The talented daughter of Peter and Carol van Stralen of Epic Family Road Trip (EFRT) and elder sister to The Adventure Guys, Pete Jr. and Dan van Stralen, Caroline van Stralen has been raised while overlanding around the world with her family. With the van Stralen family in town lending a hand at the hangar for a few days, X Overland Podcast host, Jimmy Lewis, decides to sit down with Caroline to discuss her life and overlanding and future aspirations and ambitions.
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Host and Guest Bios
Guest: Caroline van Stralen
The daughter of Peter and Carol van Stralen of Epic Family Road Trip, Caroline van Stralen has been raised overlanding, living a life of adventure travel with her family for over seven contiguous years. As lead editor of her family’s popular YouTube series, Caroline has greatly contributed to the inspiration and success of their channel, Epic Family Road Trip. Personally, Caroline possesses a deep passion for photography, videography, and filmmaking. An accomplished storyteller and poet, she is working toward ultimately creating her own impactful films. @carolinesvanstralen
Host: Jimmy Lewis
Jimmy joined the X Overland team as Content Director at the beginning of 2022. With a background in outfitting, education, and writing, Jimmy works on applying his eclectic insight into our content creation and direction at XO. His talent for carrying on meaningful conversations along with his love of overlanding and outdoor sports and adventure make him the perfect fit as host of our X Overland Podcast. @jlewmt
Detailed Episode Summary
Part 1 (1:15-5:00) Intro and Welcome Caroline van Stralen! Caroline explains her love of videography, photography, the arts and her creative vision as a videographer. Caroline shares her background and experience with Epic Family Road Trip (EFRT) and her overlanding lifestyle with her family.
Part 2 (5:05-11:30) Personal Growth as Individuals and as a Family Through Overlanding: Caroline and Jimmy discuss comfort-zones and the need to move out of them to grow. Caroline shares her own experiences with personal growth through overlanding and adventure.
Part 3 (11:35-19:30) The Evolution of EFRT Vehicles and Caroline’s Role on the EFRT Team: The background of “Work. Play. Care.” and the evolution to EFRT. Caroline’s love of storytelling and finding means of storytelling through the film and writing. The EFRT philosophy of authenticity and the everyday experience of overlanding. The difference between “lifestyle” and “recreation.”
Part 4 (19:35-23:25) Will Caroline Ever Lead a “Conventional” Life? Caroline explains the paradox of how a “conventional life” could become an adventure for her due to the relativity of experience.
Part 5 (23:30-25:45) Personal Ambitions and Aspirations: Caroline discusses her personal vision for the future and overarching ambition of becoming a filmmaker. Caroline shares her ideas for pursuing a career in the arts and her unconventional approach to education, including remote-learning and overlanding.
Part 6 (25:50-29:00) Sources of Inspiration: What inspired Epic Family Road Trip? What is it that nudges us out of the ordinary? Caroline share’s her family’s source of inspiration along with her own. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as a source of inspiration for the van Stralen family. The joy of being part of a family leaning into a life of adventure.
Part 7 (29:05-31:20) What’s in the Future for EFRT? Ideas for future traveling and filmmaking are discussed along with the background and evolution of EFRT. The inspiring and nurturing dynamic of creator and consumer (audience) explained.
Part 8 (31:30-35:50) Caroline’s Aspirations as a Filmmaker: Caroline shares her ultimate ambition to create a feature film and her passion for impactful storytelling and documentary material. Finding the authentic in the world which lies beneath the surface. The value of bringing a new and better informed perspective to an audience.
Part 9 (35:55-45:00) Wisdom Gained Through Travel and Sharing Experience with Others: Caroline explains humbly greeting the world with an open heart and open eyes in order to connect with new experiences and people. Dealing with preconceptions, biases, and prejudices when traveling. Managing fear when experiencing the new. The effect of media upon perspective and conceptions.
Part 10 (45:05-46:30) Defining Adventure: How to discover an alternative life. Defining adventure and the difference between physical, mental, and emotional adventure. How being adventurous can be found within the small steps within everyday life.
Part 11 (46:35-End) Being a Young Woman within the Overlanding Space: Caroline shares her experiences as a young woman within the overlanding space. Are there limitations or not? What it means to be an overlander and how overlanding transcends gender and sex. Caroline shares some of her favorite adventurers and final thoughts to inspire. Caroline’s vision for her own YouTube channel!
***Caroline prefaces her book and film recommendations with the following comments***
“Some of these films aren’t typically what you would expect to be associated with inspiration to travel the world. They are eye-opening, thought-provoking, and enlightening in the realities of some of the beautiful places we long to travel to. They show a raw and sometimes dark side to the world but also how that darkness often reveals the light.
They’re eye-opening to how easy it is to slip into that world and life of comfort, ease, normality, and security, but also how those ideas of comfort and stability can potentially be preventing you from living life to the fullest, being brave, taking risks, because nothing can substitute experiences.”
Caroline van Stralen Recommended Books:
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
The World’s Great Adventure: 1,000 Years of Polar Exploration by Francis Trevelyan Miller
High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary
The Dig Tree by Sarah Murgatroyd
Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
Strangers Like Angels: With a Devil or Two to Boot by Jan Foreman & Alec Foreman
An Arabian Journey by Levison Wood
Survival Guide for Life by Bear Grylls
Sand Dance by Bruce Kirkby
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E Lawrence
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest (2010)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Blood Diamond (2006)