both locals and fellow travelers.

They choose to explore more of this beautiful world to broaden their perspectives, build strong relationships with others, and to seize experiences not otherwise found in their daily life before.

Where are you from?

Kelsey is from San Juan Capistrano, California and Tim is from Prescott, Arizona

When did you start your interest in exploration?

Kelsey started with her love of horses exploring the Arizona high country. Tim started with a love of the ocean and Catalina Island followed by an obsession of exploring the Southwest’s many dirt roads.

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

Kelsey was born in Southern California, but raised in Arizona and found a love for the outdoors and exploring seldom seen places. Tim was raised in California and had a love for the Ocean and deserts that’s only grown over time.

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

Kelsey has been teaching off-roading skills for years and is the best spotter and route finder around. Tim has been racing off road in Baja for over 20 years and teaching off-road skills for 15. We always work on our own trucks and motorcycles, so we usually find a way to keep things moving along on our adventures, whatever challenge presents itself.

Where have you explored so far?

Before meeting, Kelsey explored the western US and Europe as part of Expeditions 7 and Overland Journal. Tim has spent vast time exploring the American west and Baja with occasional trips to Africa, Europe and Asia. Together, we’ve explored from Canada to the tip of South America in our 4x4 over the past several years.

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

We enjoy backpacking, mountain biking, motorcycles and 4x4’s. We’re always trying to explore a new area no matter the method. For the last 3 years we’ve been living in our 4x4, full time to explore new countries and continents.

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

Africa, Eastern Europe and the Australian continent. Well, because they’re there.

Where would you recommend others visit?

I don’t think you can really go wrong. Exploring the world is generally safer than our old commute to work on the highway. Find a grain of adventure that excites you and build upon it, until you can’t stand waiting any longer and GO!

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

Our new home is a 1990 HDJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser. It's been modified by Maltec, a company in Germany, to be a home on wheels. They cut the body just behind the front doors and create a composite box with a carbon fiber popup roof. The interior is a mini studio apartment with a diesel stove, heater and water filtration system. The truck is very capable with triple lockers and enough range for over 1,000 miles of exploring. The manual transmission is paired to a 1HDT diesel engine. It's lighter with a lower center of gravity than our last Land Cruiser, but with much more room inside making it our perfect little home on wheels for how and where we like to travel.

What inspires you to explore more?

The simple excitement of not knowing what’s over the next hill or who’ll we’ll meet next.

How do you engage with others?

In any way we can. We enjoy meeting other explorers, chatting with locals about their favorite places and shopping at street markets for supplies.

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

It helps us remember that we’re all connected and that all humans are generally good and giving. Every time we meet someone I think both parties go away feeling better about the world and people from different countries.

What are your goals when you explore?

To find our own adventure. We enjoy going to places we’ve heard about, but in general we find that our most rewarding moments are when we feel like we’ve “found” something truly special that we didn’t plan on and instead stumbled upon, exploring unknown roads or trails.

What are some challenges you have experienced?

From mechanical issues to being stuck in “no mans land” between two countries with paperwork issues and closed borders preventing us from entering/returning to either we find that everything works itself out in the end. Patience is the most important skill we’ve honed.

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

It’s impossible to cite just one, but we find that almost every day something will remind us of a favorite small moment. One we’re thinking of today was driving up to almost 19,000 feet on a remote shelf road in Bolivia and how we realized at the top how far we’d come.

How has exploration changed you?

It’s stoked our desire to see more, meet more people and travel further.

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

To take one step at a time and that nothing is as intimidating as you first think it is.

How do you explore locally?

By taking a different route to where you’re going or wandering without a plan.

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

It’s a reminder to get out into the world, take it all in and enjoy the people you meet near and far.

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

Don’t overthink it, just go.

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